Isaac Bell House, Oak Valley Plantation and Mt. Vernon, what do these names have in common? Each and every one is an estate so grand, it’s withstood the test of time. A truly great estate never dies, it evolves and transforms as time passes, always beckoning new owners, visitors, and historians to explore its magnificence.
Many estates have similar fashionings – a magnanimous mansion surrounded by natural beauty, manicured lawns and landscaped gardens. A commanding sight, to say the least.
Built to inspire, house and entertain, but above all else, the great estates of America offer a precious glimpse into times past and periods gone by.
This is the story of one spectacular estate nestled in the rolling hills of Somerset, New Jersey. Natirar – a brilliantly dynamic estate born into the glittering Gilded Age, and remaining a vibrant spectacle today.
The History of Natirar
What began as a wealthy young couples’ weekend escape is being transformed into a relaxing countryside getaway, welcome to anyone with a desire to rejuvenate mind, body, and soul. Before discovering the new delights and experiences waiting for you at Natirar, let’s take a glimpse into the grand history the mansion has witnessed over the past few centuries.
From the Early 20th Century
Nearly every country in Europe features an assortment of great estates, some dating back centuries. It really wasn’t until the Gilded Age, the late 1800s into the early 1900s, that European-fashion great estates made frequent appearances in the U.S.
Due to the economic climate in The Glittering Gilded Age, the wealthy were becoming increasingly wealthier. At the time New York was becoming ever crowded with increasing amounts of immigrants streaming in, which caused many of the wealthy elite to build large mansions in nearby countrysides as a way to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
Such was the case for young Walter Graeme Ladd and his wife, Catherine “Kate” Everitt Macy Ladd, an heiress to a Massachusetts shipping and whaling fortune, who desired an escape from New York City.
In 1905, esteemed architect Guy Lowell was hired by the couple to bring their vision to fruition. To fashion one’s estate after those of Europe was all the rage, and thus the Tudor style mansion of Natirar was finally born in 1912.
The couple named their estate Natirar after the Raritan River which runs through the property; Natirar is Raritan spelled backward. Natirar was something of a dream, it featured Teak floors, limestone trim, slate roofs, extensive oak paneling and intricately molded plaster ceilings. Surprise – Natirar still boasts all of those features today.
It was an estate fit for royalty, and the Ladd’s loved it. So much, in fact, that they eventually moved in full-time.
Kate Ladd, an avid philanthropist with a mission to help others, opened The Maple Cottage to help ladies regain strength after illness. After her death in 1945, the convalescence center was moved into the mansion where it provided resources to women for a period of 50 years from the death of Walter in 1933.
As mentioned earlier, Natirar is elegant enough to be fit for royalty, and in 1983 the property was sold to his majesty, Hassan II, The King of Morocco. His majesty purchased the property to be close to Princeton University, where his sons attended. Though it is said that Hassan II never actually spent the night at Natirar, he did utilize it from time to time, and at one point to ride horses with none other than President Reagan.
After the King’s passing, his heirs sold the property to Somerset County for $22 million. The ninety acres at the top of the property, which includes the mansion, was then leased in a public-private partnership with the intent to restore this generational property back to greatness.
Natirar is Reborn
What was originally a country home for a wealthy young couple, is being transformed into an elegant destination. The estate’s original intent was for it to be a safe haven, a luxury escape from the mundane of everyday life. A paradise to embrace nature, release tension and enjoy the finer things in life.
Natirar will always serve such a function, it’s very creation was to be a natural paradise, a place to take a hiatus from the hustle and bustle of city life. What was once the home of a young couple with no children, will now be a magnificent hotel, cooking school, country residences, and much more. This Natirar project will return the 1912 Tudor mansion to its original grandeur, with a few additions such as a gorgeous ballroom and events center.
Many parts of the great estate are already open and thriving. Natirar’s Cooking School, Ninety Acres Restaurant, The Farm and Club are at the disposal of guests. Learn how to sauté the flavors of Italy at the cooking school, or escape for the day to dine at Ninety Acres and go for a romantic stroll around the property. However, you desire to enjoy Natirar is entirely up to you.
“Somerset, New Jersey was used by the New York elite of the Gilded Age as a luxury escape. Somewhere close enough to return home, but far enough to detach from the nagging of everyday life,” explains Founder, Bob Wojtowicz. “Here at Natirar, we’re striving to carry on their legacy of consistent rejuvenation. From cooking lessons to spa days, we have every tool imaginable to help our future guests relax and enjoy the finest things in life.”
The vision behind modern Natirar is to be a place dedicated to a lifestyle of luxury and relaxation. A getaway from the predictability and routine of everyday life. Natirar will be an enchanting setting to exchange and witness nuptials, reconnect with loved ones, and create lifelong memories with friends and family.
We’re cordially inviting you to join us on the lifestyle renaissance we’ve begun. Together we’ll cherish Natirar’s past and embrace its future. Stay connected with Natirar’s journey through its new website – Natirar.com, and join our intimate community to ensure you are the first to learn about all the exciting news, events and special offers.