Spring, 2018

Warm greetings and best wishes for an exciting season! This is our twenty-eighth year of exploration among the hills and valleys of Northwest New Jersey. We hope you keep the personality of the New Jersey Skylands near and dear when you need to freshen your horizon!

Here are some highlights from the region's calendar of events, along with some other suggestions for you and your family.

March 22 - 29


Who knew spring could be so complicated? (photo: Melinda Nye)
Spring had to sneak in under a snow bank; nevertheless it is here. The calendar says so! It's filled with events that invite exploration of this most magical of seasons. Nine months of non-winter coming up!

Spring Babies

A barn owl chick poses in a hay loft after being rehabilitated at the Mercer Wildlife Center and before being returned to the nest box. (Photo: MacKenzie Hall)
Multiplication is the order of the season, and snow or no snow, the show must go on! Look and listen for the signs of spring and making babies!! Let your senses soak up the season — its fleeting beauty, warmth, scents, and most of all the peace and rejuvenation in its experience. More...

Acting Out

The 39 Steps, playing at The Barn Theater in Montville.
Theater-going in northwest New Jersey equals adventure. It’s about discovering theater in unexpected places — by a lake, a golf course, a brick-sided former morgue, old vaudeville house, or contemporary addition to a Stanford White designed Georgian mansion. Whatever your theater tastes — musicals, dramas, revivals, premieres, experimental, you can find it here — in professional theaters featuring paid actors, designers, directors and staff or all-volunteer community theaters, where your neighbor could be starring in a show.
How about this weekend's work, The Serene Secret, by a local playwright at the Dover Little Theater?

Hop Aboard!

Ride the Easter Bunny Train Ride and visit with Mr. E. Bunny on the train. Your ride will wind along the scenic Delaware River leaving from the Historic District of Phillipsburg. The train will travel along the river to the historic Lime Kilns and a beautiful little glade filled with Easter eggs! Once we arrive you can get off the train, take a picture with Mr. Bunny and gather 4 Easter eggs! Trips run March24, 25 & 31. Delaware River Railroad Excursions, 877-872-4674.

Schooley's Elusive Spirit

Mysteries of the woods
Running northeast for twenty miles from Glen Gardner to Lake Hopatcong, Schooley’s Mountain’s steep sides rise to a broad top between the Musconetcong River and, for most of its length, the South Branch of the Raritan. The mountain presents a dichotomy of striking scenes from the past, interspersed with groups of modern homes and stores. Heavily traveled periphery highways are connected by a web of narrow rural roads that still meander as they did when “horse power” meant just that. The mountain’s southern portion holds routes worthy of exploring, hamlets for artists to ponder, and natural areas for hikers, all shrouded in tantalizing lore that begs a historian’s query. Read on...

Bare Truth

Robert Lobe conceptualizes a sculpture in his "forest studio".
It won't be long until leaves are in full bloom. Hit the woods while the trees are bare and there's still time to look around -- you'll see things you might miss otherwise. For an artist walking in the woods along the Kittatinny Ridge, the earth gushes a torrent of shapes and forms, angles and curves, textures and light, all vibrantly alive, yet frozen in a rhythm of life far different than our own. Read more about Robert Lobe's sculpture from remote forest models at Harmony Ridge...

That's All You Got Old Man?

Photo by Dan Bacon
Father Frost is fading fast! Daffodil green is already spotting the ground, and the maple sap is flowing. You get the feeling there's payback to come for this warm spell, but you might as well jump while you can.
The weeks ahead will be packed with events, so keep an eye on our calendar and watch out for our virtual efforts to keep you informed. Forge ahead and face the music!

My Summer Eduvacation

Peters Valley
The serene atmosphere at Peters Valley invigorates a diverse community of artists.
Does this weather have you dreaming of warm summer days? Start planning ways to make the best of them! How about a class at Peters Valley Crafts Center? One of only six craft schools of its type in the country, and unique to Northwest New Jersey, it has grown from a small artists' collective in the early 1970s to a nationally recognized center for craft education. Here's what happened one summer...

A Silk Purse

The four-story plant built by Pelgram and Meyer on Monroe and Lincoln Streets in Boonton employed 500 people until it shut in 1927. It is now home to Kanter Auto Products.
For over two centuries a prolific iron industry wielded huge influence over the development of many Morris County communities. In particular, the forges, furnaces, and mines of Dover, Wharton and Boonton, all located along the banks of the Rockaway River, were intimately connected from the early 1700s through the heady times of the Morris Canal and the subsequent railroads. There are sites to see; take a look around!

Along the Western Front

Fort Ellison
This small stone building is believed to be the ruins of Fort Carmer, one of a line of forts from the French and Indian War.
Two decades before the American Revolution, the Royal Province of New Jersey prepared itself for the culmination of seventy years of bickering between the French and the English colonists. During the French and Indian War, the government was forced to take measures to protect New Jersey's northwestern frontier along the Delaware River from the increasing threat of marauding Indians, allies of the French armies. A line of forts and blockhouses were commissioned from Belvidere, in Warren County, through what is now the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, to Port Jervis, New York, with soldiers patrolling between them. Get out your hiking shoes, pump up your bike tires, or warm up the car and trace this line of forts!

Touchy Subjects

"We want people to touch things!" says Park Superintendent Tom Ross.
The result of nearly a decade of work, the new Discover History Center at the Washington Museum at Morristown National Park opens this President's Day Weekend, Feb. 17-19. The $2.2 million dollar project for the 21st –century is an immersive, interactive, exhibits that engages visitors of all ages with hands-on and multi-media experiences to explore the stories of Morristown, the Continental Army, General Washington, and Continental Congress during the years that “tried men’s souls.” The galleries feature many never-before seen artifacts, interactive activities geared towards children and adults, and five new videos to experience. The weekend will feature a variety of activities in addition to the new exhibits. For a complete schedule, check here.

Learning Lenape

For Archaic peoples, rock shelters, consisting of natural overangs or hillside depressions, were temporary stopovers that offered protection from the rain and snow. In winter they might have been closed in with windbreaks made from skins or brush.
The native people of northwestern New Jersey had no written history. In fact, they had no writing except for the use of pictographs, some of which were carved on stone. Much of what we do know about New Jersey's prehistory is a result of work done by archaeologists, or from early accounts by explorers and travelers, along with journals kept by missionaries and settlers in the 1600s and early 1700s. For over 12,000 years the Lenape and their ancestors occupied northwestern New Jersey, successfully adapting to climatic changes in their environment. But, after a little more than a century following European colonization, only a few Indians remained. Arrowheads, stone axes, pottery and other objects are still occasionally found in a farmer's field or along a riverbank, but only a rough sketch of a robust culture remains; we know nothing of the human deeds and dramas that occurred. More...


Winter birds are a sight to see!
Hastened by the first blankets of snow, the shortened days of winter in the Skylands afford a chilly but unequaled opportunity to draw closer to nature and to enjoy the quiet that descends with the withdrawal of activity to the indoors. On these cold days, while local countryside vistas remain open and unshrouded by their canopy of leaves, the fields, forests, and woodlands of our region are prime for the pastime of winter birdwatching. More...

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. For example, the scant remains of an old airframe, possibly from an early Army biplane trainer, rest close to the Appalachian Trail near the top of the mountain, overgrown with brush. Without modern instruments, the ridge could be treacherous for aviators. Read more!!


b krauss
24 Mar 2016, 13:44
You are my all time favorite local magazine & newsletter!!!!! Loved each issue. Such a feeling of community, nature, and wonder.
We've moved out of the area & are passing along copies of your magazine to the new owners of our home.
Please remove my name from your email list for the newsletter.
Much success in the future.
Thanks so much for the glorious entertainment !

Rebecca Seamon
09 Jun 2013, 07:49
Blairstown Dog Park in Warren County NJ to hold Grand Opening.\r\n\r\nThe Blairstown Dog Park located on Lambert Road in Blairstown plans to have a Grand Opening Celebration on June 22 from 10am until 12pm. Rain date is June 23. \r\n\r\nThe Grand Opening Celebration will feature a dog costume contest, giveaways, food, fun and instant membership with completed form and proof of vaccines.\r\n\r\nWhat began as a small idea in November 2010 has finally turned into a reality. With a land donation from the township, the Blairstown Dog Park is a large, 1-acre fenced in area where people can bring their dogs to socialize and run off leash. It was completely funded and run by volunteers and generous donations.\r\n\r\nOpen to anyone, members must first complete a membership form and show proof of license and vaccines. A membership fee also applies.\r\n\r\nThe Blairstown Dog Park is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. For more information and forms- www.blairstowndogpark.com. Membership forms are also available at the Blairstown Library and Municipal building. \r\n
Ray Kleban
26 May 2013, 04:35
Hi, how do I reach out to someone at skylands to post a notice of an event - a fundraiser in sussex county? Is there a charge?\r\n\r\nthank you in advance \r\nray kleban
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