“I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree.” ~~W.B. Yeats, “The Lake of Innisfree” (1888)
We arose Saturday morning and went to Innisfree. We went to the one in Millbrook, New York. It was highly recommended by our innkeeper, Kim, at the B&B where we are staying in Hyde Park, New York. It is recognized as one of the “world’s ten best gardens,” and after spending the morning there, I’d say we agree wholeheartedly with that assessment. Innisfree was created by landscape architect Lester Collins for Walter and Marion Beck over many years beginning in the late 1920’s. Mr. Beck was fascinated with Asian art and it supplied lasting inspiration for Innisfree. In the 1930s, Mr. Beck discovered the work of an eighth century Chinese poet, painter, and garden maker Wang Wei. Wei created small garden vignettes within a larger naturalistic landscape. This concept was called “cup gardens” and, though drawing from both Chinese and Japanese influences, the cup gardens are decidedly different from the “rooms” found in Japanese gardens. Below are some of our fav photos although it is very difficult to choose. It’s an incredible place; if you are ever in the area, don’t miss it. It is truly an incredible labor of love and a work of art.
After we left Innisfree, we popped in at Lola’s Cafe in New Paltz for a quick bite, then hustled on to Opus 40 outside Saugerties, NY. That’s located basically at the backside of nowhere, FYI. Opus 40 is difficult to describe. It’s very cool, but I guess the question that kept rattling around in my head was, “Why?” Harvey Fite and his wife, Barbara, created by hand, this six and one half acre “sculpture and earth-art work” entirely from bluestone quarried from the area. Fite was inspired by Mayan and Aztec stonework techniques. The site is framed by majestic Catskills Mountain views, maximizing and enhancing the impact of Opus 40. It was weirdly interesting. If you are in the neighborhood, do stop for an hour, but, to be honest, maybe you don’t need to drive several hours to see it. It does prove that art comes in many forms and everyone has their favorite medium. Also, if the little Lawson boys are in the back seat, … um … drive by quickly. Jayne, their maternal grandmother took a quick look at a photo that I texted to her and said, “Nope, they would not be using the steps; they would be scaling the walls!” Yep, she’s got that right.
This was written on June 12, 2021. I’m still working to get caught up!