Monday, July 03, 2006

Local Color

Our friend Carolyn came to visit over the past weekend. We were hoping she could stay a little longer, but alas, she had to return to work today. We thought her visit provided the perfect opportunity to visit some of the local attractions we’ve been meaning to go and see. On Saturday we visited Ringwood Manor located in Ringwood State Park. It is a state historic site as well as a national historic landmark. The manor house was first built in 1807, and then added on to after 1850 until 1910, resulting in a mix of styles. The family left the manor house to the state complete with furnishings. The history behind it and the surrounding area is fascinating, but as a manor house it’s a bit depressing. I got strange feelings from walking through it. I am not saying I’m psychic or anything, but once in a while I do experience “vibes” from certain places. This was one such place. The dining room was the only room I got a good, warm feeling from. What I didn’t realize until I came home and did some searching on the web, was that it is on the register of “haunted” New Jersey places! Hey, maybe I am psychic after all! I had no idea. The tour guide never mentioned it. Here is a link to the Ringwood Manor web site in case you’d like to know more. Or this link which will take you to a story about the ghosts.

The next day, Sunday, we visited the Botanical Gardens in Ringwood. Again, this is an estate complete with manor house but we didn’t tour the house this time. The grounds are extensive and we started the self-guided trail around the outside edge. Here the path wound through the woods and by several bogs filled with frogs. They made an odd noise like a guitar string being plucked in different keys. Lots of different varieties of dragonflies whirred past our heads. The best feature of these “outer limits” were the iris [at least at this time of the year] and they came in many different colors. Here is just one example.
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

I think you could wander around forever and even get lost in that part of the gardens! We finally made our way to the perennial garden which was now in bloom. We had hoped for more labels on plants and trees so we could identify them, but these are pretty lacking throughout. There was occasionally a tag on a tree but never on the ones we found most interesting. I think you need to visit the gardens at least once a month to see all the different gardens blooming. There are Crab Apple Alley, Lilac Garden, Peony Garden, Azalea Garden, and Magnolia Walk, all done blooming now. The tiered gardens closest to the manor house [Skylands] are my favorite. Lots of water features such as splashing fountains, channels of water filled with koi and lily pads, and many kinds of interesting trees. It’s a lovely place all in all, but again we would have liked more identification on things. Such as this tree that just had us fascinated, mostly due to its trunk structure.
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey
We’ll be going back again, and next month hope to join in on the monthy Sunday tour of Skylands. Here is a link to the site for the Botanical Gardens at Skylands. I’ll leave you with yet another photo, this one taken in the perennial garden. Not sure what it is!
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


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