An Afternoon at Terrain

There are many days when I am not working where I just want to be alone. Nursing takes such a toll on me mentally and emotionally that I crave a few hours where no one is asking something of me. Lately, I have been having dreams about work which tells me that the stress is mounting. I dream about patients, about giving the wrong medication, about someone dying. I wake up startled and sweaty, convinced I am going to be fired.

This morning was particularly stressful as our family made the decision to put one of our beloved cats to sleep. She was 16 years old and had suffered an acute medical crisis. When I went to our veterinarian for an update she looked terrible – lethargic and cold and unresponsive except for a few feeble mews. Given my feelings about prolonging the suffering of humans, there was little doubt in my mind that Libby should be released from this world. It was a peaceful event and she was gone in seconds. Probably to her brother, Rudy, who died a few months ago.

I decided that the afternoon called for lunch at Terrain – one of my favorite places to be on a bright, sunny day. The property used to be home to several nurseries and greenhouses established by Jacob Styer in 1890. The business became famous for its cut flowers, especially peonies. Spring is in full bloom there and you are greeted by a glorious riot of color from the many plants they offer. Their cafe is housed in a green house where the tables are surrounded by a bounty of verdant leaves of all shapes and sizes – ivies and staghorn ferns and mosses. It didn’t hurt that I had $100 to burn on a gift card that I had been saving since my birthday in January. I took a few photos with my Instax camera, too, so I could get an idea of how it handles color and bright light. I was pretty pleased with the overall quality and how the photos had an ethereal, vintage quality to them. Obviously, those shots are not digital, so you won’t find them here.


Welcome! These bright green signs sit below planters filled with seasonal flora. The entrance was lined with an array of colorful flowers just waiting for a home.


These spectacular blooms belong to a shade-loving plant called “Fuschia”. No, really, that is it’s proper name. Obviously, you can see why. I hemmed and hawed over whether or not to add this to my collection of plants at home (I already have two succulent terrariums, a tuberous begonia, and numerous vegetable seedlings taking root). In the end I grabbed one to take home and will hang it on the deck. The buds are these plump, tomato-shaped balls that burst open to reveal curly purple-pink petals and fringe-like stamens. It’s so beautiful to see up close and makes me immensely happy.


Terrain is known for their whimsical and stunning design aesthetic. They import magical pieces of furniture and such from all over the world. If I won the lottery I would a) get married on Terrain’s property and b) have them landscape my entire home. Not only can you purchase this beautifully rustic meditation temple for your backyard, you can also have them erect a canvas tent for outdoor entertaining, too. All you need is, you know, a few thousand dollars in spare change. Wouldn’t you like to sit on one of those benches with a cup of tea while the sun rises? Me too.


This door-within-a-door with it’s iron rivets makes me think of a medevial castle gate. You wouldn’t want to be opening a portion of your defenses against the world, so you make a small entryway. The small door is part of a set of tall, peaked wooden gates that act as entryway to the nursery for fruit trees and shrubs.


Did you knwo that there are many different types of Hydrangeas? Hydrangeas are one of my favorite species of flower (ranunculus and peonies being next in line). This particular variety is more ornamental and short-lived than their shrub-by counterpart. The petals are pointed rather than round, but their configuration still reminds me of studying fractals in grammar school.


Of course, no trip to Terrain should be without a meal in their cafe. Life isn’t complete until one has tried their freshly baked bread pots. Yes, fresh bread in a terracotta pot! I ordered the spring gnocchi with brussel sprouts, fiddlehead ferms, turnip greens, and morel mushrooms. I could have easily downed several plates full of this! Especially with their “Blue Eyes” iced tea – a white tea with hints of blueberries and wild flowers. Instead, I saved room for dessert and my favorite hot beverage: strawberry rhubarb tart and a honey tea au lait. Then I let myself run a little wild in their shop where I picked up a bar of peony soap (doesn’t it make your morning a bit better when you was with a lovely soap?), my fuschia hanging basket, a linen apron I’ve been coveting for months now, and a set up hanging bud vases. Considering the start to the day, it was a wonderful afternoon – filled with beauty and life and the simple joy of having time to myself.