Monday, August 6, 2012

Et In Arcadio Ego

I went to Michigan last week. Although, as it turned out, I'm pretty sure I wound up in England.
(All photos of Cranbrook House and grounds by LBG.)

Every evening when the clouds turned lavender and the sun began its slow heavy descent, my brother, his wife and I would gather up our children and cross an invisible border into a magical 19th century world. No sooner would we turn the corner from my mother's mid-century home than we would enter another land...one that goes by the name of Cranbrook.

First we would pass by this well-kept stone cottage with a blue slate roof and tapered chimney tucked into a thick glade of trees. (I'm pretty sure if I knocked on the door Trollope would answer.)
(Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. July, 2012.)

Then we would wander over to this Arcadian pond situated on a gentle rise that spilled over into a hillside waterfall...

...and walk through this village of buildings of higher learning with charmingly painted casement windows and ivy-clad walls.
 

A Tudor-style manor house (it dates from 1904) lay at the bottom of the garden. As we approached, we couldn't help but feel a palpable warmth emanating from it -- if walls could talk, I'm sure we would be able to hear the ghostly clinking of glasses and strains of laughter floating out onto the lawn. 

Up this staircase...

...and past this fountain...

..were the walled gardens. This little one had ancient branches trained up its walls, a darling blue painted door and a slightly shaggy appearance...

...while this one was nothing less than a well-coiffed feast for the eyes.

I never tired of seeing this little building. Those enormous windows make me want to set up an art studio. Design-wise, it has a little bit of everything going on -- red bricks, variegated stone wall, Greek columns, metal casement windows, green copper gutters --  but all the materials work together perfectly. (As Lady Crawley says in Vanity Fair, "I adore imprudent matches!")

Like all magical destinations, it was time to go home all too soon. 


19 comments:

Leslie Harris said...

Oh my goodness. I'm glad you took photos, because I wouldn't have believed this location. Such magical looking scenes, I felt like you were taking me into a fairy tale.
Leslie (aka Gwen Moss blog)

Lily said...

Gorgeous cool greens and silver... & you're right, that late summer light has the same sort of twilight nostalgia of England! It must be a nice contrast to the terra cotta of California.
Hope you're having a lovely summer!

Olga Roth said...

UNBELIEVABLE Lisa! Was Keira Knightley hiding behind some shrubbery in an emerald green silk charmeuse gown, with James Mcavoy by chance?

Hannah said...

I'd love to end up in England by mistake. This place looks beautiful!

Chemin des Muguets said...

Cranbrook appears to be the perfect spot for a Midsummer's eve ramble. So calming and inspiring. I hope to experience it in person one day. Marjorie

Melissa Kojima said...

Had you not written it was Michigan, I too would have sworn it was England that you visited. What a magical place. And what gorgeous photos you took of it!

Veronica Roth said...

Oh my goodness! I love walled gardens. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have one? I'm in my second month in England right now and loving the private garden tours.

Pamela RG said...

The estate is beautiful and the gardens so elegant. Who would have known this existed in Michigan?! Thanks for sharing.

Emily said...

This treasured area is absolutely breathtaking!
Your mom is lucky to be surrounded by such beauty.

ABG said...

Lisa - Michigan is beautiful especially in summer, you've captured the quality of the light in early evening perfectly.
Thank you!
ABG
P.S. This is where Mitt Romney went to school.

kathy peck said...

Incredibly gorgeous, and of course would never have guessed Michigan. Love the deep greens.

Diane James Home said...

So beautiful and serene - I especially love the reflection of the sunset sky in the water! Thanks for sharing your little slice of heaven! XO, Cynthia

Cranbrook House and Gardens said...

Lisa, we are thrilled that you were able to discover what many refer to as a jewel in the community. You truly captured the Cranbrook experience, with both your beautiful photography and charming words. We hope that you will come back and visit Cranbrook House and Gardens again and welcome all your members to witness the wonders first hand as well.

Cranbrook House and Gardens is maintained primarily through the commitment and dedication of Auxiliary volunteers. Admissions fees ($6/adults, $5/seniors, $15/family) help achieve the mission of conservation, restoration and preservation of the Cranbrook founders’ home and gardens. For more information on Cranbrook House and Gardens, please visit our website: http://housegardens.cranbrook.edu/

ArchitectDesign™ said...

So jealous! I've always wanted to go to Cranbrook. Bob's sister lives nearby in Detroit so one of these days I'll insist upon a visit. Love your photos.

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aracelisrandomness said...

Dear Lisa, one of the good things of coming back from a holiday abroad was to be able to enjoy a few of your posts in one go - thanks so much!
Love the reference to Brideshead ;-)
Araceli

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Such a wonderful place. It's really good place for spending holidays. I ll waiting for our next updates.

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