Port Isaac

Have you ever viewed a TV show or movie and fallen in love with the location of where it was filmed? Have you ever wanted to plan a vacation around visiting that location, possibly getting a chance to see scenes filmed? Many people do just that with a TV show called Doc Martin.

Doc Martin is a British TV show that is filmed in Cornwall, England. In the United States the show airs on Acorn TV online and on some PBS stations. It airs in many other countries. Doc Martin is set in the fictional village of Portwenn. The actual village where many scenes are filmed is Port Isaac. Many fans of the show make the trip from the United States, Canada, Europe, as far away as Australia, and other places to visit the village, some in hopes to catch some filming of the series.

Doc Martin (Martin Clunes) exiting Mrs. Tishell’s Chemist shop during the filming of Season 8.

Doc Martin is starting its ninth season of filming in 2019. It has been filmed every other year in odd years. Filming takes place between the end of March up until around the third week of July. If one travels in Port Isaac during the time period filming takes place there is no guarantee they will see filming. They do not film on weekends or U.K. school holiday periods. In 2017 there was a three week period in June they did not film in the village. They also film indoors nearby and in other villages in Cornwall. I was fortunate to see a few scenes of season 8 filmed in 2017.

Sigorney Weaver (Season 8 filming)
Getting to Port Isaac From Heathrow by Train

Before you leave, get in touch with a local taxi company. Tell them what day you expect to need a ride. If you are going by plane, many fly into Heathrow in London. There are other options though that are closer, but may take additional flights. Within Heathrow you can take the Heathrow Express train to Paddington Station. From there you buy a train ticket to Bodmin Parkway. If you buy a ticket for a train with no changes, the trip takes less than 4 hours. Once on the train, email the taxi driver to let them know which train you are on, so they can be there waiting for you at Bodmin station. From there they can get you to Port Isaac. All taxis waiting at Bodmin are usually pre-arranged rides.

The Village

The streets are very narrow and steep. It would be a challenge for people with health or walking issues. If you plan to visit, wear comfortable shoes.

Know ahead of time that cell service is spotty at best. You can get a signal /wifi inside some of the restaurants such as the Slipway down near the harbor/platt. I found you could get a signal near the Co-Op. Oddly, when I climbed the sea wall, I was able to get service.

Port Isaac from the Coastal Path
Where to Stay

Since a large percentage of the houses are rentals, there are many options in the village. During filming there may be less options. On the lower price end inside the village is The Gallery. If you will have a vehicle with you, there are many options outside the village in other towns and villages. Path’s End is also an option on the lower end as well as a hostel in Tintagel. I reserved accommodations through Booking.com, however, I have friends who reserved cottages through John Bray Cornish Holidays and were quite happy with their experience.

Parking

I recommend parking in one of the lots. There is larger lot at the top of the hill at the edge of the village before you reach the Co-Op and one further down the hill after you turn to go towards Port Gaverne. It is on the left side of the road (sea side). The streets within the village are narrow and not wide enough for two-way traffic in spots. Some accommodations may provide parking such as the Old School House, however, if they are filming exterior scenes for the school you may be asked to park elsewhere. Interior school shots are filmed in another town.

Where to Eat

Port Isaac is a small village, but it has some nice food options. I was happy with every meal I ate during my stay. Since Port Isaac is a fishing village, some restaurants carry fresh catch of the day. There is a Co-Op at the top of the hill. It is a small convenience grocer with a cash machine/ ATM inside. You can find ATMs in larger villages/towns nearby such as Wadebridge, Bodmin, and St. Ives. If you visit between June-August you may need a reservation at some places for dinner. I found some were booked for the night in July. Many restaurants have vegan or vegetarian and gluten-free options. Some establishments that include gluten-free options are: Angry Anchovy (pizza), Nicky B’s Pasty Shop, The Chapel Cafe, the Golden Lion, the Old School Hotel, and the Mote. I ate at all of these locations and can vouch for them. In addition the Krab Pot advertises that they have gluten-free options. There is also a pub in Port Gaverne a short walk from Port Isaac.

Recreation from Port Isaac

There are a few recreational options from Port Isaac. Besides just enjoying the gorgeous views, exploring the tidal pools and swimming, another option is hiking the coastal path which cuts through Port Isaac. However, I do not recommend hiking the coastal path if you have health issues or knee, ankle, or foot issues. It is a strenuous hike. I will mention more about this in another post.

Another option is the walking tour inside Port Isaac. It covers some of the filming locations within the village. You can buy tickets for it at May Contain Nuts. The tour also leaves from there.

Additionally, check out the dates Fishermen’s Friends will perform in Port Isaac. If you are lucky, they will have a concert date in Port Isaac while you are there. If it is not raining, they perform on the platt.

Fishermen’s Friends performing on the platt
Filming Etiquette

If you are lucky enough to visit when they are filming in the village, be sure to follow directions. They crew tells you where you can stand so you are out of the shot. They let you stand closer when they are rehearsing, but may ask you to move back when they are actually filming. They also ask you not to make noise or take photos when they are rolling as most people’s cameras make noise when taking photos. Listen quietly, otherwise you may interfere with their work.

This was when they were filming at the Chemists. On the right people are sitting under the awning of the Slipway as crowds in the middle left watch on the street.

When they are filming at Mrs. Tishell’s Chemist shop, you may be allowed to watch from the outdoor seating area of The Slipway restaurant if that is not in the background of the shot. Keep in mind, the Slipway is a business. If you are going to sit there, order food and drinks. If you are going to stay a while, keep ordering, otherwise you are hurting their business by taking up spots paying customers could occupy. You may hear tipping is not the same in England as it is in the U.S. I would advise tipping at the Slipway, if you are taking up space.

Whether you travel to Port Isaac during Doc Martin filming or not, it is a great little seaside village to visit.

Pandorica

Are you familiar with the phrase “It’s bigger on the inside?” Do you know about a time traveler known as the Doctor? If so, you probably are a fan of the British TV show, Dr. Who, that airs on BBC and BBC America.

In Beacon, N.Y. there is a Dr. Who-themed restaurant run by a British ex-pat. The establishment on Main Street is decorated with show memorabilia and artwork related to the show. (The art is for sale by local artists). The restroom/ water closet resembles a Tardis inside and out, and, yes, it is bigger on the inside.

Exploding Tardis from the Van Gogh Episode
Door to the restroom decorated like a Tardis

There are a variety of items on the menu at Pandorica. Some traditional British fare includes: Bangers and Mash and Chicken or Beef Cottage Pie. Other items include pierogies and Caribbean spiced salmon. In homage to the show, some dishes have Doc Who inspired names that include: Are You My Mummy Meatloaf, Madame Vastra Clev’r Boy, WHOmmus (hummus), and Gallifreyed Potato Pancakes. Pandorica carries some salad choices on the menu as well as some gluten-free and vegan items.

Broiled Caribbean Spiced Faroe Islands Salmon with Coconut Rice and Broiled Mango

Madame De Pompadour Cake with Blueberries and Mascarpone Filling

How to get there From Manhattan take the Metro-North Hudson Line to the Beacon station. You could either walk up to Main Street or take a cab from the station. The restaurant is only a block or two from the corner of Main Street and 9D. See more details on the restaurant website.

If driving, there are parking spots on Main Street and side streets off Main Street. Parking in Beacon is free. The address of Pandora is 165 Main Street.

Are you a fan of Doctor Who? Do you have friends or relatives who are fans of the show? This would be a great destination to experience. You don’t have to be a fan of the show. If you are looking for a spot with a different atmosphere and great food, pop on over to Beacon. For more information check out Pandorica’s websites at: https://www.thepandoricarestaurant.com and https://www.facebook.com/thePandoricaRestaurant/ .

Pandorica- Prison beneath Stonehenge
Weeping Angel
Decoration based on “The Snowmen” Season 7 Episode 6

Getting Great Destination Photos (With Help)

When you are visiting a location, how do you find the best spots to take photographs? Wouldn’t it be better to go on a tour with a local photographer?

I went on a “Photo Tours in Bath” tour. The guide, Simon, was a local pro. He is a longtime resident of Bath, England, and he has won a lot of awards as a photographer.

Simon tailored the tour around my schedule. I was spending a week in Bath, so I had a lot of flexibility. Photo Tours in Bath took me to the best locations around Bath to snap some sunset and night photos.

I love taking photos. I am an amateur photographer who is always trying to improve what I do with the camera. I had not spent time working on night photography in the past. Photo Tours in Bath’s guide was more than happy to give advice on angles to get shots from. He also tells you some of the history of the different locations. Bath, with its Cotswold stone buildings, is beautiful during the day or night.

I know I have more to learn as far as photography goes and there are a lot of things I need to work on to improve, but this first foray into night photography was a great experience. I highly recommend this tour. You can’t beat the location either!

The famous Sally Lunn’s
A side street
Bath Abbey

For more information about this tour go to: http://www.phototoursinbath.co.uk

Or check out other projects the tour guide, Simon, is involved in at http://www.floatingworlds.co.uk

Smaller is Sometimes Better

In America many ascribe to the notion that bigger is better. Newer construction builds involve houses that are many times over 3,000 square feet. Single people and small families have large SUVs. Sometimes, though, smaller is better.

This past weekend I traveled to Otis Ridge in Otis, Massachusetts to watch my godsons ski. I have been to several ski areas growing up. This one was quite small. How small is it? The ski center is on 23, a two lane road with hardly any traffic on it. I could park on the same side of 23 as the ski center and walk a very short distance to the lodge. There was also a larger parking area across the street. What it lacks in size and number of runs it more than makes up for in friendliness and experience.

This resort is family-friendly. They have a winter break camp for kids and a ski racing team. Otis Ridge goes out of their way to make your mountain experience enjoyable. They play music over a speaker system on the mountain. They have events such as a Cardboard Box Race and a Gaper Day (people dress up in 1980s apparel).

Cardboard Box Race
Two or three racers competed against each other in separate heats.
Some of these cardboard racers went quite fast down the hill.

Most elaborate cardboard box racer

If a family-friendly ski area with short or nonexistent lift lines peaks your interest, Otis Ridge may be a good weekend destination for you.

NYIP Portfolio

NY Cow with a NY attitude at Stony Kill Farm
A hawk looking for lunch
Pick Your Own Apples at Minard’s Family Farm in the Hudson Valley
This sheep wanted to communicate with us.
Parade to mark Sinterklaas in Rhinebeck, NY
A Chinelos dance from Morelos, Mexico as performed in Rhinebeck at Sinterklaas
Nachos from Crossroads Brewing Company in Athens, NY
First Walk on January 1st on the Walkway Over the Hudson
Snowboarding at Otis Ridge
Eagle working on fortifying its nest near the Hudson River in Dutchess County, NY