As a fan of the show Portlandia, Oregon’s largest city inevitably crept up on my travel list. I allotted a weekend to explore the city and a few gardens, before continuing on my Pacific Northwest road trip. Even though I packed in as much as possible, I still felt like I missed out.
If you’re short on time, but want to see the very best of Portland, here are a few places to start:
New Orleans has some incredible homes, especially Uptown in the Garden District. And what say you about those French Quarter homes renovated by businessman Sidney Torres? Ridiculously nice. Some locals would say that the most exclusive real estate is a final resting spot in Metairie Cemetery. But for me, it’s a mansion and gardens in the outskirts of New Orleans called, Longue Vue.
Are-bore-eat’em. Not sure why this word trips me up. But then again, a lot of words trip me up. If you’re unfamiliar with the meaning of Arboretum, it’s a botanical garden that specializes in trees and shrubs exclusively. In the case of the U.S. National Arboretum, there are plenty of types of trees, like apples, maples, and dogwoods, but, hands down, the highlight is the Azalea Collection.
Approximately 11.5 miles northeast of Los Angeles is one of my most favorite places in Southern California: The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens. Encompassing 207 acres of land in the San Gabriel Valley, it is an Olympic feat to see it all in one day.
The trees are not tall enough to obscure the Atlanta skyline, but that’s part of the Botanical Garden’s charm. It’s not an oasis from the city, it is very much the city. One minute you’re in the heart of midtown with music blaring from cars and the next you’re under a lush trellis looking at a dragon-shaped topiary.
The Garden’s cornerstone event is Garden Lights, Holiday Lights, now in its tenth year. It’s the perfect pick-me-up if you’re looking for Christmas cheer. Countless bulbs light up the garden, bringing a smile to even the grinchiest among us.
If you go: 1345 Piedmont Ave NE. Click here for directions and parking instructions.
“It is a land of love and wondrous beauty Where fragrant flowers ever will grow”
from The Prettiest Flowers by Tim Surrett
No matter how much of a city person you are, there is something magical that happens when you surround yourself in a lush landscape and bathe in the extraordinary colors of flowers in bloom. Luckily, in the Caribbean, you are never too far from being surrounded by natural beauty. Beyond the sun, sea and sand, the region also offers exquisite flora in must-visit botanic gardens and parks. These are a few of my favorite places that feature some of the most unique and picturesque vegetation in the world.