D&R Greenway celebrates land preservation with Moonlight Masquerade at the Down to Earth Ball

D&R Greenway Land Trust celebrates the preservation of nearly 20,000 acres in central New Jersey with a Moonlight Masquerade at the Down to Earth Ball. The event will be hosted by Tim Gardner and Meredith Asplundh Gardner at Princeton’s historic Tusculum estate on Saturday, October 296:30 to 11 p.m. Come as you are or someone or something you always wanted to be! Enjoy seasonal fare from local farms and a signature cocktail from Sourland Mountain Spirits. There will be hayrides through preserved farmland, open-mike Karaoke and a battle for your votes, a live auction with tantalizing mystery trips and photos from Nic’s Photo Show. Tickets to the gala fundraiser cost $125 per person and sponsorships are available. To purchase, please visit www.drgreenway.org or phone (609) 924-4646.

“This year’s Down-to-Earth celebration combines intrigue, revelry, music and preservation,” says D&R Greenway President and CEO Linda Mead. “Mystery guests will surprise you with special entertainment as you feast on local fare and try to guess the identity of fellow partygoers.”

The Masquerade Ball will be held at the circa 1773 barn of Tim and Meredith Gardner at historic Tusculum. The country estate was built for John Witherspoon, sixth president of Princeton University and signer of the Declaration of Independence, and is named after the Roman town of Tusculum. The property was often visited by George Washington and his wife, Martha, during Witherspoon’s tenure as president of Princeton University. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

Through D&R Greenway and Friends of Princeton Open Space, 35 acres of the estate was sold to Princeton Township as permanent parkland, and 23 acres surrounding the historic house were protected under a permanent conservation easement, ensuring that the historic setting and vista remains as it was in John Witherspoon’s day forever.

Meredith Asplundh Gardner and Robin McConaughy are co-chairs of the Masquerade Ball.

“Statics reveal that in 30 years there will be no more open acres for purchase in the state of New Jersey,” says Meredith Asplundh Gardner. “It’s hard to imagine that is where we are headed and makes it that much more important to have the funds at our fingertips to preserve as much land as possible when available. Thanks to the incredible work of D&R Greenway, we will be able to enjoy the legacy of our beautiful New Jersey landscape for years to come.

“We are so pleased to host a fun-draiser that gives back in such a way that everyone enjoys and benefits,” she continues.

“Every time I work on an event for D&R Greenway, my enthusiasm for its accomplishments is enhanced,” says Robin McConaughy. “The settings we choose are most often preserved and the committee is just as passionate about D&R Greenway’s mission as they are about having fun.

“Tusculum provides the best of all settings,” she continues, “with preserved land, owners who are passionate about land preservation and naturally beautiful surroundings of thoughtfully landscaped gardens and fields full of wild grasses.”

To learn more, please visit www.drgreenway.org.

About Erica Chayes Wida

Erica Chayes Wida is a writer, mom, and complete zealot when it comes to poetry, paella and globe collections. After graduating with a degree in Anthropology from UCLA, Erica moved to Italy where the seasons and old architecture inspired her journey back to the East Coast. Since then, she and her husband have created a nest egg locally and, over time, developed a rather grand love affair with the town of Princeton. Erica is senior editor at The Princeton Sun and enjoys fulfilling her Princeton affections on a daily basis. | View all posts by Erica Chayes Wida