Holiday Trace – click any image for full size
Update: Holiday trace is now closed, and Secret Charm is under now ownership.
Over the years, a visit to The Trace family of regions – The Trace, The Trace Too, Summer Trace, Fall Trace, Winter Trace – has always been a pleasure. I’ve written about these regions, which were started by Kylie (Kylie Jaxxon), then became a partnership between her and Elvira Kytori, on numerous occasions in this blog. So, it was with delight that I received news from Shakespeare that there is another in the series – Holiday Trace – now open for visits, and made a point to hop over and explore with Caitlyn as soon as we could.
Given the time of year in the northern hemisphere, Holiday Trace is a wintry setting. Snow lies heavy on the ground and falls gently from a windless sky. Exposed water here is heavy with ice thick enough to skate on, and the sounds of the countryside are subdued.
In the south-east corner of the region sits a little country train station, sitting quietly with a tavern, each waiting passengers or customers. The great black bulk of a DRD Arctic Express steam train stands at rest before the station, having emerged from a dark tunnel, the great lamp on the front of its huge boiler still lit.
Across the region to the west and over the snow blanketing the land, sit the house and barns of Christmas Tree Farm, which may beckon visitors to set out across country to visit them. Northwards from the station however, along a brickwork footpath one might find the way to the local chapel. The path may have been salted at some point, as the snow is having a hard time settling on it. Also, it doesn’t offer a direct route to the chapel.
Instead, the path splits a short walk from the station and tavern, branching east and west to encircle a frozen pond where children skate. Nor does the path resume on the far side of the pond; visitors must walk through the snow and over an icy path (or is it another frozen body of water on which the snow has settled?
This route runs alongside a walled and fenced garden in which a fountain – drained, one might guess, for winter – before visitors arrive at the little chapel. Tall beech trees, barks frosted, branches bare, stand around the chapel as if protecting it. Between their stout trunks a rutted track winds westwards to where a covered bridge spans a narrow stream which feeds into a larger finger of water cutting into the land. A rowing boat is trapped in the frozen stream and a horse and sleigh might shortly vie for use of the track with a red pick-up truck that is coming up behind them.
Laden with a fir-tree, the truck might be making its way to the chapel from Christmas Tree Farm, sitting a short distance from the western end of the track, where a Surrey-style carriage sits in the snow, also bearing a fir-tree and watched over by a fox and reindeer as Canada geese fly risk an low pass through a gab in the trees overhead.
With trees a-plenty, rocky cairns and step-like slabs covered in snow, whilst offering a home to foxes, deer, reindeer, dogs, and birds, Holiday Trace is a delightful winter setting. It’s a place where wanderers can wander, couples can cuddle (try the sleighs and the old cable car!), individuals can sit and ponder, and photographers capture the scenery and memories.
- Holiday Trace (Secret Charm, rated: Moderate)