Ever since my childhood I have been a fan of Miss Jane Austen. Her works of romantic fiction have taken me again and again to a time of gentleman and ladies, and the practise of "polite society". During our recent trip to England we were very lucky to be within a thirty minute drive to her childhood home. Jane wrote some of her greatest works in this very house in Alton in the county of Hampshire. Those included, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, North Anger Abbey, Persuasion, and Mansfield Park.
In 1945 the Jane Austen Society managed to have the house purchased and turned into a museum. The rooms on show include the drawing room, and parlor where Jane wrote on the small round table. Upstairs is her bedroom with the patchwork quilt she made with her mother and sister Cassandra. There is even a shawl on display with Jane's own needle work trimming the edges.
Jane and her mother and her sister lived at the Austen house by the good graces of her brother who inherited a large estate just nearby, called Chawton. The house is open for visitors and is worth the fifteen minute stroll from the Austen museum to see it. Walking along that road through the country side I imagined this is exactly as Jane saw it on her strolls to her brothers house to indulge in his magnificent library. On the road to Chawton House you will pass by the family parish, St Nicholas Church, be sure to stop in, the stain glass is splendid. Also in the church yard just behind the church you will find the graves of Jane's beloved mother and sister Cassandra.
The country side surrounding the village of Alton is exquisite, and across from the museum is a quintessential English pub, where you can have lunch or high tea. We will return to Hampshire one day, after all its where my people are from and I can not stay away for long.