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If you haven’t visited Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton lately, you really should. My family and I visited recently after a couple of years, and WOW what a wonderful delight! Also delightful is that, if you have a Princeton Public Library card, you can reserve a museum pass and get free admission for four people. Be warned, though, it is our most popular pass. You can reserve the pass up to 90 days in advance. Here's an insider’s tip: Passes become available for the next available day a little after midnight.
Grounds for Sculpture is a 42-acre sculpture garden just 15 minutes from Princeton. There are twists and turns throughout the landscape with visual delights hidden around almost every turn. So, don’t be afraid to wander off the beaten path. You might stumble upon a picnic or find yourself in the middle of a boating party or other scene taken from a famous painting. You also might spot lovers relaxing under a tree and have to look twice to determine if they are real. There are also peacocks on the grounds - real ones - that treated us to a beautiful display on our visit.
One of my favorite spots on the grounds is the warming hut. I love to go into this little building. Everything about it is welcoming. Small and intimate with a gas fireplace, it is a circular building that feels like arms being wrapped around you. It is a wonderful spot to slip into on a chilly day.
There are hundreds of sculptures on the grounds. One of my favorites is based on Matisse’s “The Dance.” It is a huge piece that I hadn't seen before, and I walked around it, under it and through it for more than a few minutes. I loved the man lying in the grass in the middle of these dancing women.
Grounds for Sculpture is also home to Rat's Restaurant. Conceived as part of J. Seward Johnson’s vision, the restaurant overlooks sculptures as well as a lily pond and bridge inspired by the paintings of Monet. It is an upscale dining experience, and the food and atmosphere are exceptional.
Photo credit: Shelly Hawk