The borough of Far Hills recently celebrated its centennial anniversary. Though the municipality comprises only about five miles of Somerset County, each fall it draws thousands of visitors from across the tri-state area. These guests are eager to experience a day at the Far Hills Races, a sporting event that is colloquially known as “The Hunt.”
While the Autumn steeplechase is certainly an annual highlight, Far Hills and the surrounding area have much to offer in the summer months as well. If you’re seeking a quick escape to the country, look no further. Read on for your guide to spending an afternoon exploring historic Far Hills.
The bucolic vibe makes Far Hills feel far away. On the contrary, the borough is incredibly accessible by rail and by road.
There are three train stations (Bernardsville, Far Hills, and Peapack) in the immediate vicinity, with the Far Hills stop conveniently located next to the village center. As soon as you step off of the train, you’ll be stepping into history: the Far Hills Train Station has a place on the national and state Registers of Historic Places. Directly across the street from the Spanish Revival station, designed by architect L.R. Simpson in 1914, are the famous racing grounds.
Direct trains run from Hoboken to Far Hills on weekdays, with a one-way trip totaling roughly an hour and a half. Be sure to check weekend schedules to determine whether a transfer or bus connection is a requirement. If departing from Montclair, there is a transfer at Newark Broad Street, and the trip can take anywhere from an hour forty-five to just over two hours depending on the length of your layover.
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By car, the borough is roughly fifty minutes from Hoboken and forty-five minutes from Montclair. It’s a quick and easy drive, with a bulk of the trip spent on I-78. Parking is no problem with large lots at shopping and dining locales.
A Home Decor Destination
The village center hosts many home and design shops sure to pique interest, so if you’re in the process of redecorating a visit to Far Hills is a must. These shops are all located at the seemingly interconnected shopping plazas between 55 US – 202 and De Mun Place, so you can take a leisurely stroll to see each stop. Remember to check store hours before making the trip, as many of the shops close their doors on Sundays.
Butler’s of Far Hills
This interior design firm under Jeffrey Butler Haines provides “design consultation, space planning, interior architecture, and custom furniture design” among other services. The firm has antiques on-site and the team is capable of restoring antiques. Haines himself has been nationally recognized for his work, and clients note that his classic though “not predictable” style has certainly enhanced and elevated their homes, from Nantucket to Vero Beach. You can submit a design request online or plan to walk through the showroom which is open Tuesday through Saturday.
Classic Home + Garden
(Photo credit: @classichomeandgardennj)
Located just behind Butler’s at Ludlow Square, this shop specializes in outdoor decor and floral design. The owners invite you to come in to “find the perfect gift for a loved one” or take advantage of personalized gardening or outdoor design consultations. If you’re hoping to spruce up your apartment, Classic Home + Garden does carry a line of indoor goods as well. The store is open seven days a week, though Sunday visits require an appointment.
(Photo credit: @engravedimages)
If you’re looking to up the ante with your upcoming party invitations or are in the market for beautiful stationery, Engraved Images is the place to go. The boutique was started by Heidi Pfluger Gammon in 1986 and has since become the destination for custom paper for both individuals and corporate clients in Somerset County. The shop is open Tuesday through Saturday.
Yves Delorme Paris
(Photo credit: @yvesdelormeparis)
Next door to Engraved Images, you’ll find a location of Yves Delorme Paris, the international luxury linens vendor. Yves Delorme brands its products as exceptional linens “uniting poetry, audacity, excellence, and Savoir-Faire.” This shop is open Tuesday through Saturday.
(Photo credit: @branchhome)
In addition to the shops listed above, Branch Home officially made its debut recently, and the homewares store seems to be hitting the ground running. The owners describe the space as “a little cottage filled with beautiful things for your life,” and enjoy highlighting locally sourced products. Branch Home’s website has not yet been finalized, but you can follow along on Instagram for updates.
A Walk in the Park
Natirar | Entrance at 2 Main Street, Peapack & Gladstone
Despite the listed address, Natirar is a local park made up of hundreds of acres that touches multiple municipalities, including Far Hills. Visitors are welcome to explore the many walking trails and gardens open to the public, all while learning more about the property’s history and mission of “promoting stewardship of land and resources.” Dogs are welcome at Natirar— you’ll find many four-legged visitors running around the main grounds as soon as you drive up. Fishing, too, is a popular activity and is permissible at the Raritan river so long as local guidelines are followed.
Natirar’s upper acres are home to additional delights including a club, farm, and restaurant (which even offers cooking classes). This portion of the property is currently in the process of being developed, so be sure to check in as their offerings expand. Plans include the introduction of private residences and an upscale hotel, to be part of the Pendry group.
Where to Eat
The Butler’s Pantry Trackside | 57 US 202, Far Hills
If you need a quick bite to eat following your trip, The Butler’s Pantry is a great option. The space is located within the train station and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner most days. The restaurant is family-owned, and the proprietors take pride in serving “fresh and delicious home-cooked meals that satisfy any craving.”
Guallpa’s Green Bati Juice Bar | 27 Route 202, Suite 1, Far Hills
This vegan juice bar arrived on the scene in September of 2020. The cafe has already become quite popular: the operators have had to extend their hours to meet demand, Bati is now open seven days a week. The menu features a selection of daily breakfast and lunch specials in addition to signature cold-pressed juices and smoothies. And, if you’re looking to detox, the juice bar offers personalized cleanse programs to suit your taste.
Ninety Acres | 2 Main Street, Peapack + Gladstone
Ninety Acres is the public restaurant that sits atop the vast property of Natirar Park, making this an excellent place to dine after a day of exploring the area. The upscale farm-to-table venue does have a dress code, so be sure to bring a change of clothes if you plan to spend the day at the park. The seasonal menu includes diverse individual entrees as well as the option for a classic four-course family-style, prix fixe meal. Ninety Acres is open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday, and reservations are suggested as seating is limited, though available both indoors and outside.