Tom here. I’ve been going through the photo albums here on the computer, and wanted to post something about a visit we made last August to Innisfree Garden in Millbrook, NY, which is here in Dutchess County, but about a 45 minute drive from our house. Millbrook, unlike Beacon, is sort of a money town, filled with antique shops (as is Beacon) but also horse farms and million dollar houses. The local realtors typically describe it as “quaint” (which is part of its selling point). It’s also a bit of a celebrity mecca, with Katie Couric, Mary Tyler Moore, Liam Neeson, Paulina Porizkova, Sigourney Weaver, and Rufus Wainwright all having lived there at one time or another. Here’s an image of a three million dollar house in Millbrook, the type of place where one of these celebs might hang their hats.

Anyway, suffice it to stay that Millbrook is probably a bit outside of our price range 🙂 though that did not deter us from venturing there one day last summer.

Our day’s ultimate destination, as mentioned: Innisfree Garden, described as a 150-acre public garden in which the ancient art of Chinese landscape design has been reinterpreted to create, without recourse to imitation, a unique American garden. At Innisfree the visitor strolls from one three-dimensional picture to another. Streams, waterfalls, terraces, retaining walls, rocks, and plants are used not only to define areas but also to establish tension or motion. The 40-acre lake is glacial, most of the plant material is native, and the rocks have come from the immediate forest.

We were thus expecting some truly sublime beauty!

Before venturing there, however, we decided to grab a quick lunch at Shadows on the Hudson, a Poughkeepsie waterfront restaurant which features a very large second story seating area, including an outdoor space, with seats overlooking the Hudson River. Here’s a view of the Mid-Hudson Bridge, which connects Poughkeepsie  and Highland.

We enjoyed a lunch of wraps and sweet potato fries.

Here we are, enjoying some nice cold drinks on a hot summer’s day

Note also the modern, colorful decor of the bar area.

Our stomachs filled, we made our way then to Millbrook. Entering the Garden, its rules and its cup garden design principles are helpfully explained by this large sign.

As we strolled around the garden, one of the first visible features that caught our attention was what appeared to be a pond, but was actually a lake.

The lake was just filled with lily pads

Then, as we walked, we came upon a rock formation, over which water streamed down, producing a mist; my camera does not do this image justice.

And another view

Pretty spectacular, and very zen like!

Walking a bit further, we then happened upon both a wider view of the lake, along with this stone sculpture,

as well as a stone walkway/staircase.

We also saw occasional flowers and berries hidden amongst all the green, stones, and water.

A water spout was spraying water onto the grass, and as we passed by, we spotted a rainbow in the mist.

Viewing the lake again, we were struck by the sight of this family sitting so calmly, enjoying the view. The image strikes me as a cross between French Impressionism and Japanese Zen.

Here are a few more views of the lake.

As we approached the woodsier side of the trail, which took us up a hill,

we spotted a large bird, perhaps a kingfisher or heron, looking out toward the water from a tree.

So, that was our day in a nutshell. Innisfree Garden has got to be one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my whole life. Hope that you enjoyed sharing our experience of it. If you find yourself any time near Millbrook, it’s clearly worth a few hours visit. And who knows, you may spot a celebrity or two walking around in a moment of zen.

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