The Old Foundation at Duke’s Estate – Hillsborough, NJ

An easy town to pass through, planted between major highways, populated mostly by farms and bookended by Somerville and Princeton, Hillsborough has some spots were detouring off 206 for. 

Duke Farms, Doris Duke’s estate, is a sprawling nature preserve with more than 18 miles of walking and biking paths. As one of the largest pieces of privately owned, open land in New Jersey, the estate offers walking paths, hiking paths, waterfalls, greenhouses, lakes and ponds, and a variety of classes and events. 

What enticed me were the ruins, unfinished structures still left to explore and in my case practice! 

Directions: The entrance I use to Dukes is off Dukes Parkway West (off 206). Visitor parking is on the right as you come up to the main house on the property. Maps and info is inside, the whole staff is very welcoming and very informed of you have any questions at all! 

There is a path that leads left when you are lookin at the mansion, I take that down to the street where you can cross with the crossing guard at the light. Then walk past the pond on the left and continue on the left most path. Take that to the end and as the path opens up, in front of you across a huge (HUGE) field in the distance you’ll see a large stone structure. There’s a path that goes through the field to get to the stairs. I practiced for a bit (I’m a fan of practicing in the grass but if you want a more solid foundation the top stairs are perfect width for a yoga mat and offer a smooth practice surface!) and then ate lunch and read for a bit at the picnic tables set up next to the stairs. It was so quiet and felt so open. 

(Dukes Farm is always free to enter as well!)

I’ve lived here my whole life which is maybe why I had been finding myself going to the same spots and not exploring more. This will definitely be a frequent practice spot for me with the weather getting nice, but no doubt there are endless possibilities when it comes to practice spaces here! 


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