Walking through Three Sisters Sanctuary is a relaxing experience of discovery. Large, monolithic stones and hand-crafted stonework frame an outdoor sculpture gallery and healing gardens. Fantastical folk art also fills the space, hiding fun pop-culture details only those with an eagle eye will spot.
The Sanctuary is the work of environmental artist Richard M. Richardson. This oasis he created over the course of three decades is full of captivating pieces of folk art as well as large pieces of sculpture by noted local artists, all set within intricately designed gardens. There are many arrangements reminiscent of Stonehenge, mannequins repurposed into fantastical creatures, and, of course, a fire-breathing dragon.
The space is sprawling, but also carved and crafted into distinct areas that flow into each other. Wander around and you’ll see large pieces of art, however, it is not just the largeness of those works, but also the very small things embedded into each piece that makes the gardens so unique. If you like your folk art tinged with pop culture references, then the detail of the works here should really interest you. From the oddly placed Daffy Duck to the seashells enrobing a mannequin, there is also something new to find each time you visit. The Sanctuary is bordered in the back of the property by a large beaver pond that is wonderful for birdwatching and observing nature and wildlife.
Even before you enter the gardens, you’ll notice the two-story tin man cowboy that greets visitors in front of the Good Time Stove Museum. Inside that building, you might find the artist in residence and it is worth your time to ask him about his work. The outside of the museum is also adorned with a fair amount of art itself. The Sanctuary’s galleries and gardens- with winding paths and sitting areas, a sunken amphitheater, a Fairy House, and a stunningly beautiful wetland- make it a wonderful respite from our busy world.
Know Before You Go
The entry fee into the Sanctuary is $10 for adults and free for children under 12. It is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year from 8:00 a.m. to dusk. You can even stay on the property in an art-filled Airbnb.
If you are making a day trip from Boston, take routes 2 to 112 which makes for a very scenic drive. Grab a bite or picnic supplies in nearby Northampton, Williamsburg, or Ashfield.