Except for my four years in college, I’ve lived in New Jersey my entire life. I love it. It’s a great place to grow up and to raise a family. In my latest book, Skin Deep, the heroine’s parents live in New Jersey and the hero and heroine explore some of the wonderful hiking trails on a visit over Thanksgiving. They also visit the racetrack and do some shopping.
New Jersey offers plenty of things to do—beaches, boardwalks, mountains, lakes, shopping, theater. It’s close enough to New York and Philadelphia to provide a city diversion, and has hidden treasures tucked away that can surprise and delight you.
My family and I discovered one of those hidden treasures in May, the Grounds For Sculpture (http://www.groundsforsculpture.org/) in Hamilton, NJ. I visited there with my in-laws, my husband and my two children as an early Mother’s Day celebration.
The Grounds are well hidden within an industrial park. For me, it kind of symbolizes New Jersey itself. People who are unfamiliar with my state are often put off by the industrial setting surrounding the airport and assume the rest of the state is like that. But if they drive a little further and are willing to explore a bit, they’ll quickly see how wrong they are. We have beaches and mountains and farmland and lakes and shopping and theater and...well, lots of amazing things to do.
So, too, with this sculpture garden. As you approach the garden, there are sculptures by the side of the road. There is a giant bench with an old woman next to the train tracks; a father teaching his child to ride a bike on a neighboring sidewalk; a modern sculpture in the front of an office building. All of these sculptures blend into their surroundings, but give the discerning traveler a hint of the wonders to come.
We entered the Grounds, paid our fee and parked. Then we explored. My kids were initially enthralled by the peacocks who wandered around with us, including the pure white one. But then we moved on toward the sculptures and they forgot all about the peacocks. Some of the sculptures are interactive, like a metal one that you hit with mallets and listen to the various sounds it makes.
There are a variety of modern sculptures that somehow blend into their surroundings.
There are the ones that take you completely by surprise, such as the pair sleeping under the trees.
There are also several that imitate works of art.
My favorites were the Monet sculptures, which you get to by walking through the restaurant called Rats. Despite its name, it supposedly serves delicious food and is right on the water. If you go inside, you’ll see a sign that says, “No Cats.” Could be my sense of humor, but I found that very funny!
There are also exhibition halls that you can walk through, although it was such a lovely day that by the time we were finished with the grounds, no one wanted to go indoors. I’ll have to go back to see those exhibits. Some of the sculptures are on permanent display and others rotate, so there’s always something new to see.
Have you been? What were your favorite sculptures?
Jennifer Wilck is a contemporary romance writer. Her two books, A Heart of Little Faith, a publisher’s best seller, and Skin Deep, are published by Whiskey Creek Press. She can be reached through the following links:
Fried Oreos blog: http://www.jenniferwilck.wordpress.com
Heroines With Hearts blog: http://www.heroineswithhearts.blogspot.com
Believing is Seeing blog: http://sandrasookoo.wordpress.com/
(Photos provided by author)
(Photos provided by author)