Cool holiday cottages in … Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, From a modern timber and glass bothy to a dramatic 16th-century towerhouse, these five stylish boltholes make great bases to explore this beautiful corner of western Scotland

Cool Cottages DumfriesGal: Brockloch Bothy

Brocklock Bothy, near Crocketford
A timber and glass box that looks as though it’s been teleported into a field outside Crocketford, this retreat sleeps up to four
.
Cool Cottages DumfriesGal: Brocklock Bothy int

Brocklock Bothy, near Crocketford
Handy for several of Scotland’s best mountain biking trails and Galloway Forest, and exploring the region’s abundance of artists’ open studios
Cool Cottages DumfriesGal: Faldarroch Farm, Barrachan

Faldarroch Farm, Barrachan
A Victorian dairy farm in the far west of the region, Faldarroch sleeps up to five. It’s great for walkers, cyclists and families, there’s a drying room and dedicated storage area for bikes, boots and outdoor clothing
Cool Cottages DumfriesGal: Faldarroch Farm, Barrachan

Faldarroch Farm, Barrachan
Architecture fans will love its flagstone floors, original kitchen range, clawfoot bath and, in one of the bedrooms, a fabulous painted double box bed. Bladnoch, Scotland’s most southerly distillery, is nearby, as is Scotland’s National Booktown, Wigtown, home to a cult book festival.
Cool Cottages DumfriesGal: Ford View, Kippford

Ford View, Kippford
Yacht-friendly Kippford sits on the coast, stretched along the banks of the Urr estuary; squint and you can see the Lake District across the Solway Firth. Walk to neighbouring Rockcliffe for a paddle off its small beach, then return to this cosy whitewashed cottage and sit in its window seat with your binoculars, watching herons and otters playing in the water below as the sun sets…
Cool Cottages DumfriesGal: Ford View, Kippford

Ford View, Kippford
It sleeps four and the interiors are smart and simple, with Ercol furniture and boat-print curtains giving it a subtle vintage feel.
Cool Cottages DumfriesGal: Cruggleton Lodge, Garlieston

Cruggleton Lodge, Garlieston
This cottage has a romantic setting by sea cliffs (hence the no under-12s rule), and overlooks the ruins of a 13th-century castle – but there’s nothing raggle-taggle about its chic design
Cool Cottages DumfriesGal: Cruggleton Lodge, Garlieston

Cruggleton Lodge, Garlieston
From an Aga and a wood-fired Dutchtub to island-patterned Ralph Lauren wallpaper, the cottage is a decadent bolthole amid a working organic farm. Time it right and you can also book in for dinner at a new pop-up restaurant housed in the owners’ stylishly reconfigured stables. It sleeps four in two bedrooms.
Cool Cottages DumfriesGal: Castle of Park, Glenluce

Castle of Park, Glenluce
Don’t be fooled by the castle’s rather brutal exterior. Inside this dramatic 16th-century tower house there’s plenty of comfort, including three bathrooms (quite a luxury given that it only sleeps up to seven people) and a dishwasher
Cool Cottages DumfriesGal: Castle of Park, Glenluce

Castle of Park, Glenluce
Carefully chosen antiques give the restrained interiors an air of elegance while a painted ceiling, a spiral staircase and a little lookout over Luce Bay add some historic magic. Its Gulf Stream location makes the surrounding area especially good for gardens and two of the region’s finest – Logan and Castle Kennedy – are on the doorstep

African-American Woman Wins MegaMillions Jackpot

 

It’s unreal … like I’m still dreaming,” she told lottery officials Wednesday after hearing her family’s numbers announced. Curry bought her winning ticket at Gateway Newsstands on the ground floor of the Alliance Center building across from Phipps Plaza in Buckhead. Her employer (or soon to be former we’re guessing) Apsen Insurance  issued a statement to NBC News congratulating Curry on her win.

Lottery officials say a Georgia woman is one of two winners of the $648 million Mega Millions jackpot, while California officials are still waiting to hear from their winner.

The woman was identified as Ira Curry, of Stone Mountain, east of Atlanta. Officials say she bought one ticket and chose the numbers herself, using family birthdays and her family’s lucky number, which is 7.

The winning numbers are 8, 14, 17, 20 and 39, with the Mega Ball number 7. The winners can choose to be paid over time or in a cash lump sum, Mega Millions Executive Director Paula Otto told The Associated Press. Based on the $648 million figure, the winners would receive $324 million each over time or $173 million each in cash.

“That’s not bad for a dollar or two investment,” said Russ Lopez, deputy director of communications for the California state lottery.

Otto said the lucky Georgia ticket in Tuesday’s drawing was sold at a Gateway Newsstand in the affluent Buckhead area of Atlanta.

Newsstand co-owner Young Soo Lee grinned as she arrived Wednesday morning at the shop off the lobby of the Alliance Center office building. The newsstand — a small, long shop with one register that can hold perhaps 10 people at a time — is frequented by workers at the office building, which sits across the street from an upscale mall.

“I’m so excited and nervous too,” Soo Lee told Fox 5 News. She said she sold around 1,300 tickets at the store on the day of the drawing.

Young Lee, the other owner of the newsstand, said Wednesday that he hadn’t heard anything official from the state lottery office yet. But still, he said, “this is good for me and my family,” noting the publicity that the winning ticket would bring the store, even without a bonus.

Georgia Lottery spokeswoman Tandi Reddick said Wednesday that the owners would not get any bonus beyond the 6 percent commission all retail outlets received based on lottery sales.

“They do have the distinction of being known as the lucky store now, and that’s always great news for them,” Reddick said.

The California ticket was sold at Jennifer’s Gift Shop, which sits along San Jose’s tree-lined Tully Road, amid a cluster of Asian restaurants. The store’s owner, Thuy Nguyen, told KNTV he doesn’t know who bought the winning ticket, but it’s likely someone he knows — most of his customers are his friends. “I feel good! I don’t even know, I can’t sleep tonight,” Nguyen told the station late Tuesday.

For selling a winning ticket in Tuesday’s drawing, Nguyen will get $1 million, California Lottery officials said.

“You can understand why that retailer was smiling last night,” state lottery spokeswoman Donna Cordova said Wednesday.

Reddick said the winner has 180 days to claim the prize in Georgia. The clock began ticking Tuesday.

Like the policies for store owners receiving bonus money, the number of days and anonymity for the winner varies by state, Otto said in an email to The Associated Press.

Otto, who is also the Virginia Lottery’s executive director, said $336 million in tickets were sold for Tuesday’s drawing — they had projected $319 million.

“Sales were a little better than we’d anticipated,” Otto said. “It was a fun run, it was our first holiday run for either of the big jackpot games.”

The jackpot started its ascent on Oct. 4. Twenty-two draws came and went without a winner, Otto said. She also said a billion worth of tickets were sold during the run, earning the places that offer Mega Millions — 43 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands — a total of $300 million.

The jackpot resets to $15 million for the next drawing, which is on Friday night.

“For us, the main thing we’d like to get across is the level of excitement we saw all across California,” he said. “At one point, we were selling about 25,000 tickets per minute. It’s been an amazing experience. It’s unbelievable.”

Mega Millions changed its rules in October to help increase the jackpots by lowering the odds of winning the top prize. That means the chances of winning the jackpot are now about 1 in 259 million. It used to be about 1 in 176 million, nearly the same odds of winning a Powerball jackpot.

But that hasn’t stopped aspiring multimillionaires from playing the game.

“Oh, I think there’s absolutely no way I am going to win this lottery,” said Tanya Joosten, 39, an educator at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee who bought several tickets Tuesday. “But it’s hard for such a small amount of money to not take the chance.”

The Mega Millions revamp comes about two years after Powerball changed some of its game rules and increased the price of a ticket to $2 and added $1 million and $2 million secondary prizes. Mega Millions remains $1, and an extra $1 option has been expanded to allow up to $5 million as a secondary prize.

The changes in both games were aimed at creating bigger and faster growing jackpots. So far, it looks like it’s working.