Plans for the first phase of Marylands Farm Park got high praise from visitors during two open house events held at the New Haven, Indiana Community Center in November. Attendees responded enthusiastically to the vision of the park which will allow visitors of all abilities to explore the natural world in the setting of an earlier time.

At the open house, visitors were welcomed as they signed the guest book. They were then invited to follow a path of whimsical duck feet along the floor leading to the Apple Orchard where they would view a video orientation to the park’s history and vision. Visitors found the video to be especially engaging.

They listened intently as Alison Adams, the park’s donor and visionary, described in personal and heartfelt terms how Marylands Farm came to be and what motivated her to donate it. Many people were surprised and captivated to learn that Alison’s farm is part of the first farm in the township, on land granted to a man named Jesse Adams by President John Quincy Adams in 1825. (The three Adams are not related!) Alison worked with the New Haven parks department in arranging her donation to ensure the farm’s distinctive history would not be lost and to preserve the farm as part of Northeast Indiana’s rich, rural farm heritage. (Alison’s video can be viewed here.) 

Open house visitors eagerly explored plans for Phase 1 of the park presented on poster boards as a “guided tour.” Alison and Parks Superintendent Mike Clendenen were on hand to answer questions and provide information along with other park team members.

Each poster board showcased a key feature planned for the park. The first two on the tour displayed how the park’s history will be experienced by visitors. First will be a log cabin, reminiscent of Jesse Adams’s home on the original farm, which will serve as a gathering space. Next is the stately 1870s brick house built by the new owner when Jesse’s land was divided, this house having served the farm for nearly 150 years.

A focal point of the park will be a sensory trail that invites visitors to experience and interact with a variety of sights, sounds, smells and textures. Several observers spent time studying the many facets of the sensory trail. 

After a stop at the nature playground and the picnic shelter, the day’s participants ended their poster board tour with a visual stroll along a path where park visitors young and old will be entertained by the farm’s animals.

To learn more about the park features planned for Phase 1, visit here.

In addition to exploring the features planned for the park, visitors were pleased to learn of the importance the plans place on making the park accessible for people of all abilities. This focus is part of the foundation of the park and will be emphasized through all phases of development.

During the open house visitors socialized over light refreshments that would have been common in the early days of the farm. A pocket folder takeaway was provided as a reminder of all they had seen and learned. Information was included on how one could help make the park a reality by their donation.