Simply Staffordshire started out in 2006 offering eco self catering acommodation in the village of Alton in the heart of the beautiful North Staffordshire countryside. I have been running Rowan House since then and have built up a loyal group of guests who return each year to enjoy the gorgeous setting, open countryside and the home from home, welcoming atmosphere. There is also some sort of obsession with my home made cake which seems to get the lion's share of comments in the guest book!
As regular readers of my BLOG will know, I also have a passion for Staffordshire and feel strongly that it is often the poor relation to its neighbours, Shropshire and the Peak District National Park. Wonderful though those places are, Staffordshire really offers something unique and very special to a visitor that simply can't be captured anywhere else. There is a magical combination of high moorlands, deep valleys and timeless old hedgerows that creates a timeless feel for the visitor. On top of this there is a feeling that once discovered, visiting Staffordshire is rather like have a very personal secret that many have yet to discover. The people of Staffordshire will offer a very honest, down to earth welcome that will come from their heart. You will tend to find that there isn't a big song and dance about shouting their qualities or selling the county - rather a quiet, assured sense of knowing and confidence that Staffordshire is indeed a place of skills, industry, creation and beauty.
I have found over the years that many of my guests have felt some trepidation about finding themselves in Staffordshire. Families may have found themselves here because they have visited Alton Towers but are nervous of how they might fill the rest of their holiday. Some stay and enjoy the beauty, but feel compelled to travel the 10 minutes to the Peak National Park in order to start a walk. Some have travelled to the middle of the country to meet up with friends and family and then have wanted considerable hand holding when planning days out. All of these feelings are understandable and I am always thrilled that when they leave, they have found new places, enjoyed good food and have experienced that warm and secure feeling that they have had an adventure and made a discovery.
As such Simply Staffordshire was always set to expand to fulfill a need to better define Staffordshire and its qualities both for the visitor and the resident. As Staffordshire finds its feet as a destination of choice, Simply Staffordshire will offer the opportunity for local, independant producers, artists, designers and those offering services to showcase their work. The website will be the place where visitors can find out what is at the grass roots of Staffordshire and its people. They will get a chance to experience the passion, skills, tastes and beauty that is so ambundant in the county. Simply Staffordshire will also offer the chance to shop for gifts that are Staffordshire made and Staffordshire special. For fans of my recipes there is also a recipe page using the best of local and seasonal produce. Simply Staffordshire really will be living and loving Staffordshire!
Please keep an eye out here, in local press, Facebook and Twitter for the launch of the new website and be first in line to sign up for special offers and news. If you think you may be a local business, producer or designer, crafter or artist that would like to be listed with Simply Staffordshire, please contact me (Emily) on 07736 414425 or firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.twitter.com/simplystaffs .