My latest guest blogging shenanigans!
A short time ago, a very tall Dutchman clubbed me on the head and flew me to Europe. Well, minus the clubbing part, my 43-year span of xenophobic beliefs and fear and loathing of flying long distances were quickly upended. Thanks to that caveman from Zeeland, I am now dubbed by my family and a small cohort of friends a ‘world’ traveler.
Frankly, it’s only been seven trips to The Netherlands, three in France, two in Germany, and one in Scotland, the United Kingdom, and Italy. But visiting historic landmarks first seen in movies and more frequently posted by braggarts via social media is indeed invigorating. It’s also extremely addicting. Always ‘feening’ for the next big escape, I quickly developed a form of PTD (post-travel depression) combined with obnoxious snobbery. Pfft! Americans. Nothing domestic seemed good enough. And, come on! Limoncello made in Positano is absolute bliss.
Of course, I was being a butthead. And, thankfully, PTD can be a short-lived. According to psychologists, foreign travel has, even for this stubborn Sagittarian, a positive impact. This includes learning to adapt, being creative, and not whining about the joy experienced in other countries once home.
Turns out it wasn’t that difficult a feat. My country ‘tis of thee’ is some kind of wonderful.
Allow me to explain. My visit to Scotland, for example, sparked an interest in European history at Edinburgh Castle; stripped away every stereotype I had of Scottish cuisine at The Playwright in Dundee; and unearthed a love for a good whisky at Laphroaig Distillery on the Isle of Islay. Imagine the thousands upon thousands of tears held back on that flight back home. Something or somebody must have heard my cries because months later, out of nowhere, Facebook’s “people you may know” found a long, lost friend with a connection to Scottish history … in Littlestown, Pennsylvania. Low and behold, I discovered Stone of Scone Farm. Fate is whimsical.
Stone of Scone Farm is owned by a mild tempered lad, Robert “Bruce” Rodgers, with rich Scottish roots that directly descend to The Warrior King of Scotland, Robert the Bruce. Mr. Rodgers, also a member of the historic Angus Clan, entitled this glorious 26 acre farm after the ancient royal symbol, the Stone of Scone, also known as the Stone of Destiny. The 336- pound oblong block of red sandstone was used for centuries in the coronation of Scottish monarchs and historically kept at Scone Abbey. Presently, it serves as a social media hashtag for tourists, prominently displayed in Edinburgh Castle. This symbol of Scottish rule has more issues than National Geographic alone: captured from Scotland by King Edward I as a spoils of war, held for 700 years at Westminster Abbey, stolen back by nationalists, returned to Westminster four months after its removal, and finally, in 1996, on St. Andrews Day, legally returned to Scotland, complete with ceremonies and celebrations befitting its status. Not bad for a rock. (Imagine the reality series “The Real Houses of Scone.”)
Truly whimsical is the farm’s ‘unique aesthetic and picturesque’ landscape that reminds me of the view I encountered while driving through the Highlands in Glencoe to Loch Ness. I found Glencoe’s magnificent greenery, towering mountains, and majestic tranquility absolutely romantic. Stone of Scone Farm has romance written all over it making it the perfect venue for a fantastic wedding in its Bannockburn Barn or near its Tynecastle Springhouse. The 200-year old rustic brick barn’s granite fireplace, the cold-water pond chilling to the touch even on a hot summer’s day, the age-old myriad of statuesque trees inside Stirling Tree Groves, Evelyn’s Herb and Lillian’s Flower polychromatic gardens – ALL wreak of charm.
As described by Rodgers, the tour of the farm begins as you leave Littlestown Road and enter the property’s winding road. The view is sudden and spectacular: an old brick farm house on the left. Continue around the hand-made brick structure and a view of Tynescastle Springhouse appears nestled in a hollow fed by a natural spring that flowed for hundreds of years before the first Europeans settled. Beyond the springhouse lies the large cold water pond and Bannockburn Barn stands in full frontal view, with remnants of the Appalachian Mountains (known locally as Pigeon Hills) rising in the distance.
Rodgers’ heart and soul was put into restoring the farm back to the unique style crafted by German immigrants in the 1800s, resulting in a property recognized as both rare and historically significant. This included removal of old animal pens and the creative reuse of original materials. For example, old hay racks were dismantled and repurposed as handrails for the stairs. Inside the barn are hundreds of hand hewn wooden timbers carved from trees that once stood on the property. The marks on these wooden timbers made by the axes and chisels of old world craftsmen are still clearly visible to the naked eye.
The beauty and mystique of the farm after restoration could not go without others to see and experience. So my long lost friend, Patricia Green, partnered with Rodgers and helped plan the next phase of the farm as a unique event destination. Green blended her PR smarts with Rodgers’ old world heritage and attention to detail to create Stone of Scone Farm. They delight in the prospects of the farm hosting private retreats, corporate meetings, annual local events, and barn weddings.
I found the inherent peace of Stone of Scone Farm the most important amenity. I imagine myself on the patio adjacent to the farmhouse in a rocking chair with a glass of cabernet in hand, soaking in the tranquility like I experienced in Glencoe.
Also, is it just a coincidence the Stone of Destiny was referenced in Shakespeare’s grisliest play, Macbeth, AND the farm is only a stone’s throw away from where the Battle of Gettysburg, the Civil War’s bloodiest battle, was fought? I admit to reaching a little with that notion but it helps with my new adventures of going global at home. (And, YouTube has a DIY video for Limoncello!)
About The Author
Colleen is a writer, food lover and rookie world traveler. She lives to leverage her life experiences and new found passions into a fun and challenging journey. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she currently resides anywhere in the world barring her luggage does not exceed 50 pounds. Contact Colleen at leftandinside.com.