October 19, 2018 | ° F

Romantic retreats reside at Rutgers


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Photo by Michelle Klejmont |

Rumor has it that when a Douglass girl and Cook boy ciricle Passion Puddle, located on Douglass campus, three times, they are destined to fall in love.


Kirkpatrick Chapel and Passion Puddle are two places University students note for their romance and enchantment.

Passion Puddle is a small, tree-shaded pond on Douglass campus.

According to legend, if one circles the pond three times with their romantic interest, they will be married within a year.

Traditionally, if a Douglass College girl and a Cook College boy circle it three times, they are meant to live happily ever after.

Photo: Michelle Klejmont

The Kissing Bridge, located on Douglass campus, provides lovers with a secret smooching sanctuary.

Shoshana Benjamin, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student, said Passion Puddle provides a nice setting to study in nice weather and is a pretty feature of the campus.

“I always see couples there, so I can understand how it is seen as a romantic spot, even now when the pond is frozen over,” she said.

The Kirkpatrick Chapel, a 140-year-old landmark of the College Avenue campus, is another location known for its beauty as an ideal wedding location, said operations manager Patrick Cogan.

The chapel is intrinsic to the history of Rutgers, he said. It hosts about 120 weddings a year, the busiest period being in September, October and November.

Cogan said it is cooler outside during those months and the chapel is not air-conditioned.

“It was built 30 years before air conditioning was even invented,” he said. “Also, wedding pictures come out really well this time of year when the campus is sporting its autumnal finery.”

Cogan said because Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday this year, the holiday would not be a busy wedding day because the University uses the chapel and its parking lot.

“We take reservations up to two years in advance,” he said. “So I have reservations scheduled two years from now. We also have possible time slots on any given Saturday or Sunday, so there’s plenty of opportunity.”

Cogan said Henry Janeway Hardenbergh, the same person who designed the Plaza Hotel in New York City, Carnegie Hall, the Dakota apartment buildings on Central Park West and more, designed and helped build the chapel in 1873.

Hardenbergh was the premier architect of his day. He built a number of beautiful and trend-setting edifices throughout the country, from the Hotel Oakland in California to the Fairmount Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston.

Cogan said a lot of the beautiful buildings that we still enjoy today are the result of Hardenbergh’s handiwork, and he started off here in New Brunswick.

“First, he designed an extension to Johnson Hall, which is a building on College Avenue, and then he designed and built Geology Hall, and the third building he did for Rutgers was the chapel,” he said.

Cogan said Kirkpatrick was a great place to get married for anybody who has any kind of history with Rutgers.

Another popular location for weddings is the Rutgers Gardens, said Mary Ann Schrum, manager of programs and development.

Schrum said the Gardens hosts wedding ceremonies and receptions, held at the alumni pavilion in a log cabin.

“The log cabin is a historic building built by the University in 1935,” she said. “It’s a really neat area.”

Schrum said because Rutgers Gardens is an outdoor venue, the facility is only available for rent from April through October, and they host about 75 weddings a year.

“It’s a different and unique place for weddings,” she said. “We have an evergreen garden, a lilac garden, a bamboo forest, a rain garden, ex cetera.”

According to the Rutgers Gardens website, they have an Ornamental Tree Collection, including small trees like the India Quassia Wood, Persian Ironwood and the Chinese Dogwood.

Schrum said they also plant annuals in a display garden, which has most of the vibrant colors this time of year. For weddings, many couples take their photos here or have their ceremonies in the display garden.


By Connie Capone

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