COLTS NECK – The township is the place to be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday for the Colts Neck Historic Preservation House Tour.
After a hiatus, the tour is back with a flourish, blending contemporary with Colts Neck historic gems with a special “moving” surprise at township hall, one of the tour stops.
Headlining the tour is the newly completed Abbey Farm, a grand European-style estate on 30 acres with three ponds and fountains.
An addition for all ages is an an operating model railroad layout that will be running in township hall on Cedar Drive. Model railroad expert, collector and craftsman Bob Gassaway is building a special layout just for the tour. To encourage youngsters, who are not allowed on the house tour, to visit, special pricing to view the trains only is available at township hall the day of the event.
The tour for adults is $30, seniors $25. The general public is welcome to view the trains at Township Hall for $10 with those under 15 free when accompanied by an adult.
The tour is self-guided. Docents will be stationed at each locale to welcome visitors and provide more exclusive fascinating information.
Sights on the tour are:
- The Montrose School, circa 1812: The last of the township’s six one-room schoolhouses, Montrose school was purchased for $1 and restored by the committee and volunteers over the past decade. Special displays transport visitors back in time.
- Ciccone Residence: Once the modest home of the legendary Colts Neck “Honey Man” Harry Barth, the charming residence has been transformed into an architectural gem by the designer-owner. The tour starts at the driveway, where landscaping beckons admiration and draws visitors in.
- Four JG’s Orchards & Vineyards: Four JG’s Orchards & Vineyards is named for the owners, who have farming routes in the Monmouth County more than 60 years. Its barns and houses date to the early 1700’s, including the winery store and tasting room.
- Hockhockson Farm (Cooke House): Hockhockson Farm, owned by the same family for 200 years, is one of Colts Neck’s most historic homes. On 45 acres, it includes a pond, barns and lush farmland. The current residence has been on the same foundation since its construction circa 1790. President Dwight D. Eisenhower started his own ranch with stock from Hockhockson Farm.
- Colts Neck Township Hall: The 1964 township hall was designed to resemble the Court House on Duke of Gloucester Street in Williamsburg, Virginia. Inside the main meeting room, decorated in period style, local historic documents and artwork will be on display. The model railroad layout will be located in the main meeting room.
“Settled in the 1600s, Colts Neck Township played a pivotal role in our nation’s earliest history,” said Lillian Burry, chairperson of the Colts Neck Historic Preservation Committee; a former township mayor and current Monmouth County Freeholder. “Many historic structures still dot our roads, while others live on only in memories and history books. This tour allows participants to visit remaining examples of our historic past while experiencing modern marvels of architecture and design.”
Tickets may be purchased in advance by calling 732-462-6888 or visiting Colts Neck Realty at 30 County Highway 537. On the day of the event, tickets can be purchased at Colts Neck Township Hall, Cedar Drive, and Mulberry Market, Colts Neck Shopping Center, Route 34, Colts Neck.
Proceeds from the event will support the committee’s ongoing activities, including maintenance and repair of the Montrose School and bringing professional historic re-enactors to local schools.