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What do you do when you have so much money, you don’t know what to do with it?
Buy land the size of a city and build the most beautiful park-like estate on it, of course!
J.B. Duke, a 19th century tobacco conglomerate, purchased this incredible tract of New Jersey land and transformed more than 2,000 acres of farms and woods into a beautifully landscaped estate in the late 1800’s. (postcard above c. 1915)
He excavated nine lakes, constructed some 45 buildings, and built nearly 2 ½ miles of stone walls and more than 18 miles of roadway in the estate.
He also installed approximately 35 fountains and populated his property with countless pieces of sculpture, trails and waterfalls
Much of the landscape J.B. Duke created between 1893 and 1925 is still clearly evident at Duke Farms, a testament to his incredible wealth
In the late 1990s, Duke’s daughter, Doris, who had expanded the estate to an astounding 2700 acres, left the gigantic property, along with a humongous trust fund, to create the beautiful park there is today – FREE for the public to enjoy!
Ready to go? Attraction Details coming right up!
Fall Foliage at Duke Farms
An indoor Orientation Center with educational videos, maps, friendly staff and recommended hikes and walks to take,
Multiple conservatory buildings you can explore
Continuing with your article...
A beautiful and dramatic sunset photo at a sunflower field within the estate
They also have have an eagle nest, and a series of Eagle Cameras on their website, through which you can see the life cycle of the eagles up and follow their progress each close each season.
The giant clock tower is NOT the family mansion – it is one of the barns on the family property (the mansion itself is closed to the public, but you can imagine its size if this is the barn!)
With so many lakes and fountains within the property, you will most likely see painted water turtles….
…and if you’re lucky, maybe even a snapping turtle like the monster in the above photo
Bring along the bikes!
I know of no other place with so much great space to bike on – get a map at the orientation center and go on in!
Bikes can also be rented at the Orientation Center for $5 person, but on busy days they may be all out. Note: There is a 60″ minimum height requirement though, so for the kids bring the bikes along.
Stop by at their incredible orchid garden…
And check out the interior – it’s almost surreal…
With platforms, bridges, tropical mists and a stream with fish
There’s so much to explore in this place – you’ll definitely want to come back again – especially for the great price.
Explore another area…
Like this pet cemetery deep on the grounds, where Doris Duke, heiress to the estate buried her favorite pets, like the camel above
Too much walking?
Take the convenient tram (FREE) to multiple areas to start a tour, or to get back to the Orientation Center and parking lot when you’re done!
So where is it? And how do you get to explore? Read on!
Name: Duke Farms
GPS Address: 1112 Dukes Pkwy W, Hillsborough Township, NJ 08844
Phone: (908) 722-3700
Click the map below for location, driving Directions and More.
Website for the Park: WEBSITE LINK
Tried and Tested: YES
Recommended for: Families, couples, all ages
Worth traveling an hour for? We give this one a resounding yes!
Great Frum TIPS:
– NOTE: The park is CLOSED on Wednesdays
– Bring the bikes along, or rent them cheaply there
– Stop in the Orientation Center first and watch a free 10 min. video all about the place
– Borrow a Free Binoculars Kit for use within the park (deposit required, returned upon return of the kit)
– Wear comfortable walking shoes – there is alot to see
– Bring along a travel Sukkah for Sukkos & a picnic (no BBQ’s allowed on the property)
– There’s a Great Kosher Chinese Restaurant (Link) 5 minutes away in nearby Manville, NJ
Most of all HAVE FUN!
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SAR – GFT
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