What happens when two villages are combined in one borough? The answer is Peapack-Gladstone, which is sometimes called the Twin Borough. Incorporated in 1912, two distinct villages are located in the northern part of Somerset County. Peapack is the southernmost village and Gladstone is the northern one. Both have a small shopping district, train station, post office, houses of worship, and homes in and around their Main Streets.
The two downtown areas are old fashioned and picturesque. Many homes lining Main Street, from stately Victorians to charming cottages or classic capes, feature well-tended green lawns and blooming flower gardens. Liberty Park has a small pond with fountains and picnic tables, and there’s a playground across the street. Concerts in the park and community events attract all ages in the warm weather. The trout-stocked Peapack Brook meanders through town, eventually joining the North Branch of the Raritan River.
(Source: The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills)
Located on the east side of Main Street in Peapack, the Peapack Limekilns were donated to The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills (THSSH) in 1996, when the adjacent property was being developed as a residential subdivision. In 1999, THSSH dedicated a pocket park featuring the kilns. The preserved kilns are an important reminder of Somerset Hills' agrarian heritage.
A limekiln operation existed in Peapack as early as 1794. By that time agricultural land in New Jersey was beginning to "wear out," and lime was an important soil additive used by farmers to increase the yield of their crops. Many farmers burned limestone in small kilns on their property, but the Peapack kiln was a commercial operation. Lime was also an important ingredient in mortar and whitewash. Lime would also have been used in the early leather-tanning factory that was located beside the Peapack River south of the kilns.
The Peapack area was a good source for limestone, which was quarried in the nearby vicinity well into the 20th century. The quarried limestone was loaded into the limekiln from the top, alternating with layers of fuel such as charcoal early on, and eventually coal. After burning for about 60 hours, the lime was removed from the bottom of the kiln.
There are two post offices, two railroad stations, houses of worship, a fire company, a library, and a police department in Peapack-Gladstone. The houses of worship are arranged with the oldest congregations closest to the center of town: Gladstone United Methodist (1837), Peapack Reformed (1849), St Luke's Episcopal (1900), St. Brigid Roman Catholic (1936), and St Elizabeth's Roman Catholic (1936).
Borough residents enjoy some of the best restaurants in the Somerset Hills. 89 Main Street and Sublime are local favorites, while The Gladstone Tavern is sited in a landmark building. On its front porch is a full-sized model of a horse that was used as a harness-maker's dummy in the 1800s.
Residents typically travel about 10 or 15 minutes to Bernardsville, Chester, or Bedminster for groceries, and the closest major mall is Bridgewater Commons in Bridgewater, about 10 miles south.
Legend says that Peapack is derived from "Peapackton," a Lenni Lenape term meaning "marriage of the waters," a reference to the meeting point of the Peapack Brook and Raritan River at the eastern border of the borough. Gladstone was named for William Ewart Gladstone, an admirer of the American Democratic system who served as British Prime Minister several times between 1868 and 1894.
The existing Peapack-Gladstone of today was originally part of a large tract of land purchased by John Johnstone and George Willocks in 1701 from Dutch proprietors. The two villages were fairly remote outposts until 1890, when the Delaware & Lackawanna Railroad built an extension to Gladstone. Soon afterward, wealthy business executives like railroad magnate C. Ledyard Blair, multi-millionaire Walter L. Ladd, and James Cox "Diamond Jim" Brady built country estates in the area. Local land owner Grant Schley organized the so-called "Millionaire's Express" train linking Far Hills to Gladstone and ushering in the proliferation of Gilded Era property owners.
Children in Peapack-Gladstone attend the Bernardsville Public Schools located in Bernardsville, including the Bedwell School for kindergarten through grade four, Bernardsville Middle School for grades five through eight, and Bernards High School. These schools are part of the Somerset Hills Regional School District, and also include students from Bernardsville, Far Hills, and Bedminster.
Gill St. Bernard's School is a private, non-sectarian, co-educational day school serving students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.
The Matheny School is a private school for the disabled recognized by the New Jersey Department of Education.
The entire borough is well connected with two train stations and a location about ten miles north of the intersection of Interstates 287 and 78. Peapack-Gladstone is about an hour and 40 minutes by train from New York City. The stations are the last two on New Jersey Transit's Gladstone Branch of the Morris and Essex train line.
The borough most notably offers estates, luxury properties, historic homes, and equestrian farms amid its rolling terrain, but there is a wide range of housing that also includes more modest homes. Similarly, property sizes vary from less than a half-acre to substantial tracts of land. Homes within walking distance to town and train are popular for commuters.
The United States Equestrian Team Foundation at Hamilton Farm is the training site for horses and riders participating in Olympic events and the venue for the annual I.B.M.-U.S. Equestrian Team Festival of Champions, a four-day extravaganza of horsemanship, including driving, show jumping and dressage, held each June.
Natirar ("Raritan" spelled backwards) was formerly known as the Kate Macy Ladd estate, which Turpin Real Estate sold in 1982, breaking our own sales record. The $7.5 million sale to H.M. King Hassan II, Sovereign of Morocco, also set a new record in the state that year. Today, Natirar is a 500-acre estate spread over the municipalities of Peapack-Gladstone, Bedminster, and Far Hills. The 28,000 square foot brick mansion is situated at the end of a mile-long drive and commands spectacular views. Acquired by Somerset County in 2003, future plans call for an 80-acre spa and retreat facility from entertainment mogul Richard Branson. Currently, a significant portion of the property is open to the public for recreation.
Fun Fact #1: The Essex Hunt Club in Peapack is a fox-hunting club that evolved into two private clubs: Essex Fox Hounds, which still hunts, and the Essex Hunt Club, a winter recreational club on a 100-plus acre property that uses an ice rink for figure skating and hockey.
Fun Fact #2: In 1975, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis held an auction selling miscellaneous items from a house she had rented in Peapack. The sale, which included a chair President Kennedy used as a student at Choate, brought in a few thousand dollars. She bought a converted barn on ten acres nearby, and used it as a country retreat until her death in 1994.
Size: 5.9 square miles
2000 Census Population: 2,433
Location: Somerset County
Distance from New York City: About 45 miles
Distance from Newark: About 35 miles
Distance from Philadelphia: About 70 miles
Parks: Liberty Park with picnic area, man-made pond and war memorials; pocket park at sight of old Peapack limekilns.
Local Sites/Attractions: Natirar, United States Equestrian Team at Hamilton Farm.
Mass Transportation: New Jersey Transit train stations in Peapack and Gladstone villages. Lakeland Bus has Manhattan-bound service at the border of Peapack and Bedminster along Route 202, or from the nearby train station in Far Hills.
Housing: Antique farmhouses, antique Colonials, luxury real estate, English country manors, Georgian, Cape Cods, Victorians, equestrian properties, executive homes, custom homes, cul-de-sac homes, cottages, bungalows, contemporary designs and a variety of architectural styles spanning the centuries.
Find a Turpin Real Estate agent in your area.
Our sole focus is helping people buy and sell real estate.