Oh my friends, there are so many stories to share from our 2023 summer vacation in Scotland and England that we gifted ourselves in celebration of our 15th anniversary.
One of the stories is about a lovely afternoon and evening in South Queensferry, which is near Edinburgh in Scotland. We met up with friends for a few days to revel in Scottish culture, ambiance, food and history, and South Queensferry didn’t disappoint us in any of those areas! Located on the south side of the Firth of Forth, this lovely old town has a fabulous view of the Forth Bridge, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site “of unique global significance and interest”. I’m a sucker for bridges, and this one is magnificent.
I’ve been a fan of the Forth Bridge since I first saw the 1935 Hitchcock movie, The 39 Steps. The bridge features prominently in the movie and I’ve always thought of it as an unbilled character actor. It’s a great movie! There’s a clip from it below.
I’m very lucky to work for a company with a major location near Edinburgh, and have traveled there for work many times, but this trip was all pleasure. My business trips had given me a long list of places I’d like to explore, and explore, we did.
We took a taxi from Edinburgh in the late afternoon and enjoyed the scenery during the half-hour trip as we transitioned from the busy city to a more bucolic countryside, and then started our magical time in South Queensferry walking around at the tiny harbor.
Then we walked along the high street, admiring the old buildings. We were quite aware that the sky and the weather were on their best behavior for us that day. Like the bridge, they were characters in the memories we were making.
We dropped in at a pub on the waterfront, “the one with the purple umbrellas,” that we chose randomly after seeing it from the harbor. The pub is called The Boathouse, dubbed Queensferry’s best-kept secret on their sign. I’m not keeping it a secret that I would go back there in a heartbeat. The waitpersons were delightful and told us some of the history of Queensferry and the bridges.
We drank wine, told stories and had a deep sense of how fortunate we were.
Our dinner restaurant was just down the street, the Samphire Seafood Bar and Grill in the Orocco Pier hotel.
Our assigned table was inside, but on an evening like that (the bridges! the sky! the weather!), outside was the ONLY way to go. The staff very graciously figured out a way to rearrange some tables and make room for us.
We got very, very serious about seafood and ordered a lot of it, sharing a giant appetizer called the roast seafood platter with everything you could imagine and impressive-looking tools for each of us.
Everything was perfectly seasoned and perfectly cooked, and after a hard day of touristing, we were all over it like hungry seals during feeding time at the zoo!
Check out the aftermath.
I had blackened seabass for my entreé, and it was genius to pair it with roasted sweet potatoes and fresh, bright tomatoes. The garnish on the fish included hot peppers, especially for me, as this Texas gal LOVES it spicy. Samphire Grill was one of the only restaurants on our long trip that was able to fully deliver the heat.
We each chose a different dessert so we could share. Mine was a dark chocolate and hazelnut tart. It was OMG-call-your-Mama good, nestled atop a swirl of raspberry coulis and topped with “chocolate soil” and vanilla ice cream. Katherine’s dessert, in the background, was sticky toffee pudding with caramel and ice cream. I think I was too busy with my tart to remember to get my bite, darn it.
Throughout the afternoon and evening, the sky and the weather continued to delight us, seeming to grow more intensely beautiful with each passing hour. When we left the restaurant, we had to get more pictures, and our taxi driver offered to snap one of all of us.
I’m so glad. The sky wasn’t a supporting actor, it was the STAR.
That evening was golden – you can see it in the pictures, and I can see it in my mind. I will always treasure the memories.
We has such a good time that we decided to go back the next day and take a boat tour to learn more about the bridges. But that, my friends, is another story.
© 2023, Glover Gardens