A Baroque Escape in Gotham City

By Evelyn Theiss / October 28, 2011

On the northern tip of Manhattan, a secret garden invites you to another century. Just a 30-minute subway ride from Midtown, the Cloisters offers a sense of solitude that feels impossible in the city. Emerging from the subway, you enter the oasis that is Fort Tryon Park. Trees and slopes give way to the wide, gently flowing Hudson River, but looking upward and just ahead, you’ll see what looks like a medieval fortress — a welcoming one.

Breathe deeply as you walk its winding paths to the jewel beyond that is the Cloisters. Sit for a spell on the many benches (you can always find an empty one) and just take in nature. The modern world fades away as you gaze across the river at more rolling hills and a canopy of trees.

The Cloisters, part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is dedicated to the art and architecture of medieval Europe. Here, airy galleries take you from the Romanesque through the Gothic periods, with tapestries, illuminated manuscripts and stained glass windows. Each building’s courtyards add to the sense of the spiritual.

Framed by colonades that were originally part of a 12th-century cloister in France, the courtyards evoke centuries of contemplative power. In winter, medieval concerts are held here, adding yet another devotionally historic element. But with or without music, and in any season, the Cloisters beckon you to step away from the demands of the 21st century.

They invite you to let your heart and mind slow down, and your soul to find its voice. metmuseum.org/cloisters

Evelyn Theiss

Evelyn Theiss

Evelyn Theiss is a print and online reporter who has covered everything from national politics to fashion in her journalism career. Now, she's a health reporter whose beat is nutrition and wellness. But this Midwesterner has found the greatest inspiration for her own journey to well-being at spas--whether those spas are in the U.S., Europe or Asia.
Evelyn Theiss

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