Every day is an adventure... dress accordingly!

Seward Johnson

Were You Invited?

Exploration and conversation lead to great discoveries, even in your own backyard. I’ve lived in various parts of New Jersey, and traveled to many others as well, yet am still to this very day finding new treasures. One of my more recent favorites is Grounds for Sculpture, a 42-acre (!!!) artistic DREAM world that I wish I could live in, created by Seward Johnson in the 1990s located in Trenton, NJ.

It BOGGLES my mind how I didn’t know this existed until recent years. I frequented the Princeton area to visit family, which is nearby, and went to Rutgers for my undergrad degree. Maybe I was too busy attending basement house parties and drinking crappy beer out of red Solo cups when I wanted to unwind. Little did I know, this very place that epitomizes the very reason why I love New Jersey so was a mere drive away!

My best friend of nearly 18 years, Cara, was flying into Philadelphia for a whirlwind week of reunions, debauchery and wedding preparations. I found this to be the most opportune time to introduce her to this whimsical sculpture garden that would make New Jersey seem anew. So, as soon as I scooped the bride-to-be up from the airport, we made a run for it to our first of many adventures.

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This isn’t a real person lounging…it’s a sculpture! Check out the gorgeous foliage!

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The grounds are absolutely stunning. As you walk along, you are greeted, if not surprised, by many unbelievable works of art (over 250 pieces!), many of which replicate famous pieces like “American Gothic”(a MUST-SEE at the Grounds) in gargantuan and/or lifelike scale. The landscape architecture is a masterpiece in and of itself, and you will absolutely feel like Alice running around and deciding which paths to take (TIP: lose the map and wander for the best experience).

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Get a room, you crazy kids!

Many of the artworks are by Seward Johnson himself, some bringing to life many famous works of art. Some are shockingly grandiose and life-like, while some are more intricate and very thought-provoking. Every piece lends itself to the creation of this outdoor park. As you go about, you will begin to become confused which people are real and which are sculptures, lending to the fun and this temporary mélange of reality and fantasy.

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(Scarf turned into a turban, H&M; Printed dress, BCBG; Converse sneakers; Gap Sunglasses)

One of my most favorite parts of the place is the restaurant, Rat’s, nestled in the corner. You don’t need to go through the outdoor museum to go there, but it makes for a fabulous resting place if you do. We treated ourselves to cocktails toasting to our reunion and delicious snacks before continuing our exploration. The best part of this impressionistic bistro is the back patio, which overlooks a literal interpretation Monet’s “Water Lilies.” The delectable feast is not only for your palette, but for your eyes as well.

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One of the tips I learned from friends was to ask the staff at Rat’s about the two rather hidden, but vital to the experience, pieces located behind the restaurant. Ask for directions to the “Shower Scene” and the “Were you invited?”

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Apparently dude-in-the-tophat’s joke was a real knee slapper!

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Were we invited?!? Hell yes, we were the life of the party!

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Just two gals dosey doe-ing!

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What’s a little strip poker picnic among friends? (Obviously, my homegirl is losing!)dsc03337

The hottest hottie ever, “Forever Marilyn.” I just look like I’m holding my pee.

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You make me want to Scream! – great Michael Jackson song AND painting by Edvard Munchdsc03366

Apparently, even the men’s room has a line at times!

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I wanna see your peacock, cock, cock

Make sure to add Grounds for Sculpture to your list of things you MUST do – the Seward Johnson retrospective is going on through September! Such a FUN experience to dance with inanimate objects, meander aimlessly with peacocks (they’re real!) and share in much needed quality time with your best gal pal!

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Best Friends Forever! <3

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Adieu!

Photography by Cara Zarrillo.

Check out her incredible travels at @spontaneoussuitcase on Instagram!

Posted by Olga Turka at 2014/07/25 8:11 PM No Comments
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