The Most Beautiful Places on Earth Do Not Include Vineyards. Why?
A short mediation on natural beauty and list makers
Make a list of the most beautiful places on Earth and the odds are high those places will feature bodies of water. I’m in one of those places now: Kauai. Specifically, I’m vacationing with my family on the lush, verdant North Shore just above the town of Hanalei and Hanalei Bay.
I don’t know why water is such a prominent feature at those locations we mark as the most beautiful. Maybe it has something to do with the color blue—a color one doesn’t normally find in nature outside bodies of water. Perhaps it is the balance the color blue provides to the greens and browns that tend to dominate natural settings.
Water aside, there seem to be other categories of natural beauty that enthrall us: Mountains, Valleys, and deserts. But what’s notable is that lists of the most beautiful places on Earth rarely include vineyards.
My first thought was that vineyardscapes don’t count for those concerned with making lists of the most beautiful places on earth because they are not natural, but rather man-made. Then it struck me that perhaps it’s the repetitiveness of the vineyard setting that turns off the list makers. They are that, row after row of the same plant. On the other hand, many vineyards strike us for their setting in valleys and on mountainsides, these are often breathtaking vistas. Yet, still, places like Baden Wurttemberg, Napa Valley, or the Duoro don’t make the list of the most beautiful places in the world.
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What’s interesting about beautiful man-made places such as vineyards is that rarely do list makers consider manmade vistas, but rather point to manmade structures such as the Taj Mahal, the Christ the Redeemer statue, the Sydney Opera House, or Angkor Wat. Yet when you consider places like Bruges, Amsterdam, or Cape Town, you have to be struck by how these cities have integrated themselves over time into the surrounding landscape in a way that is undeniably beautiful.
As should be clear, I’m a fan of lists. Making them and reading them force us to think critically and are always good for a robust discussion. Both these things are good for us. But as I sit here on the veranda staring out at the sea and mountains and listening to the waves crash below, I”m satisfied that the list makers that do not find a place for vineyards in their lists of the most beautiful places on earth got it right. They can be beautiful, for sure. But they simply don’t compare in beauty with places such as the Grand Canyon, Niagra Falls, Yosemite, The Napali Coast or the view across Hanalei Bay to Bali Hai.
Enjoy your time in paradise - give my best to the ever present roosters!
On the opposite side of the island from where you are staying, we found a nice little wine store and restaurant called the Tasting Room. If you are up for the drive, it may be worth it. 5476 Koloa Rd, Koloa, HI 96756
I think we need to go back to Kauai three days wasn’t quite enough