My junior year in undergrad, I had to choose where I was going to complete my study abroad requirement (twist my arm). I wanted to go to a tropical oasis in Brazil, or a romantic villa in Tuscany and soak up every amazing, relaxing, diffferent experience I could. Then an announcement went out for a new opportunity to attend the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland for a summer term, designed by one of my favorite artists and architects: Charles Rennie Mackintosh. I had previously studied and really connected with his style and works. In high school, I fell head over heels in love with art, specifically art nouveau and arts and crafts movements, so this was a big thing for me (I know. Totally geeky, but this girl’s passion for fashion probably stems from this era of a beautiful immersive experience in amazing works of art.)  So of course I jumped at the opportunity.

The program was for artists and writers, and I was planning a career of….neither. So I crashed their party solely for the sake of being able to roam the halls of the Glasgow School of Art, designed by Mackintosh, be able to touch his furniture, and drink tea at his famed Willow Tea Rooms. My art and writing submissions for the program were atrocious, especially the artwork, but the humiliation was worth it.

The best part? A little side trip we took to Hospitalfield, an artist’s retreat in Arbroath. The grounds were simply beautiful, and the estate was filled to the brim with fantastic works of art, tapestries, and plush antique furniture.

We were in heaven, which apparently was just a short walk away from the serene Arbroath shores. What an irreplaceable experience it was. Hospitalfield is typically closed to the public except artist residencies and special events, but there are special open weekends and Doors Open Days when hundreds of buildings across Scotland are open to public tour. I can’t believe I got to call this my home for about a week – exquisite.

You have to be there to experience the total peace…and occasionally the creepy ghost feeling, especially in the stone walkways of the downstairs at night. Roam alone at your peril…this pansy high-step ran it back to the room on several nights after bathroom trips!


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