Last week, I took a vacation day to go explore the Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Long Island. On the way, our GPS had a slight mental breakdown, and sent us down a crazy rabbit hole. We ended up driving along this narrow, one-lane/two-way street alongside a narrow canal (or possibly stream) connected to the Connetquot River. The stream was lined with gorgeous houses with perfectly manicured yards that led directly to the water. Every (relatively small) house had at least one fancy boat docked in front of the house, and it felt like we’d stumbled upon Narnia as interpreted by the Hamptons. We eventually found our way back out and to the Arboretum, but I haven’t been able to get the weird little neighborhood out of my head since.
When I was looking through my drafts trying to find something to write about today, I stumbled upon a video I’d saved of the German district known as Spreewald, and it seemed like just the thing. I knew that accidental detour was ringing a bell!
Designated a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1991, the district of Spreewald is known for its more than 200 small canals leading to the River Spree. Many of the homes are built on their own little islands, reachable only by boat in warmer weather and over the ice in the winter. That sounds so quaint and fun (though probably less so in weather).