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    This Week in the New Jersey Skylands.

    Think Skylands! Northwest New Jersey and destinations just beyond those borders, in Pennsylvania and New York, are equally intriguing and convenient offer brilliant ways to get out and enjoy the pleasures of the season.

  • 03/24/2008 03:49 PM
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  • For a quick guide to many of the region's parks and outdoor resources take a peek at our outdoor destinations map. Click here and there and plan your day!
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Historical Sites and Museums

Pre Industrial Sites
Along the Old Mine Road
In the 1600s Dutch miners discovered copper ore in a beautiful ravine located about seven miles north of the Delaware Water Gap. To access the ore and to transport it to Kingston, New York, they constructed a road, now known as the Old Mine Road. Primitive by present standards, it was a major undertaking in its day, and legends of the road and its Dutch miners have persisted for over two centuries
Archeological Sites in Northwest New Jersey
New Jersey offers a vast repository of ancient treasure. Beginning with the arrival of paleo-Indians, humans have hunted, gathered, plowed, mined and built across New Jersey for thousands of years.
Bald Pate Mountain, Washington's Crossing, Howell Farm
Just a few miles south of Lambertville lies an area ripe for weekend adventure and exploration. Components of local, national, and natural history are well represented, as well as brilliant prospects for craft seekers, hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, and picnickers.
Learning Lenape
For over 12,000 years the Lenape and their ancestors occupied northwestern New Jersey. Who were they? How did they live? What kinds of tools did they make and use? Archaeologists have been trying to answer these questions for over a century.
Lenne Lenape Indian Village
The easiest path to an appreciation of the Lenape is across the bridge to the Indian Village at Waterloo. Developed in1988 by archaeologist John Kraft, the recreated village has introduced the Lenape way to hundreds of thousands of visitors.
Old Mine Road
In many places along the Old Mine Road within the state of New Jersey, neglect and the sharp edge of the budget axe have scraped the pavement off the surface, and revealed the powdery and pocked dirt origins of this ancient trail, said by some to be the oldest commercial road on the North American continen
Pequest Pilgims
Immerse yourself in the season's beauty, the region's heritage, and a spectrum of natural features along this forty-mile loop that parallels the Pequest River through its upper reaches,
Voices of the Land
A lucid narrative spiced with a series of stories told by local experts, historians, and residents, linked with images from a universe of sources, make this fascinating chronology comprehensible to everyone.
Colonial and Revolutionary War Sites
American Revolution Anniversary
General George Washington and the Continental Army spent almost half the American Revolution in this small state.
Battle of Bound Brook
Among the battles and skirmishes to take place in New Jersey during the War of Independence, the Battle of Bound Brook was an early, though not crushing, defeat on the record of the Continental Army in New Jersey.
Guardians: Knox, Vanderveer and the Pluckemin Cantonment
The Jacobus Vanderveer house is the only surviving building associated with the Pluckemin encampment.
Hampton's Map
Trace a line of forts that protected New Jersey's northwestern frontier along the Delaware River during the French and Indian war.
Historic Hunterdon Taverns
In Hunterdon County, which celebrates its 300th birthday this year (2014), hundreds of the oldest taverns are now mostly forgotten, their scant traces to be found in a few history books or a scattered handful of ruined foundations located only by the most persistent.
Lower Musconetcong Valley
Taking Route 519 south from Alpha through Springtown, the narrow macadam curves west as it enters the lower Musconetcong Valley and joins Route 627. This, 627, is the route to stay with for 519 soon deserts us and goes off to Milford. Route 627 hugs the lower Musconetcong River for its last few miles of existence through a little-known collection of ancient settlements and beautiful farms.
Morristown National Historical Park
To understand why it's a great story, walk to the top of the hill in Jockey Hollow that held 200 soldier huts for the Pennsylvania Brigade in early 1790. Walk up one day in January and imagine staying there until it gets warm enough sometime in April to take off your down jacket.
Packed To The Rafters
The Bouman-Stickney Farmstead in Readington is well into a new chapter, one written for posterity.
Parsippany
Phonetically "pa-sippo-nong", from the native Lenne Lenape name for "rushing water place", Parsippany is a sprawling highway crossroads on the eastern side of Morris County; where the waters still flow, but commuters now do most of the rushing. But the township's Colonial past and agricultural, and industrial heritages have left some interesting places to see.
So This Is Quakertown
Located a mile apart in the heart of Hunterdon County, the villages of Pittstown and Quakertown were both affected by the Revolutionary War.
The Frontier Guard
Two decades before the American Revolution, the Royal Province of New Jersey prepared itself for the culmination of 70 years of bickering between the French and the English colonists.
Van Campen Inn and Fort Shapanack
The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (DWGNRA) covers a 40-mile stretch from the Delaware Water Gap to Port Jervis, NY. Interesting and scenic old roads can be found throughout the area, but none possess more mystery and legend than New Jersey’s Old Mine Road
Washington Museum
Visitors to the Skylands can find something of our national identity, and solemn beauty, in the woods and hollows and historic structures where, in “The Hard Winter” of 1799-1780, Gen. George Washington and his army found refuge. Morris and Somerset counties are home to four national treasures from this crucial time during the Revolutionary War, places important in the history of the defense of the early American n
Mining and Industrial Era

Mining

Andover Mine
What's in a name? As far back as the early 1700s the name Andover was used to refer to the whole general area. Over the years, various sites have borne the Andover name, including local iron mines, forges, furnaces, factories and settlements with a connection with these early iron interests.
Franklin Mineral Museum
Is it the bronze statue of the miner on the front lawn greeting the visitor or perhaps the full-size replica mine inside the building? Or could it be the lure of dinosaur footprints from New Jersey, the world's largest polished slabs of petrified wood, scorpions, dinosaur dung, and over 3000 specimens of local minerals that brings nearly 20,000 school-age children to the Franklin Mineral Museum each school year.
In The Loop
Present or past, time in Jefferson Township is easy to enjoy.
Ironia
134 years ago, in 1871, a small section of Randolph Township was given a name, and an identity. It was born when the booming iron industry in Morris County was the third largest in the nation
Long Pond Iron Works
Take a ride to Long Pond Ironworks State Park in West Milford and park at the visitors center. Walk past the old stone-rubble houses sitting like giant sculptures on the lawn, amble down into the woods and look for the dirt crossroads surrounded by trees and the ruins of a town. The area now called Hewitt was once the Long Pond Ironworks.
Mines, Metal and Men
There is a thread of heritage and industry that began in the New Jersey highlands centuries ago, before America officially started. If you know about it, a ride on the interstate becomes a little more interesting as you approach the hills on the horizon, passing through corridors cut through the earth. And turning off onto a county highway becomes a tour through some of the richest history in America when you really know where you ar
Mt. Hope Mines
Ever wonder about all those depressions you see in the woods? Or old woods roads or dug out trenches with mounds of rock or soil around them? What went on around here, anyway?
Oxford Furnace
What most strikes the first-time visitor to the Oxford Furnace is how tall the stone structure is--over two stories high--and how utterly intact it remains, despite time and weather taking its toll
Pequest Furnace
The Pequest Furnace played a role in the Industrial Revolution along with dozens of other sites in Northwest New Jersey. However, the part played here has been relatively obscure, pieces of a puzzle hidden in the Warren County woods.
Sterling Hill Mine Tour and Museum
Gem lovers, adventurers, history buffs take note! A labyrinth of marbleized tunnels gilded by a multi-color glow of fluorescent minerals below the earth awaits at Sterling Hill Mining Museum, which includes the Thomas Warren Museum of Fluorescence and a 5,000sf mining history exhibit hall.
Wawayanda State Park
As wild as its name, the land of "winding, winding water" is home to Indian shelters and some of the best bear dens in NJ, a lake to swim and boat on, great gobs of pudding stone to climb, rock to scramble, ledges for leaping, primeval forest, 20 miles of Appalachian Trail and so much more
Wildcat Ridge Wildlife Management Area
Tucked between Rockaway Township's town of Hibernia and Split Rock Reservoir lies a large portion of Wildcat Ridge Wildlife Management Area, one of New Jersey's many multi-use WMAs

Industrial Era

Big Skylands Country
Warren County's Scott's Mountain, so named since at least 1885, is known locally as Montana Mountain, named for the small hamlet that sits on its scenic plateau. Nearby Merrill Creek Reservoir, with its vast open waters and network of wooded trails, is deserving of any excursion up the mountain. The trip back down into and through the Pohatcong Valley is equally rewarding for students of history and devotees of the outdoors, especially in autumn when you might even spot flying pumpkins.
Bridges on the Delaware
Most of the original bridge sites on our Delaware River still exist and still hold bridges. The original structures-- wooden, covered bridges-- have been replaced by steel, open-decked spans. But most of these "modern" steel river crossers have been in existence a hundred years or more, and are no longer really modern. Most are still supported by the original stone piers and abutments.
Civil War Reenactments
Almost 58,000 New Jersey men served in the Civil War. With reenlistments, the state would eventually receive credit for more than 80,000 terms of service. Its men fought at Gettysburg, Antietam, Spotsylvania, the Wilderness, Winchester, etc.: they saw tragedy and triumph while participating in the nation's epic struggle.
Foggy Mountain Breakdowns
Although there may have been as many as ten plane crashes along the Kittatinny Ridge in Sussex and Warren Counties, few people are aware of them. Due to the very rugged nature of the area's mountainous terrain, some of the wreckages have never been completely salvaged, and pieces still lie there.
Mansion in May at Blairsden in 2014
John Insley Blair's grandson's 62,000 square foot mansion, called Blairsden, was much different than his own modest home. Blairsden is by far, the largest structure undertaken by the Mansion In May Committee.
Morris Silk Mills
About the time iron making was slowing down, silk production was gearing up.
New Jersey's First Oil Pipe Line
Discovering oil in New Jersey is not usually the happy occasion it may be in other parts of the world. Most often, it means trouble. But the problems discovered a few years ago in Newfoundland, had an interesting history.
Place of the Arrow Wood
Though transportation, past and present, provides the most striking visual identifiers of southeast Morris County's Hanover Township, the character of the place is rooted in the course of the meandering Whippany River. The water power the river gave rise to mills for agriculture in the 18th Century, and in time, the structures associated with the industrial revolution of the 19th Century.
Roads Best Traveled
The historic and scenic river towns of Easton, Portland, Columbia, Belvidere and Phillipsburg all merit in-depth exploration of their own, but this forty-eight-mile loop tour emphasizes the old roads connecting them.
Sussex Telephone Company
Sussex County had a its own telephone pioneer, a country doctor who wanted to serve patients on both the New Jersey and Pennsylvania sides of the Delaware River.
Transportation, Rivers and Railroads

Canals

Along the Delaware and Raritan Canal
This narrative portrays working life on the canal in the mid nineteenth century.
Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park
Today the canal's route provides a 67 mile corridor of recreation and wildlife that invites your pleasure by foot, bike or canoe.
Homeward Bound on the Morris Canal
A canal boat captain and her daughters navigate the Bread Lock in June, 1863.
Jim and Mary Lee Canal Museum
Thousands of people over the years have visited the home in Warren County where Jim and Mary Lee raised their five children, but Jim Lee, Jr. figures his fifth grade class took the first tour his dad ever gave, back in 1953.
King of Drakesville
Just off the old, now-vanished, Ledgewood Circle, a stone's throw from the mall, the Drakesville Historic Park pays tribute to Morris County's pedigree of innovative pioneers.
Macculloch Hall
The year 2010 marks two important anniversaries for Macculloch Hall. Two hundred years ago, in 1810, George Macculloch began construction of his Federal style mansion over an existing farmhouse on 26 acres at what is now 45 Macculloch Avenue in Morristown. Sixty years ago, in 1950, W. Parsons Todd began the gracious old home's transformation into his vision of a historical museum serving the community.
Paint the Town
Bob Bogue's paintings of Boonton were encouraged by his boyhood friends from the 1930s.
The Morris Canal
Walking The Morris Canal: Ledgewood, Byram, Stanhope, Waterloo, Saxton Falls
The Morris Canal in Warren County
Walking The Morris Canal: Philllipsburg to Waterloo
Walking the Morris Canal
Walking The Morris Canal: Stanhope, Waterloo and Saxton Falls
Ye Olde Lake
Lake Hopatcong is central to the New Jersey Skylands, not only geographically, but also to the many levels and facets of the region's character.

Railroads

Black River and Western Railroad
Getting lost in the beautiful Hunterdon County countryside, as it stretches out from either side of the right of way of the Black River & Western Railroad is easy. All you have to do is look out the window of the railcar...
Hunterdon County Rail Trails
When I first began leading long distance day hikes, I sought out routes along abandoned railroads beginning in northern Hunterdon County. While Hunterdon's system of rails was not as intricate as farther north, where mining was more prevalent, the county was home to many spur lines used to transport passengers and products to charming villages and hamlets.
Karamac Kandy
A former railbed just north of the Delaware Water Gap provides another short but satisfying taste of days past in a beautiful setting.
Kittatinny State Park
It is, except for the completion of a few bridges, now possible to hike a continuous distance of nearly 50 miles on public trails through Sussex and Warren counties on the Paulinskill Valley Trail.
Northlandz
"Our problem is telling the world what the heck we got here", says Bruce Williams, creator of Flemington's newest attraction. It is indeed difficult to describe the jaw-dropping feeling you get when you take this effortless trip into the realm of unfettered imagination along the mile-long one way labyrinth that is Northlandz.
Phillipsburg
Phillipsburg has rolled up its sleeves to brand its industrial heritage as a major component of its appeal as a cultural and recreational destination.
Rail Trails
Since my grandfather first took me hiking on the old DL&W line through Warren County, I have had an affinity for exploring the paths left along these rights of way,
Railroad History in New Jersey
If searching out the past while getting a little exercise appeals to you, there are several ways to start your own explorations.
Rock A Bye Rail Trail
The Rockaway Valley Railroad was about 25 miles long and lasted for about 25 years.
The Blair Trail
Follow John I. Blair's life through Blairstown, Hope, Belvidere and Delaware.
The Lackawanna Cutoff
Following this route takes you along one of the most innovative endeavors of the early part of this century and through some of the prettiest countryside in the northeast!
Trails, Tracks and Taverns
Old roads and new trails in and around Hunterdon County's Jugtown Mountain offer scenic options for fall explorers as they wander through historic districts, old hamlets, wooded roads, environmental preserves and county parks. The more you look, the more you see!
Transportation Heritage Center
The idea has had time to mature, originating back in 1987 when the original Railroad and Transportation Museum Study Commission began to search for a way to tell the story of New Jersey's rich transportation heritag
Transportation Heritage Collection
These signs are treasures, just a few of many located here on the grounds of the former Phillipsburg water company.
Agricultural, Mills, Traditional
Clinton and the Red Mill
Perhaps no symbol of western New Jersey is better known than the landmark Red Mill at Clinton. Located just below the confluence of Spruce Run and the South Branch of the Raritan, on the west end of Main Street, the mill and its surroundings have played host to a succession of industries and activities spawned by the region's remarkably rich agricultur
Duke Farms: A Thousand To One
The former one-acre Duke Gardens exhibit has been expanded to one thousand acres open for public exploration and enjoyment for the first time in one hundred years. The gardens have become Duke Farms Living Habitats, and their worldly cultural aesthetic has largely transformed into a focus on what belongs right here, right now.
Duke Gardens
In 1964, Doris Duke completed one of her life's ambitions when she opened a splendidly enchanted acre of land on her expansive Somerville estate for public visitation.
Farmstead Arts Center
Farmstead Arts, in Basking Ridge, is a vibrant arts center and serves as a model for adaptive reuse of an historic treasure.
Fosterfield Farms
To enter Fosterfields, a working farm since 1760 and New Jersey's first living, historical farm, is to magically step back into the 19th and early 20th centuries
Gifford Pinchot and Grey Towers
Visitors to Grey Towers will come to understand the importance of the Pinchot family influence on America's conservation ethics and natural resource management policies.
Historic Graveyeards in Warren County
Weekend travelers can find many reasons to visit old churches with graveyards: love of architectural details, interest in gravestone art and epitaphs, a passion for genealogy, a search for history, or simply the enjoyment of walking through a quiet place filled with so many long-ago stories
Historic Home Restoration
Scattered about Northwest New Jersey are many historic churches and schoolhouses that now serve as headquarters for local historical societies or stand as historical monuments to the simplicity of times past.
Historic Mills
Mills remain prominent in our landscape.
Historical House Restoration
That beauty frequently lies beyond the surface is tried and true wisdom. At first glance, even upon closer looks, THIS old house appeared to be just that: old, in disrepair, and of questionable construction.
Lusscroft Farm
As historic sites go, Lusscroft Farm is one of a kind. Located in the northwest corner of Sussex County, these 578 acres have a rich and diverse past.
Millbrook Village
Millbrook Village, part of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, is a re-created community of the 1800s where aspects of pioneer life are exhibited and occasionally demonstrated by skilled and dedicated docents throughout the village
Museum Early Trades and Crafts
A newly restored building provides a beautiful setting for new exhibits and interactive programs; a family oriented space where children and adults learn about the tools and trades of the past.
Obadiah LaTourette Mill
The building looms over the bustling Route 24, once called Chester Pike, just east of Long Valley center. At once, upon seeing it, you know that the mill holds a thousand stories and probably a thousand more secrets in its ancient timbers.
Ralston Cider Mill
Of all the cider mills in New Jersey, Nesbitt's is the only survivor. For seventy years the stone building sat on some of the most valuable real estate in the world, somehow avoiding adaptive reuse or the bulldozer. This fall, you will be able to experience a rare instance of a remarkable technology, so vital to the heritage of our state. For the first time, Nesbitt's Mill will open its doors for public visitation and demonstration.
Ramsaysburg
For Sale: Twelve wooded Knowlton Township acres with Delaware River frontage. Commercial highway location. Tavern, barn, cottage, drained pond, smokehouse and shed included. Other remnants on-site. Abandoned railroad nearby. Need
Raoul Wallenberg Conference Center
The rescue and renascence of a dilapidated 170 year old home has resulted in singular opportunities for productive meetings in a state of the art facility on the grounds of the renown 17 room inn and restaurant in Hope.
Roxiticus Congregation
Roxiticus is no longer a name of a place in Morris County. It was an Indian name, given to the region including today's Mendham and Chester Townships.
Schooley's Elusive Spirit
A tour along Schooley's Mountain back roads through parks, lore, and legends.
Trickle Down
Follow the Spruce Run from the top of Schooley's Mountain to the reservoir that bears its name.
Warren County Farmers Fair
The history of the Warren County Farmers' Fair is a checkered one. The event that we know today -- an agriculturally based, family oriented exposition -- was a long time in coming. It almost didn't make it.
White Lake and the Vaas House
The property, acquired through the state Green Acres Program is enjoyed immensely by fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts. Beyond the crystal clear water and enchanting scenery, there is a story worth knowing.
White Township Farms: The End Of An Era
An interesting book about farms in White Township, reminds us of the farmer's ingenuity, and of the values represented by the Warren County's agricultural heritage.
Monuments and Museums

Monuments

Architecture in Flemington
Carefully tended to evoke other eras, the historic district offers something increasingly rare in New Jersey: a place where it seems right and proper to walk, to appreciate the view, to slow down.
Heir Guitar
Mike Esposito remembers Joseph Kekuku, inventor of the steel guitar, who was buried in Dover.
High Point Monument
Closed for repairs in 1997, the monument outlasted spending freezes by the state until its reopening eight years later.
Historical Monuments
Monuments decorate the Northwest New Jersey in prominent and tucked away places. They are statues and plaques, fine-crafted or natural rock, some are pedestaled and others are so discreet as to appear part of the natural landscape.
Marking Time
For a little state, New Jersey has a big history, loads of towns, and lots of markers. There are somewhere around 1,200 historical markers in New Jersey, 500 of them in the Northwest Skylands region. Most likely there are many more, because these are only the markers so far recorded at the on-line Historical Marker Database , a remarkable resource that documents over 22,000 historical markers around the world.
The Seeing Eye: Puppy Love
For the formative steps in a guide dog's youth, The Seeing Eye relies on a network of Puppy Raisers throughout New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania who participate in a program that began in 1942 as a joint effort with 4-H Youth Development.

Museums

Craftsman Farms
At the turn of the last century a uniquely American tradition of home design and furnishing appeared: clean in line, solid in construction, choice in materials, and given to the aesthetic of a life lived in harmony with nature.The living room at Craftsman Farms nears full restoration to its original appearance. Many of the historic furnishings have been restored to their original locations during the Stickley era.
Lenne Lenape Indian Village
The easiest path to an appreciation of the Lenape is across the bridge to the Indian Village at Waterloo. Developed in1988 by archaeologist John Kraft, the recreated village has introduced the Lenape way to hundreds of thousands of visitors.
Macculloch Hall
The year 2010 marks two important anniversaries for Macculloch Hall. Two hundred years ago, in 1810, George Macculloch began construction of his Federal style mansion over an existing farmhouse on 26 acres at what is now 45 Macculloch Avenue in Morristown. Sixty years ago, in 1950, W. Parsons Todd began the gracious old home's transformation into his vision of a historical museum serving the community.
Marshall House
Lambertville and the gold rush.
Museum Early Trades and Crafts
A newly restored building provides a beautiful setting for new exhibits and interactive programs; a family oriented space where children and adults learn about the tools and trades of the past.
Museums and Historical Societies
White Township, Holcombe-Jimison, Ledgewood, Califon, Wantage, Stillwater, Space Farms, Hackettstown, Hope, Lake Hopatcong, Lebanon
Museums and Historical Societies
Montague, Sussex County Historical Society, Phillipsburg Historical Society, Pike County Historical Society
Preservation Row
Next time you read about some group adulating an ancient stone house or a dilapidated barn, think about what's behind the story. There are some innovative ideas out there. Make time to see what they're up to.
Snowmobile Museum
The Snowmobile Barn Museum is a little different, but, make no mistake, winter is the time for a visit.
The Big House: Rutherfurd Hall
Consider Rutherfurd Hall as refuge and sanctuary in similar ways now, as it served a distinguished family a hundred years ago.
Ye Olde Lake
Lake Hopatcong is central to the New Jersey Skylands, not only geographically, but also to the many levels and facets of the region's character.