The Beauty Within Shakespeare Garden
To this day, Shakepeare Garden in Central Park remains one of my all-time favorite places to visit. It's tranquil atmosphere, beautiful rustic scenery, and the complete sense of an escape from the hectic New York City streets makes you feel as though you've stepped into another world - almost like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe transformation. It's as if the entrance on Central Park West and 79th Street Transverse Rd leads you entirely straight into another realm.
You simply follow the trail down, leading you to the quaint little Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre. Two rustic benches are far off the the right, overlooking the cars passing through the park below.
If you continue on, straight past the cottage, you will reach a grand staircase with various sized stones making up the first half of the steps. The carved railings start off wide at the bottom and contour up with the staircase, until you reach the top, leading you to two more romantically carved benches, facing one another. They each have a tiny dedication mounted to the benches.
If you walk straight, passed the two benches lies a large plaque surrounded by an array of flowers, along with the quote, "This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath, May prove a beauteous flow'r when next we meet." - Romeo and Juliet. Beneath it is the name WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE. A circular stone walkway surrounds the plaque leading to other twisted walkways, flowers, bushes (including butterfly bushes - which attract various kinds of butterflies), and more beautifully crafted benches.
The two benches atop the grand staircase draw you in and beg for you to have a seat. Once you do, you become completely engrossed with the magnificent scenery and peaceful sounds that accompany it.
Personally, I can sit there for hours. It's the perfect getaway to relax, clear your head, and take in some of the world's natural beauty. The park forces you to slow down and smell the roses - no pun intended.
Each of the walkways makes you feel as though you're strolling through a maze. You are strangely overcome with the sense of wanting to be lost in there. You want to lose your sense of direction just so you can explore and find new things along the way. You will find yourself asking, "Was I just over here?" and just as you turn the bend, you notice something new and beautiful, with each twist, turn, and path you take.
If you look closely, you will discover things within the garden that you never expected. There are tiny plaques hidden within the flowers, ferns, and bushes, with quotes from some of William Shakespeare's famous works. It adds a twist of romance and some of the Shakespeare magic along with your journey.
The fences in the garden give this sense of transporting you to another time - a time of romance and beauty; a time where love was appreciated and noticed in all things, and not just between two people.
Life feels simpler, easier. The world is beautiful. You no longer hear the blasting of car horns, smell bus exhaust, or feel the rush of the busy New York Streets. Here in Shakespeare Garden, time feels as though it stands still.
If you wander through the pathways enough and let yourself become lost in the beautiful flowery maze, you may come across a beautiful old stone speckled sundial.
The flowers alone will make you stop and stare. Each season, various vibrant flowers are planted in the garden to fit with whichever season it is.
If you walk further up hill, you will find a staircase leading to a tall stone structure. This is Belvedere Castle. YES! - A CASTLE! What will you find when you reach the castle you ask? - Well, you are invited to go inside and climb the narrow stairways leading to different levels and balconies overlooking different parts of the park (directly over the mossy glazed Turtle Pond), and the rest of New York City.
It seems the higher you decide to climb in the castle, the narrower the staircases get. A word of caution to those who have any claustrophobia...you may not want to go past the first level up. All the way at the top, it can be a bit of a squeeze. But at the same time - what a view!
If you want some time to escape and see something beautiful or to do something a bit different in the city and enjoy nature - head to Central Park, but don't forget to check out this romantic wonderland called Shakespeare Garden. I promise, it's worth it!