The Personality of Northwest New Jersey Skylands

“Skylands” is simply a perspective; a way of looking at and appreciating Northwestern New Jersey. “Thinking Skylands” endeavors to meld those characteristics shared by the constituent counties, towns, ridges, valleys, country roads and sections of interstate into a comprehensive portrait; one more attentive to geographic, cultural, and historical attributes than county and municipal borders. Explore the remarkable personality of this place!

Officially, the Skylands Region refers to Northwest New Jersey and includes the counties of Morris, Somerset, Hunterdon, Warren, and Sussex. Destinations just beyond those borders, in neighboring counties and states (Pennsylvania and New York), are equally intriguing and convenient, so don't be confused if you come across some of those here.

This Spring, Think Skylands!

Make it a point to get out and enjoy the pleasures of the season. We’ve collected lots of ideas for you and your family. Some may be obvious, some might surprise you. We hope we’re helpful when you’re planning an afternoon, a weekend, or perhaps a permanent relocation to New Jersey.

Comfort Food

Seven out of six hundred New Jersey diners sit in Warren County. Last year there were eight, until the Crossroads Diner was wrapped up and loaded on a flatbed for transport to upstate New York, having been sold at auction on eBay to a buyer who promised new life for the pressed metal panel frame, wide glass windows, customer booths and counter stools, pie case, and iconic exterior neon lighting. In their heyday, 6,000 diners hosted travelers across America. Only about one-third of them remain, but New Jersey remains the most diner-dense, and people-dense, state.

If You Plant It, Will They Come?

Insects are critical components of any natural area. Gardeners have become increasingly aware that, if we want wildlife in our gardens, we must support all life stages, year 'round. With the fragmented state of our natural areas, wildlife relies on our gardens, yards, fields, hedgerows, and woodlots to survive. When using native plants in a landscape, we are attempting to recreate functioning ecosystems to support the wonderful wildlife that, in fact, needs us to survive.

Spring In Your Step

A mix of historic buildings of varying architectural styles, a walkable downtown, and plentiful eateries surrounded by rural tranquility make Newton a fusion of the then and the now, with great expectations for the to be.

Forces of Nature

The early morning sun is hot as it climbs over the mountain and then falls on the plants still soaked with dew. Even though there is the mild discomfort of dust, sunburn and wet clothing, the berry pickers come early to get the biggest and ripest berries on the field. The customers picking their own strawberries arrive early but never as early as the crew which picks for the farm stand. They start just after dawn when there is still an early spring chill in the air because the stand opens early and the stock of berries must be ready.

God's In Heaven

In this time of twenty-four-hour news cycles, divisive politics, never-ending wars, and exotic viruses, I find myself returning to Bonnie Brook during these precious few weeks of spring, when the woodland flowers are in bloom, the earth's young are still filled with wonder, and the trout of Bonnie Brook are once again willing to come out and play. For this remains a time when God is in heaven and for a brief time all's once again right with my world.

Thanks for Thirty

It has been thirty years since the Skylands Visitor magazine was conceived in partnership with the Skylands Tourism Council to promote tourism in Northwest New Jersey. The tourism council is long dissolved, but our publication has survived primarily to the overwhelming support that has come from a wide range of brilliant writers and photographers. We'll start by remembering these three writers, mostly because they're gone and are sorely missed. There are many more, and we'll go along this year, and maybe next, trying to adequately acknowledge their gifts.

Core Values

Many, many stories adorn the history of the Highlands. But what about the future? What are the significant challenges ahead for our cherished home? That question has an easy answer: climate change.

Grass to the Glass

Many states have adopted regulations to allow consumer access to carefully produced fresh, unprocessed whole milk. New Jersey is the only state with a complete prohibition against distribution of "raw" milk according to the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund.

Hard Rain's Gonna Fall

People who tend the land have observed physical weather-related changes that affect their occupations. Some had to rethink their direction while others continue on, hoping for the best, but onward thinkers all. Here are a few of their experiences.

The region contains two national parks at its edges, 60,000 acres of state parkland, and a diverse and beautiful geography filled with lakes, rivers and picturesque hills dotted with farms.

The region's rustic nature is perfectly complemented by many vigorous towns and villages that offer wonderful entertainment, shopping and dining opportunities, fine museums, theaters and accommodations.

And there is a year round schedule of festivals, arts & crafts fairs, performance, exhibits, and educational events in New Jersey's Great Northwest.

Most of the material you'll find here has been published in our seasonal guide to the region: the Skylands Visitor Magazine. If you'd like a free copy, move over here.