Introducing: My Hometown Travels…and tell us about yours!
In light of the COVID pandemic, our routines have been and continue to be radically changed. Much like Alice Through the Looking Glass, my world, as a travel writer, has shrunk to the confines of the Upper West Side of Manhattan…my home for the last 35 years. Rather than heading to the airport to catch an international flight or board a ship to sail the seven seas, I leave home daily(wearing my mask) for a 2-3 mile walk thru my “hometown” to get some urgently needed exercise and frankly just to get out of the apartment! Inadvertently, my daily “mental health” pilgrimage has introduced me to several local hidden gems, that until now either I overlooked or took for granted. All are unique and would warrant a visit next time you find your way to the Big Apple.
In that spirit, I invite you to reciprocate. Share something special or meaningful with us about your hometown, region, state, or country…something you would want us to experience if we were able to visit…maybe a park, a restaurant, a store, or local sights. Just a paragraph or two and several JEPG’s and we’ll post it. Travel is about people, not just places and we would love to hear about something you feel is special about your “hometown”. Here is to awakening the travel writer in YOU!
My Hometown Travels: The Cloisters
In Manhattan’s northern reaches, Washington Heights (the inspiration for Lin Manuel Miranda’s first Broadway smash, “In the Heights”) is home to the Cloisters. Also called the Met Cloisters, it was built in the 1930tys by John D. Rockefeller. It contains a collection of medieval artworks displayed in a setting recreated from French monasteries and abbeys. The museum is centered around several actual European cloisters dismantled in Europe and moved to New York.
Located in Ft Tyron Park, it sits on a steep hill between the Hudson and East Rivers. You will discover several levels of beautifully recreated medieval gardens. Wandering the grounds, you’ll come across a series of chapels and theme galleries that are fascinating and the entire experience lends itself to a sense of serenity. The design, layout, and ambiance of the buildings, its gardens, and cloisters are intended to evoke a sense of Medieval Monastic life. Needless to say, it is probably one of the most peaceful places in all of New York.
The extensive collection of art and architecture reflects a period between the 12th and 15th centuries and is spectacular. There are vivid examples of Medieval panel paintings, sculpture, stained glass, tapestries, and illuminated manuscripts. The gardens and architecture are simply beautiful. All presented in a way to almost recreate what it might have been like as a monk, sequestered from the hard realities of daily medieval life while surrounded by artistic and spiritual inspiration.
A relatively unknown extension to New York’s renowned Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters combines lovely outdoor gardens, period architecture, and more than 5,000 pieces of medieval art to create an inspired respite from the tumult of the city. Plan to take at least a full afternoon for your first visit…and take advantage of a relaxed pace to embrace this very special place.
You can take an Uber or taxi there and I suggest you enjoy the M4 city bus on the way back downtown as it meanders through colorful local neighborhoods along the way.
For more information, entrance fee & reservation details and to plan your visit: Met Museum / Plan Your Visit