This historic garden oasis in New Jersey is a must-see destination
In the 1900s, Joseph P. Day, a self-made millionaire and New York’s most successful real estate auctioneer at the time, purchased property and a house in Short Hills and named the estate Pleasant Days.
The original house burned down in 1911, leading the Days to commission their neighbor and architect William Whetten Renwick to design a grand 28-room Italian-style mansion and gardens.
The garden features were designed with a blend of Arts and Crafts era and Italianate design.
According to the visitor’s guide, “Pleasant Days consisted of the main mansions surrounded by the tea house and the rustic stone summer house, majestic fountains, arbors laden with wisteria, a greenhouse, a nine-hole golf course and a large vegetable garden.
The Days remained in their home and Pauline died shortly after 1932. Joe Day married Agnes Cole Young and remained in the home until her death in 1944.
The property then took on new owners, Peter P. Blanchard, Jr. with his wife, Dr. Adelaide Childs Frick Blanchard. They replaced Days’ mansion with a more modest Colonial Revival-style house, which is the surviving house on the property today. They renamed the estate from ‘Pleasant Days’ to ‘The Greenwoods’. They are also responsible for much of the growth and diversification of the property’s gardens, planting hundreds of ornamental trees and shrubs.
After Peter P. Blanchard Jr. died in 2000, his son Peter P. Blanchard III and his wife began restoring the garden to its early 1900s appearance and starting the current non-profit organization with the aid of the Garden Conservancy.
There was a lot of work to do, including repairing the walls, terraces, stairs, ponds, statuary and colonnades. Under the direction of Louis Bauer, 28 acres of plantings were recreated from old photographs and notes. In 2013, the garden is 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 learning about all the history and architecture of the estate. I haven’t given too many details, so you can fully enjoy the self-guided tour.
Admission was $15 per adult, and you had 75 minutes from your designated arrival time to complete the self-guided tour. It was more than enough and the staff was incredibly friendly and kind.
You can view more information about Greenwood Gardens on their website and click here to plan your visit.
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 just the beach. Our state has incredible trails, waterfalls and lakes to enjoy.
From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to New Jersey’s hidden gems, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it’s a great workout.
If you descend and encounter an uphill hiker, pull to the side and give the uphill hiker some space. An uphill hiker has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.
Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless marked as an official trail, avoid them. Going off the trail, you risk damaging the ecosystems around the trail, the plants and wildlife that live there.
You also don’t want to disturb any wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.
Cyclists must yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also give in to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you’ll encounter on New Jersey trails.
If you plan to take your dog on your hike, they must be on a leash and be sure to clean up all pet waste.
Finally, pay attention to 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 on the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:
NJ Beach Tag Guide for Summer 2022
We are coming another summer to the Jersey Shore! Before you lose yourself in the excitement of sunny days on the sand, we calculate how much seasonal/weekly/daily beach beacons will cost you, and pre-season deals you can still take advantage of!