I also love maps. With a small island, I liked to think I could explore it all. Our map showed a section of the island called Little Sark. When I first tried to learn about Sark from the Internet, the picture of La Coupee was one of the first places I saw. La Coupee is a high and narrow bridge of land that connects Little Sark with the rest of the island. From the picturesque La Coupee you have wonderful views of the water on both sides.
Our hostess recommended we head to Little Sark for a special meal. The signs from our bed and breakfast told us we would have a 45-minute walk. We passed both churches on Sark on our way and several beautiful stone walls. Daisies, sweet peas, rugosa roses and other wildflowers abound on the island.
We passed some interesting-looking homes with pretty flowerbeds, and then we came to La Coupee, where we saw people below us heading into the water for a swim.
As we approached La Sablonnerie Hotel with its tea garden and restaurant, we saw what turned out to be the back of the bar and restaurant first. It must have been freshly painted white because it absolutely glowed. Past the side of the building, we got our first glimpse of the gardens filed with dahlias and roses. Huge baskets of geraniums and lobelia hung in the front of the building.
We first stepped inside a little alcove lined on both sides with window seats. The maitre d' had just lit a fire. My husband could actually sit inside the fireplace. With a mug of the local Guernsey ale in hand and sitting inside the fire, he was a happy man.
The whole place puts the "A" in atmosphere.
The restaurant and hotel have been upgraded for electrical necessities, but it started from a 400-year-old farmhouse. The family who owns the property has received numerous Rosette Awards, a British organization that honors culinary achievement.
By candlelight, we started with a delicious leek and mushroom soup and finished with a homemade chocolate ice cream.
They served two kinds of warm bread the night we dined, and they had the famous Guernsey butter pressed by a wooden butter press carved out in the shape of a rose.
We walked home in a growing mist that everyone who has ever gotten lost in an old English novel can appreciate.
The hostess at our bed and breakfast also recommended we take a boat ride with George Guille. He is an expert on birds, and he helped us enjoy watching the variety of birds that visit Sark, especially the puffins.
Guille was entertaining and full of stories, like the one about the yacht that harbored in Sark for a while with a crew of 18 topless young women.
From the water, we saw many of the places we had hiked. I enjoyed having the two perspectives as the boat took us completely around the island. One noteworthy place to hike is called the Window in the Rock. We got to see it first from the water, then later hiked to it. Yes, it does look exactly like a window in a rock.
Every Friday, the islanders offer garden tours of homes on the island. We enjoyed this tremendously. But as for formal gardens, one must visit La Seigneurie Gardens. The people who designed this garden, and those who care for it now, truly know their stuff. The clematis were as large as dinner plates.
During our six-day stay on Sark, a horse-drawn carriage with a load of tourists inexplicably overturned, killing one passenger and injuring eight others.
Everyone needed for an emergency jumped to duty. The next morning, we had breakfast with a young police officer who had come over from Guernsey to help. Remember, there are no cars on the island, but emergency responders were tending to the injured in minutes. They were taken to Creux Harbor, where they were picked up by the Flying Christiana and taken to a hospital in Guernsey.
Sark also has famous sheep races and an annual folk festival, but I came to Sark to see the night sky. Unfortunately, we got only one clear night. It was amazing though. Even constellations we recognized like Cassiopeia and the Big Dipper seemed closer than at home. I will just have to go back for more sky views.
But even without a clear, starry night, for beauty and hospitality, Sark is unmatched.
Reach Susan Williams at susanwilli...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5112.