Somerset County is filled with so many things to do. You can find historic sites, beautiful gardens, parks, art centers, breweries, and tons of shops. There is something to do for everyone. Somerset County invited me to visit a few local businesses where I got to experience fun activities that Somerset County has to offer! In this post, I’ll be sharing fun summer activities in Somerset County and my experience at Cross Estate Gardens, Bluebird Alpaca Farm, and Spotted Leaf Plant Company.
About Somerset County
Somerset County is a county located in central New Jersey and it is only an hour outside of New York City. There are so many different fun summer activities in Somerset County that you can do with family, friends, and even great date night ideas!
Cross Estate Gardens
If you are looking for a garden to visit, you have to add Cross Estate Gardens to your list. Cross Estate Garden is located in Bernardsville, NJ and open daily from 8am to 8pm. Parking is free and there are no entry fees.
There is a reason why New Jersey is called the Garden State! It is absolutely beautiful and it was so much fun wandering through the garden. As you explore the garden, you will come across a perennial garden, a beautiful wisteria-covered pergola and rhododendron archway which blooms in late spring, a garden of native plants, and even a water tower! The grounds also have a few different hiking trails.
I love that the garden is filled with so much history. The original house was built in 1905 and the estate included a carriage house, water tower and a gate house. In 1929, the house was sold to W. Redmond Cross. His wife, Julia Appleton Newbold Cross, made improvements to the garden with Clarence Fowler, a landscape architect.
The National Park Service purchased Cross Estate in 1975 and now is maintained by the generous help of volunteers. The volunteers go to the garden every Wednesday from April to November and both new and experienced gardeners are invited to join.
Bluebird Farm Alpacas
Bluebird Farm Alpacas is a 15-acre farm located in Peapack, New Jersey that is the home to 21 adorable alpacas. At their farm, you get to learn, meet, interact with, feed, and take photos with their alpacas.
They offer three different tour options. Each tour begins with the staff explaining the differences between an alpaca and a llama, how to pet an alpaca, and all about their farm! Their farm tour is $12 and the staff will guide you through their alpaca pens and introduce you to some of their alpacas. You will get the opportunity to feed, feel, and take photos with them.
A second tour, which is the one I got to experience, is their Farm Tour + Halter Training Combo for $22. After feeding them, you will get to explore the farm by taking an alpaca on a walk using a halter and lead line. If you are visiting the farm with children, who might be too little to walk an alpaca, they also have a $16 ticket where they get to accompany a halter trainer. Please note that Alpaca Tours are available on weekends by reservation only. Private tours are also available during the week. You can reserve online and purchase tickets here!
It was an amazing experience and I love that you were able to interact with all the alpacas. It was a lot of fun getting to explore the farm while walking your very own alpaca! They are so adorable and gentle and its cute that they have their own unique personality. When I was walking Heather Belle, I thought it was cute that she kept looking back at the alpaca pen during our walk to check on her friends!
After going on the tour, make sure you check out their gift shop! They take all their alpaca fiber and send it to local artisans to create different products – farm to fashion! Their alpaca fiber is harvested once a year at “shearing time” and processed into yarn. It is so soft and hypoallergenic. It is as soft as cashmere and proven warmer than wool! In their store, you can find hats, gloves, ear muffs, socks, and more! Learn more about alpaca fiber here!
Spotted Leaf Plant Company
Spotted Leaf Plant Company is located in Somerville, New Jersey. It’s a plant shop that sells a range of tropical indoor plants, pots, and other plant accessories. In the back of the shop, they have a “Greenhouse Room.” This is where they offer fun plant + sip classes! You can build a terrarium, paint your own pot, or create a kokedama! They also have open studio hours! My mom and I went to visit during their open studio hours to build our own terrarium!
They offer four different terrariums that you can choose from and they set you up with all the tools you need. You get to choose your sand color, 2-3 plants depending on the size of terrarium you chose, and rocks and moss to decorate! We loved it! The staff was so friendly and helpful. It’s a perfect weekend activity or a fun date night idea! They also host parties, corporate events, showers and kid parties!
Sip & See Somerset
Sip & See Somerset is where you get to visit five of Somerset County’s craft beverage destinations. Pick up a passport at any of the participating locations and get your passport stamped at each place! You can visit Bellemara Distillery (Hillsborough), Burnt Mills Cider (Bedminster), Flounding Brewing (Hillsborough), Jersey Cyclone Brewing (Somerset), and Village Brewing (Somerville). Once you get all five stamps, you get to win a free Sip & See Somerset T-shirt! Check out more details here!
Snyder’s Farm is located in Somerset, New Jersey where they offer a variety of “Pick Your Own.” You can pick strawberries, blueberries, aronias, and pumpkins. Strawberry season starts in late May through mid-June. Blueberry season starts in late June to late July. Aronia season starts in mid August through mid September. They also have a sunflower maze and will soon be offering U-pick flowers and tomatoes!
When in season, U-Pick is open on weekends only from 9am – 4pm and their fall festival is open from 11am to 6pm. Tickets are $3 per person. Find out more information about their farm here!
I had such a great time exploring a few of the fun summer activities in Somerset County! Stay up to date on their website here for their upcoming events!