One word: FINALLY
No need to translate the meaning of that. I've heard a lot about how "nice" and "beautiful" Yarm, a little town near my place, was from a couple of my friends but I'd never gotten the chance to go there. Behold Thursday, a relatively sunny day and one of which I was fortunate to have as a one of my "off-from work" days. Given that I had an appointment back at home at about 5pm, I figured I had enough time to finish off my morning chores, head to Yarm for taking photos and a spot of lunch, AND make it back in time for my appointment. The train to Yarm only comes every one hour so, even though I wanted to relax, my time was somewhat limited.
A journey worth the walk
On my arrival at Yarm station, I was surprised to find that my iphone was claiming that Yarm high street (i.e. town centre) was a good 20-25 minutes walk away. Although this isn't the first time I've been to a station that's a fair but definitely walkable distance away from the town's centre (e.g. Northallerton), I always assumed that Yarm's one would be no less than 10 minutes away from the high street. Probably because I couldn't see over the hedges that surround Yarm station; the train from my place to York is the one that stops at Yarm and so I every time I did pass it, I was on the train and so always assumed that the town centre lay just over the hedges. Nevertheless, the helpful signs and my iphone were both incredibly helpful and I soon found myself heading, in the right direction, towards the town centre. It was an absolutely wonderful walk too.
Passing by the grand houses of Yarm often composed of neatly arranged plants or flowers, a simple pebbled yard with all sorts of dog-friendly gizmos and gadgets and, on certain occasions, a posh and brightly colored car, one can really get a feel of how the inhabitants of this picturesque town thrive. I was particularly jealous of the presence of the nice little nearby park otherwise known as Wiley Flats; the lush green had been suitably paired with some common playground equipment but was also given a funky modern twist with a three dimensional sculpture (at least that's what it looked like to me from afar!). Unfortunately I didn't have time to explore Wiley Flats, let alone take many pictures of it, so I'll have to do that when I next go to Yarm for lunch.
Chic and Stylish: Boutique-Mania
You'd be crazy not to notice the sheer amount of boutiques and independent retailers there are in Yarm. From designer-branded pret-a-porter outfits to tailor-made designs, from delicately hand-crafted or picked creations to locally-produced delights, Yarm was certainly a classy place to shop in for all fashionistas or in general shop-a-holics (like myself). The sleek and slender, multicolored wooden frames that supported the glass forming the shops' windows helped to further reinforce its prim and proper nature. You can even find restaurants hidden inside these boutiques serving classic English delicacies; staying in a shop for the whole day is definitely an option. At the same time, there were more commonly heard of stores like Sainsbury's and Costa Coffee.
The combination of boutiques and large company managed shops was, for me, a perfect balance. Whether you're looking for the perfect d wedding or prom dress, a quirky tea set or even some simple but vital groceries, it was just the matter of going from one shop to, literally, the next to find all of the above. What really did it for me were the tiny, independent cafes. A simple grilled panini with a bit of salad and some homemade nachos had my stomach grinning from ear to ear, and being able to enjoy it whilst listening and watching people chat away about what was going on in their life truly had me giving the atmosphere a five star rating.
It was the epitome of a shopper's paradise
And, to a certain extent, a big contrast to the place where I'm living which is jam-packed with charity shops (very ideal for a student budget like mine in my opinion though). The cars were also interestingly parked on a cobbled path that lay directly in between the road and the pedestrian's path. If you go during the academic year, like now, you'd also witness the shadows of Yarm's finest secondary school students, strolling casually on the high street during lunchtime in crisp and clean suits. I felt like I'd entered a parallel world only a stop or two by train away from my place.
There were some similarities however. The atmosphere was just as lively and friendly, and the town hall/ clock tower was pretty much identical architecturally. The differences were what made Yarm a special place for me, along with the good weather. It's officially my little getaway when I feel like indulging myself in the materialistic world after a stressful week at uni, without a doubt.