Last week's post mentioned the multitude of millionaires in New Jersey. Well, some of these folks were thoughtful enough to leave or sell their estates to the state or counties which have now become extraordinary parks for all to enjoy. Natirar (Raritan backward) is the name of an estate once owned by the king of Morocco. "The river and Peapack Brook run through it. The estate includes 22 buildings, many historic, six wells and three bridges, NJ Transit right-of-way and three streams, a pond, woodland. The 33,000 square-foot mansion itself, grand that it may be, is sedate and austere. Its history intrigues."* It is owned by the Somerset County Parks Commission which bought the place for 22 million dollars. "The mansion, two cottages, carriage house and greenhouse stand on 88 acres that the county plans to lease to Sir Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Airlines. The house will continue on as a retreat facility albeit commercial, not philanthropic with a full-service spa, conference center and restaurant that will be open to the public. The other 403 acres will be maintained as open space." *
The place is an absolutely gorgeous park. The two photographs below were made on May 15th while circumambulating the carriage path that is about a mile and a half or two in length. I schlepped the entire 4x5 kit (3 lenses, Shen Hao camera, 1 degree spot meter, darkcloth, tripod, film holders (10), filters, and loupe); the P67 might have done as well, but I love the big negatives. Thank goodness I don't have an 8x10 jones, or I'd be in traction.
* from: http://www.njskylands.com/clnatirar.htm