One of America’s Most Underrated Attractions Is in New Jersey
If you’ve never been to or even heard of the Grounds for Sculpture, you’re missing out on a true New Jersey gem.
It’s been my family’s favorite spot since the kids were young, and I look forward to walking the grounds every year.
Nestled on the old New Jersey State Fairgrounds in Hamilton, Mercer County, Grounds for Sculpture opened in 1992.
It was the vision of the late artist Seward Johnson to create a space where works of art could be situated in the landscape, and visitors could enjoy discovering contemporary sculpture.
Nowhere else can you literally walk into an actual creation of a Monet painting or walk through the woods and encounter a towering sculpture that blends into the landscape.
You might also be greeted by one of the magnificent peacocks with their large, colorful tail feathers in full display.
You don’t have to be an art expert, or even an art lover, to enjoy all that this amazing place has to offer. The park now exhibits nearly 300 works.
Johnson, who died in 2020, filled the park with his life-size bronze statues that often depict figures inspired by Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces. They literally bring the paintings to life and invite visitors to step inside.
When working at the site, he would often spend the night in a dazzling real-life version of Van Gogh’s bedroom. Wild angles and twisted perspective are masterfully recreated. Entering the bedroom can cause a bit of dizziness as your mind tries to process what you see.
New Jersey’s Most Overrated and Underrated
To compile its list, HawaiianIslands.com says it “used TripAdvisor’s own reviews to find America’s most overrated and underrated tourist spots.”
Some of America’s most overrated attractions include the Guggenheim Museum in New York and two nearby New Jersey theme parks: Sesame Place and Hershey Park.
They also calculated the most overrated and underrated attraction in each state.
For New Jersey, they named the most overrated attraction as the Ocean Resort and Casino in Atlantic City. The rating was based on reviews left on TripAdvisor.com.
As for the most underrated, it would be Great Falls National Park in Paterson. This is another gem of an attraction in New Jersey and definitely worth a visit.
Carved by glaciers 13,000 years ago, the Grand Falls are 77 feet high and 260 feet wide. More than 2 billion gallons of water rush into it daily. It is the 2nd largest waterfall, by volume, east of the Mississippi River, behind only Niagara Falls.
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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey
A trip to New Jersey doesn’t have to be just the beach. Our state has incredible trails, waterfalls and lakes to enjoy.
From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to New Jersey’s hidden gems, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it’s a great workout.
If you descend and encounter an uphill hiker, pull to the side and give the uphill hiker some space. An uphill hiker has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.
Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless marked as an official trail, avoid them. Going off the trail, you risk damaging the ecosystems around the trail, the plants and wildlife that live there.
You also don’t want to disturb any wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.
Cyclists must yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also give in to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you’ll encounter on New Jersey trails.
If you plan to take your dog on your hike, they must be on a leash and be sure to clean up all pet waste.
Finally, pay attention to the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it’s probably best to save your hike for another day.
I asked our listeners for their suggestions on the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions: