Skylands Manor: Britain or US?

Skylands Manor - NJ Travel Blog

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Shepherd Lake, deserted

On the 5th of February I hiked in the Ringwood State Park in New Jersey (see here). I only hiked a small section of this much bigger park. The park is very diverse. Apart from the woods, hills and marches I hiked through there is also a huge recreational lake (Shepherd Lake) and a huge Tudor Style Manor, Skylands Manor, with a Botanical Garden, the New Jersey State Botanical Garden at Skylands.

It all started with Francis Stetson, a New York Lawyer who purchased lands in the Ramapo Mountains from local farmers. He built a mansion (with a 9-hole golf course) and expanded the farm buildings.

Skylands Manor
He called the estate "Skylands Farms". In 1922 the estate was sold to Clarence Lewis a New York investment banker. Lewis was, like Stetson, a trustee of the New York Botanical Garden. He decided to develop the estate into a Botanical Garden. He completely replaced the Stetson House by a newly built 44-room native Granite Tudor style Mansion. Lewis collected plants from all over the world as well as from the State of New Jersey and employed 60 (!) gardeners.
In 1966 the state bought the estate, and protected it as a state and national historic site. It became part of the Ringwood State Park. The garden is still maintained, and the huge Manor is frequently open for visits and parties.

I parked my car at Shepherd Lake. The recreational area was still hibernating. Everything was closed and the beach was even fenced off.

Skylands Manor's Grand Entrance
Yet, some families were already enthusiatically BBQ-ing. I looked for a moment at a lake-side chapel wondering of this chapel once belonged to the Skylands Manor. The hike took me almost immediately to the highest point of the hike, 317-meter (1040-ft) high Mount Deficance. A pleasant not too steep hike through a rocky landscape, with nice views on the many neighboring hills.

The trail took me via a winding path to the other side of Mt. Defiance, and down below the great Skylands Manor appeared, surrounded by grass lawns and its famous botanical garden. I made my way through several fences, which protect the rare plants from the hungry stomachs of the local deer population, and walked a bit on the lands. The garden was still pretty much in winter state, so not too spectacular. The manor however, was stunning.

Shepherd Lake (experimental HDR picture)
I felt being back in Europe on a National Trust site in England.

Close to the manor were two other beautiful buildings, unfortunately less well maintained. One of them had turned into a ghost ruin and is sadly decaying. It was partly accessible, so I had a quick peek inside the spooky structure wondering what it could have been. I continued the hike through the beautiful woods and made it back to the lake just in time to see some sunset colors.

More pictures below! Deze fake-tekst heb ik toegevoegd om net iets meer regels te genereren zodat deze rare website toestaat dat de bijgesloten foto ook vertoond wordt. Deze fake-tekst heb ik toegevoegd om net iets meer regels te genereren zodat deze rare website toestaat dat de bijgeslo

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Shepherd Lake, deserted
Shepherd Lake, deserted
Skylands Manor
Skylands Manor
Skylands Manors Grand Entrance
Skylands Manor's Grand Entrance
Shepherd Lake (experimental HDR pi…
Shepherd Lake (experimental HDR p…
The Chapel at Shepherd Lake
The Chapel at Shepherd Lake
Shepherd Lake, deserted
Shepherd Lake, deserted
Starting to climb Mount Defiance
Starting to climb Mount Defiance
Mount Defiance, near summit
Mount Defiance, near summit
Mount Defiance, near summit
Mount Defiance, near summit
Skylands Manor at the feet of Moun…
Skylands Manor at the feet of Mou…
Skylands Manor
Skylands Manor
Mount Defiance
Mount Defiance
Little part of the Botanical Garde…
Little part of the Botanical Gard…
Little part of the Botanical Garde…
Little part of the Botanical Gard…
Little part of the Botanical Garde…
Little part of the Botanical Gard…
Bark of a Platanus Tree (?) in the…
Bark of a Platanus Tree (?) in th…
Unknown flower in the Botanical Ga…
Unknown flower in the Botanical G…
The Crab Apple Allée in the Bot…
The "Crab Apple Allée" in the Bo…
Skylands Manor
Skylands Manor
Skylands Manor Botanical Garden
Skylands Manor Botanical Garden
Skylands Manor
Skylands Manor
Skylands Manor
Skylands Manor
Skylands Manor
Skylands Manor
Skylands Manor Garden
Skylands Manor Garden
Skylands Manor Garden
Skylands Manor Garden
Skylands Manor Garden
Skylands Manor Garden
Skylands Manor
Skylands Manor
Skylands Manor Pump House
Skylands Manor Pump House
Skylands Manor Pump House
Skylands Manor Pump House
Skylands Manor Pump House
Skylands Manor Pump House
Skylands Lodge (decaying)
Skylands Lodge (decaying)
Skylands Manor Green House
Skylands Manor Green House
Skylands Manors Grand Entrance
Skylands Manor's Grand Entrance
Unknown ruin close to Skylands Man…
Unknown ruin close to Skylands Ma…
Inside unknown ruin close to Skyla…
Inside unknown ruin close to Skyl…
Inside unknown ruin close to Skyla…
Inside unknown ruin close to Skyl…
Inside unknown ruin close to Skyla…
Inside unknown ruin close to Skyl…
The Chapel at Shepherd Lake close …
The Chapel at Shepherd Lake close…
Height profile for the hike
Height profile for the hike
GPS profile for hike (rendered by …
GPS profile for hike (rendered by…
GPS profile for hike (rendered by …
GPS profile for hike (rendered by…
Skylands Manor - NJ
photo by: mdalamers