PEAPACK, N.J. - Building the biggest home in the pursuit of leisure was a favorite pastime of the gilded age plutocrat.
Now for the first time, and only for a month, one of those gilded age castles in New Jersey is open to the public.
It's an hour outside the Lehigh Valley and perched on the highest hill in Somerset County, New Jersey.
The massive home is called Blairsden.
"Which is one of the largest homes in America," said Prudence Pigott. "16 foot tall ceilings. Carved limestone, marble, plaster moldings. You see mansions like this in Newport, Rhode Island she went on to say.
Built by a New York financier around 1900, the 62,000 square foot, beaux-arts style private home is open to the public for the first time.
"So for one month, the month of May, we are opening for the public to tour," said co-chair Prudence Pigott.
The home is the designer showcase for Mansions in May.
From the marble floored corridor, and limestone lined stairway, to the grand salon which includes specially designed Baccarat crystal chandeliers, 53 designers have transformed the one time bare bones home into a modern work of art, both inside and out.
"This is the signature of Blairsden the arcade and Belvidere," she said, which includes this $11,000 app controlled built in coffee maker.
"We've been trying to obtain Blairsden for a Mansions in May for 40 years," co-chair Christie Gisser said.
The opulence comes with purpose.
The $50 ticket will help expand the pediatric unit at Morristown Medical Center and help to build a new autism center at Goryeb Children's Hospital.
"Families need early diagnosis to start early treatment and we feel ready to supply that to those families," Gisser added.
So while Blairsden is a now a modern make over to a historic home, it's also a path to a better future for kids in need.
For more information you can head to www.mansionsinmay.org
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