Feb 6, 2011

The Sunday Salon - A Visit to Haworth

Brontë Parsonage Museum

Yesterday I finally made it to Haworth village in West Yorkshire to visit the Brontë Parsonage Museum, something I’d been meaning to do ever since arriving in the UK. The visit was a memorable experience, but it was also a bit unreal and emotionally complicated in ways I hadn’t quite anticipated.

Being that it’s the middle of winter and that yesterday was quite a rainy, gloomy day, the village and parsonage weren’t nearly as busy as I imagine they get in the spring or summer. But each of the parsonage’s rooms still felt far too crowded: I kept thinking how much I wished I could visit it alone. Resenting other visitors isn’t really fair or reasonable of me, I know, especially as there’s of course nothing at all that distinguishes me from them. I suppose this has to do with how personal the imaginary relationship we develop with the authors who speak to us is – as is the relationship we have with history, and with the things we read about in general. Reading is something that takes place in an entirely private space, and that intimacy is somehow maintained even by those of us who blog because they are interested in reading as a communal experience. We may react to books in public, but during the act of reading we are alone with the text. A place like Haworth, however, externalises this sense of intimacy to a degree that was a little uncomfortable for someone like me.

Haworth village
Haworth village

The Parsonage from the gardens
The parsonage from the gardens

In addition to this, there’s the fact that I was left feeling that what the Museum pays homage to isn’t really three human beings who wrote poetry and novels. I’ve been reading Lucasta Miller’s The Brontë Myth, which is exactly about the process through which the Brontë sisters became these larger-than-life figures whose hold on our imagination rivals that of their literary creations. I feel the lure of the myth as much as anyone else, and I find the process of mythmaking far too human to ever be able to look down on it. But at the same time, I worry about the extent to which the myth has cost these three writers their humanity. Going to Haworth was a good reminder of that.

Meadow behind the parsonage
Meadow behind the parsonage

There was something very, very eerie about seeing a one hundred and fifty years old lock of Charlotte’s hair, or her clothes, or her sewing box (the museum is very Charlotte-centric, somewhat to my surprise. I was expecting this to be the one place that focused on all three sisters more or less equally, despite Charlotte’s clear cultural dominance).

Haworth church
Haworth Church

The Moors
The Moors

A few months ago, when I went to a exhibition of Elizabeth Gaskell’s letters and personal objects, I left feeling far more aware of the fact that she had been a real, living breathing human being than I’d ever been before. Strangely enough, going to Haworth had the reverse effect. I’m not sure why this happened – was it that the Gaskell exhibition was a small, intimate affair at a library, whereas Haworth has a whole tourist industry behind it?

The Moors
Path back to Haworth

In any case, it’s not that I didn’t feel that the Brontë sisters were real people; it’s that the real people that they were felt more distant than ever. They’re buried under layer and layers of stories that we’ll never be able to see through. Even more problematically, these stories tower above their role as writers, something which seems to happen with women authors almost more often than not. I suspect that all of this is inevitable to some extent, but it left me a little wistful.


The Sunday Salon.com


  1. I'm sorry it wasn't the experience you'd hoped it would be. Oddly I'd found the opposite visiting there - I hadn't had much of a sense of the Brontes as living breathing people before I went there, and being there on a freezing day complete with snow flurries, with a group of my students who snuck around the place clutching their books and whispering lines from their favourite poems, I came away with much more a sense of the lives they lived. We were almost the only ones there though, and interspersed the day with workshops and writing.
    But it's a criticism I've heard before that the whole 'Bronte Society'/industry has over-ridden the creative life of the place

  2. I have felt that desire to be alone in certain places with which I have a relationship - which, as you say, is unfair to others who may be feeling the exact same thing, but it is there nonetheless. The worst for me, personally, was Versailles - it was gorgeous, true, but I desperately wanted to live more in the history of this place I'd read about so often, with the people who had lived there, than I could manage with hordes of other tourists around me. I have never been to Haworth, though I'd like to go, so I don't know if I'd feel similarly.

  3. Stormfilled: I was more taken aback than disappointed. I'm not sure if this makes sense, but though I wasn't counting on being left feeling this way I'm kind of glad I went through it. I can always go again and hopefully feel more like you did and like I did myself after the Gaskell exhibition. And if that happens, I'll be glad to have experienced the place through both angles. Again, I hope this makes sense :P I'm envious that you got some snow when you went! I had to deal with some very, very muddy moors. My poor boots.

    Meghan: I can very well imagine feeling that way at Versailles!

  4. Wow - I've never been to Haworth - would love to go, but it's great to be able to see it in your pictures.

  5. You know, I think that's very similar to how I felt when I went to the Old City in Jerusalem a couple years back. I'm not a religious person, so I wasn't going to get any religious experience out of it anyway, but it was strange to see how incongruous it was. There is supposed to be all these historical biblical sites that people are traveling to for spiritual reasons, and the whole place is teeming with people taking pictures and venders trying to sell you anything and everything. I know it's not the same experience as you had, of course, but I remember thinking about the "touristication" of the area, if that makes sense. It was one of the least spiritual places I'd ever been to, and it felt that way.

  6. Seeing the pictures is wonderful, thank you for those. And I would love to read the Brontë myth, it sounds so perfect.

    As for your visit and feelings, I think I can see what you mean. I would feel that way, I think. And my interest in the Brontës is quite recent. I'm trying to imagine how I would feel if I visited the house of Jane Austen. I was in Bath once and we didn't go into the Jane Austen museum, and I am kind of glad we did not. Because it was touristy and my parents were there and I knew they were only tagging along, and I don't know, it felt surreal and uncomfortable. I visited a house that Rousseau stayed at, two years ago, quite by accident. Now Rousseau is no particular hero of mine, but he is a well-known name me and my boyfriend had to study a lot during out history classes. The house and gardens were deserted, except for two staff memebers. And it felt so weird and wonderful at the same time. You could just imagine walking where this "great men" had walking, making the same floorboards creak, looking out the same window. I think that is the kind of experience I would wish to have in case of Jane Austen or the Brontës, but it will always be too crowded, I imagine.

    And that is such a shame that here, once again, Charlotte is the leading figure.

    (Still, I'd like to visit sometime)

  7. Really interesting to read your thoughts. I've never felt the pull of the Brontes and when in the area a fewcyears ago decided against visiting as being half term I thought it would be busy. I have had a good experience at an author's home, when I went visit Sir Walter Scott' home at Abbotsford not really expecting very much but being really quite thrilled with the place. I suspect our reactions are a mix of many things, but however you felt about Haworth I'm glad you got the chance to go.

  8. Honestly this is one of the reasons I talk about visiting Amherst to see the Dickinson house, but have never actually suggested we actually go that direction on any of our family vacations - I would love to visit Amherst, but the Amherst I want to visit isn't in Massachussets anymore. The one in Massachussets strikes me as a plastic representation of the original. Last year, for instance, the ED society cut down a line of very, very old hawthorns, because they obstructed the view from inside, which kind of struck me as one of the must un-Dickinson-ish acts I'd ever heard, and the mythmaking aspect is supposedly in full force there, too - there are only a few actual artifacts in the museum, for instance, that actually came from Emily and her family, one of them of course being a white dress of Emily's. The rest is just antiques placed to give the feel of a house of that time - and the dress set up like a shrine, feels spectral and eerie, the way the whole 'woman in white' myth feels. To an extent, one can hardly blame them. But to me, it would be much more powerful if the place was empty but for the two or three sticks of furniture that are left from Emily's time, if they didn't upsell it as the biggest tourist experience in the literary US, and it was sort of empty, if her headstone in the graveyard wasn't continually surrounded by people flashing pictures. It's like Jim Morrison's grave in Paris only for upper-crust intellectuals (well, and with less sex in the graveyard. I think.). I joke and play and dream about these sorts of pilgrimage sites - Haworth I've wondered the same about - but in reality, when they opportunity arises I'm always a little leery about actually doing it. Pilgrimage is a private enterprise, but it must always be done in public.

  9. I've had that same feeling when visiting historical places - it's almost like I'm intruding on someone's privacy, but with a little bit of a morbid feeling to it. It sounds like your visit left you contemplative.

  10. I'm sorry the experience wasn't quite what you expected. I visited Haworth last year, and my own experience was more like Storm-filled's. I was there on a weekday, though, and there were only one or two other people in the museum, which would certainly make a difference. I spent a lot of time reading the letters and reviews from the Bronte's time in the museum, and I wouldn't have been able to do that in a crowd. Although I agree that the Charlotte focus is unfortunate, I think that's probably just an effect of her having lived so much longer and written so many more books than her sisters. There's just a lot more stuff in existence.

    I did have an experience more like yours in Bath, which is a lovely place to visit, but not for the Jane Austen museum. The museum, which is not even in Austen's house, is as much a tribute to the movies as to the books. It's apalling and feels touristy in a way Haworth did not.

  11. I think this is kind of the impasse that museum curators find themselves at - how to preserve, but how to make it mean something to the wider world (it must be no joke insanely hard to be a historian working with the real buildings of the past and at the same time having to create exhibits within them). When we visited the Tower of London I would have preferred to find it restored, but not full of exhibits, but lots of people who don't know a lot about the history need exhibits and reconstructions to gain context and through context understanding of importance. I thought about Helen Hanff who was dying to go to the tower in her autobiography and was, just like you seem to be, seeking a connection with the reality of people standing in these spaces, the knowledge that these real people had stood on these stones. She never made it to the Tower, but I'd love to know what she'd have thought.

    But then there are spaces like The Globe and Warwick Castle which are hugely touristy and reconstructed, which I don't mind at all. I almost prefer them for their total lack of pretense about how much can be preserved, how much can be presented to us as it was then and their total commitment to presenting an informative, entertaining exhibit of sorts.

    Sometimes I think the best way to get a real feel for a part of the past that you have intimate attachments to now is to go to the uncurrated spaces of nature surrounding the buidlings where people lived (although Sherwood Forest shows that often even nature isn't free of helpful, historical exhibits). Or maybe visiting more unreconstructed ruins, where just a few informational boards instrude. The moors seem like the perfect place to find that connection- how did they feel to you?

  12. You were in Howarth, and you didn't say? That's like just a few miles down the road from me!

  13. I am sorry you didn't enjoy it as much as the Elizabeth Gaskill exhibition. I would still love to see it. The parsonage has been shown so many times on television that I almost felt like I knew it well when I saw your photos.

  14. Verity: I definitely still recommend going! The village itself was beautiful.

    Amanda: I can imagine Jerusalem feeling very much like that, yes :\ I wonder how a person of faith who went in search of a religious experience feels in that context?

    Iris: The book is absolutely excellent! I love how you described your experience at the house where Rousseau stayed. Being able to be mostly alone in the place makes a world of different. And yes, definitely still go to Howarth!

    Brideofthebookgod: Yes, I'm certainly glad I got to go as well. And I imagine that in this case my expectations might have played tricks on me.

    Jason: I love your last sentence. And also what you said about the Amherst you want not being in Massachusetts. We also develop relationships with these sites as imaginary places, and it's difficult for reality not to intrude on that.

    Kathy: Yes, there is that feeling of intrusion as well, which left me feeling a little guilty for reasons I can't quite put into words.

    Teresa: I so wish I could have gone on a weekday! I imagine that making a world of difference. Your point about Charlotte is a good one, but I was surprised that even the amount of personal objects that have nothing to do with writing that they kept was so disproportionate. It probably comes down to there being more of an interest on Charlotte, which is a result of her having written more.

    Jodie: The moors, and even the village itself, were indeed much better. It was a miserable rainy day, so other than a few people walking their dogs, it was just Matt and I out there. Well, and also a lot of mud :P I'd have done a lot more exploring if not for the weather, and I'm already planning a Yorkshire weekend later in the year where I'll skip the museum and enjoy the surrounding area more. Also, I love that you reminded me of Helen Hanff. I do wonder what she'd have felt.

    Darren: I didn't know! Good excuse to go again, I guess :P

    Vivienne: It's not so much that I didn't enjoy it as much - I just have a more complicated relationship with the place if that makes sense :P

  15. The pictures are beautiful! I'm sorry that you were disappointed or didn't get the experience you were looking for. I understand how you feel about wanting to do something on your own and then there being other people around. It kind of takes something away from the experience. It was interesting to see the plaque...Emily died on my birthday.

  16. Shelley: I wouldn't quite call it disappointing, really. It was an emotionally complicated experience, but not necessarily in a bad way. I wish I could have been there alone, but it was interesting to get a glimpse of all the questions these places raise. And the town itself was really beautiful :)

  17. I've had similar feelings when visiting the Isabella Gardner museum in Boston, or when I first laid eyes on a prayer book of Lady Jane Gray. Wistful, sad, intrusive - I felt a little embarrassed but at the same time humbled by the fact that although I felt all of those things, I still wanted to look at everything. Although, I will say that a lock of Charlotte's hair would be a bit bizarre.

    Lovely pictures, though - I think it's fitting that it was an overcast and gray day. Fits right in with my mood as I continue to read Villette, which I am loving in these early pages.

    As always, your posts make me think much more. And on a Sunday morning, no less :)

  18. I was very young and not at all interested in classic writers when I went to the house, nor, ironically, were my parents interested, which kind of echoes your thoughts on this myth. We went there because it was the thing to do.

    But I visited Austen's house just recently and can very much relate to your thoughts. There was just so much emphasis on the idea of Austen rather than her work, there were so many contemporary artworks that bore little relation to her except that they'd added a quote here or there. It was like the house was meant to be this big experience rather than simply the house of a well-known writer.

    I found visiting the grave of her sister and mother much more...appropriate. For everything that comes along with these museums, I can't help but feel wrong in visiting, even if I'm visiting as a true admirer.

  19. It makes a lot of sense that your visit left you feeling divided.

    I don't usually go to author's places, but a couple of years ago I went to the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam, and also couldn't help wishing for it to be less crowded. People were whispering about their dinner plans and lots of children were running around and having fun, it was difficult to connect and remember. But of course I read her diary and how much closer can you get to a person.

    The photo of the moor looks so great, exactly what I imagined when I read Wuthering Heights :)

  20. Your description is so timely for me. We're planning our own literary tour of England for this July, and the lake district is a central feature--the only definite date we have is for a Swallows and Amazons boat tour of Coniston water. We're thinking of going to Haworth after that and I was wondering if it's worth it, especially in terms of seeing a moor. We're all fascinated with descriptions of moors from the Brontes, Laurie King, and Hardy, and we can't decide whether to visit the Brontes' moor or Hardy's.

  21. Fascinating post and I can certainly understand your reaction. I'm sure it was very complicated, emotionally.
    Your pictures make me want to visit though!

  22. I am so glad I am not the only one who goes to museums or historical sites and really really wishes she were alone. I adore being by myself in places with great emotion (if that makes sense). I haven't had the opportunity often, but the few times I have, the experience was so much more moving. I actually got to be perfectly alone in one amazing section of these gorgeous ruins in Mexico, and it was beautiful.

  23. Lucasta Miller's book is excellent, just excellent - I read it last year but never reviewed it (moving at the time, I think?), and she did a damn fine job on the mystification of the authors. *Damn* fine job.

    I remember finishing the book and wondering if a trip to Haworth would have been worth it, especially since the Bronte Society - who seem (at least at some points of their history) to be major accomplices in the mystification of the Brontes - seem to have had so much of a free hand in writing this "history" - like giving a bunch of really enthusiastic but entirely amateur historians the capability to recreate history. It's total mythmaking, developing personas and places into what we wish them to be regardless of fact. That happens in a lot of places whether it's the Brontes or a fellow in Wiltshire swearing that the local church has Saxon roots (no substantiated evidence - but they really *want* it to be true.) I'll go to Haworth sometime because I just can't not do it, but I'm really curious about what my reaction will be.

    Great post and photos, thanks for sharing!

  24. Haworth and Bronte Parsonage were two of my favorite sites on our trip to England several years ago. We went to Haworth in late July during the middle of the week. It was rainy and largely empty of people.

    I imagine having a decent crowd was probably much more true to life than not. Haworth was a town packed with people. The parsonage probably had lots of people in and out of it all day long. The Brontes were a decent sized family, and with the servants, it must have been a bit crowded.

    Of course, I am such a Bronte fan-boy that none of that would have mattered to me. Seeing the table where they all wrote their first novels, and the pebbles Anne collected at the seashore during her last year....I was just gushing ridiculously about how wonderful it all was.

    So worth the trip.

  25. Coffee and a Book Chick: I love how you expressed your reaction - that's very very close to how I felt as well. In some ways I felt that we were ALL trespassing, but I know I wanted to see all that was there anyway.

    Charlie: That is such a pity about Austen's house :\ I had more or less vague plans to go there before I leave the UK, but I'm wondering if I should just focus on the rest of Bath now.

    Bina: I can very well see myself having the exact same reaction if I ever make it to Anne Frank's house :\ And I suspect that's one of those places that are always crowded.

    Jeanne: The moors are definitely worth it! And Haworth as a town is also worth visiting. But of course, I imagine you have a million places that you want to see on that trip. Is Manchester one of the stops? Consider yourself invited for tea or coffee if it is :P

    JoAnn: I certainly don't want to deter anyone from visiting! It's a beautiful place.

    Trisha: I'm very glad I'm not alone myself. And your experience in Mexico sounds beautiful :)

    Kate: I'm loving the book so far! You know what surprised me? Some of the accompanying notes to the exhibitions were clearly more mythical than factual. They included bits of misinformation that Miller has debunked in her book (as others have before her, I imagine), and yet there they were, being resurrected yet again in Haworth of all places. So what you're telling me about the way the place is run isn't all that surprising.

    C.B. James: Yes, I have no doubt it was crowded in their day, but to me the bustle of everyday life doesn't compare to the constant flashes of cameras, or to five or six people simultaneously trying to peer at the same object, letter or manuscript. I wish I were enough of a fangirl not to have let any of it bother me. I do consider my trip very much worthwhile all the same, though.

  26. Lovely photos! I do understand your point. These types of trips are always at one end of the joy spectrum for me or the other. Edith Wharton's house left me feeling empty and disconnected from my thoughts of the author but Jack London's house in California was one of the most delightful experiences imaginable. Wonder what really makes the difference? Is it the baggage we bring? At any rate, hope your next author inspired outing brings you more.

  27. Frances, I think our expectations and frame of mind probably do make a lot of difference! I was feeling a lot more cheerful in general at the time of the Gaskell exhibition, which might have been one of the reasons why it was so much easier to feel close to her.

  28. What a beautiful place! It does seem like a bit of a tourist trap though. Don't you wish you were wildly rich and could get them to close down museums so you and you alone could experience them?

  29. The second paragraph of this just went into my commonplace book—you are so absolutely right. Even as book bloggers, we experience texts on our own and only interact when we've sorted out all our feelings.

  30. Well, I'm jealous! That town looks like the perfect setting for a Gothic romance. Can't you just see Heathcliffe in that graveyard?? And you've seen real moors!

    Maybe your expectations were too high. Whenever I go on trips, it seems like the things I'm most looking forward to never hit it out of the park for me.

    Still jealous, though. :)

  31. Very interesting Ana. Obviously your trip gave you lots to think about. I've always imagined that it would be a quiet place but I guess I'm wrong. I'm not a fan of crowds- they tend to make me cranky. Still, I'd love to see it and experience it for myself.

    Your pictures are beautiful!

  32. I am sorry to hear that this visit left you with feelings of melancholy. You expressed yourself quite eloquently in your post, and I can imagine that it was probably strange for you to leave with such contradictory feelings than the ones you had been expecting.

  33. What a gorgeous place - even with the gloomy skies. I get that way too when I'm visiting a place that is special to me and if there are a lot of tourists I sort of resent that but then I think, yay, there are people that love this exhibit or writer or what have you... Just wish there was always a bit more elbow room :)

    thank you so much for sharing your pictures!

  34. Oh, wow. I want to see that.

  35. Great post, Nymeth, and an interesting comparison between Haworth and the Gaskell exhibit. I get the same feeling at art museums when there is a big show like Picasso or Frida Kahlo, but it is not just the crowds. It has something to do with the connection I hope to have with the artwork and find missing.

  36. There is such a huge industry based on the celebrity of the Brontes. I think I too would have a complex emotional reaction to being a stranger standing in what was once their "home" and inspecting Charlotte's possessions. I'd feel like a trespasser, somehow. I think I'd like the Brontes to just stay in my imagination, but on the other hand I would like to visit Haworth one day, just to see it for myself. Thanks for the vicarious visit. :)

  37. I like how you say you had complicated emotions to your visit there, Nymeth. I'd have to agree with you. The village itself was in a way more moving to me, because it's almost the same as when they lived there. And it's dark and gloomy, even on the brightest days, with all that heavy Yorkshire stone.

    The parsonage itself was interesting and disappointing for me too. I kept looking for signs of them there, a feeling in the air, and it wasn't there, and it made me feel like I was missing it. Looking back on it, what I came away with was realizing that in that small space - because it seems very small, even though it's a large house for that time - so many incredible works of fiction and ideas were born. I understand the Brontes better for having gone to Haworth, and imagining them plotting their imaganary land together in the evenings.

    The other thing that really moved me was the moors around Haworth. I could see why Jane Eyre fled across the moors and got lost, and why the Bronte girls could write with such restrained wild passion, because the world itself is right there at their door - not city life, but life itself, the sky and the fields, the sense of urgency. It was very powerful, and I took as many pictures of the area as I could that day too!

    All the same, I'm glad I went, and I really wish I could go again, on a quieter day with no one around, and maybe I'd get a sense of feeling them around, if that makes any sense to you.

    Lovely thoughtful post, Nymeth, and I'm glad you did go there!

  38. I LOVE that first picture you have there. Would love to visit there.

    I think what you say makes perfect sense: the Bronte's live on in their writings, so the writings exhibit seemed more alive than the old lock of hair and an old writing chair. At any rate, I'd still love to see it for myself--love the pictures.

  39. Wow, the pics are awesome! Seeing them really makes me want to visit them! Thanks so much for sharing, Ana! :)

  40. A nice report of your visit to Haworth. It's a pity it wasn't quite as you hoped but hopefully you still got an idea of where the Bronte's lived and what their life may have been like.

  41. What a sensitive and thoughtful post. I think there is always this problem with archive material. At the basic level, the material world is simply that - solid stuff, and unless you're lucky enough to view it in exactly the right context, or with the right frame of mind, the imagination stays dormant and unmoved. Plus a rainy February day in this country is one of the most inauspicious contexts for seeing anything that I can imagine! But my guess is that your return to the books now might be surprisingly rich - all that pent up hope for communing with the Brontes might just find the outlet it hoped for in the work.

  42. Beautiful photos -- it is a disappointment when museums fail to bring their subjects alive. Still, I definitely want to go to to Concord sometime to see Louisa May Alcott, Emerson, and Thoreau...

  43. If it's any consolation, Ana, it was cold, wet and miserable when I went there in August a couple of years ago! I stayed a couple of nights with friends in a small B+B at the top of that very steep, cobbled street and we did get a feel for the place, seeing where Branwell bought his laudanum and the pubs he drank in. The Parsonage itself was quite busy but we had more time to savour the area and as there were about 10 of us staying over on the second night, all online book friends, it was like a pilgrimage for us.

  44. The photos are wonderful but sorry the experience is not what you expected.

    I visited The House of Seven Gables which inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne's book in Salem, MA, and loved the experience.

  45. Oh, I meant to leave a link to the place I visited:


  46. I think when I went to the Parsonage there were only a handfull of visitors too so I really enjoyed my visit. What struck me the most was the landscape surrounding the Parsonage and I could almost understand the darkness that underlies the novels by the Brontes. It was also very different to what I expected (I actually didn't know what to expect) so I found it charming. I love the photos you've taken Ana!

  47. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy your visit more. It sounds as though the whole set up cheapens the contributions of the Bronte sisters, if that makes sense. Sometimes things become too "touristy" and in this case that seems to be what has happened.

  48. I had very much the same experience as you at Haworth; once when I was 17 with an awkward party of non-reading relatives and acquaintances of relatives, and a second time by myself when I was 21 in hopes of correcting the experience--because there really is something about the place, that makes you think . . . not sure what. That it has possibilities. But those narrow rooms are so clearly made for a 19th century family to live in, not for big, blue-jeansed gawkers to cram themselves into! Strangely, reading the novel Five Dreamer's and Emily years later, about a bunch of amateur and professional Bronte scholars meeting in Haworth for a conference, gave me a more definitive "experience" of the place than actually going there. Or at least, a way of thinking about my own visits. A fictionalized visit was somehow the best way to do justice to a 19th century fiction-lover's Mecca!

    Like you and some of your other commenters I found that the outdoors parts of Bronteland (and historical places in general) were more evocative of its past.

  49. 'Touristy' as it may be, I would really really love to see this place. The pictures look amazing. (never heard of the place before your post)

  50. Glad to know that you liked visiting the Brontes, eventhough you had to reckon with the touristy crowd. Thanks for posting these wonderful pictures - it brought the time of the Brontes alive. You managed to take the pictures without any of the touristy throngs around - that is amazing!

  51. Ladytink: But then I'd feel bad for the other visitors, who have as much of a right to be there as me :P

    Clare: I kind of want to write a post elaborating on that, as it's quite interesting to think about!

    Heidenkind: Yes, maybe that was the problem.

    Chris: From what I hear, I actually went on a day as quiet as it gets. I can't imagine it in the summer. But it IS worth going anyway.

    Zibilee: It wasn't a bad experience, honestly. Just different than I'd imagined.

    Iliana: Yes, the fact that there's so much of an interest in the place is definitely a good thing :)

    Jillian: The town is beautiful, as are the moors!

    Gavin: I think that's exactly it. It's hard to have that sense of intimacy in a crowded space, and yet you always hope that it WILL be there.

    Violet: A trespasser - that's how I felt, yes.

    Susan, thank you for your comment! It sounds like we had very similar emotional experiences, and it's good to know I'm not alone. The house DOES seem small - that's something that really struck me as well. And the moors were my favourite part :)

    Rebecca: It's certainly worth visiting, even if you end up with mixed feelings like I did. I treasure the experience, ambiguous though it was.

    Melody: You're welcome :)

    Leeswammes: Knowing myself I don't think I COULD have reacted differently, if that makes sense.

    Litlove: I'm very much hoping that will happen - landscape is something that always has quite an impact on me, so having seen it for myself will hopefully make the books all the more vivid.

    Daphne: I've been thinking if there was any other way the museum could be organised that would make for a more intimacy experience, but I can't figure it out. Except perhaps only letting visitors in in twos or threes, but that's not quite feasible :P I don't think it was really a failure of theirs; more the nature of the thing.

  52. Now that I'm almost 30 I realize how young that is! Really kind of puts things into perspective, huh?

    What an awesome trip! Scott and I are talking about a trip to Europe next year once the baby is a little bit older (old enough to leave with my mom that is) and I wonder if I can talk him into this excursion. The moors are just how I would picture it!

  53. Treez: Ha - it IS some consolation ;) I saw the pub and the old pharmacy too, but I didn't have as much time as I'd have liked. I might consider going to stay next time!

    Diane: It sounds like a wonderful place!

    Sakura: The landscape was indeed wonderful. I think that, like litlove was saying, having seen it for myself will make me appreciate the novels in a new way.

    Kathleen: It wasn't that I didn't enjoy it, honestly. It was just a different sort of experience.

    Trapunto: Lucasta Miller mentions that novel in The Brontë Myth, and she also made it sound wonderful! What you said about a fictional visit being able to give us what a real one never could makes a lot of sense to me.

    Mee: Do visit if you ever have the chance - it's certainly worth it!

    Vishy: The town itself wasn't packed or anything like that, and the moors were completely empty (the rain probably helped :P). I imagine that during the summer it gets much, much fuller than that. It's just that the parsonage itself is quite small, so even 20 people feels like a crowd. But outdoors it didn't feel crowded at all, which might have been when I enjoyed the town and the moors more.

    Trish: Aw, it's a pity I'll no longer be living nearby by then! But I do hope you make it there :) I think you'd enjoy it a lot.

  54. Haworth is such a beautiful place! Thanks for all the pictures.

    Sorry I couldn't visit earlier. I was swamped and the lack of Internet connection at my apartment is not helping either. I'm now connecting using Internet sharing with my cell phone. Very slow but it does the work.


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