FEATURE – A New York Girl’s love for Edinburgh

by Lee Ann Monat

I have lived in New York City for about 11 years. They say everyone should live there at some point, but leave before it makes you hard. I found my heart again the first moment I set foot in Edinburgh…and then followed it throughout Scotland.  If Edinburgh was a man, I’d have married it first and asked questions later.

Scotland’s courtship of me began in 2004.  I was there for a grand total of 4 days and only one in Edinburgh…but I was hooked.

Calton Hill

Calton Hill

I returned in August, 2008 to see what had stirred my heart so.  I was turning 30 and something told me I had to be in Edinburgh on that day.  Up until then I spent the days roaming all over town, reacquainting myself with all the sites that fill my heart with joy (Arthur’s Seat, Calton Hill) and visiting the normal tourist spots. I experienced Fringe Festival delights like “Bouncy Castle Dracula” and “A Mid Summer Night’s Dream” on Calton Hill and shared birthday champagne with total strangers. During that second trip I learned how to travel alone, I still desperately loved Scotland, and that I had to return.

Rainbow over Calton Hill

Rainbow over Calton Hill

I did just that in October 2009…and what a homecoming!  I lovingly gazed at Arthur’s Seat as I walked Regent Road into town. I enjoyed a beer at The Tollbooth Tavern for lunch after a “hello!” to the High Street and then was greeted by a huge rainbow over Calton Hill.  It was sheer bliss to walk up those steps again, let the rain fall upon my face and see that incredible land. After living in New York City, which can feel very crowded and isolating, the different levels and green and sky of Edinburgh is a such a gift. It’s the best of both worlds…Town and Country. Even the rain makes me feel alive and part of everything.

Clarindas Tea Room


This time around I climbed to the top of Arthur’s Seat and meditated on obliging rocks. I sat on Calton Hill and looked upon Holyroodhouse and over at the Castle.  I spread my arms wide in welcome…but have yet to indulge my desire to lay down on The Salisbury Crags. I never seemed to find the right spot! I had lunch at Clarinda’s Tea room and photographed Old Calton Cemetery. I savored pub food, ate Haggis, drank copious amounts of tea, had local beer, and drank Whisky (which is so much cheaper when you’re local). It was a magical Autumn. The Beltane Society’s Samhuinn Fire Parade was a highlight.

Cake fork

Cake fork

This trip proved that I love Scotland even more, “Roseleaf” has delicious Cullen Skink and there is such a thing as a cake fork!

Scotland’s beauty leaves me breathless and reluctant return to New York. I always find myself looking at my watch, and bank account, for when I can return! Next time I hope to spend much more time and melt more fully into everything. I’d love to volunteer, meet new friends and maybe throw a “Lion’s Share” dinner party!?

Thank you Lee An, we hope you make it back to Edinburgh very soon

You can look at some of Lee Ann’s creations here  or  follow her blog.  See our recent review of Clarinda’s Tea Room here

New York Girl’s Edinburgh photo gallery

Click on a thumbnail to view full-size.

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