The Writing Traveler: On a Gothic Road with Dracula


The streets of Whitby, England  -– an ancient seaport and fishing village — were thick with Draculas coming to celebrate.

We took the train from Middlesbrough to Whitby, in North Yorkshire, England.

Dracula went with us.

Surprise us!

Clickity-clack, clickity-clack, clickity-clack.

Dracula – that is, several Draculas —   were aboard when we got on the train.

Others kept joining as we made stops at stations along the way.

They were dressed in all sorts of Dracula costumes – some store-bought or store rented. Some homemade.

They were happy, joyful, excited.

Lipstick and eye makeup and fingernail polish were there aplenty.

They were dressed in droopy black clothes with hoods.

They were headed to Whitby – an ancient seaport and fishing village – for a Dracula celebration.  We were told there were two annual Dracula celebrations in Whitby. Obviously, we had happened on to one of them.

Roger Summers

Lucky us.

A couple from the Colonies, we were using our BritRail passes to see as much of England as we could.

We were going to see the monastic ruins in Whitby.

It was by happenstance that we were headed to Whitby on that particular day, the day of Dracula.

Some friendly employees in a Middlesbrough restaurant told us about a place in Whitby to eat.  Said it had the best fish ‘n’ chips in all of England.

Fish ‘n’ chips always got our attention.

So we hopped aboard and headed out.

Adventurous us.

Leaving the train in Whitby, we saw the ruins of St. Hilda’s Abbey high on the cliff. It beckoned.

We walked through Whitby for a while.

We spotted Trenchers, the seafood restaurant with the recommended fish ‘n’ chips. We would try it later.

Decided – quite wisely – not to try the 199 steps up to the abbey ruins. Too much huff ‘n’ puff for the moment.

Opted for a cab. The cab was driven by a middle-aged woman. We mentioned the costumed young people aboard the train. She told us that sophisticated adults – she specifically mentioned lawyers, though we don’t know why  – also dressed up and took part in the Dracula festival.  And that people from other countries dressed and took part.

Wise choice to take the cab.

Wise, wise choice. Too many steps up.

Looked around the ruins. Spent a good while there.

Walked the 199 steps down. Just so we could say we walked the steps.

Ate at Trenchers.  The folks who recommended it were right. We remember the delicious food to this day. Terrific food. Elegant restaurant. Velvet drapes. White table cloths. Cloth napkins. Fresh cut flowers on the tables and in the restrooms.

Clean, clean, clean.

Walked about the village a bit more. Looked over the colorful fishing boats.  Worth the trip in itself.

Took the train home.

Delightful day.

Memorable day.

And different.

Much different.

Dracula – that scary ol’ Dracula —  and his followers had made it so.

Roger Summers is the author of The Ladies in the Pink Hats and My Johnny. Please click HERE to find the book on Amazon.


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