I am, at long last, firmly back on American soil.
I have been for a few weeks, actually, but it’s amazing how much work it is to catch up with real life when you’ve been out of the loop for over a year. Since I’ve been home, my time has been dominated by job hunting, working part time at the organization where I worked before I left for Philmont/grad school, looking for a car, looking for a phone, and catching up with family. In between all of that, I’m trying to weed through photos from Newcastle and my grand European adventure because apparently, I took enough of them to fill up both my computer’s hard drive AND my external hard drive. That means lots of picture-heavy posts are in the works. Lucky you. 😉
So let’s get to work, shall we?
Going through the photos for this first catch up post made me all sorts of nostalgic for Newcastle, as it’s about one of my absolute favorite spots in the city: Jesmond Dene, a large wooded park right in the middle of Jesmond, one of Newcastle’s more affluent areas.
Despite my undying love for Jesmond Dene, I only managed to make two visits to the park, and both were within a few weeks of each other on the “warmest” days of Spring. Nothing was blooming yet and the trees were still very bare, but there was something so magical about this park that enchanted me even without any greenery.
Jesmond Dene was built by Lord William Armstrong in the 1860 in a narrow valley that runs along the Ouseburn River. Armstrong was a scientist and inventor who also built Cragside, the world’s first house to be lit by hydroelectricity. It’s no surprise, then, that the stream and its many pools and waterfalls are the main focal points of the park.
The little part of my heart dedicated to ruins and abandoned places also found quite a bit to get giddy about. Rock walls and fancy windows are all that is left of the old banqueting hall and the mill, and the vegetation is slowly reclaiming the space once occupied by human industry and culture.
I wish I had been able to go visit again when things were lovely and green. I’m sure it must be absolutely gorgeous. But of all the parks I’ve ever visited, Jesmond Dene earned itself a spot among the greats. It’s perfect for an evening stroll with friends, and it’s definitely on my Must See list for Newcastle visitors.