One of the most underrated tourist attractions in America is in Mercer County, NJ
If you have never been to, or even heard of, the Grounds for Sculpture, you are missing a real jewel of New Jersey.
The travel website HawaiianIslands.com put out a list of the 20 most underrated tourist spots in America, and it was wonderful to see the Grounds for Sculpture taking the number 5 spot.
It has been a favorite place for my family to visit since the kids were young, and I look forward to strolling the grounds every year.
Nestled on the former New Jersey State Fairgrounds in Hamilton, Mercer County, Grounds for Sculpture opened in 1992.
It was the vision of the late artist Seward Johnson to create a space where artwork could be sited within the landscape, and visitors could delight in discovering contemporary sculpture.
Nowhere else can you literally walk into a real-life creation of a Monet painting or take a stroll through the woods and encounter a towering sculpture that blends into the landscape.
You might also be greeted by one of the gorgeous Peacocks with their broad and colorful tail feathers on full display.
You don't need to be an art expert, or even an art lover, to enjoy all this amazing place has to offer. The park is now exhibiting nearly 300 works.
Johnson, who passed away in 2020, filled the park with his life-sized bronze statues that often depict figures inspired by Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterworks. They literally bring the paintings to life, and invite visitors to step inside.
When he was working at the site, he often spent the night in a dazzling real-life version of Van Gogh's bedroom. The wild angles and twisted perspective are masterfully recreated. Stepping into the bedroom may cause a bit of vertigo as your mind tries to process what you are seeing.
Most overrated and underrated in New Jersey
To come up with it's list, HawaiianIslands.com says they "used TripAdvisor’s own reviews to find the most overrated and underrated tourist spots in America."
Among the most overrated attractions in America include Guggenheim Museum in New York City and two theme parks close to New Jersey: Sesame Place and Hershey Park.
They also calculated the most overrated and underrated attraction in each state.
For New Jersey, they named the most overrated attraction as the Ocean Resort and Casino in Atlantic City. The rating was based on the reviews left on TripAdvisor.com.
As for the most underrated, that would be Great Falls National Park in Paterson. This is another gem of an attraction in New Jersey and very much worth the visit.
Carved by glaciers 13,000 years ago, the Great Falls are 77 feet high and 260 feet wide. More than 2 billion gallons of water rush over it daily. It is the 2nd largest waterfall, by volume, east of the Mississippi River, behind only Niagara Falls.
Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at email@example.com
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