The Bernards Inn Logo

Boutique Hotel with Luxury Accommodations

The Bernards Inn is a luxury hotel in New Jersey offering gracious hospitality in a historic setting, welcoming travelers from around the world to our 20 beautifully appointed guest rooms. Immerse yourself in all the service, style, intimacy, and refined elegance of our luxury accommodations. Select rooms were recently renovated and named to distinctly reflect the refined estate homes of the Somerset Hills. Read more about the mansions the rooms are named for below.

Following the end of the Civil War, the United States experienced a period of tremendous economic growth that dramatically enhanced the personal wealth of a select group of industrialists and financiers, most notably here in the eastern part of the country. This new upper class used their newfound wealth to build lavish homes in many areas of the east including the Somerset Hills of NJ.  These magnificent estates were designed to showcase the gracious living and social standing of the time with many rivaling the most spectacular luxury hotels.

 

Room 1

Welcome to Overleigh

Overleigh was originally built as a summer home for the John Dillon family. Mr. Dillon, a prominent attorney, wanted to build an estate similar to those he had seen in Europe. The home’s design combined English, French and Italian styles. Overleigh actually began as a nine-room farmhouse which Mr. Dillon purchased in 1894. Over a ten-year period the farmhouse was transformed into a magnificent estate home complete with elaborate mantelpieces, stained glass windows and silk brocade-covered walls. The property also included cottages, carriage houses and farm buildings. Mr. Dillon was an avid horticulturalist who created English-style gardens and parklands for Overleigh—all designed with great detail to further enhance the grand and gracious lifestyle.

 

Room 2

Welcome to Mayfield

The history of Mayfield begins in 1919, when Gustav Hermann Kinnicutt, a prominent New York financier, bought the 250-acre Far Hills estate of John Forrest Dillon. Kinnicutt tore down Knollcrest, Dillon’s mid-1890s mansion, to construct his own house. Upon its completion in 1921, Mayfield was an elaborate, whitewashed English-eclectic-style home built of fieldstone, brick and stuccoed terra-cotta block. The home was named after Kinnicutt’s wife, the former May Appleton Tuckerman. The grounds of Mayfield were as impressive as the home and featured wide green lawns, perennial gardens, a decorative fountain, greenhouse and barn. The gardens were created by Ellen Biddle Shipman, who collaborated on the project with Marian Cruger Coffin. Shipman and Coffin were two of the most prominent pioneering women landscape architects who helped change the character of American gardens in the early twentieth century.

 

Room 3

Welcome to Appletrees

This outstanding home was the work of the noted architectural firm of George B. Post & Sons and for over a century was the residence of the Trumbull family. Appletrees was built in 1893 for Ramsay Trumbull and his wife Martha. Ramsay Trumbull’s family helped shape the Somerset Hills community by improving the local roads in Bernardsville. In 1908 Ramsay was the founder and, for many years thereafter, the chairman of the Road and Improvement Society of Mine Mountain. Concurrently, he waged a twenty-year campaign to establish Bernardsville as a separate borough, apart from Bernards Township. In 1924 his efforts came to fruition when Bernardsville became its own borough. Following the death of Ramsay Trumbull in 1990, ownership of Appletrees passed to his daughter. The property was later sold out of the family.

 

Room 4

Welcome to Claremont

Claremont was the home of George Browne Post. Mr. Post was a founding father of the prestigious Bernardsville mountain colony and considered to have been the “most prolific and prominent architect of the later half of the nineteenth century.” During that time and through the early twentieth century, the firm of George B. Post & Sons witnessed the greatest concentration of residential architecture in the Somerset Hills. Among the many homes and buildings they designed was Ballantine Farm along what is now Claremont Road. Subsequently, the farm was substantially enlarged and obtained by the Post family who renamed it Claremont Farms. In 1903 George Post sold the property and set about designing and building a grand new home across Post Lane, since renamed Claremont Road. The new estate home, considered one of the firm’s most notable residential commissions, was a Federal-style stone and terra cotta structure, which, 100 years later, is still owned by the Post family.

 

Room 5

Welcome to Westover

This grand country manor, whose design was inspired by a French estate home, sits on a crest in Bernardsville 900 feet above sea level—reportedly the highest elevation in the Somerset Hills. Westover’s original owners were Esther Marie Lewis Chapin, a descendant of Martha Washington, and Edwin Augustus Stevens of the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ, the first college in the United States devoted to engineering. Under its present owner, Jeffery B. Haines, a well-known interior designer from Far Hills, NJ, the home has been completely refurbished. In addition to his own home, Mr. Haines is also responsible for the restoration and renovation of The Bernards Inn. This guest room, coincidentally, is also our bridal suite and is so named because in years past brides would toss their bouquets from the west balcony of Westover.

 

Room 6-7

Welcome to Peachcroft

Peachcroft is a magnificent fieldstone estate located on Bernardsville mountain. From 1867 to 1928 Peachcroft was owned by John William Clark who was president of the Clark Triad Company of Newark, NJ. The estate home, which was situated on a property of 300 acres, was built in 1907 and styled after an English manor house. In 1889 John Clark married Margareta Cameron, the daughter of United States Senator J. Donald Cameron of Pennsylvania who served as Secretary of War under President Ulysses Grant. John Clark died in 1928 and the estate remained in the family until Margareta’s death in 1941.

 

 

 

Room 8

Welcome to Timberfield

Timberfield was constructed over 250 years ago. It is said that the oldest part of the house was built around 1760 as a hunting lodge for Johannes Moelich an immigrant German farmer and tanner who owned a 357-acre tract in Bedminster. During its lifetime, the home has known many owners, but none, perhaps, better known and more colorful as journalist and publisher Malcolm Stevenson Forbes. Mr. Forbes, who had a passion for hot air ballooning, Harley-Davidson motorcycles, collecting Fabergé eggs and throwing very elaborate parties, owned many homes here and abroad. It was Timberfield, however, that he considered his true home as he wrote in his autobiography, More Than I Dreamed, “Home is New Jersey. Home is Timberfield.”

 

 

Room 9

Welcome to Kennelston

Kennelston traces its history back to a simple farm cottage that was built around 1790 which became the core of this grand home. In 1903 Joseph Larocque, a New York lawyer, and his wife, the former Eleanor Theodora Duer purchased the old stone house and sixty acres located in Bernardsville, NJ. Shortly after acquiring the property, the Larocques began work on Kennelston. In 1916, the house was further expanded with a new wing built of stone, stucco and timber. In November 1939 a fire broke out in the house which was now up to twenty-two rooms. Cinders from a chimney ignited the roof shingles and much of the house was eventually destroyed. The following year, noted architect Mott Schmidt drew up plans to rebuild the house around the remains of the original structure, using stone, brick and stucco with elements of a Tudor Revival style. In addition to the Larocques, Schmidt’s clients included members of the Astor, Morgan, Rockefeller and Vanderbilt families. Joseph Larocque lived in Kennelston until his death in 1955 at the age of eighty-four.