What if you could pretend to travel back in time, discover a historic woman’s personal, larger than life art collection, and walk through her home for a day?
There is one place in Boston that can offer you that in a captivating, engaging, and realistic way. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is a must-see for tourists and locals in Boston alike, and has been at the top of my Boston bucket list. I’d recommend this destination for a classy girls day out, a cool date idea, or a beautiful escape from the elements through the worst winter cold snaps.
I got a hot tip from my boss about the Bank of America Museums on Us program on every first full weekend of the month. Lucky me, the Gardner museum is one of the handful of participants, so we made it in FOR FREE! However, the $15 admission for non-member adults seems very reasonable and a small price to pay for such an enchanting location.
It was just as I had imagined and more. I’ve come across several breathtaking photos of the courtyard in my research, but seeing it in person would explain just why it’s an irresistible subject. It conveys a different feel at every angle, and as I circled through the galleries and the sun slowly set, the light danced and played around the garden in a magnificent way.
Around the courtyard, on the ground level, were the small collections. Alex, being the big planner that he is, read ahead about the robbery mystery at the museum almost 27 years ago, giving our tour a fun little scavenger-hunt like twist. Without his looking eye, I would have missed all the clues to the stolen pieces that comprise the biggest art heist in history.
A few moments into the trip and we found ourselves looking for something else, too. There are no tags or descriptors on most of the artifacts, which I liked for the more intimate and personal feel it gave this special place. The room guides were easy to find, however, and were highly informative as Alex and I paced ourselves through the collections and exhibits.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a chapel there with this beautiful stained glass (below). It added a solemn tone to our tour as we were wrapping up from the top level of the museum.
That day, since it was free for BoA cardholders, it was bustling with activity. By the time we left, there was a line out the door and around the corner! We made a mental note to get there earlier next time so we can find some quiet moments in the courtyard.
I also found myself getting drawn to all the interesting features and contrasts within the museum’s architecture. SO many details worth sharing, even down to the quote tiles in the bathroom.
Before we ended our trip, we made sure to go into the greenhouse and get some extra fresh air to carry us through the rest of the winter. At that point in time, it was a GORGEOUS day and we were far from the bitter and harsh early weeks of March.
We have yet to check out the gardens, so we’ll be back for those and everything else! I feel so fortunate to have such a rich venue like this be so accessible within the city. I can hardly wait for the warmth, color, and scents of the new season and to see this lovely place come alive in a new way then. This trip was just what I needed to remember to hang tight – the cold doesn’t last forever – and spring is right around the corner.
Please feel free to share your thoughts on the snaps and my Gardner experience below! Thanks for reading and following along 🙂
For more information on the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, go to www.gardnermuseum.org