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In the 1900’s Joseph P. Day, a self-made millionaire and New York City’s most successful real estate auctioneer at the time, purchased property and a home in Short Hills and named the estate Pleasant Days.
The original house burned down in 1911, which led the Days to commission their neighbor and architect William Whetten Renwick to design a grand Italianate-style-28-room mansion and gardens.
The garden’s features were designed with a blend of the Arts and Crafts era and Italianate design.
According to the visitors guide, “Pleasant Days consisted of the main mansions surrounded by the rustic stone Teahouse and Summerhouse, majestic fountains, wisteria-laden arbors, a greenhouse, a nine-hole golf course, and a large vegetable garden.”
The Days remained in their home, and Pauline passed away shortly after 1932. Joe Day went on to marry Agnes Cole Young and remained in the house until he passed in 1944.
The property then takes on new owners, Peter P. Blanchard, Jr. along with his wife Dr. Adelaide Childs Frick Blanchard. They replaced Days mansion with a more modest home in the Colonial Revival style, which is the house that survives on the property today. They renamed the estate from “Pleasant Days” to “The Greenwoods”. They are also responsible for a lot of the growth and diversification of the gardens on the property, planting hundreds of ornamental trees and shrubs.
Following the death of Peter P. Blanchard Jr. in 2000, his son Peter P. Blanchard III and his wife began restoring the garden to the early 1900s appearance and launching the present nonprofit organization with the assistance from the Garden Conservancy.
There was a lot of work that needed to be done including repairing the walls, terraces, stairs, pools, statuary and colonnades. Under the direction of Louis Bauer, 28 acres of plantings were recreated from old photographs and notes. In 2013 the garden was finally open to the public.
In 2020, the garden underwent the second phase of renovations. They redesigned the Main Axis, including the Reflecting Pool Terrance and The Garden of the Gods, and several other changes.
I brought my Mom for a visit to celebrate Mother’s Day and we had an amazing time! It was so much fun to learn about all the history and architecture of the estate. I didn’t give away too many details, so you can fully enjoy the self guided tour.
It was $15 for admission per adult and you had 75 minutes from your designated arrival time to complete the self-guided tour. It was more than enough time and the staff was incredibly friendly and kind.
They are located at 274 Short Hills Road, Short Hills, NJ 07078.
These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey
A trip to New Jersey doesn’t have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.
From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it’s a great workout.
If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.
Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.
You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.
Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.
Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it’s probably best to save your hike for another day.
I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:
We’re coming up on another summer at the Jersey Shore! Before you get lost in the excitement of sunny days on the sand, we’re running down how much seasonal/weekly/daily beach tags will cost you, and the pre-season deals you can still take advantage of!