Spectacular house touring, boutique shopping and lunch with friends were on the agenda at the Harding Land Trust’s (HLT’s) fifth biennial “House and Garden Tour” beginning at the Church of Christ the King on Monday, June 1.

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Despite the rainy, cool weather, over 400 local residents came out to celebrate land preservation in Harding with a four-house tour, which included such properties as, “Apple Brook”, “Sand Spring Stables”, “Spring House Lane” and “Stoneleigh”. Those in attendance met at the Church of Christ the King on Blue Mill Road, before breaking off into staggered groups, to go view the four magnificent Harding homes. Before the tour, a colorful array of merchandise, including clothing, jewelry, belts, paintings and handbags were available for purchase by boutiques, which included Everything is Rosey, Bee’s Bake Shop, The Garden Cottage, Ellie Kai, KT Shepperly Designs, and Stanton Sweets.

A Preview party was held the night before the house tour to kick off the event. The party was an opportunity for guests to view Weathervane Farm which overlooks preserved Harding Land Trust Property. This home, built in 2003, uses period details to recreate a classic New England colonial with Pennsylvania fieldstone influences. Tim Jones, President of HLT, thanked sponsors of the event which included the lead corporate sponsor Dentons, as well as Amber Road, Chambers Center for Well Being, Cornerstone Realty, Price Waterhouse Coopers, LLC, and Van Beuren Farms. Jones also expressed HLT’s appreciation for the homeowners who opened their homes for the house tour. Jones said, “All four homes are truly unique and special. Without them, this event would not be possible.”

For the house tour portion of the event, residents were treated to an opportunity to go inside of some of Harding’s most magnificent homes. First on the tour was the “Sand Spring Stables” which was built originally as a traditional Cape Cod, with modern additions constructed in the 1970’s. Well-known architect, Peter Dorne, and landscape architect, Celia DeHuff lovingly reimagined this home to resemble an old English stable. The second property on the tour was “Applebrook”. This beautifully situated European inspired home was completed in 2009. The 7 acre home features a pool, terraces and tennis courts. The heart of the house is the kitchen, featuring a fireplace and hand-painted Clive Christian cabinetry. “Stoneleigh” is an elegant Bucks County stone farmhouse with rolling views of pastoral fields and a pond. This early nineteenth century reproduction home, designed by the renowned historic architect, Royal Barry Wills, was extensively restored and retains original details throughout. The fourth property on the tour is decorated by Melone Cloughen Interiors, a talented, local interior design company. The home is located on one of the most beautiful country roads in New Vernon. Fabulous dining spaces and a gorgeous outside terrace and pool add to the beauty and warmth of this home.”We are grateful to all of our friends who volunteered to help with this event. We couldn’t do it without them,” Karen Shea, trustee, said. “It truly takes a whole community to help run all of the details of the day.”

The Harding Land Trust is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance. HLT’s mission is to preserve the farmland, woodlands and natural areas that give Harding its distinctive quality of life. Harding Land Trust works to safeguard our natural resources and preserve the rural character of our community for current and future generations. The trust was established in 1990 and has preserved more than 540 acres of scenic and environmentally sensitive land in the township. Officers in the trust include President Timothy Jones and vice presidents Lynn Boyajian, Mady Devine, Fritz Laird, Gerry Scully and Karen Shea.

This is the fifth time we’ve done this event,” said Shea, “It is our biggest fundraiser and we hope to continue for many years to come.” For more information, please visit hardinglandtrust.org.