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Spring Splendor Awaits You in Morris County, NJ!

Located just 30 miles west of NYC, Morris County, NJ is home to three centuries of history and culture that shaped America. Set amongst scenic country roads and bucolic countryside, Morris County is a perfect weekend destination.

Morristown, NJ – WEBWIRE
Morristown Green in the spring.
Morristown Green in the spring.

It’s one of many ways to experience springtime in the Morris County area as people, plants and animals emerge from the frigid, snowy winter.

Historic Treasure:  During its 350-year history, New Jersey has been home to many wealthy entrepreneurs who used their money to build stately homes.  Nestled away in forested corners of the countryside, they aren’t always open to the public.
            The 2014 Mansion in May will afford an opportunity to experience both turn-of-the-century and modern artistic sensibilities at one of these homes.   Blairsden, a Louis XIV chateau-style mansion in Peapack-Gladstone, will be a showcase for 52 designers who will make over its rooms in their own styles.
            It’s one of many ways to experience springtime in the Morris County area as people, plants and animals emerge from the frigid, snowy winter.
            Mansion in May, which began in 1974, raises money for the Morristown Medical Center.  Proceeds this year will go toward an expanded pediatric intensive care unit and a new autism center within the Goryeb Children’s Hospital building.
            The mansion, which will be open from May 1 to 31, is the biggest ever done by Mansion in May.  The imposing estate covers 62,000 feet and will feature 52 new design spaces as well as the work of four landscape artists.
            The designers “come from all areas of New York, Pennsylvania, northern and central New Jersey,” said Kathy Hobbs, a spokesperson for Mansion in May.
            Blairsden was built by C. Ledyard Blair, a New York City financier, sportsman and commodore of the New York Yacht Club, between 1897 and 1903.  It sits on a 500-acre estate.
            As visitors approach the mansion along its mile-long driveway, they will pass busts of the first 12 Roman emperors that line a 300-foot-long reflecting pool.  The theme for the landscape artists will be an Italian garden featuring ornamentals, sculptures and pots.
            Inside the mansion, guests can admire the curving limestone double stairway, a sterling silver and bronze chandelier, elaborate plaster moldings and pilasters, paneling of walnut, oak and mahogany, and, of course, the work of the 52 designers.
            Admission for Mansion in May is $50 at the door and online (  Advance tickets for $40 can be purchased at select retail locations until April 1.
            The mansion will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day in May.  A shuttle service will take visitors from the U.S. Equestrian Team Headquarters, 576 Fowler Road, Gladstone on most days.  On May 2, 3, 4 and 10 it will depart from the Pfizer campus, 100 Route 206, Peapack.
Flowers power:
            Spring is a time to shrug off heavy winter coats, uncurl from in front of the fire and head outdoors.  Few places in Morris County unfurl the springtime banner better than Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morris Township.
            Here are cultivated gardens, flowering trees, wild meadows and shady forests.  Frelinghuysen Arboretum is open year round, but it is in the spring that the cherry trees, dogwoods, azaleas and redbuds put forth their spectacular displays.  Beds of tulips and daffodils dot the grounds.
            “The Frelinghuysen is more than just a beautiful garden,” said Leslie Parness of the Friends of the Frelinghuysen Arboretum.  “It’s a place in which you can take away lots of information for beautifying your own home.”
            To that end, the Arboretum has free monthly tours starting in April on the first Sunday of each month.  The 45-minute walks starting at 2 p.m. are led by knowledgeable docents.  One of the highlights of the year at Frelinghuysen is the plant sale on May 3-4 where plant advisors will help you choose the best plants for your garden.
            As this year is the 350th anniversary of New Jersey, it’s worth taking a look at the Colonial Revival mansion that serves as headquarters for the Morris County Park Commission.  It was owned by George Griswold Frelinghuysen.  The Frelinghuysen family’s story is woven throughout the state’s long history.
            Children aren’t forgotten at the Arboretum.  They can join monthly scavenger hunts where they must take pictures of a dozen clues in order to win prizes.  Cost is $10 per family.
            More information about Frelinghuysen Arboretum can be found can be found at or at the web site of the Morris County Park Commission (
Birds and the Bees:
Spring is just as much for children as it is for adults.  And what could capture a child’s fancy better than the creatures that creep and crawl through the Great Swamp?
            “We have spring peepers and wood frogs that are going to come out.  Even by the end of March we’ll start hearing them singing,” said Jenny Gaus-Myers of the Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center.  “Those particular frogs just fill the little vernal pools in the woods.  And it can be deafening, the sound of those two little frogs because there’s so many of them.”
            Turtles and snakes emerge later in the spring along with butterflies and other insect life.
            Programs for children and families at the Education Center number in the “bazillions,” according to Gaus-Myers.  They are for toddlers as young as 2 or 3 years old as well as for older children.  A night hike on April 11 starting at 7 p.m. and costing $6 per person enables families to explore the nocturnal creatures of the swamp.
            The Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center encompasses 45 wild acres and adjoins the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.  It is a prime spot for bird watching with 223 species having been recorded in the swamp.
            “The ones that people get excited about … are the warblers,” Gaus-Meyers said.  “They’re the ones that are very tiny but really colorful.  They’re singing.  They’re not easy to track with your eyes because they’re constantly moving.”
            Find out more about the Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center, which is also part of the Morris County Park System, at
For more information about planning your visit to Morris County, please contact the Morris County Tourism Bureau at (973) 631-5151 –

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