The term papers are slain, and it's time for Nana and me to finally get out and make some use of our Historic Scotland memberships.
We have a week before Christmas and a week after New Year's, and while we've done some research into what's actually open this time of year, we still haven't been able to choose where to go! So I thought our loyal readers might have some suggestions.
Where would you like to see us go?
Glasgow: Scotland's largest city; Britain's third largest. Big and bustling (and modern) compared to quaint little Edinburgh, but with a history just as ancient. Notable for its industrial heritage, as the Clyde region was once shipbuilder to the world.
Stirling: An ancient stronghold city at the lowest crossing of the River Forth and one of Scotland's medieval capitals. The bridge over the Forth was the site of an important victory by William Wallace in 1297, and nearby Bannockburn was the site of the defeat of the English by Robert the Bruce in 1314. The castle figured in just about every major conflict in Scottish history in the last thousand years.
St. Andrews: Although not quite the birthplace of golf (the oldest course in the world is actually the Musselburgh Links, right outside Edinburgh), St. Andrews is most famous as the sport's spiritual capital. It was also a major religious center in the medieval era and is home to Scotland's oldest university.
Aviemore: Skiing in Scotland, you say? Turns out they already have snow, or at least some ice, in the Cairngorms (my favorite gorms). And even if the weather doesn't cooperate, the Highlands offer some great winter photo ops.
The Borders: The Scottish Borders are home to a cluster of major medieval abbeys, as well as the home of Sir Walter Scott, who is widely seen as Scotland's greatest novelist. (You probably know him as the author of Waverley and Ivanhoe.) This is also where border collies come from!
Craigmillar Castle: One of several castles in the Edinburgh area with a connection to Mary, Queen of Scots. This is where Mary recovered after the birth of James I, and also where she did (or did not, depending on who you ask) plot to kill her husband, Lord Darnley.
Linlithgow Palace: Situated about halfway between Stirling and Edinburgh, Linlithgow was the home of most of the Stuart kings.
Dunfermline: Both the birthplace of Andrew Carnegie--and the site of the first of the world's many Carnegie Libraries--and the final resting place of Scotland's medieval royalty.
Most of these are within day-trip range of Edinburgh; we could probably hit 2-4. Any thoughts? E-mail me or post your votes in the comments. We'll make our first trip on Monday!