History Weekend returns to the Ross Farm Oct. 12 & 13
The Ross Farm in Basking Ridge first participated in “History Weekend” 13 years ago, and for a few years, this weekend event was the only time each year the county-owned 60-acre site was open to the public. While the Friends of the Boudinot-Southard-Ross Estate has been able to offer programming in education, history, arts and music as well as the abundant Boudinot’s Giving Garden since 2015, the upcoming Somerset County Weekend Journey through the Past is still a favorite for volunteers and visitors alike. The Ross Farm, located at 135 N. Maple Ave., is one of 30 sites in Somerset County participating in the Weekend Journey through the Past. More information on other participating sites can be found at www.SCHistoryWeekend.com. All locations are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 12 and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 13.
Featured activities for this year’s event include actors in costumes portraying historical figures; Castle Ledell’s students playing harpsichord in the music room; displays from Boxwood Hall (the State Museum dedicated to Elias Boudinot); a "Paint Out!" where artists of all media are welcome to create works on the site; scavenger hunts; Boudinot’s Giving Garden tours; family-friendly crafts; and kite flying as weather permits. Artwork by Mark De Mos, historic local maps from John Smith and other works on loan from the Studio 7 in Bernardsville will also be on display. The Northern New Jersey Unit of the The Herb Society of America from the Wick Garden at Jockey Hollow will be on hand with some of their goods and local beekeeper John Lyga will be selling honey to benefit Boudinot’s Giving Garden. Lunch will also be available from “Boudinot’s Café.”
In 2007, FoBSR President David Becker told the Bernardsville News, “This is truly a grassroots volunteer event.” Regarding this year’s event, Becker says he is proud of how volunteerism has become the core of so many activities at the Ross Farm. “Ross Farm has become a center of volunteerism in our community as more than 100 volunteers help out here each year. From local students performing their community service hours to adults donating time and energy in Boudinot’s Giving Garden all year long, folks show up to help whenever we have needs. Many then come back to enjoy our events knowing they directly contributed to what Ross Farm has become today. It has truly been heartwarming to watch this place become ingrained in our community over time.”
Visitors to the Ross Farm will learn about the fascinating history and enjoy the beauty of the property which was home to several prominent figures who played critical roles in the founding and early years of the United States. Elias Boudinot, President of the Continental Congress from 1782-1783, purchased the land in 1771. He sold the property to Henry Southard in 1785, who served in the House of Representatives for New Jersey from 1801 to 1821. His son Samuel, who attended the Brick Academy, later became Governor, a Senator, and Secretary of the Navy. The Ross Farm is so named for its last private owner, Edmund Ross, whose estate sold the property to Somerset County in 2005.