I had been meaning to visit Quarry Hill Botanical Gardens for some time now, and I’m so glad I did. The gardens are located off Highway 12 in Glen Ellen, so about a 15 minute drive from the Sonoma Square.
I started my morning off slowly, with some extra time under the covers just soaking in the quiet and stillness. After a sufficient snooze, I roused myself, got dressed (yep, remembered to do that), and headed over to the Barking Dog for a decaf coffee and cinnamon bun the size of my face. I didn’t think there was any way I could finish that bun, but I did. It was pretty tasty, but that was a lot of dough. Good thing there was a good amount of walking in my near future.
Getting to the gardens was easy and there are signs pointing in the right direction so its not difficult to figure out where to park, pay, etc. Once you do all of that good stuff, the entrance is up an incline, and off you go…
I recommend wearing some sturdy walking shoes, as there are paved sections as well as plenty of trails. I wore a pair of Merrel boots that worked well.
What surprised me the most about QH was the expanse of it! I expected more of a quaint, picturesque sort of garden. But really this was a series of walking/nature trails with plenty of hills to keep you working. You also really choose your own adventure, there’s not a course you have to follow. That makes it really fun, because you can wander off in different directions, down tiny trails, and do your own discovering.
This little area seemed to be a meditation or area of thoughtfulness… it was beautiful and one of my favorite parts of the gardens. I didn’t see details about this at the entrance (probably because I didn’t grab one of the brochures), but people had written their wishes on these cards and hung them on the beams of the structure.
I walked for about an hour and a half total, and kept stumbling upon beautiful surprises.
At the top (or what seemed to be the top) of the trails was a lovely sitting area with Tibetan prayer flags, a stone offering area, and a nice chance for a bit of reflection.
I headed back and around, and found my way to the exit. Before I left I had to snap a few pictures of the vineyards at the entrance. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that there are vineyards here, this is Sonoma after all. 🙂