The Netherlands: Dutch Countryside and Villages | Part 01

The Netherlands: Dutch Countryside and Villages | Part 01 | Sea of Atlas

There’s no better way to celebrate spring than surrounding yourself with picturesque countryside and flowers. And there’s no better place to surround yourself with picturesque countryside and flowers than the Netherlands! Having just been to Amsterdam about a month prior, we wanted to go back at the peak of tulip season to see what else the country had to offer. We based ourselves in Haarlem (a small city 15 minutes west of Amsterdam) for nine days and rented a car so that we could get around to see as much as possible (though I should note the rail and bus systems are fantastic). We saw a variety of places which we will break out into four posts—two focusing on countryside and small towns (of which this is the first) and two on cities.

The Netherlands: Dutch Countryside and Villages | Part 01 | Sea of Atlas
The Netherlands: Dutch Countryside and Villages | Part 01 | Sea of Atlas

The first thing we did after landing in Rotterdam (a pleasant 45-minute flight from London!) and grabbing our car was drive to nearby Kinderdijk, home to a collection of over a dozen old windmills dating back to the 18th century. We were quickly introduced to Dutch ingenuity and charm when on the ride there we encountered what looked like a bridge on the GPS but ended up being a really short car, bicycle and pedestrian ferry! We paid the fare (something like 3€) and sat giddy in the car as we made the 60-second journey to the other side of the canal. Not soon thereafter we arrived to Kinderdijk. There are a series of paths along the canals from which to enjoy the views of the windmills and the expansive farmland surrounding the site. We had seen pictures of this place but we didn’t realize quite how large it really is. Even more surprising to us was that people live in some of the windmills!

The Netherlands: Dutch Countryside and Villages | Part 01 | Sea of Atlas
The Netherlands: Dutch Countryside and Villages | Part 01 | Sea of Atlas

Another can’t-miss sight, at least during tulip season, is one of the world’s largest flower gardens. Keukenhof, which is only open from March to May, houses a collection of tulip fields, thoughtfully-designed flower beds and other flower-based displays. In order to enjoy the experience it’s crucial to arrive early. We got in right as it opened and for the first hour or so more or less had the place to ourselves; by the second hour the crowds had grown significantly and the main entrance gate looked like a scene out of mid-summer Disney World. As if the millions of flower aren’t enough, Keukenhof also hosts a working windmill, a handful of buildings and greenhouses, fountains, a maze, and, most exciting to us, a petting zoo! We spent far too long (or not long enough!?) hanging out with the baby goats.

The Netherlands: Dutch Countryside and Villages | Part 01 | Sea of Atlas
The Netherlands: Dutch Countryside and Villages | Part 01 | Sea of Atlas

We partnered with Owl & The Oak during our trip to feature their beautiful weavings amongst the many picturesque landscapes we encountered. We work with artists and small businesses through our Travel Partners program to showcase their products or artwork in unique locations that complement its beauty or function. Brooke Klingsheim's handmade wall hangings are well made and easily brighten up a space with their organic texture and playful use of color. We're so thrilled to have this hanging in our London flat after showing it off throughout the Netherlands!

The Netherlands: Dutch Countryside and Villages | Part 01 | Sea of Atlas
The Netherlands: Dutch Countryside and Villages | Part 01 | Sea of Atlas

The beach is a 10-minute drive from Keukenhof, so we made our way to the coast to decompress after fighting through the crowds to get out of the park. We walked along the beach at Noordwijk which was basically empty, but for those looking for something a bit more action-packed, the big beach resort of Zandvoort is only 7 or 8 miles north. We enjoyed our walk along the water and grabbed some seashells to take home with us. Unfortunately we were out of 1€ coins so we had to skip out on driving the coin-operated bumper car back toward the parking lot. We can only imagine how hopping this place must be during summer!

The Netherlands: Dutch Countryside and Villages | Part 01 | Sea of Atlas
The Netherlands: Dutch Countryside and Villages | Part 01 | Sea of Atlas

While it’s a bit out of the way (a two-hour drive from our home base in Haarlem and not really near anything else of interest), the fairytale village of Giethoorn was one of the main inspirations for our trip to the Netherlands. We had seen pictures of it years ago and knew we had to see it with our own eyes someday. The town has no roads and the primary mode of transportation is boats along the canals; as such, it claims, along with Amsterdam, the title of “Venice of the North.” Especially charming is the thatched-roof style houses and the various wooden bridges from which to appreciate it all. As is always the case with places like this, the charm draws big crowds. We didn’t get there until early afternoon which is high time for big bus tourism and it was a bit overwhelming for such an otherwise peaceful village with an infrastructure not quite built for so many people (the canals were absolutely packed with tourist-rented boats!). We grabbed lunch at Ristorante Fratelli (bread with garlic butter and a pineapple pizza) which was surprisingly good given the limited choice of restaurants, wandered around a bit more and then jumped in the car for the long ride back to Haarlem.

The Netherlands: Dutch Countryside and Villages | Part 01 | Sea of Atlas
The Netherlands: Dutch Countryside and Villages | Part 01 | Sea of Atlas
The Netherlands: Dutch Countryside and Villages | Part 01 | Sea of Atlas

It didn’t take long for us to fall in love with the Netherlands. We have a lot more to share, so stay tuned!

6 Pinterest Accounts For Inspiration

Image from Unsplash / Lettering by Sea of Atlas

Image from Unsplash / Lettering by Sea of Atlas

Pinterest is a great life tool—it's as simple as that. You can go on there when you're stuck on what to make for dinner, need some outfit ideas, planning your wedding—the list goes on. I love spending a little time here and there pinning through inspiration and making boards to inspire me in new seasons or in times of change. Because of all of this, I've built a list of some of my favorite Pinners that I love having pop up in my feed.


1. Elise Blaha Cripe

Elise is a San Diego based maker who created the Get To Work Book. Her pins are a collection of art, home inspiration, and down-to-earth style. She has a great eye for spotting pattern and texture—a strong theme throughout that really inspires me.

2. Jessie Farris

As a designer and blogger, its clear Jessie has an eye for beautiful things. The Texas native creates boards for home, lifestyle, recipes, art, and so much more. Her Pinterest is stock full of the best of the best from around the web and its easy to get sucked into.

3. Kate Miss

Kate is a lady of many talents—a designer, jewelry makers, and photographer. She is one of my favorite people to follow to see whats inspiring her and where she is taking her creativity. Her pins are simple yet edgy creating a great group of images to expand your inspiration.

4. Laura | The First Mess

I love following Laura for one main reason—recipes! Her own blog is full of so much goodness and that spills right over to her Pinterest where you can pick them right up for your own boards as well as see what she's currently browsing around to try!

5. Maria Ernest

Maria is an analog photographer located in Denmark. I love the vintage vibe her Pinterest gives off and the inspiration she pulls from adventure (a girl after my own heart). The collection of images pulls from design to travel creating the perfect hub of inspiration.

6. Marte Marie Forsberg

The Norwegian photographer and home cook is one of my favorite people to follow. Her boards are full of earthy treasures and inspiring quotes to balance everything out. Beyond her Pinterest, you can find her living in a 200 year old thatched cottage in the English countryside. Sounds like a true dream to me.


Who are your favorite Pinners to follow? We would love to hear!

Wild Words: Keep A Loving Heart

Image from Unsplash / Lettering by Sea of Atlas

Image from Unsplash / Lettering by Sea of Atlas

As we move through life we grow and change as individuals. Our souls find new and different ways to guide us. Life shifts. It gives us challenges and changes us (hopefully for the better). Some times we have peaceful periods of calm easiness and other times it seems like everything is exploding in each corner as we try to navigate our way through. As I've gone through my path in life, one thing I always hold onto is working towards keeping a loving heart—whether that is towards myself or others, friends or strangers, people close by or far away.

While we grow, the people who surround us are doing the same—growing. Some times you grow in the same direction and other times you've each found your own sun to grab the light from to continue your forward momentum. It is a natural part of life. 

A few months back, I came across this interview with Brené Brown by The Work of the People. In it she talks about her therapist telling her this one line: "What if everyone is doing the best that they can?" ...I paused right there and couldn't help but to be in awe of that one line. So many times we find ourselves jumping to conclusions about people. I think its safe to say we are all guilty of this. Its easy to gather your own thoughts off of first impressions of someone or let our own emotions get in the way. You don't know what challenges people face day to day. I see this happening a lot and as I said, I'm guilty of it too. It can be as simple as thinking someone is rudely ignoring a text you sent when in reality they've been on a train underground without service or they're out on their daily run. The world doesn't revolve around what we need in every given moment or how we think someone's life is or should be.

Keeping an open loving heart and remembering that most people are doing the best that they can helps bring clarity and happiness into our lives. The love and grace that we have to give to one another goes a long way in making this world a better place to live in. To know that while we all work to become the best version of ourselves, people are giving us ease to do so—space to be the people we strive to be. That's the bottom line here. We are all working through this wild life individually and together.