I (heart) New York, which has more great tourist destinations than any two other U.S. cities combined. But sometimes that cornucopia can get downright cacophonous, especially if a visit lasts more than a couple of days.

That's when I head north, but not too far. At Fort Tryon Park near the top of Manhattan sits the Cloisters, a sea of serenity high about the hubbub-laden metropolis. The grounds are idyllic, the building somehow both imposing and welcoming.

But the big draw is the art, more than 3,000 works from the 9th through the 16th centuries A.D. It's like stepping back in time to Europe in the Middle Ages, my kind of "going all medieval."

Funded in large part by John D. Rockefeller and now under the aegis of the Metropolitan Museum of art, the Cloisters houses stunning paintings, sculptures and tapestries, plus glass, columns and other pieces that have been seamlessly incorporated into the architecture.

After a few hours in this soul-soothing haven above the Hudson River, you'll be ready for whatever bedlam the Big Apple has to throw at you.