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Ventana - An Enchanting Resort in BIg Sur

Summary: I love Ventana. I highly recommend visiting  and exploring the landscape at Lime Kiln and Andrew Molera State Park which I've blogged about here. Please note this is #notsponsored . Yes, that means we paid our own bill! Lots of details in the following review. including a Post Ranch vs Ventana comparison.  Can you tell there's something exciting beyond this beautiful gate? There's something special about Big Sur, a magic in the light, the presence of the Pacific, the cliffs, beaches, redwood forests and the murmur of the surf. It's one of my favorite places in California. I couldn't think of anywhere else I wanted to be to celebrate turning fifty, because it's a place where there's a sense of nature, space and light and a wide horizon. We've been to Big Sur many times and for a celebration there are two fantastic hotels vying for your attention. The exclusive, modern and very private, cliff top Post Ranch Inn and on the other side of the road the …

Modern Gardens of the Dordogne - Les Jardins du Manoir d'Eyrignac


Despite the rain I loved the gardens at Eyrignac. This is such a magical place. It doesn't have the view that you can enjoy at Marqueyssac but there's an intimacy here. It feels like a family home and you can see the newer areas where they're extending the garden into the surrounding fields which I enjoyed. This garden feels like a work in progress.
Parts of the garden are marked by regularity and repetition in the traditional French style (see above) but it's also modern and whimsical as you can see below. The topiaries feel like chess pieces that have run across the lawn when we weren't looking and now  they've paused momentarily as we turn our heads back towards  them.
I particularly liked these spouting frogs and the red bench which draws the eye through the gardens. 
There are a number of places where urns, benches and sculpture are artfully used to direct lines of sight through the greenery.

At the heart of the garden is the tiny chapel, which you can peak into, and the family home which is not open to visitors. The estate, the website declares,  been in the same family  for twenty two generations. 
You can feel the sense of people and place in this garden which has a very intimate familial feel. Yes, it's a commercial experience - you buy a ticket,  eat at the cafe and you exit through the gift shop, but the place speaks to you through the views, lines and curves of the plants which are captivating.
As you can see we had a great time despite the drizzle. Highly recommended to anyone who finds themselves nearby. I only wish I could make it there for their European Heritage Days where, for two days a year you're invited to walk on the grass, explore every private  of the garden and go inside the Manor, it sounds like fun!

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