The Cloisters is actually a large collection of cloisters and other parts of medieval European monasteries, salvaged from a host of unworthy uses (one old monastery was being used as a stable) and utter ruin to be compiled into one beautiful museum. All these disparate pieces were woven together into a re-creation of the sort of ideal medieval monastic institution, and it is simply gorgeous. So peaceful and serene. The main cloister of the complex hosts an heirloom garden, stocked only with plants available to the monks and nuns of the time period depicted. Rooms throughout the museum are filled with artifacts suitable to the rooms in which they are placed, so that the fact that they are "exhibits" is made as inobtrusive as possible, their presence a part of the organic whole.
The "monastery" features everything from a chapter house and running fountains to a private chapel wherein lie the bones of a long-forgotten noble European family. It is a truly amazing experience.
Sounds wonderful, but why am I telling you all this, right? Because five years ago today, on one of the balconies of The Cloisters overlooking the Hudson River, my wonderful husband, Michael, got down on one knee, asked for my hand in marriage, and then lovingly and patiently helped me lean up against the wall and rest for a moment when I nearly fainted from excitement. I'm not kidding.