I have to start out this post by saying that I cannot believe it took me so long to experience The Cloisters. The Cloisters are part of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, all be it about 45 minutes north of the actual main art museum and out of the way of most attractions in the city. This may be why many never make it to this hidden gem.
Heading up to The Cloisters is like a mini-vacation (much like the 45 minute train ride to Long Beach) from the hustle of the city and you don't have to rent a car or pack a bag. Although, next time I go I may pack a picnic and spend some time in Fort Tyron Park (worth a visit for the park alone) and the beauty of what lies just north of the George Washington Bridge.
Back to the musuem, which was built in the 1930s resembling architectural elements of several European medieval abbeys. The building, which is a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is dedicated to exhibiting art and architecture from Medieval Europe. Here you'll find a wonderful collection of medieval art that ranges from tapestry to sculpture, and whole spaces that have been meticulously transported from abroad and reassembled here. I particularly enjoyed the chapels, the courtyards and getting a chance to see the unicorn tapestry (The Hunt of the Unicorn) that was recreated at Sterling Castle in Stirling, Scotland which I had the pleasure of seeing in 2011.
The outside areas at The Cloisters are just as interesting as the inside, and we had wonderful weather to explore the grounds and gardens. Seeing the apple trees ready to be picked and all the herbs and fruit trees as they would have been was fascinating, and everything in the garden is edible or medicinal.
I adore medieval art, architecture and history and whenever I travel to Europe I make it a point to visit a museum to experience and see what has been preserved and restored. How exciting to have something in this vain right off the A train! I couldn't recommend a visit to The Cloisters more, whether you're new to medieval art and history or not. It's a special and unique place just north of New York City, and I cannot wait to visit the museum in each season to explore its treasures.
All images by Lady K Designs via Instagram