Memories of Hills and Horses

In the tranquil setting of a private country estate in Short Hills, New Jersey, shielded from the bustling rhythm and summer heat of 20th-century urban life, two American families resided—the Days and the Blanchards. This idyllic retreat, cherished by all who called it home, offered respite and a plethora of healthy outdoor activities. Horseback riding emerged as a favored pursuit, as bridle trails on the wooded property connected with hundreds of acres in South Mountain Reservation, allowing both families to immerse themselves in the beauty of a timeless landscape while riding on their favorite equines.

The Day Family
In 1906, Joseph P. Day, a distinguished real estate auctioneer, acquired 79 acres of this private estate, later naming it “Pleasant Days” in anticipation of a wonderful life to come. Collaborating with his neighbor, the accomplished architect and landscape designer William Whetten Renwick, Day envisioned not only an Italianate mansion with 28 rooms, but also several additional auxiliary structures as part of the estate. Notably, the construction included an elaborate Carriage House which served as a stable for the Day family’s prized Arabian horses.

The Blanchard Family
In 1949, Peter P. Blanchard Jr. and Dr. Adelaide Childs Frick Blanchard, newly married, acquired the country retreat, now consisting of 28 acres. The parcel of land they purchased did not include the Carriage House, so when the Blanchard’s built a new brick house in the Colonial Revival style upon the foundations of the Day house, they also built new stables. They renamed their idyllic home “The Greenwoods” in honor of Peter’s ancestors, and many evenings were spent trail riding—Adelaide, astride her cherished horse, Kindoon, and Peter, in tandem with his beloved steed, Gladstone.

Today, set against a unique backdrop of nature, beauty, and history, Greenwood Gardens is still surrounded by the same 2,110 acres of preserved parkland that the Day and Blanchard families traversed on horseback in days gone by. Surely the echoes of their laughter and excitement as their steeds rhythmically galloped through the meadow and forest in and around Greenwood Gardens are etched in the memory of this land forever.

The Day family, mounted on horseback in the Forecourt, 1918.
Adelaide with her horse, Kindoon.
Peter with his horse, Gladstone, by the stables.