In Fathom’s book TruepassengerNorth America (And Avoid Being a Tourist), there is a whole chapter dedicated to taking it nice and easy. It’s called The Joy of Slowing Down, and it’s a method, a mantra, and a movement. You can get a taste for it in the excerpt below.
Botanical landscapes are best when dreamed up by poets, artists, and eccentrics.
Tucked away on a 16-
acre (6-hectare) reserve at the end of
Long Island, textile designer, author, and
collector Jack Lenor Larsen built his
home and sculpture gardens, “as a case
study to exemplify a creative approach
to contemporary life.” Visitors may
take their time roaming the grounds to
experience landscaping and architecture
as an art form (flowering ornamental
borders, canopy of deciduous trees, 7th-century-
Sculptural installations (by Buckminster
Fuller, Yoko Ono, Kara Walker, and Willem
de Kooning, among others) surprise and
delight when juxtaposed with nature.
It’s intimate and innovative, a veritable
playground for those seeking creative
group of surreal fantasy structures
more than 2000 feet (610 meters) above
sea level, created by artist, poet, and
surrealist supporter Edward James in a
subtropical rainforest in the mountains.
A labyrinth of paths and living walls leads
to pools, waterfalls, nonsensical doors
that open to nothing and towering
staircase structures that lead nowhere.
Read more on Fathom: Lost in a Dream in the Surrealist Garden of Mexico
An antidote to the meticulously
manicured resorts on the island, this
place is lush and overgrown, with an
ancient sinkhole that is now a wonderful
home for royal palms. There are plenty
of hideaways and antique stone benches
for taking in the trees, birds, wind,
and classical music wafting from the
horticulturalist’s home – which you are
invited into, and is filled with wildlife, old
furniture, and a tuned piano for guests to
Tropical paradise with a raucous
backstory. Do not skip the two-hour
guided tour of the outrageously creative
garden, which served as living theater for
an architect-and-artist couple who built
outdoor “rooms” to host wild, hedonistic
parties for notable visitors to their
particularly stunning slice of oceanfront.
There are exotic water features,
sculptures, and unbelievably giant plants
– like the Moreton Bay fig trees with their
humongous roots (made famous by a
Jurassic Park cameo).
Olmedo was a fabulously
successful businesswoman who hoarded
a treasure trove of folk art, pre-Hispanic
artifacts, and one of the world’s best
collections of work from Frida Kahlo and
Diego Riviera (scandalous backstories
included) in a rambling 16th-century
hacienda at the southern edge of the
city. The grounds are inhabited by a wild
mix of colossal agave plants, colorful
dahlias, tons of strutting peacocks,
gnarled cypress trees, and a pack of rare
hairless xoloitzcuintli dogs, one of the
most ancient breeds on the continent
(highly regarded by the Mesoamericans
3500 years ago).
When a 1000-plus acre (400-plus-hectare), 18th-century Quaker farm became a private residence circa 1906, it also became a canvas of sorts for owner and industrialist Pierre S. du Pont, who drew inspiration from the world fairs he attended across the country. One such brainstorm yielded an enormous pipe organ (it took fourteen railway freight cars to transport), which, when played, can be heard throughout the conservatory greenhouse. There are surprising vistas at every turn, plus native wildflower fields, a water garden, elaborate fountains (du Pont loved water features), and a 60-foot-tall (18-meter-tall) carillon, a musical instrument normally found in bell towers, that plays its sixty-two bells in concert for visitors in the summer and fall.
In the early
1900s, a Sicilian immigrant and citrus
grower, following the beat of his own
drum and trying to escape the oppressive
Central Valley summer heat, turned
farmland into catacombs: a vast network
of subterranean tunnels, Romanesque
arches, courtyards, and rooms. The
excavation – all done by hand with
shovels and picks – lasted forty years,
spanning 10 acres (4 hectares) and going
25 feet (8 meters) deep, planted with
fruit trees, shrubs, and grape vines.
Don’t Stop There. Read the Whole Book!
Excerpted with permission from TruepassengerNorth America: (and Avoid Being a Tourist) by Pavia Rosati and Jeralyn Gerba, published by Hardie Grant Books, June 2021.
Everything on Fathom is independently selected by our editors. (Especially our own book.) If you shop through a link on our website, we may earn a commission.