Cranbrook House and Gardens
I love to find all of the peaceful, beautiful nooks around Metro-Detroit. I'm not sure that any single location has more of those the Cranbrook House and Gardens, a National Historic Landmark in Oakland County, Michigan. Cranbrook House was the primary residence of George and Ellen Booth (a family whose wealth originated in both iron-working and the heyday of publishing) until 1949. Albert Kahn, an architect whose noteworthy works pepper the entire city prepared the design for the now iconic English Arts and Crafts design.
Eventually, the estate became the cornerstone for a much more significant series of developments, all known locally under the ambit "Cranbrook," but now including secondary educational institutions, as well as the nationally recognized Cranbrook Academy of Art and Cranbrook Institute of Science. While I adore all of these different institutions, the home is my favorite place to meander because of the sheer breadth of the grounds. It is the kind of place where you can walk for miles without even realizing.
The gardens around the House occupy forty acres and contain something for every type of gardening aficionado, whether you prefer formal garden design or more naturalistic. My mother was born in England, so I'm partial to the English gardens around the manor, many surrounded by fieldstone walls.
"A life without beauty is only half-lived" - George Booth
Access to the greenhouse is generally limited, but it is one of my favorite parts of touring the grounds, as it recreates both an arid and greenhouse landscape that are otherwise only available with a plane ticket. Scattered through the grounds are various local treasures, such as the Pewabic Pottery which forms the backsplash of one of the fountains. Everywhere I look at Cranbrook, I see something beautiful, which makes it my favorite place to spend a Sunday afternoon.