Senator Gaylord Nelson founded the first Earth Day in 1970 as an environmental teach-in, and over the decades it has expanded into a celebration observed by over 140 countries around the globe. Earth Day has even “blossomed” into Earth Awareness Month and APRIL is the dewy springtime when we celebrate our planet.
Earth Day aims to inspire awareness and appreciation for the earth’s environment and the Bernardsville area is blessed with an abundance of wonderful parks and outdoor sanctuaries. Just a few minutes from The Bernards Inn is Natirar, a stunning 404-acre property located in the scenic hills of Somerset County. Formerly the estate of Kate Macy Ladd and Walter Graeme Ladd, the property is rich in culture and history.
The sprawling property features rolling acres of manicured lawn and mature woodlands, historic farm buildings and various other residential structures and out-buildings dating from the mid-18th through mid-19th centuries. The north branch of the Raritan River and the Peapack Brook traverse the natural landscape. Natirar presents a unique opportunity to preserve, showcase and interpret many aspects of the area’s rich architectural, cultural, historic and archaeological heritage. The two-mile picturesque loop trail is a perfect way to enjoy the natural beauty of the area. The loop winds its way along the scenic North Branch River corridor, through wooded areas and across open fields. It is along this trail that the splendor of this magnificent property comes to life.
Equally close to the Inn is the Leonard J. Buck Garden, one of the premier rock gardens in the eastern United States. Begun in the late 1930s, the garden has reached a breathtaking point of maturity. It consists of a series of alpine and woodland gardens situated in a 33-acre wooded stream valley. Named for Mr. Leonard J. Buck, who developed the garden as part of his estate, the property was donated to the Somerset County Park Commission by Mrs. Helen Buck in 1976.