Fun at Frelinghuysen
Recently I spent a few hours (and could’ve spent more) at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum. I posted just a few pics of my day date on my Instagram account ms.morristown but I wanted to write this post to share more about why I had so much fun and why a visit here should be on the top of your to-do list this summer.
Just some history…Frelinghuysen Arboretum encompasses 127 acres of gorgeous grounds and gardens. The property was originally established on what was formerly referred to as Whippany Farm, the summer residence of George Griswold Frelinghuysen and Sara Ballantine. It was the couple’s daughter, Matilda Frelinghuysen, who in 1969 donated the property to the Morris County Parks Commission. Their original Colonial Revival Mansion is still located on the grounds and is surrounded by beautiful rose gardens, fountains and even a Celtic Knot garden. This history and more can be found throughout the property and by visiting www.arboretumfriends.org
So why visit? Well to start, the grounds are open daily from 8:00am to dusk and the best part…it’s FREE! As a Morristown resident for nearly a decade, sometimes it’s nice to do things that don’t cost a thing. Not to mention it’s a great way to spend time outside and I promise you will not be bored! I’ve even put together a list of things to do while you are there (see below).
During my visit at Frelinghuysen the first thing I experienced was relaxation. There were so many times I found myself wanting to just sit and take it all in, and there are plenty of places to do this! I do recommend bringing a blanket so you can take full advantage of laying out on the Great Lawn. If the sights don’t get you the sounds certainly will. From birds chirping to water bubbling, you literally feel like you are transported to The Secret Garden. (side note: one of my favorite movies of all time). In between the moments of relaxation, child-like curiosity takes over. There is so much to explore and learn that a second visit is mandatory. If at any time the relaxation gets too much for you, Mara’s Café if the perfect place to recharge before more exploring. Their menu includes daily specials with ingredients straight from, get this…the garden! You can literally see the vegetables and spices growing outside that will be used in your salad!
After your garden-to-table lunch, head back out towards the Frelinghuysen’s Mansion where you will find even more photo-ops. Just passed there, you will come across the memory labyrinth, a serene place for reflection. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the Celtic Knot garden. You might even come across a family of chipmunks, I did! Before you leave, grab dessert to go at Mara’s and figure out what special event you want to plan here (birthday, wedding, girls day, etc.) Trust me you will leave here thinking of when you will be back and with who!
Things to do while you visit:
Pack a picnic
Bring a book
Search for fairy doors
Lay out on the great lawn (don’t forget sunscreen and a blanket!)
Have lunch AND dessert at Mara’s cafe
Try and count all the different plant and flower species (good luck!)
Learn how to tell the age of a tree
Have a photoshoot!
Visit the information center and horticultural library
Take a flower arranging class
Fantasize about having a wedding or special event here
Discover the history behind the grounds
Participate in seasonal scavenger hunts and iSpy Walks
Attend a cooking demonstration
Sign your kids up for one of Frelinghuysen’s education programs (see website for more info)
Take a walk through the memory labyrinth
There is seriously so much to do here! Be sure to check out their website’s calendar of events before you go. Also, be sure to share details about your visit and what you did! I’d love to hear all about how you had Fun at Frelinghuysen!