Restaurant Reviews and Social
Average rating: 4.5
When traffic congestion is defined as "horse-drawn carriage meets two tractors" you know you've come to a peaceful place.
And when chickens take over the job of tractors (although naturally on a smaller scale), you can expect permaculture to set the scene for healthy eating.
Welcome to Stocks Hotel where all this "action" is taking place, on car-free Sark, one of the Channel Islands in the English Channel just off the coast of France.
Cruise ships call in to neighbouring Guernsey, disgorging up to several thousand passengers, some of whom (like other visitors) catch the boat for the 50-minute crossing to spend a few hours on Sark.
But to really get a feeling for this peaceful place, you should plan to spend several days on the island to fully appreciate its spectacular scenery and unusual history.
I'm into the environment yet still enjoy my creature comforts. So it was a treat to find luxury hotel Stocks puts so much emphasis on permaculture, growing as much as possible of its own organic food to provide meals for guests.
You should definitely sign up for a tour of the garden with head gardener James to fully appreciate how the food and flowers are grown - and get to meet those chicken tractors as well as the very healthy and productive chickens themselves.
Chicken tractors (for those who have never heard of them, and that included me until my visit to Stocks) are like portable chicken coops which you move from one part of the garden to the next, allowing the chickens to scratch in the dirt, eat the insects and fertilize the ground with their manure...the perfect organic cycle. (The term "tractor" seems to come from the cultivating job the chickens do.)
Dine at Stocks indoors or outdoors from morning to night on the results of the chickens' efforts - whether their eggs or the fruit and veg their tractoring helps to produce. And if you like a drop of something, check out the hotel's Smugglers' Bar with one of the larger selection of drops to choose from.
There's a swimming pool and Lynn, an excellent masseuse, for further healthy self-indulgence.
You will definitely want to explore the island. You can walk, ride a rental bike or let Charlie ("leave the driving to me!") take you in Stocks' own horse and carriage for a personally guided tour to historic buildings and monuments, to secluded beaches where at least the locals somehow manage to enjoy the 12-18-degree Centigrade spring-sumner ocean.
Learn about the Sark Seigneurie, its not-so-distant feudal history and its present form of government, relationship with Guernsey and the UK, as well as its perfectly English country garden.
Then return to Stocks for an excellent dinner and, once it gets dark and if the skies are clear, the reason why Sark was named the world's first Dark Sky Island by the International Dark-Sky Association, as you see the Milky Way and sky full of other stars like rarely if ever before.
And continue to appreciate the sounds of silence that come with a place that has no cars.
Posted by mike grenby a month ago
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