This trip was awesome from start to finish, but it was a little different because I was flying solo! I attended a conference in Leeds, and J didn’t come. So I added a day to the trip and did some Bronte activities, and y’all, it was awesome. (Apologies: some photos are from my phone. Yikes).
I took the train to Keighley, which is a wonderful and scenic route through the Yorkshire Dales. For the last leg of the trip I had a wonderful group of older women sitting at my table. They were locals (and one’s name was Margaret!), so we had a grand ole time. Once in Keighley (side note: this is pronounced Keith-lee. I despise English), I had the choice between the train or bus to Haworth. I chose the bus, since the train schedule was scare, and because the next train wasn’t steam-powered! If it was, there was no way I could’ve passed that up. Anywho, the bus ended up being the best choice because the driver took me right to the Bronte Parsonage Museum (and even went a bit off-route to do so! Cheers, driver!). The locals on the bus were so gracious and all of them wanted to help me get to my final destination. (Side note again…I’m still wondering how it was so easy to peg me as a tourist. I only had a backpack, no luggage, and I kept my mouth shut until they approached me first!)
The Bronte Parsonage Museum was super easy to find. There’s signs everywhere in Haworth pointing you in the correct direction. It was also a really great experience! I lucked out with student pricing, but even without that perk, the tickets are valid for a year. There’s plaques in every room explaining what went on in that room, and there were costumes from the movie, To Walk Invisible, about the Bronte sisters. There were so many letters, manuscripts, and artifacts.
THE BEST PART THOUGH. I happened to go while they were running a bit of an event. An artist thought it would be really neat to recreate the writing Wuthering Heights in the room of its original creation. So, using a special pencil, I got to copy a line of the book into a manuscript, which will bound and exhibited next year! More about the project can be found here. It was a very surreal experience, and something I’m not likely to forget soon.
Another unforgettable experience came next-exploring the hills and finding Top Withins, the buildings that *might* have inspired WH. While that’s not proven, it was a gorgeous walk and I highly suggest it. It was easy to find, even starting from the door of the parsonage. After skirting a few fields and walking up a road, the path continues along some sheep fields until a stream appears. This is also the location of the “Bronte Bridge,” though the original was washed away and the current one is a replacement. After leaving the deep glen, it’s uphill A LOT until Top Withins. It’s a great place for a snack and some exploration off-trail, since it’s mostly cleared and there’s views for days! I decided to turn it into a loop and walk back a different way, where I was mostly alone with the wind and the heather, and it was just so RIGHT.
After my hike, I popped into the shop at the museum and bought some Bron-tea. So punny. And quite delicious! I also decided to explore Haworth before I had to head on to Leeds. I bought some rhubarb gin (and a delicious lunch!) at Haworth Steam Brewing. I can recommend their stout for sure as well. There’s all sorts of fun shops in town, and a visit to the church was in order as well. The gravesite of several Bronte family members is in one corner, marked by a plaque. I killed some time before my bus wandering through the park and watching a steam train come through the station.
I packed quite a day in! I’d blog about Leeds as well, but that might belong to another post. I spent most of my time in a seminar and a conference. Go baby academic me! Slowly but surely catching up on these backlogged posts. Will write another soon!
Until next time, may you live a life well loved!