Spring is a perfect time to visit Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey (about 1.25 hours from Montclair)—an inspiring day trip for families and visitors of all ages. At the intersection of gardens and art, Grounds for Sculpture is a 35-acre sculpture park located on the site of the former New Jersey state fairgrounds—the domestic arts building is still there.
Of special note: on Sunday, April 15, enjoy a Day at the Fair during which the park will become a fantasy fair from days gone by, complete with a flea circus, nostalgic workshops, pie-making demonstrations, and typical fair food.
The super-sized sculptures of dancers and the American Gothic couple are a nice taste of what’s to come as one drives to the sculpture park. Inside the entrance, the strawberry parfait crabapple trees greet visitors with heaping blossoms. In short, there’s just so much to enjoy about Grounds for Sculpture:
- Discovery—explore the various outdoor ‘rooms’, nooks and crannies, open spaces, and wandering paths
- Unique gardens—from weeping evergreens to hop-across water gardens, lakeside paths to spring flowering tree groves, rustling bamboo forests, and more
- Sculptures in natural settings—hundreds of contemporary sculptures with carefully considered installations amongst grasses, trees and flowers. Seward Johnson creates sculptures from famous paintings (Renoir, Gauguin, others) where you can even step into the scene and take part. Can you find the extra in his interpretation of the Luncheon of the Boat Party called Are You Invited?
Plan to spend two to three hours there. Check the Grounds for Sculpture website for open hours and tour times—or you can wander on your own. The sculpture park is open year-round, and people have raved about the warming hut. However, seeing the magnificently blossoming crabapple trees or perhaps the wisteria vine-covered walkway this spring will be tough to beat. It’s absolutely inspiring.