Photos by Ben Alsop and Nina Westervelt
For many, fall conjures up childhood memories of pumpkin picking, mugs of apple cider, hayrides and corn mazes. Just an hour away on the NJ Transit is Suydam Farms and the Van Liew-Suydam House in Somerset, NJ with all of the above, and an added bonus of beautiful historic architecture. Ryck Suydam is the 13th generation of his family to farm this land–his ancestors arrived in 1663 from Holland. Ryck personally gives the hilarious yet educational hayride tour.
Down a winding road is the Van Liew-Suydam House, a Victorian farmhouse built incrementally from the 1700s to the late 1800s. The State of New Jersey sold the house to Franklin Township for $100 in 1988, and it was subsequently leased to the Meadows Foundation who restored the interior and exterior of the home through a $1 million grant. Perched atop a hill with seemingly endless views of rolling farmland and spectacular sunsets, the house can be rented for events (like Untapped did for the birthday of yours truly, in conjunction with the Metropolitan Social Club: [Jared D. Martin/Brian E. Kenney]). In a time where architectural preservation is a battlefield of contention wrapped in zoning ordinances and City Hall alteration documents, it’s nice to know that somewhere close by, it was possible for public and private enterprise to preserve a piece of American history.