During my nine-year-old trip to Europe, we stayed at a number of fabulous places, like Lady MacDonald’s Michelin starred Kinloch Lodge on the Isle of Skye. Further up the coast of Scotland, we also booked a cottage at the exclusive Altnaharrie Inn. It has since been sold (the last guests were in 2004 – see old website here), but it was a wonderful, quiet Inn off the coast of Ullapool, with mini cottages tucked away into an idyllic lush private island. The two Michelin star restaurant had lodging and a dining room for less than 10 people. It was also exclusive for adults, so my parents called and convinced them to make an exception for a very well-behaved little girl. They obliged.
We arrived by a tiny ferry named the Mother Goose, over the choppy waters to the serene isle and were greeted by the manager. As she was describing the island to us and showing us around the cottage, I followed up a stone path along the side of the main house. I stopped to check out a magnificent plant with giant leaves the size of my small body, and when I turned around, my parents and the manager no where in sight! I panicked and looked around the side of the house, then realized they must’ve gone back down the path to the front of the house. When I reappeared to our original meeting point, my mom was giving me that look… I felt the shame and embarrassment. After all that she had warned me about this place not accepting children, and here I was, running off and getting lost within the first 5 minutes! I was mortified and kept silently close to my mom after that.
We were guided down another path, across a wood bridge to our little, private chateau. Unfortunately, my dad caught a cold and stayed in the chateau for the next two days, while my mom and I explored the island, and read to each other. Our second night coincided with the 4th of July, so the chef made a special dessert just for me – a berry shortcake with cream, strawberries, raspberries and blue berries (red, white and blue)! When we left the island, the manager said they were going to review their policy on children, because I had made such a good impression. So, even though getting lost was a memory that stuck out in my mind, I am happy they were more forgiving.