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A Day at Swartswood Lake

Story and photos by Mary Jasch

Swartswood Lake is like a step back in time, a secluded grand retreat, with sparkling water and amenities galore, cradled in the northern mountains of far away. The lake is a 550 acre hole dug out by glaciers, and is surrounded by 10,000 acres of Kittatinny Mountains, its watershed. The mountains and the Neldons Brook are its headwaters. The lake spreads out into shallow coves and Little Swartswood Lake before it rides the dam then empties into the Mill Brook.


A public access boat launch on Route 521 is quiet and remote.

The staff members in the park office are informative and friendly. While you're gathering literature, check out the office/museum with a stuffed bear, skulls and preserved specimens of local fauna.

Take a quick walk to the beach through the esplanade, complete with red maple allee, picnic area on wide lawns and volley ball courts. Stroll through the beach house, a grand entrance to the lake. Across the sand trucked in from South Jersey, floats crystal-blue Swartswood Lake.

Swartswood is a treasured lake, maintained and restored continuously by the Swartswood Lakes and Watershed Association. It's predicted lifespan is 100,000 years, a long time for a lake, for there is little to accelerate its progression to bog status in the countryside of Sussex County.

Swimming is closed after Labor Day, but a walk on the beach feels like the shore--hot, with blasting sunshine. It even smells like a beach. There are benches and grass to sit on, under straight-boled trees of sycamore, willow, basswood and hickory. There are hemlock, maples, oaks, all with lichen-covered trunks in the picnic grove. A family could spend the day here on the beach, picnicking, playing on the swings, and later retiring to camp, spent from a day of healthful play at a lake scoured by ice, surrounded by mountains, away from the highways and smog.

Take a drive around the lake. From the park office where you can get maps of the trails and area roads, take a right onto Rt. 619, then left onto Rt. 622. On the right is a dirt public access road to Little Swartswood Lake, a 200 acre glacial lake. Enjoy the water's edge and small remote picnic area.

Walk a few feet further down the road to the streamflow in culverts between the two lakes. It's a botanist's dream. Cattail, button bush, red-spiked cardinal flower, blue-spiked pickerel weed, ferns, and a little purple loosestrife. How long will it be before it's a monoculture of loosestrife? Or will the richness of native species hold it at bay?

The town of Swartswood surrounds the T intersection. Right before it, on the right, is the Swartswood Deli with one booth, where they also sell trout worms, crawlers and mealworms. The natives are friendly too.

On the right of the T-intersection is a church that lost religion. It's now a municipal court, where this author once experienced "Judgment Day."

Back on the road, turn left onto Rt. 521. A short way down on the left is the Mill Pond Keen's Grist Mill, circa 1838, built from native limestone and slate. Here at the bottom of the lake in solitude, a fisherman from Jersey City catches a bucket load of sunnies.


The lake rides the dam and empties into the Mill Brook at the Mill Pond Keen's Grist Mill

Continue down and make a sharp left onto Rt. 612 and see the hillside crop fields above zigzag streams, barns so old and added onto they're spilling over the barnyard.

At the T, turn left onto Rt. 619. The landscape is impossibly beautiful--idyllic country where an old man smiles as he rides his tractor in the sunshine. There are sweeping meadows with giant rolls of hay and a silver-grey barn. Looks like playland. If only.

Turn left into one of many public accesses. From some you can get a walleye's view of how the lake people live.

There are no motors allowed on Swartswood Lake, so if you're seeking peace and serenity, you'll find it there. A canoe, kayak or rowboat is perfect. The lake is gorgeous, the ride is gorgeous. Explore the surrounding towns of Swartswood, Middleville and Stillwater for a further glimpse into country life.

The Division of Fish and Game calls Swartswood Lake "one of the best walleye lakes in the State of New Jersey." There's a healthy lake trout population, channel catfish, large and small mouth bass, chain pickerel, and panfish. In winter there's great ice-fishing, but the Park doesn't check the ice. Ice safety is a personal responsibilty. Fish to catch through the ice are pickerel, perch and brown trout.

For more information about Swartswood State Park, call the park office for more information at 973-383-5230 or check the NJ State Parks website.

Comments

George
20 Apr 2014, 17:15
Its been about 3 long years since I been to the lake. I have since bought a house in Tobyhanna, Pa but still keep an apartment in Belleville, NJ. I too have fond memories of the lake but they only go as far back as the late 70's early 80's. I have five other siblings that our parents use to haul us in the old Dodge station wagon to the lake. Out of all of us I am the one that continued going when I got old enough to drive and got my own car. I would often go to the Jersey Shore but as I am now older and more clear minded I'd have to say I enjoyed the lake much more growing up. The calm, the beauty that over comes you every time I see that place. I always said one day I'd retire there but I went a little further out and am currently preparing for retirement in NEPA. If God is good I will get my fair share of fishing once again on the lake. January 2017 I will be officially retired from the Department of Corrections in NJ. One thing about the lake I was always so confused to why it was always so empty. It is a hidden gem and the closest thing to heaven NJ has to offer. God Bless everyone and have a safe summer on the lake, enjoy its beauty.
marianne knight pavone
18 Feb 2014, 13:27
my parents had a cabin on greenpoint on swartswood lake ,which they purchased in the 50s. I will live in Stillwater and could never leave ,my memories of the lake are strong. I learned how to sail and flip sunfishes, swim laps, paddle my canoe the length of the lake , .I grew up there,got my best suntan, and brought many a 'CITY BOY' up to the lake for a treat. As my parents aged , we played with the grandchildren and taught my daughter how to get a sunny off of the dock. We still sail on the lake, and I still take out my canoe ,Its full of memories for me and such a part of me. By the way ,the old dove islandwas eventually abandoned due to environmental issues with toilets too close to the waters edge ,like it needed to be 50 feet or greater, and the island was not that large, so,sadly every little cabin on that island was left for time.
Bob Shankman
03 Dec 2013, 12:27
The 1st State Park in NJ\r\nI know all of you have been to Swartswood Lake. Some of us, including me, live on the lake.\r\nIt was originally named for Anthony Swartwout, who owned a farm, in the area. He was killed in the French & Indian War in 1756. The area around the lake was very sparsely settled. By 1852, as more settlers moved into the area the name was changed to SWARTSWOOD LAKE.\r\nSwartswood became a summer resort area in the late 1800ís and many hotels were built up around the Lake.\r\nIn 1888 Andrew Albright bought most of the lake and constructed a lakefront estate. Andrew was a Newark factory owner who owned the Rubberset Company. This firm invented and made a special hard rubber that held the bristles in paint brushes, among other uses.\r\nBy 1898 Andrew became annoyed at the numbers of people fishing on the lake and staying at the various hotels. He believed it was alright for local persons to use the lake, but he resented the outsiders. At least, he thought they should pay him. He charged a dollar a day.\r\nHe took those who refused to pay to court and charged them with trespassing. There were several challenges to his assertion that since he owned the land under the water, that he could therefore charge for the right to fish.\r\nThe court confirmed his right to assess the fishing fee. This was among several other factors that precipitated the decline of the area as a leading summer resort,\r\nThe State, after this court decision, enacted a law , in 1907, that authorized it to purchase any land surrounded or covered by freshwater lakes or ponds.\r\nAfter Albright died, his children sold Swartswood Lake to the State in 1914. This was the first time the Act was used to buy land solely for a public park.\r\nIn 1916 George Emmons added to the land area by donating an additional 12.5 acres of lakefront to the park. The park now includes 2 lakes and covers a total of 3,460 acres.\r\nThe popularity of Swartswood State Park led the State to begin buying and developing other parks.\r\n
Bob Godehring
07 Nov 2013, 08:31
My parents honeymooned on Dove Island in the 1940's, and we bought a cottage on the east shore, opposite Dove Island in 1956. Before that we rented cabins in the summer on Hemlock Lane, near the State Park.\r\nIn 1959, along with four other friends, we founded the Swartswood Yacht Club for Sunday sailing races. It is still operational today. During my teen years I was a lifeguard at TriTribe Beach, and also worked at the state park renting out boats and doing maintenance.\r\nWe knew everyone who lived on the lake by name and still get together with our lake friends.\r\nI well remember Tosti's store in Swartswood, The General store in Middleville, the west shore lodge on the west shore, Clarence Hendershot and his son Raymond from Hendershots farm, and old man Emmons on Emmons lane.\r\nWhen I go to the lake today it looks the same, but nobody I meet recalls the lake's history as far back as I do. Anyone wishing to reminisce about Swartswood Lake is welcome to contact me. I still ride up to the lake often on my Harley, usually stopping at the boat house for lunch.
Bob Kolling
30 Oct 2013, 23:08
To Richard Van Ness\r\nI spent my summers as a child at Tri Tribe Beach and remember your family well, my father and I watched the Lunar landing from your Mom's home! Although I haven't been back to the area since 1969 The memories are still vivid,and often think of the area and my childhood friends.\r\nHaving been raised in Jersey City, my summers in Tri Tribe Beach have contributed greatly to my development and I would like to thank your family for all their kindness.\r\nI now live in Australia and may just have to visit the area again someday.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n
Stu
28 Jul 2013, 19:18
Dee, I am in the area for the week and was looking to fish Little Swartswood since I have never been there and heard good things. I kayak fish almost exclusively for largemouth bass, since we have no walleyes and few smallies in South Jersey. If you have any interest in cruising around and showing me the highlights I would enjoy a companion to get acquainted with the lakes. That is, if you have no objection to being seen in public with a plain old spinning rod and reel combo fisherman. I'll be visiting some other local lakes also and will be around from Monday 7/19/2013 until Friday. Hope to hear from you, unless you work for a living during the week. Stu
Dee
05 Jun 2013, 09:42
After growing up with lake visits, a summer camper on Hendershot's Rabbit Patch Campground and a weekend home since the early 80s, I now live full time on Swartswood Lake. I am an avid fly fisher and if anyone would like to join me for a kayak paddle I would enjoy the company. I also give casting lessons to eager learners. Looking for friends and fishing buddies to enjoy the summer. Contact me. Dee
Bob Zanotti
30 Apr 2013, 12:50
Richard, you have rattled my memory. I had seen or heard the name Tri-Tribe-Beach for 50 years. This has certainly brought back memories.
Richard Van Ness
27 Mar 2013, 12:36
Hello my name is Richard Van Ness my mother name was Ruth Struble her dad Gorman owned Tri-Tribe-Beach and his relatives (I believe the Westbrooks) donated the land for Swartswood State Park I have many fond memories of that place there is a Facebook page for Tri-Tribe-Beach please keep the comments coming for I thoroughly enjoy them
Bob Zanotti
30 Dec 2012, 09:50
Having spent summers at Swartswood as a kid, I'd love to come back for a vacation again. I have no more family there, but would be interested in cottage rental. If someone has something to rent, please let me know at contact@switzerlandinsound.com.\r\nThanks!\r\nPS Happy New Year!!!
Andy
27 Aug 2012, 19:01
karen, \r\nIs your cottage still available? I am interested to know more details. Thank you. my e mail is ATLEE888@AOL.com.
Kathy D
26 Jun 2012, 13:21
Swartswood Lake is just about my favorite place in the world. Our family has a lake house on one of the beautiful coves and looking forward to kayaking on the weekend gets me thru the work week! The park is enormous with many things to do --- the beach is clean and not crowded; the trails are plentiful and varied in difficulty -- perfect for walkings dogs. Our favorite trail is by the Mill -- my Fiance proposed to me on this trail, and we plan to marry on the lake next summer... and some day retire here, too!
karen
20 Jun 2012, 15:26
Just finished TOTAL renovations on Swartswood Lakefront Cottage... includes wide plank knotty pine ceilings, new carpet, paint in and out, new appliances, large living dining, galley kitchen, 3 bedroom w/ large screened in porch overlooking lake, pavers patio area, landscaping! Just bring your bathing suit and fishing pole. Summer is here! Email me for more info.
Bob Zanotti
23 May 2012, 10:38
I just thought of Dove Island. As a kid, I'd take the rowboat out from Hendershot's Point, and couldn't help but look over to the Island, and wonder about the old abandoned facility there. Come to think of it, I didn't even know that it was called Dove Island until much later. It's the stuff of which a Nancy Drew or Charlie Chan mysters is made. Does anybody know anothing about the Island?
Bob Zanotti
23 May 2012, 10:04
I see mention of The Boat House Restaurant. It's been 6 years since I was in the area. Is this, by any chance, the famous old "Louis' Lake House"?
karen
21 Apr 2012, 04:42
We are selling our lakefront cottage on Swartswood Lake if anyone has any interest... I have spent my childhood on Swartswood Lake fishing, sailing, exploring... every kids dream and my adult years relaxing in the quiet of the lake... it has not changed in all the years, still so clean and quiet... no gas motors, YAY!\r\nA great staycation place so close to travel too. Any interest send me an email..
karen
21 Apr 2012, 04:40
We are selling our lakefront cottage on Swartswood Lake if anyone has any interest... I have spent my childhood on Swartswood Lake fishing, sailing, exploring... every kids dream and my adult years relaxing in the quiet of the lake... it has not changed in all the years, still so clean and quiet... no gas motors, YAY!\r\nA great staycation place so close to travel too. Any interest send me an email...
Alvina Maksimow
19 Mar 2012, 09:00
I visited the park approximately three years ago and was so delighted. When you enter the park it's like entering into a beautiful estate. The facility and structures were pleasant and well maintained. The water was crystal clear the view of the beautful trees and the grassy area to spread a blanket and enjoy a picnic and view beach was delightful. I didn't think there was such a hidden jewel in the State of New Jersey.\r\n\r\nI live a distance away but it's worth the ride to this lovely place.
Tom
08 Jan 2012, 15:54
I live near the lake and just came upon this site. The one comment about "places to eat outside but could not remember the name of the place" The name is The Boat House, great food and atmosphere whether eating inside or out, super staff and owner kathy is always around to greet you.
Sherry
17 Aug 2011, 10:05
Our family, we have four children, have been camping at Swartswood State Park for the past 20 years. We love it there, actually we just returned home from a week long camping trip. When I say we camp there I don't mean we go once a year for a week. We camp 3 seasons and probably average 8-10 trips during the season. When we first started we relied on pay phones in the park for communication. Then when cell phones started showing up we researched all the companies to see who had coverage, that was difficult. I think now any service would work. Yes, towers can be an eyesore and look out of place but the question I have for everyone opposed to the tower is...how many of you actually have and use cell phones??? Remember beauty is in the eye of the beholder! We have talked many times about moving to the area and still do. I can tell you this, a cell tower definitely wouldn't change my mind about the area!
michelle
17 Aug 2011, 07:40
how much does it cost?
Bob Zanotti
29 May 2011, 12:22
As an overseas American with roots in Swartswood, perhaps I can offer a different perspective to the cell tower issue.\r\n\r\nI agree with those voices who want to keep the Lake area as it was. I support that too. But I don't think this will depend on restricting cell towers. Rather, the key to keeping the Lake the way it is depends on the "mentality" of the local people, as well as the local infrastructure. As long as there is no McDonalds and no Pizza Hut I think the area will be safe. Having said this, I really do wish there were a simple motel or hostelry near the Lake. \r\n\r\nThe Internet is already available locally, not to mention wired phone service (I can remember when there wasn't any). But nothing bad has happened as a result.\r\n\r\nNo, I think Swartswood attracts a certain type of person, and no cell tower is going to destroy that. Having said that, I don't think that the tower is really necessary. I'm 65, and I can well remember what people did before cell phones - we survived. In the case of fire departments, they all had beepers and 2-way radios, which still work. But they also need towers. \r\n\r\nAs the Italins say: che sera' sera'.\r\n\r\nBob,\r\nborn in Paterson, grew up in Hawthorne and Franklin Lakes, NJ\r\n\r\nPS I spend my summers on the East Ridge back in the 50's and early 60's.
joejoe
26 May 2011, 19:48
swartswood tower. I have been against this tower from the get go for other reasons than what i am about to speak of. I love my country and love my flag thats why I joined the marine corp right out of high school. When a corparation tries to make money I have no problem with that. when they fail and try to use the flag as a way to get by the council, zoning board, and the people i have a problem. Who would say no to the flag. I do if this was love for the country and not for money that would have been ur first plan.Nextel,jcpl, council, zoningboard,is this patiotism. I think not. I know the Stillwater council and the zoning board is smarter than your lies. Nextel please do not insult our Mayor, council,zoning board, and the people of Stillwater, and Hampton. If you pull this one over there eyes I bet none of them see another term. They will because they are smater then you.
Linda Helaudais
24 Apr 2011, 18:18
Nancy, while I respect your opinion that the cell tower is needed to bring us into the 21st century, the site chosen is the wrong one. There are other sites within the area that would be more appropriate. Yes, the volunteer firefighters deserve support and they get it, both from the township via property taxes and from members of the community who patronize their fundraisers. The savings the township would realize from not having to support the firehouse if this tower goes through would be minimal, a few dollars per household.\r\nIt isn't negativity to want to preserve something precious for future generations. I'm very sorry for you that you aren't able to appreciate the "beauty" (your quotes)of our park, but fortunately, the majority of us realize just how that precious that beauty is, and aren't willing to sacrifice it for the mere convenience of a few. Perhaps this tower that you so desperately want can be erected in your front yard. I hope you'll show up at the meeting tomorrow to volunteer to your property as the futuer home of the Nextel tower.\r\n\r\n\r\n
joejoe
21 Apr 2011, 20:39
Swartswood is like a walk back in time. thats how this site starts. I think this is why many of us live here. No stip malls only little buisness trying to get by. a general store or two a couple of places to eat al owened locally. i think they all strugle but stay open because they love this area. this tower is giant and has no place here. if the stillwater council wants rateables then lets put up the tower, and then a stripmall,and then why not a big developement. if the tower is all about lowering taxes and nothing else then why did certain council men have to recuse themselves from the swartswood tower and castners tower vote just some ? i have if you have any questions disagree or agree show up on the 25th to voice your opion. something does not smell right hold the councils feet to the fire and find out why they changed the tower ordiance in sept. 2010
emerson1
20 Apr 2011, 12:12
Nancy- it is not "So-called" Beauty, it is Beauty. The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man. Let the Eagles, Trees and Fish of Swartswood not be tarnished by this tower. SAY NO!!!
joejoe
19 Apr 2011, 21:32
hey nancy could you explain the rateables to the town. its common sense that when the tower goes up property values go down. does the money the town makes off set the property value. just asking u seem well informed.
joejoe
19 Apr 2011, 21:13
do not forget if this tower is approved the verizon tower at castners will be approved to
joe joe
19 Apr 2011, 21:05
the signs littering our roads. its called free speach. its a bunch of concerned citizens voicing their oppionoins on our rural area. do you complain about the signs during an election. hey Nancy could you tell us how the tower will make our town grow hey nancy how do u feel about the dispacthers in morrristown that will lose thier jobs hey nancy i dont think you know what ue talking about
Jin B
16 Apr 2011, 10:54
The proposed Tower amounts to "Visual Pollution" of beautiful and historic Swartswood. \r\nIt will dwarf surrounding nature and be an eyesore forever.\r\nWould anyone think twice about allowing this inappropriate ugly intrusion in one of New Jersey's jewel locations if it weren't about $$$$ ?!?
John
16 Apr 2011, 08:11
The signs will be gone in a flash. The tower will be there forever, and will invite more to follow. It's hard to imagine that people view a cell tower in the middle of a park as progress. I have been enjoying Swartswood since 1964. I am now proud to be a resident, and have noticed there are many residents who are not aware of what we have here.
nancy
15 Apr 2011, 16:52
swartswood is a beautiful hamlet nestled into the township of stillwater. i have become a proud resident, i work here, i live here. the proposed celltower on the property of the swartswood firehouse is a wonderful example of how this progress is a much needed ratable not only for our dedicated volunteers but for our township. i personally applaud the efforts of the township to bring us full circle into the 21st century. i would much rather see a celltower helping with the needed communications than to watch our town grow stagnent. so please, say YES to the celltower, and NO to the negotivity, and these disturbing homemade signs that are now littering the sides of newton/swartswood road and destroying the so called "beauty" they proclaim to want to preserve.
mike
02 Apr 2011, 18:30
george, a corrections officer for 20 years god bless u i grew up down the street from pershig field in the hieghts. i work for verizon so i understand the pension and move to pa.love getting to the city to visit but you cant beat this area. this summer my son and nephew are going to try to figure out those walleye. i think they eat the trout because i have had no luck lol
Linda Helaudais
01 Apr 2011, 12:22
As a resident of Swartswood, I am concerned about the proposed 156-foot Nextel cellphone tower which would be highly visible from both lakes, but especially Little Swartswood Lake. As Mary Jasch states in her article, the landscape here IS impossibly beautiful. I have no problem with cell towers if they are set back from the road, but I think it's appalling that this tower would be only yards from the road and from the entrance to Little Swartswood Lake. If you love and appreciate the unique beauty of this area and would like to preserve it, please contact Rep. Scott Garrett, Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose, Assemblyman Gary Chiusano, and Sen. Steve Oroho and let them know how you feel about this threat to our treasured lake community. Please act quickly as the zoning board is meeting 4/25/2011 to review this proposal.
George
31 Mar 2011, 20:08
Hi Michael, I am George also born and raised in Jersey City who has posted on here many times. I now live in Belleville NJ but love the area of Newton NJ and the surrounding lakes. I currently work in the NJ corrections dept in one week I will have 20 years. I once had all intentions to move up to the Lake upon retirement but recently decided PA would be a better fit for my needs as far as pension and fixed income. Over the years I have had many people contact me about the lake area and its beauty and how the area has remained the same for several decades. I for one feel maybe because the lack of cell phone service has preserved the area even longer because most people want to be able to be contacted and want to use their devices even when they are on vacation or a family weekend. I hope the people of the area come out to fight for the cause keeping places like these under the radar of the masses. Its a beautiful area that always has relaxed me over the years. Hope to see you at the lake we are close to the family picnics and getaways, can;t wait. Good Luck !!!! \r\nGrew up on Fairmount Ave in Jersey City between JFK Blvd and Bergen Ave...
John Depta
28 Mar 2011, 07:49
do u rent boats
Bob Zanotti
22 Mar 2011, 20:52
To Ronna:\r\nI'm an American journalist and broadcaster based in Switzerland. I spent many happy summers at the Lake back in the 50's and 60's, and would be glad to share some of those memories with you. My grandparents were the first to build a bungalow on the East Ridge, and we were quite alone up there at the time. I have been back since then several times, and find that not all that much has changed. But then again, enough has changed to be significant. I can't see an email address for you, so please contact me if you wish. zanotti@sunrise.ch\r\nBob
Joe Amberg
15 Mar 2011, 11:06
I really enjoy fishing these lakes. They are really clean and a pleasure to spend time on. Can anyone tell me if they have iced out yet. I live in Pa and want to fish but the lakes here still have ice on them. I would appreciate any postings telling me the statis of the lakes.
Ronna L Stocker Jones
26 Feb 2011, 23:24
I am impressed with the comments about Swartswood. I am attempting to put together a thesis about Swartswood. To anyone who is willing, I wish to communicate about your visit(s) here, or life here. This request is particularly including summer memories, and copies of pictures and/or postcards. Please note I do not want your original memoir, but rather a copy. Please contact me.
ruth
26 Feb 2011, 16:57
I had the great fortune to grow up in Swartswood. My family attended that little "church that lost religion" ... we fished the lake, skated on it in the winter, and sailed and canoed on it in the summer. Sundays after church, we would picnic in the park and swim in the lake, or we would go to what was once the Tri-Tribe Beach pool. It's been 30 yrs since I last visited, so I am so glad to hear that the beautiful lake and the serenity of the area has been preserved. I must go back for a visit!
Lawrence Friery
11 Jul 2010, 17:18
Where is the best place to fish from the shore on Swartswood lake (BASS)?
Fred Delle Chiaie
05 Jul 2010, 10:13
Went fishing for the first time at Swartswood. Caught 3 nice large mouth andf 2 small mouths. Cant wait to go again.
Randy
14 Jun 2010, 09:38
To locate Swartswood Lakes information see the following web pages:\r\n\r\nhttp://www.slwa.net/\r\nwww.sailswartswood.org\r\nhttp://para disefishingclub.com/\r\nhttp://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/parks/sw artswood.html\r\n\r\nFor boat rental go to the state park web page. No gasoline engines. Several free public launching locations. \r\n\r\nHelp protect Swartswood and all lakes by cleaning the hull and equipment before and after entry. Protect against the spread of water chestnut.\r\n
Chris Bogoly
26 May 2010, 10:35
is there Walleye in little swartswood lake?
George
27 Apr 2010, 20:11
Keelan go the the google map sattelite picture above where these post are. enlarge the photo to find the parking lot. Almost directly above the parking lot is the area usually booked for parties. You can park up there and all and weather pending you should have a great day. I am thinking of going there in the next week if I do I will take a few pictures just send me your email address to nianas@comcast.net and if I do make the trip I will send the pics no problem. Have fun its a great place to visit.
Keelan
27 Apr 2010, 12:24
I can not seem to find pictures of the picnic pavilion anywhere. I booked the area for my daughters birthday party this June and afterwards I remembered that the last time I was there I sat under a pavilion near the lake where the concession stand is. I am hoping that, that is not the pavilion that I just booked! It would be waaaay too small for what I am planning and i was hoping to be somewhat secluded. Would you happen to know where I can find photos?
George
26 Apr 2010, 12:40
Ed, I'd say add 30 minutes from the time it would take you to get to the Poconos from Philly... Hope this helps.
Ed Fullam
25 Apr 2010, 21:01
I live in philadelphia how long would it take me to get here
lake powell bullfrog marina
25 Mar 2010, 08:38
Donít stop blogging! Itís nice to read a sane commentary for once
George
17 Aug 2009, 09:29
Paul there are no bike rentals BYOB bring your own bike ... :)\r\n\r\nWalter the pedal boat rentals are by the hour and cost $8 I think. Bring your drivers license you fill out a little card. You can email me for directions I just don't know where you are coming from but if you can get to route 80 exit 25 to route 206 heading towards the town of Newton that would be a great start from the town of Newtown anyone you ask for directions from there will get u to the lake...
Walter Helbig
17 Aug 2009, 08:24
We are senior citizens. My wife would like to go on a pedal boat ride on her August 27th birthday. Who do we contact to get rental information and directions?\r\n\r\nWalter
paul weld
14 Aug 2009, 13:58
is there a bike rental?
George
17 Jul 2009, 18:54
I noticed something about Swartswood. I usually go often but the weather kept me away all summer. I was there on July 16th but I didn't leave my house in Belleville NJ til 335pm. If there is anyone out there that loves to take Pictures the furthest corner of the lake on the right side (access through the camping area) there is a little boat dock there. At sunset even with a camera phone you will get pictures of sunsets people would pay for. Hopeless romantics bring your lady there she will love you for it. hint..if you are standing on this dock facing the water on your hand side there is a little hill. On top of this little hill behind the bush there is a park bench. In my opinion it is the most beautiful view of the lake. Go and spend the day enjoy the clean water and bbq but if you leave before sunset and dont get to that spot to take a few pictures you will be greatly disapointed. Email i'll send u a few\r\n\r\n
Sarah
03 Jul 2009, 08:54
My family and I would like to find a nice place to swim this summer. Many of the lakes in northern NJ that allow swimming are so crowded, and we've found them to be less than clean. Is Swartswood packed during the summer? It sounds like a lovely park. Thanks!
John James Mangini
29 Jun 2009, 18:40
Well I stumbled along this site while doing some research about the real camp crystal lake.. I just called the swartswood lake office to find further info about it because I seem to take intrest to here and wanna go camping/swimming/fishing for a day or so.. I live in South Philly,and really don't feel like going to Wildwood or any other beach. Hopefully I can come here and relax by the water side and take in the beautiful scenery.
Ralph
02 Jun 2009, 09:19
To answer some questions posed on this site:\r\n1. Swartswood Lakes & Watershed Asso.\r\n PO Box 44\r\n Swartswood, NJ 07877\r\n\r\n2. Night fishing is allowed 24/7\r\n\r\n3. Outside dining on West Shore Drive, towards the Northern part of the lake, don't recall name of the place.\r\n\r\n4. Little Swartswood Lake is free and has a boat launch and picnic area and bald eagle nest. No swimming.\r\n\r\n5. Not 100% certain, but I think the state park is a flat $10 per car to get in daily, no discounts. Main lake also has boat launch, camping, a few yerts (at least a few years ago)and swimming.
George
09 May 2009, 05:14
call the office i think they do have a season pass for $60 or $70
tinyanko@yahoo.com
08 May 2009, 21:53
Are there reduced passes for area residents?\r\nI live in Stillwater and enjoy the park very much off season, I would like continue my jaunts through the summer.\r\nThanks for your attention!\r\n\r\n
George
15 Apr 2009, 18:52
Looks like we are going to have great weather this weekend anyone gonna camp at the lake? I think I am going to head out there Friday til Sunday, let me know...
Kim
25 Mar 2009, 05:16
Do you offer a season pass for the lake. How much does it cost. When does season start.
MARIA PANTUSO
06 Mar 2009, 08:25
DO YOU OFFER RENTALS WEEKLY / MONTHLY
Bill
30 Jan 2009, 14:50
noticed pablo was catching walleye at the lake.always wanted to catch walleye but never knew were or how.any info about the structure and topography of the lake would be appreciated.also can you use a gas auger to drill holes in the ice?
Loretta Chiapperino
09 Jan 2009, 10:33
Good Day. Can anyone help me with contact information for the lake association. We are attempting to update our files for 2009\r\n\r\nThank You\r\n\r\nLoretta Chiapperino\r\nCentury 21 Gross & Jansen realtors\r\n327 Route 94 Veron, NJ 07462\r\noffice: 973-764-5555\r\n
Erin Barber
30 Dec 2008, 11:02
My family has owned a little cottage on Swartzwood Lake since the early '60's. Before my grandmother bought that cottage, they rented cottages on the other side of Hendershot's point, and on Dove Island. Much of my family (older than I) remember the parties they used to have on the Island. I remember the cottages - we used to canoe past - but I was never allowed on the island. It was condemned before my time.\r\n\r\nAnyway - the summers we spent at Swartzwood lake are some of the happiest memories in my life of 40 years. I haven't been back in over 5 years, but I'd like to bring my children up this summer - we live about 5 hours away, so it's not so easy to pack up a 3 year old and an 18 month old for the trip, but I sure would like to. It is the most peaceful, idyllic place. We used to have such great parties - my dad and uncle used to sit on the deck overlooking the water and play guitar, and everyone would sing along. The sound carried out and echoed over the water. I learned to swim, dive, row a boat, heck, I even learned to fish for sunnies at "the Lake". In my teenage years, my girlfriends and I would "road trip" up and spend hours sunbathing on our raft. The cottage is rustic - no TV, very few ammenities, but we never cared! We found other things to do for fun - cards, scrabble, trivial pursuit. The BOOKS I read when I was there - sheesh - I'd give anything to have that kind of leisure time again.\r\n\r\nAnyway - I could go on and on, but no one wants to read my musings. Suffice to say that this place holds a dear spot in my heart, and always will.
George
07 Nov 2008, 03:55
I am off from work on Fridays and Saturdays and on October 31st I was laying around still at 11am when I got up and decided to take a ride to the lake and bbq for lunch. A friend of mine came for the ride and as it was a really nice day for the time of year it was to my surprise there was not a person or car in site. We made a stop or two along the way and got there at like 1pm. As I drove in I notice even the camping grounds were closed. I was under the impression by the State Ranger I talked to in the summer that it was open all year around. We drove to the back portion of the park where on the edge of the water there is a park bench and set up the bbq there. I immediatly notice the water was lower in the lake. I saw on the edge of the water how all the grass and trees were dead. I know this part of the lake well because this is where i go to catch frogs with my daughter in the summer. After about 15 minutes there was 2 guys in a rowboat that trolled over to us just to say hi. They told me they have been on the lake all day and saw no one til we came. Fishing was bad not even a bite and they were soon calling it a day. I also noticed they dug up the beach area and put the boat docks on the beach i guess so they dont freeze in the water in winter. I have never been to the lake in all my years at this time in fall is this a ritual? It was so peaceful and so relaxing but I had to leave by 330pm so I could pick up my daughter to take her trick or treating. I would love to see that old water color of the lake can you take a picture of it and send me an email. Today is November 7th and I am up early and might just take another ride up there today. See what happens...
Michael-Ann Belin
20 Oct 2008, 15:19
Hi folks,\r\n\r\nMy grandmother (Dorothy Belin) and grandfather (Lt Col Herbert Alan Belin) owned an old converted hunting lodge and a little A-frame Teahouse on the shores of this lake. They also owned Dove Island until it was reclaimed by the state of NJ via emanate domain. As a baby i lived in one of the houses on the island with my parents Herb and Carol.\r\n\r\nI have many strong fond memories of visiting my grandmother here at the lake and one day hope to return to see if anything of my memories actually remains. I have not been here since I was 6 yrs old back in 1969.\r\n\r\nI have an old water-color of the lake and the island painted by an artist friend of my grandmother...from waaay back.\r\n\r\nAnyway, when I found this site... I could not resist saying something about how special this place was to me. Best wishes to you all.
R Sandford
09 Sep 2008, 10:59
Hi we just found this site and thought we could provide some information\r\nOur family runs the boat concession at Swartswood State Park - My husband and I have lived in Swartswood for 35 years.\r\nThree of our four children work their during summer breaks.\r\n\r\nWe open Memorial Day weekend - close Labor Day. This year we are staying open weekends until 9/21 from 9 -5pm\r\n\r\nWe have rowboats, canoes, kayaks, pedal boats, and sailboats for rent- lifejackets are included.\r\n\r\nSwartswood Lake is a beautiful Lake - It is approx. 500 acres and the scenery is outstanding - we have eagles nesting nearby - last summer they could be found on the inlet from the small lake. (We have photos from out patrons to share)\r\nOnly electric motors are allowed on the lake \r\n\r\nPlease visit our website for further information - www.rowyourboatrentals.com\r\n\r\nThanks & See you at the Lake,\r\nTim and Rose Sandford\r\n
George
05 Sep 2008, 20:17
Went back to the lake on Sept 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th. Pretty much to just BBQ been getting there after 3pm and just grill n chill til 730pm. There is a small bog loaded with frogs n turtles. Its on the far side of the lake you can't see it from the beach area. Besides the thousands of sunnies over there I did see some other large fish. I'm not too sure what they were but they moved much faster then the sunfish. they seemed to come out from where the lilly pads were. There is a park bench, grill and picnic table by there. There is also a shack used by maintanence I guess. Try it out n let me know if you catch anything...
Pablo
02 Sep 2008, 20:13
Been catching huge walleye over the last 2 weeks on this lake. BUT all of them have been on the far side of the lake AWAY from the island. Havent found any structure of any kind there. They seem to be just hanging out, kinda like the walleye speak easy. Anybody have any ideas why they would be there?
Hiker
26 Aug 2008, 11:24
George, thanks for your memories.\r\n\r\nGrew up camping here (among other parks) this is by far my favorite. Many good memories of fishing, hiking, swimming, kayaking all through my youth. Always were nice people camping here. Now began taking my family here!!
George
02 Aug 2008, 15:54
Wow I found this very small forum and it took me back. I am from Belleville, NJ. My family would go to Swartswood Park in the early 80's. As I got my license at 17 I am 41 years old now I took my friends there. I loved it but the majority of the old gang wanted to go to the shore to see the girls. Swartswood took a back seat for years then in the early to mid 90's I took several trips back. I was married and made many trips to the area for dining and one camping trip at Swartswood but mostly day trips. Maybe rom the mid 90's til 2001 i was at the park 4 or 5 times. Work and family commitments once again took me away. 2 weeks ago I started to think about the lake and how I missed it. I went online read several articles about the lake and found this forum. I saved it to my favorite places and decided I was going to take a trip back to the lake n add my experience to the forum. Well I am a divorced father now of a beautiful 4 year old baby girl. On July 28th unfortunitly I couldn't get her for the day she was out with her mom but my girlfriend was here for a visit and we took a motorcycle trip to the lake. We packed heavy (for a motorcycle) and headed west 280 to rt 80 to 206. I remember the trip being kind of long but we made great time and I didn't realize how much I missed it. She loved it and she could see in my eyes that this place was something special to me. We took a kayak to Dove Island to find no remants that there was ever life on it. No old shells of houses. Seemed weird to me as I always found it so interesting that at one time people stayed there. I was told later by one of the kids renting the boats that a few years ago they burnt all remaining shells of the houses down. Well Thursday my lady had to leave again, she will not b back until Sept 1st. Thursday as she packed her bags she asked me if I wanted her to stay another night and we go to the lake Friday morning again and then I can drop her at Penn Station so she can catch the train back to her familily in Philly. We went again August 1st and I dropped her off at Penn Station Newark at 6:20pm so she could get the 6:51pm train. She called me today and told me she wants to go back to the lake again as soon as she comes back. Today I had my daughter but couldn't go to the lake because of the bad weather. I was ready to take her too. Safe to say I have had nothing but good times at the lake and everytime I go I seem to wonder about all the years and all the different times I went there with all the different people. Most of them are out of my life now but the lake is still there and memories seem to be like yesterday when i sit there staring at Dove Island from my picnic table. $5 per car during the week. Monday maybe there was 8 cars in the lot and Friday it was a lil more busy maybe 25 cars n one bus but by 3pm it was once again empty. I get off work 115pm and work Sunday thru Thursday I plan on going back to the lake 3 times this week figured I can get there by 230pm if I go str8 from work. Anyone planning going this week email me maybe we can all sit there and recall our great times at Swartswood. Hope to see you there... FYI this year the park was put on a list to close along with 9 other state parks. This time Swartswood was saves only 3 parks were closed. I planm on going there as much as I can I want to enjoy this park and pray it never closes down. Would love to meet someone from that area so they can show me the cool waterfall and areas around the lake.
david k
20 Jul 2008, 14:04
the island was called Dove Island. My family had a cabin next to Hendershot Point for several years and I fished and explored the entire lake as a boy. I have alot of great memories.....
johnE
15 Jul 2008, 08:01
About 35 years ago before I moved to Fla my friend & I fished the lake, there was an island in the middle with abandoned buildings on it. You weren't allowed to explore it. Any idea of its history ?
rich
18 Jun 2008, 12:07
Is night fishing allowed?
kim
16 Jun 2008, 03:54
How much for a season pass to the lake/Park. Is the per person or car?
stevie fava
03 Jun 2008, 06:58
There is a small bar/restaurant on the lake. What is the name of it? One can eat outside along the water. Thanks
Ron Barker
08 May 2008, 10:34
I also would like to know if boat rentals are available---if available, location on the lake. Thanks in Advance.
Brian Simpson
03 May 2008, 16:44
do you have boat rentals for fishing?\r\nthank you \r\nbrian
MJ Hill
19 Apr 2008, 09:38
Do you have boat rentals for fishing?????
John Avery Young III
26 Mar 2008, 15:37
Hey what kind of lodging any camp sites
john
31 Jan 2008, 19:45
please send me info ronald had requested
Ronald Caswell
26 Jan 2008, 07:54
Do you have public boat ramps;and what size boats can you use in either, lakes. Also how obtin maps,for boat ramps. What size motors are used in th lakes.\r\nTahnsk You.

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