WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2017

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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sometimes narrow to one lane at times as they make their way through nature's many rocky and watery obstacles. The island's weather is as varied as the landscape, sometimes within the same hour. We arrived on a cloudless day, only to find the next to be foggy and stormy, and the following to be clear again. But even in the mist and rain, the scenery mesmerized and the island seemed shrouded in mystery. We stayed at a small bed and breakfast within walking distance of Portree, a 250-year-old fishing village. It consists of two-tiers, the upper-level commercial district centered on a town square and, below the cliffs, the port area best known for its string of brightly colored buildings. Our B&B hosts phoned around town to book us on an all-day van tour of the northern part of the island. Our stops included a climb up to the aforementioned Old Man (be forewarned, he must have a strong bladder as there are no bathroom facilities); Dunvegan Castle, which has been occupied by the same family for eight centuries; and the Skye Museum of Island Life, seven 19th-century thatched cottages and work- shops (with views on a clear day to the Outer Hebrides). We returned to the mainland by bus, crossing the Skye Bridge, built in 1995, and catching the train at Kyle of Lochalsh station, built in 1897, to Inverness. The 2-hour, 40-minute trip comes close to rivaling that to Maillaig. We hugged the shores of lochs, plunged through thick forests, passed quaint whitewashed villages like Plockton (pictured in the film The Wicker Man), and, of course, mountains, some gentle and round, others craggy and towering. When we arrived at the multi-track Inverness station, our first impres- sion was that this was a large city. But once we walked outside, we found Eilean Donan Castle, Highland B A C K G R O U N D C O U R T E S Y O F V I S I T S C O T L A N D Tips from a Native Michael McCuish has a dream job. As a representative of VisitScotland, the government travel bureau, he regularly crisscrosses Scotland for tourist gems and then evangelizes about his homeland across North America. He shared tips during a stop in Boston. n FOOD: In the past 15 years, the culinary scene has gone from invisible to irresistible. Scotland has 13 Michelin-starred restaurants, four of them in Edinburgh. n PUB CULTURE: No matter who you are, you're generally going to be welcome. "I recommend that you sit at the bar," he said. "People will come up and chat." Edinburgh is a little more reserved; you may have to initiate the conversation. One warning: The Scots love to pull your leg. n CYCLISTS' DELIGHT: The Scottish Borders region in the southeast offers gentle rolling hills, verdant fields, and lovely lochs. n SANDY LANDING: Take the flight from Glasgow northwest to Barra in the Outer Hebrides, and you'll land on a beach. Don't worry, said McCuish, "They move the sheep out of the way and make sure the tide is right." The island chain gets the most sun of any spot in the UK, he said. Among the highlights, white sand beaches and the birthplace of Harris Tweed. n NOIR LAND: Something about the rugged, subarctic terrain of the Shetland Islands seems to appeal to crime writers. The North Sea archi- pelago has produced a literary genre all its own: Scandi/Scottish Noir reflects its Scandinavian and Scottish roots. In the dead of winter, the island celebrates an annual Viking fire festival, Up Helly Aa, with torches, marches and historical recreations. Oh, and watch out for Shetland ponies. They're vicious little biters," McCuish said. "No wonder they are so fat." 194 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | f a l l 2 0 1 7 excursions "the scenery mesmerized"

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