**This post was inspired by my participation in a campaign initiated by RelayRides. Relayrides is a very affordable peer to peer car sharing rental service in which you can rent from to venture out into your favorite 'hidden gems' of the world!Bill Moyers said, "Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous" and I believe we found one of those places in our neck of the woods. New Jersey never ceases to amaze me. I love the fact that you can find places to go that are tucked away without driving for hours and hours, and if you do...it doesn't seem like a long drive. I have found a few hidden "gems" in the Garden State, and the latest gem/adventure we found was exploring the art in a beautiful wooded village in Millville called Wheaton Arts.
This place is perfect for people of all ages. We lucked out on going on a perfect non-humid, cool weekend, and the best part...it was free! Apparently they have a free weekend in July every summer, and we just happened to pick the weekend where admission was free.
We first got to experience the art of glass blowing, and can I just begin to tell you how brilliant blowing glass is!! I was amazed at these artists in how they shape, bend, and heat up the glass to make it into a perfect size pitcher. Noah was enthralled with the whole experience that he was listening with intent during the demonstration observing every move these guys made.
As we were leaving the building we scoped out some huge round glass looking ornaments and a shrine full of, what else...blown up glass! Everything was done so tastefully & I commend them for their hard work! I can see why they charge so much for their art. Not only is it perfect, but standing in front of an oven that's 1750 degrees for hours blowing glass would be understandable as to why this art is high in price.
As soon as we walked outside of the building into cooler temperatures we got a glimpse of these lovely glass bowls, and vases. So colorful, but I left with nothing. Maybe next time.
They also have a playground inside for the kids, and as soon as they spotted it they all ran towards it. It was perfect, and because I had a feeling we were going to be here all day we let them swing away! Noah was too much fun as you can see here.
We then went inside the building next door, and experienced the world of pottery! I was particularly impressed with this gentleman who knocked these coffee mugs out within minutes!
My daughter Lexie told me how she can totally picture me wearing my overalls with my hair in a bun doing pottery. I sort of shook my head thinking...yeah, I could do this. By the way... Noah kept petting this beautiful Golden Retriever. I can tell he would like us to own one someday. Not now little man!
As we walked around the rest of the place I had myself a little house on the prairie moment. They have an old school house where you can walk inside and get a taste of how it might have felt like to be a student in the 1800's. The desks were so old that you can smell the wood through the glass window.
We then browsed the award winning museum stores & quaint shops where they sell all kinds of american glass. From paperweights to jewelry, and unique accessories...it's amazing artwork!
I didn't trust Noah to go into some of the shops with me for fear of breaking something so he stayed behind and chalked the walkway in front of the shops. Believe me if you're in a store surrounded by $400 paperweights from all over the world, and if you have a touchy kind of kid I guarantee you'd want them to stay outside, hence the chalk. Maybe thats why they have boxes of chalk laid out all over this place...to keep the kids occupied. Chelsea went ahead, and joined him in on the fun, only after she we went inside the General Store to listen to this mechanical piano. Really old time music!
This place was quite amazing, and I'm so glad I discovered it while driving through the backroads of South Jersey. The kids had so much fun exploring this fun place. It kind of reminded me of the time we went to Sturbridge Village (another hidden gem.) Old school, but modern.
Wheaton Arts truly is a hidden gem, and if you do have to drive for hours and hours why not rent a car from RelayRides.