Schloss Hof: natural work of art
When the Habsburgs wanted to escape the hustle and bustle of Vienna, they decamped to their largest country palace — the Schloss Hof. Well known for its lavishly furnished rooms, the 120-acre estate is especially rejuvenating in the open air. Today those noble and not can while away a leisurely afternoon in the Baroque gardens, petting zoo and farm. An amble through an ornate maze reveals topiary and trees that create romantic corners and leafy corridors as they did centuries ago. Half the fun of exploring the Schloss Hof’s grounds is finding the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the ornamental flowerbeds, dramatic fountains and elegant stone sculptures.
After lunch, follow the bleats and whinnies to the working farm, where a petting zoo is home to sheep and goats and Lippizaner horses. Imagine life among the aristocrats, whose sumptuous meals came from the colorful vegetable and herb gardens, and fragrant fruit orchard. The true spirit of the Schloss Hof is where nature and human artistry converge. One can easily lose track of time strolling through the gardens and maze, but so much is gained by living in the moment.