There is nothing quite as refreshing as spending time in nature so on this Country Inn Day I gather up a book or two and head out to the gardens of Stan Hywet Hall in Akron, Ohio.
I always feel that I’m leaving earth and going off to heaven as I enter the gates of Stan Hywet. With a little imagination they could be the gates of heaven. I enter and leave all cares behind me.
I enter slowly with great anticipation.
But the house is not what I’m interested in today. I do love love country houses but today is a Nature day. I’m off to the gardens. In each garden I shall sit and read for a bit taking in the beauty all around me. Do join me on this outing.
Years ago the rhodos were huge and glorious but then they became overgrown and it was necessary to replant a new supply. Sad that gardens, like people, get old and pass on. So much of human life can be seen in nature. I walk on and see before me a row of lovely evergreens.
And now on to the sunken English Garden. It’s my favorite.
I walk on and enter the stairs which take me down.
The stone work is so beautiful. The statuary enchanting. I come to the door of the garden. The anticipation ….
Once inside I find a bench and enjoy my book with the beauty of plants, water, statuary and beautiful stonework all around me.
I could stay in The English Garden for hours but there are so many other gardens to enjoy. I must move on.
I get comfortable on this stone bench, hard yes, but so beautiful. As I sit here and read I look up and see the lovliest stone balisters.
Eventually I walk forward and look down beyond the balisters at a garden below. There’s a path with lovely stepping stones between the flowering plants.
Moving on I approach a look out point.
I stop here and reflect for a while. In this setting all cares melt away. Beauty does that for me and for most people, so it is important to place ourselves in beautiful surroundings as often as possible. But now join me in the Japanese Garden.
It is so peaceful here, down many stone steps. You’ve seen the bench where I sit wih my book. People occasioanlly walk by but they are quiet. In the words of Walt Whitman – “I loaf and invite my soul.”
The residents of this house years ago enjoyed a swimming pool inside the house, but out here they played tennis. They are gone now and the court is almost gone, but not quite. Some poles still exist which must’ve supported the fencing to catch their balls.
You don’t have to rely on your imagination to picture the people of the past playing tennis here because there are pictures posted of these privledged folks enjoying themselves. The fashions of the past do look uncomfortable for playing tennis but they were elegant. At times I wish the styles would return “but the tender grace of a day that is dead will never come back to me” so says Alfred Lord Tennyson.
I keep walking and I see a stream and a romantic bridge in the distance.
I climb the bridge, look at the fish and toads in the pond below and then walk up, up, and up, to the rolling lawns near the house.
There is much open space.
After some resting and some reading I make my way to the Birch tree allee.
The path ends at a look out point
I look down and there’s another area to investigate but first I come upon a large brick drive. It leads to the house. Supplies were delivered to the house using this entranceway.
I keep walking to the cutting gardens
Lin Yutang said, ” Talk of mysteries! Think of our life in nature – daily to be shown matter, to come in contact with it – rocks, trees, wind on our cheeks!” This is exactly what I’m doing on this Country Inn Nature Day. I’m coming in very close contact with nature.
I see a grape arbor in the distance.
I must investigate.
The grapes are luscious to look at and luscious to nibble. Can we ever have too much of a good thing? The designer of these gardens didn’t know when to stop. The gardens keep going and going and going. Now for a walk down some stairs – yes, more stone steps.
Now to stroll this area. There are more ponds and much more open space to explore, but as you can see these gardens are so much more than plants. There is a great deal of hardscape.
I go way to the back of the grounds to take it all in and this is what I see.
I climb back up the many stairs…
And I come to the children’s garden. It is a very fun place with fountains that make music and create bubbles. There’s a castle for children to investigate, giant bowling pins for a little game, and a whimsical truck filled with flowers growing in it.
And that’s not all. Next I come to the Greenhouse
There’s even a lovely patio beside it – another nice place to sit with my book. And did I mention the Butterfly house?
Inside this building butterflies flit all around you. It’s a very happy place.
There was so much to take in at the gardens here. I shared only a small part of what I enjoyed. I have read that when we observe beauty it becomes us. We carry it with us and express it in the things we do with our lives.
“Think… of the world you carry within you. Rainer Maria Rilke
I reluctantly leave these gardens but the ride home through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is quite delightful. I pass miles of the most charming yellow flowers growing wild along the road. There were millions of them. I got home and called the park, speaking to a ranger, inquiring what exactly these yellow flowers were and I was told they were called Wing stems.
A Country Inn Nature Day is bliss.
7 thoughts on “A Country Inn Nature Day”
I visited that wonderful place 30 years ago. The silence of the Japanese garden stays with me to this day. If my memory serves me right, I could not even hear the traffic on the highways because of the thick bed of pine needles below and I suppose the trees themselves. The whole of the estate is perfect. The English garden reminded me of the movie, Camelot.
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Hello Mo, so glad you were able to experience the Stan Hywet gardens for yourself. They’re truly a little heaven on earth, aren’t they? Nature lovers are kindred spirits.
As I sit on my front porch in South Carolina on a sultry September afternoon, I feel refreshed and cool sharing in your Nature Day up north! How I love the winding stone staircases and the birch allee! I can almost smell the green and hear the whisper of the breeze. Thanks for sharing your experience and the words of your favorite poets and authors. I am curious, what book were you reading as you moved from garden to garden? Let’s make a date to go there together next summer!
Carolyn, So nice to hear from you from sultry South Carolina. Yes, let’s do Stan Hywet’s gardens next Summer. I made a note. We should also walk through the Fine Arts Garden at The Cleveland Museum of Art. I enjoyed a sculpture tour there last week. Remind me to send you the lovely brochure the museum provided. Now about the book I was reading at Stan Hywet – It was “Stillmeadow Seasons” by Gladys Taber. Do you know her work? It’s out of print but I initially found her books at the library and now I look for them at antique shops. I love her books. Check them out. When you have time write me a long letter and tell me what you’re up to.
Carol Ann, what a wonderful and evocative blog entry. It is beautifully crafted–a real work of art. Thank you so much for your words and pictures!
And thank you Gubbinal for your very kind words