A rare 300 year old courtyard mansion, lovingly restored in the heart of Wuyuan county, China. This house has seen the rise and fall of the Qing empire, the Nationalists, Communists and Modernity all glide past its front door. Isolated from the carnage of the 20th century by the misty Wuyuan mountains, experience China as it was. Brought lovingly into the 21st Century with 14 modern bedrooms, We invite you to come and share this utterly unique experience with us.
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Wuyuan is a county of ancient villages in the Jiangxi countryside. We are located in Yan village, (Sixi Yancun scenic area) a protected 900 year old village which cars can not enter.
Wuyuan Rail: Taxis gather around the high speed railway station in Wuyuan town. It takes 25 minutes to reach the village. Wuyuan train station has direct trains to Beijing (7 hours) and Shanghai (4 hours) and Huangshan (22 mins) on the new high speed network.
Jingdezhen Airport: 90 minutes by taxi to Yan village
Huangshan Tungxi Airport: 70 minutes by taxi to Yan village
To find out more about how an Englishman got lost up in the hills of rural China, and how one goes about restoring an early Qing mansion.
Southern China every year takes a deep breath, tightens its rain coat and steps into the blast of the rainy season. And when it rains, it surely pours. This year did not disappoint, with our newly restored roof being given a thorough workout (and coming through with flying colours, I might add).
To help speed up the construction process, we gave the team here a 'hard' deadline: that on May 5th, we would hold a wedding in our new home in Wuyuan. Taking a leaf straight from the university student's playbook, early confidence and cups of tea increasingly gave way to frenzied panic, all nighters and pleas for deadline extensions. Having sat on the other side of the table a few times before, I knew a blagger when I saw one. 'Just get it done'.
and they did.
The result is staggering - but a story for another day. Rather, this is the story of our intimate, 20 guest, friends-and-family-only intimate ceremony in our garden, whiling away the sundown with a dozy nap. Or so we thought.
Our previous pleas to the local government to get our electric and plumbing put in on time leant heavily on our fabulous 'wedding-carnivale' narrative, complete with international press, senior members of the British Government, Mary Berry and 2 members of One Direction in attendance. Local dignitaries and villagers alike took this very much to heart, and helpfully smoothed over our utilities quandries, whilst also giving us helpful recommendations for wedding planners.
As is often the way in China, at an 11pm strategy meeting the night before, the veil was lifted on tomorrow's proceedings to the Gawne family. Dowries were to be presented, there would be 'some' spectators and firecrackers, and I would collect Selina in a traditional Sedan chair from the house of Teacher Jin, a local village elder and bring her back to our home. As is tradition, Selina's mother was to cry, as one only would when a hairy, scary foreigner steals away your daughter.
What followed did technically follow this outline, but I feel I had been somewhat undersold the magnitude of the event.