Five Places to Rest and Recharge in Montrose
Traffic, construction, crowded spaces and concrete for miles are all inconveniences of living in the fourth largest city in the U.S., but peace — both outer and inner — is attainable if you know where to look. At times, it’s hard to reconnect to that peaceful place within ourselves that needs to be nurtured, but is oftentimes neglected in the name of finishing that project, ferrying the kids to and from school activities, getting dinner on the table or meeting up with friends for a drink. The next time your calendar starts to fill up, take a moment to carve out some time for yourself and set a date to visit some of the quieter, more contemplative places in the neighborhood and find your center once again.
Rothko Chapel / 1409 Sul Ross St.
The beauty of the Rothko Chapel is not only its modern design, nor the solitude it can harbor within its walls, but the inclusiveness and welcomeness it symbolizes through both the structure itself and the intention for which it was built. Commissioned by the Menils over 50 years ago to house works by artist Mark Rothko in a sacred, meditative space, it acts as not only as a building for religious ceremonies and a stage for intellectual, artistic and spiritual discussion, but an everyday haven for those looking to sit alone, quietly with their thoughts.
Just outside is the Broken Obelisk sculpture, a modern work of art and reflection pool that’s just as peaceful as the chapel itself. The majestic, striking work stands in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his quest for equality.
In the words of Dominique de Menil:
“We have here both a chapel and a monument. A place for worship and a memorial to a great leader. The association of these two remarkable sites should tell us over and over again that spiritual life and active life should remain united.”
The Menil Collection and Menil Park / 1533 Sul Ross St.
Not only is it a world-class art museum totally free of charge to the public, it’s also an oasis in the middle of Montrose surrounded by a wooded park. Whether it’s the minimalist modern art that speaks to your soul or one of the temporary exhibits attracts your contemplation, the setting alone is one of the best places — not only in Montrose, but in Houston — to surround yourself with culture and quietude. Somewhere inside the Menil’s 30,000 square feet of gallery space will be a place where all the worries of the outside world will fall away and it will feel as if you’re the only person in the world in the best possible way.
Science of Spirituality / 4000 Yoakum Blvd., Anderson Hall, Rm. 103
The bridge between wanting to meditate and learning to meditate is strewn with great excuses. “I don’t have time,” or “Sounds great, but I can’t even sit through a movie,” or “I don’t want to pay someone to teach me to do it.” It can be intimidating to attempt a meditation practice without any instruction, but there is a free class available on a regular basis at the University of Saint Thomas sponsored by the non-denominational group Science of Spirituality. Each Sunday group meditation follows the same schedule: meet and greet, open discussion, meditation and a full vegetarian lunch to end the morning. It’s a great way to learn more about meditation and meet people interested in the practice.
Bungalow Coffee / 1219 Marconi St.
It doesn’t always have to be art, soul-searching or meditation that leads to a moment of zen. A good cup of coffee in a peaceful little Montrose bungalow is also — if unexpected — just as worthy of your solitude as the rest. It feels a bit like you’ve stepped into someone’s cozy home when you walk in the door, with locally roasted coffees, teas and smoothies to choose from. Find a comfy nook inside or sit on the front porch and take it all in. Added bonus: boutique shopping (clothes, handbags, jewelry and more) is also an option at the bungalow.
Freed-Montrose Neighborhood Library / 4100 Montrose Blvd.
It may seem obvious, but sometimes a trip to the neighborhood library is just the place to find some tranquility and all the books your brain can handle. Get lost among the fiction aisles, refresh your mental palate with some poetry or dive into in a great biography. Whatever your reading pleasure, simply being in the presence of all those written words, in a quiet space and not having to pay a penny to do so is a service no one should ever take for granted. Exercise your reading rights, and when you’ve rejuvenated, head next door to Eatsie Boys Cafe or The Black Labrador for an equally pleasurable lunch or dinner.