“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.
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.
Warren County offers a wide range of recreational opportunities for all kinds of people. Outdoor lovers enjoy rigorous hikes, abundant wildlife and superb scenery. All agree that Warren County's rural nature is the key to its allure.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 temperature has reached into the nineties, and itís not yet noon. My fly rods remain in their tubes, my flies in their sleeves. It is much too hot to play tag with the fish of Bonnie Brook, too hot to do much of anything. Even the koi we stocked more than eighteen years ago, seek relief from the heat. I watch them face the current of the little stream that feeds the pond separating our lawn and gardens from a woodlot frequented by turkey, deer, and black bear.
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.