I discovered Mytoi Gardens on Chappaquiddick as I’m sure most people do – I biked past it on the way to East Beach, and was mesmerized by the sight of a formal Japanese garden, pine grove, and quiet pond on the side of the dirt road. Mytoi is a little gem brought into being by gardener Hugh Jones, who created the 14-acre contemplative garden as a respite from the completely laid-back atmosphere of Chappy. In other words, it’s so serene, it’s like narcolepsy.
A camellia dell, stone garden and birch walk are equally soporific – which means the odds that you’ll feel motivated to take the ½ mile Mytoi trail across the street to the salt marshes of Poucha Pond are absolutely nil. This is the place we Londergans go to forcibly relax, and it works every time.
In 2003, a bad hurricane hacked its way through the gardens and tore up a bunch of trees, which was about the most dramatic thing that’s happened to Mytoi in years, but the damage is all repaired now and everything is back to Japanese perfection. Mytoi is the ideal place to stop on the way to East beach or back to the ferry – and no trip to Chappy is complete without one visit to genuflect at the shrine.
Naturally, it’s part of The Trustees of Reservations, a Massachusetts land trust organization that is hard at work acquiring and maintaining more than 100 irreplaceable treasures like Mytoi. (For my full song of praise on the Trustees, see the post on 7/26). These Trustee places help us remember who we are, why we need to stop and observe the glories of nature, and they preserve a quiet place for those who come after us.