This year I planned Mother’s Day, and I chose to do a day trip to New Jersey for Grounds for Sculpture. A day for mom usually involves an event, food, and flowers – I covered all three with the following:
Event: Grounds for Sculpture (about four hours)
42 acres worth of fields filled with contemporary outdoor sculptures that continuously change. Since May 2014, the exhibition that has attracted over 145,000 visitors is Seward Johnson’s The Retrospective. It is officially on through July 2015. There are life-sized, big, and then extremely large sculptures of popular figures, paintings made into sculptures, and then just random people sculptures with surprises and fun statues around every corner. Here are some of my favorites:
Check the website and calendar for upcoming exhibitions, and see if online tickets are required for an event. Mother’s Day tickets had to be bought online in advance (sold out a few days beforehand). There are also six indoor galleries with rotating exhibitions. Other things to watch out for include performing arts events, tours, catered events and…. peacocks!!!
There is a restaurant and café on site – the restaurant is called Rat’s Restaurant and I hear it has great food. When I called about 5 days in advance of Mother’s Day to make reservations, I got a sweet lady on the phone who said “That’s cute darling, but we were booked about 2 months ago” – so maybe plan ahead! If you don’t eat here, know there are some wonderful sculptures you can still see around the restaurant as well. Don’t be afraid to walk the grounds here as well.
Food: Mafalda’s Restaurant
If you like Italian food, Mafalda’s is about a ten minute drive from Grounds for Sculpture with terrific food and is rated one of the best restaurants in the town. They don’t have a liquor license, so just be aware of that. They had a separate Mother’s Day Menu, so I can’t vouch for the “everyday” food and though I cannot give the restaurant five stars (to me, five is close to perfect), a very solid four stars (if not 4.5) are definitely worthy. Aside from one entrée we didn’t absolutely love, the portions are big, the service is great, and food overall was delicious. Plus, if you’re really Italian or a movie buff, you’ll recognize this:
Flowers: Sayen House and Gardens
If you still have energy, the Sayen House and Gardens are about a five-minute drive from Mafalda’s Restaurant. This place was created by a world gardener and is used for all sorts of events. We stopped here for about an hour to take in the 250,000 flowering bulbs in the botanical gardens, the walking trails, fish ponds, gazebos and bridges. You can easily spend more than an hour here – we were just worn out at that point.
How do you like them two cents on your one day trip to New Jersey for Grounds for Sculpture? More cents welcome. Enjoy!!!