Art, Food and Beaches - day 1
09.07.2011 - 09.07.2011 19 °C
A highly enjoyable 2 days in St Ives started with our arrival at the excellent Guest House we had booked. A friendly welcome and a lovely room with great views over the harbour meant that we could get our breath back and relax a little before starting to explore.
Many artists have set up home in and around St Ives and it's easy to see why. The amazing quality of light and the truly picturesque harbour and beaches make St Ives a very appealling little town. It is true that there are now a great many shops and businesses set up to cater for the tourist trade and some argue that this has ruined the character of St Ives. I would argue that it hasn't, and that the inherent loveliness of the location, the characterful architecture, the art community and the functioning fishing industry make this a destination well worth a visit. Perhaps it was even lovelier 100 years ago.
On our first day we explored town, walking over the island to Porthmeor Beach. There is a very active surf school at Porthmeor and the lessons were interesting to watch, over an excellent lunch of mackerel and mussels at the beach cafe (as you may notice, excellent seafood was a recurring theme of this Cornish holiday).
After lunch, we visited the Tate St Ives museum. The Tate doesn't have a permanent exhibition but rotates collections of modern art. The current display was very interesting with some great sculpture by Naum Gabo, and a very strange installation which involved walking through a big room half-filled with balloons. Unlike its more substantial London cousin there is a charge to visit the Tate St Ives but it is worth it, particularly if you buy the combined ticket for the Barbara Hepworth museum as well.
After the museum, a further walk around the beaches and the harbour revealed some interesting finds including the great little Porthgwidden beach and an interesting walk along the outer harbour wall.
In the evening we had a real first night treat - a six course tasting menu at a top local restaurant overlooking the harbour, each course matched to a glass of lovely Cloudy Bay wine. The food was great and some of the wines were truly heavenly. We retired to bed replete.