Spring, 2019

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.

May 22 - 29

Memorial Day

John Basilone monument in the Borough of Raritan.
There are somewhere around 1,200 historical markers in New Jersey, 500 of them in the Northwest Skylands region. Many are monuments to war veterans from all eras and in all sizes. The Branchburg Veterans Memorial covers six wars at once: the American Revolution, Civil War, Word Wars I and II, the Korean War and Vietnam. In Flemington there is a marker that you can't see from the road in memory of "Vietnam War Dogs and Their Handlers." The Lambertville 8-12 Baseball League erected a memorial to PFC Charles L. Danberry who gave his life serving in the Marine Corp in Vietnam. A block or so away, the graves of Revolutionary War Lieutenant, George Coryell and "one of Gen. Washington's spies," Sam Holcombe, have been marked by the Hunterdon Cultural and Heritage Commission. And John Basilone stands larger than life on a little triangular intersection in the Borough of Raritan, his bronze statue sculpted by a boyhood friend and installed in 1948. Monuments like these decorate 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. They all commemorate a part of our history, and often remind us of courageous men and women who have served our country. More...

This Memorial Day Weekend, take advantage of a calendar bursting with intriguing things for you and your family to enjoy. Or check our Day Trip Map for good ideas for recreational enhancement! For the more aerobically inclined, the Outdoor Map shows the way to go.

Summer Classic

Tomahawk Lake
Don't miss the 67th opening weekend at Tomahawk Lake Waterpark in Sparta. Visitors have always loved the immaculate sand bottom sloping gently out to floating rafts. Since those old days, the park has added a mountain of water slides including the “The Apache Plunge”, a 610 foot mammoth flume raft ride for four people along with “Sitting Bull“, a serpentine double flume body slide and “Crazy Horse” racing slide. Back ashore you can visit a large refreshment stand, outdoor beer garden (with live weekend entertainment), an ice cream trailer, a novelty trailer, an arcade, an 18 hole miniature golf course, a putting green and a ball field. For information call the lake office at (973) 398-7777 or check their website.

Face The Music

Bobolink Dairy and Bakehouse, where they produce grass-fed beef and make artisanal cheeses and wood fired breads, is also a wonderful place for a late May afternoon of music, dancing, and food. This Sunday (May 26), Na'bodach - The Band, six fabulous celtic musicians, plus electricity! Enjoy the farm’s delicious foods which are available for purchase; BYOB. 1 - 4pm. Free, resv requested. 369 Stamets Rd, Milford (Hunterdon County), 908/86GRASS.

River Bound

Picture yourself on a raft on a river, with sweet green iced tea and marshmallow fries. Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly, "Memorial Day has picnic written all over it at the Ramsaysburg Homestead Historic Site in Knowlton Township!" Stop by on Monday (May 27), from 1-3 pm for a memorial tribute, then enjoy informal house and barn tours, river walks, and a special presenation about the timber rafting era on the Delaware. Bring your favorite covered dish to share; there will be a grill and fire to toast your marshmallows. The Ramsaysburg Homestead is located on the banks of the Delaware River on Route 46 at Ramseyburg Road in Delaware, NJ.

Back Road Bounty

Summertime adventure is easy to find on a back country road.
Tucked away in the seemingly endless landscape of ridge, valley, and wooded hillside of Warren County is an incredible bicycle-friendly network of quiet back roads linking together small towns and historic villages, re-purposed rail trails creating pastoral off-road adventures, and miles of single track trail tracing through the rocky upland forests. The weather's perfect for some vigorous exploration, so strap on a helmet and put some rubber on the road!

Visit The Wild Woods This Summer!

The Flatbrook-Roy
Got the secret desire to be an explorer? Envy Indiana Jones? Ever yearn for the excitement of bushwhacking through uncharted lands? Adventure is yours, right here in New Jersey. Discover over 305,000 acres of little known forests, meadows, streams, and lakes collectively called Wildlife Management Areas - all public property, all owned by the people of New Jersey. This land is your land!

Plan Ahead!

   

Planet Jersey

swans
Unlikely as it may seem in this cold wet May, your garden can soon look like Shawna Bengivenni's, who grows flowers to protect her organically grown edibles in Wantage.
Memorial Day is around the corner, as May approaches its verdant peak. Is your garden in? Anyone can grow their own veggies in garden plots, raised beds, deck planters or any small space. It saves money , it's good for you and it's fun! Learn how to get the most out of your earth by examining Mary's best (and easiest) veggie garden primer. How does your garden grow? Or check these tips about growing your own Victory Garden!
When you're done planting, take advantage of a calendar budding with intriguing things for you and your family to enjoy. Or check our Day Trip Map for good ideas for a Sunday drive! For the more aerobically inclined, the Outdoor Map shows the way to go.

The Right Path

The Farm Barn visitor orientation center at Duke Farms.
It is difficult to see it all in one day, but a few scattered afternoons would be well spent at Duke Farms. Even if you're breezing through on a bike, some areas are accessible only on foot. Whether you enjoy wildlife watching, wildflower photography, ancient champion trees, geocaching, tracking the marks of man, or a sublime picnic, remember that Duke Farms is a park with a mission.

Ready To Roll

Boat launch near the spillway dam at Echo Lake
The Pequannock Watershed, which weaves through and around Newfoundland and West Milford, has been called one of the New Jersey’s last wilderness areas. To call it wild might seem exaggeration, and yet, with an extraordinary amount of land undeveloped and restricted, the word applies. A swath of forest crisscrossed by trails, some rough or unpaved roads, occasionally punctuated by development, the territory is familiar in places; rugged in others. There are miles of trails up, down, and around a mini-range of mountains, through woods, past rocky streams, still lakes and reservoirs, with glimpses of the ruins of a stone castle and abandoned iron mines, all framed by dramatic shears, sliced by the Wisconsin Glacier ages ago. Get familiar this spring!

Both Sides Now

Stone lime kiln along River Road near Carpentersville.
Follow the narrow, twisting back roads along both shores of the Delaware River -- from Phillipsburg south to Milford in New Jersey, and Upper Black Eddy back north to Easton in Pennsylvania -- through countryside rich in local history and lore, old hamlets of which little trace remains, past quaint homes and natural wonders along the way.

Power Up

The annual Warren County Farmers' Fair -- 82 years old this year -- is many things to many people: an agricultural showcase, a hot-air balloon festival, a family carnival, an arts and crafts expo, performance stage, and Power Events. Spectators come from far and wide to witness fierce competition in the Demolition Derby, Diesel Truck Pull, Stock/Hot Stock Tractor Pull, 4-Wheel Drive Truck Pull, Mud Bog. Tickets go fast, so order yours now online to make sure to get your place in the arena! This year's fair takes place July 27-August 3 at the intersection of Rt. 519 and Strykers Road in Harmony Township.

Feel the Earth!

Cabins are available at most campgrounds.
Campgrounds in the Skylands account for a huge amount of fun. Over 500,000 campers relax and enjoy the rural character of Northwest New Jersey each year. Most of these visits come in summer; short overnight or weekend camping trips. But many families make a Skylands campground their own vacation home, renting seasonal sites or bringing their own RV to rest at a lovely -- and well-serviced -- spot somewhere up in the New Jersey countryside. These facilities are a long way from generic trailer hookups and tent sites. Take a drive or click away and check one out soon! Memorial Day Weekend awaits!
  • Camp Taylor Campground
    Camp Taylor offers a wilderness atmosphere with the security and services that public areas often lack, with access to a swimming lake and trails that lead hikers through strikingly beautiful forest to mountain laurel atop a 1600 foot ridge. Seasonal Sites, Tenters, RV rental, Cabins near the Delaware Water Gap. Home of Lakota Wolf Preserve. 85 Mt. Pleasant Rd., Columbia, 908/496-4333
  • Harmony Ridge Campground
    Outstanding family facilities near Culver Lake and Stokes Forest. There are over 200 sites and many activities to choose from; a large pavilion, playground, game courts, swimming pool, paddle boats. The friends and memories you make here will last a lifetime. 23 Risdon Drive, Branchville, 973/948-4941
  • Kymer's Camping Resort
    Trailer and cabin rentals and trailer and tent campsites with water, electric and cable TV hookups on 200 scenic acres. 69 Kymer Rd., Branchville, 800/526-2267
  • Delaware River Family Campground
    Enjoy raft, canoe, kayak or tube trips, trailer and tent campsites as well as trailer and cabin rentals. 100 Route 46, Columbia, 800/543-0271
  • Panther Lake Camping Resort
    Camp on a private 45-acre lake on 160 scenic acres where you can enjoy swimming, boating, fishing or just relaxing on a sandy beach. 6 Panther Lake Rd., Andover, 800/543-2056
  • The Great Divide Campground
    Private, family friendly campground with amenities for tents, RVs and seasonal guests. Fully furnished cabin rentals available. Heated pool, fishing & boating lake, playground, planned events and activities. 68 Phillips Road, Newton, 973/383-4026

MommaMania!

Photo: Trish Romano.
New Jersey has more moms per square mile than any other state in America. And the New Jersey Skylands can supply the perfect place to remind your mom how much you care on Mother's Day (Sunday, May 12). How to find these places? Take advantage of a calendar budding with intriguing things for you and your family to enjoy. Or check our Day Trip Map for good ideas for a Sunday drive! For the more aerobically inclined, the Outdoor Map shows the way to go.

Thirsty Moms

The Brook Hollow Winery, in Knowlton Township, looks out over the vineyard, then beyond to the Delaware Water Gap.
The perfect package Mother's Day Package (May 11 & 12) awaits your mom at Brook Hollow Winery, including a complete wine tasting of all of our wines, a single rose to express your love and her beauty, and a wine bottle of your(her) choice with custom label with a personalized message. Purchase your package now, as custom labels take one day to process. 594 State Highway 94 in Columbia, 908/496-8200.

Or take the Winery Train along the scenic Delaware River behind New Jersey's only operating steam locomotive. Then after a short bus ride through rolling farmlands, you will arrive at Villa Milagro Vineyards to learn about winemaking and to sample their delicious wines and have an opportunity to purchase them at the source. Return via the Ol' Susquehanna Mine where you're welcome to detrain and enjoy your wine with a picnic in the picnic grove and then catch a later train home (trains come every hour and half). Delaware River Railroad Excursions, 877-872-4674.

Say it with flowers!

Wild geranium, an early bloomer in the Musconetcong Gorge. (Rachel Mackow)
You can bring your mom flowers, or take her to them! Wildflower hunting is the Greatest Show In Earth! This well-watered spring promises a great show of native wildflower displays along wooded trails such as those at Musconetcong Gorge Reservation. And northwestern New Jersey is blessed with extraordinary public gardens where visitors can experience every spring-blooming plant that will grow in the region. Friday, May 10 is National Public Gardens Day!
And this Friday and Saturday's Spring Open Greenhouse at Wild Ridge Plants in Pohatcong is the perfect opportunity to explore the diversity and beauty of native plants.

Outdoor Moms

Photo by Dan Balogh
Drive up Route 23 North, and after passing countless big box stores, fast food chains and traffic lights, the landscape suddenly turns all green. And steep. This is wild West Milford, home to over 100 miles of marked hiking trails and more 1,000-foot summits than anyplace else in the Jersey Highlands. Bag some peaks with mom!

Maternal Instinct

Can't figure out what she'd like? Take her shopping and let her decide. Go some place nice where you can spend the day!
Lamington Lifestyles specializes in custom farm tables.
A Bedminster destination for 33 years, Lamington Lifestyles offers two floors brimming with home decor, unique gifts, women's apparel, baby gifts, jewelry and artwork... some designed by over 80 American artisans. Take a lovely country drive to 285 Lamington Rd., Bedminster, 908/439-2034
Pottery at Made To Order.
Mom's love the wide selection of jewelry, pottery, handmade leatherwork, art glass, and most anything else you can find at Made To Order in Clinton. 908/735-4244.
Wilbur's Country Store is a perfect destination on any ride through the country, but especially on Mothers Day! 735 Route 94 in Frelinghuysen, between Newton and Blairstown.
Or take a trip to Orchard View Lavender Farm where a shop full of lavender products made for nearly every aspect of life accentuates a strikingly beautiful setting in which you are welcome to meander! 101 Karrsville Rd., Port Murray; 908/362-6865.

Skylands Prime!

The Rosemary Inn on 17 pastoral acres near the Delaware Water Gap.

For an elegant getaway, The RoseMary Inn speaks hospitality and comfort loudly and clearly. Overlooking a picture-postcard pond, surrounded by seventeen pastoral acres, the inn is furnished with period antiques. There are five distinctive guestrooms for your lodging accommodations — all with separate heat/ac controls, Wi-Fi, sound board for privacy, etc.
Nature trails wind throughout the property inviting you to view abundant wildlife and birds. For more avid hikers, the Inn offers quick access, not only to the spectacular network of hiking trails in the Delaware Water Gap, but also to the Appalachian Trail, which runs along the top of the Kittatinny Ridge, and the Paulinskill Valley Trail, a former railbed perfect for long bike rides. The inn also shares their Columbia address with the beloved Lakota Wolf Preserve, the Brook Hollow Winery, an abundance of farms, and several fine restaurants.
A complimentary traditional-style European breakfast lures guests to the table every morning with a multiple-course menu that varies with the seasons. 88 Hainesburg River Road in Columbia. Call 908-496-8855 or click!


Alive and Well!

Bob Thompson
It doesn't last forever, so take advantage of a schedule budding with intriguing things for you and your family to enjoy. Or choose among dozens of natural attractions or outdoor activities suggested on our website. Blooming Beauty!

Mistical Experience

A heron in the swamp mist. Photo: Melinda Nye
In 1959, galvanized community activists fought a proposed jetport that threatened the Great Swamp watershed. They raised enough money and support to donate thousands of acres to the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the Great Swamp Wildlife Refuge was born. To explore the Refuge Wilderness Area, trails begin in a multitude of locations. Or, begin at the Helen C. Fenske Visitor Center, named after one of the key community activists in the formation of the refuge, at 32 Pleasant Plains Road, Harding Township.

Big River

The confluence of the North and South Branch at Bridgewater.
The Raritan South Branch resembles an arm embracing northwest New Jersey as it runs southwest from Budd Lake through communities it has nourished for hundreds of years, valleys dripping with serenity, and wooded vistas perfumed with the fragrance of a mountain stream. The reservoirs at Spruce Run and Round Valley near Clinton mark the river's "elbow" as it turns to head southeast to the Piedmont, tranquilized, but no less beautiful as it approaches Raritan Bay. For those in search of the latest in nature's seasonal fashions, glances of living local heritage, or the tug of a Jersey trout, following the South Branch from Mt. Olive to Duke Farms in Hillsborough yields a memorable Earth Day ramble. Check your Google Map, grab your GoPro, maybe hitch your Raleigh or Old Town to the car top, and get started.

All Along the Byway

The Millstone Valley Scenic Byway is a narrow 23-mile roadway loop paralleling the western side of the Millstone River and the eastern side of the Delaware & Raritan Canal between the villages of Millstone and Kingston. Found within the Byway are eight Historic Districts containing buildings of historic and architectural importance; a twelve-mile section of the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park that offers preserved vintage dwellings, albeit mostly private; an intact section of the D&R Canal with its locks and towpath; vintage bridges; and roadways over which Revolutionary War troops marched nearly 240 years ago. Outdoor enthusiasts can fish, hike, bike, jog, horse-back ride, canoe or kayak and bird-watch at various locations. A perfect road trip!

Legstretchers

At the Sourlands Mountain Preserve on East Mountain Road in Hillsborough, three trails begin at the same Trail Head across the grass from the parking lot. Grab a map in the kiosk and enter the woods for this pleasant hike in Somerset County. Take the four-mile Ridge Trail, designated with a rectangular blaze. The blazes here are carved wooden plaques in geometric shapes. Walks are always easy at the trailhead, and this one starts with a smooth gravel/dirt path under tall trees.

Ash at the Edge

Two magnificent ash trees stand at the top of a hill at the edge of the woods.
The splendid ash tree faces a crisis in the coming months and years as it confronts the Emerald Ash Borer. Understanding the processes at play, and the possiblities for achieving balance between them, can lend great insight as well as deeper appreciation for your walks in the woods this sspring. More...

Mother's Day Approaches!

   
   

May Day Alert!

Photo by Tammy Fazio
The month of May invokes a certain emotional and sensual liberty, summoning waves of Spring Fever and the happy feeling that this most stirring season still lies largely before us. Time to get out and smell whatever you can! And what better place to do your sniffing than New Jersey’s Great Northwest Skylands? Take advantage of a schedule budding with intriguing things for you and your family to enjoy. Or choose among dozens of natural attractions or outdoor activities suggested on our website. Give Me Fever!

Hello Cruel World!

Vilma, a barred owl found by the side of the road when she was a year old, had a compound fracture of the left wing has no sustainable flight. She is known for her beak snapping during programs at The Raptor Trust.
Being born in spring isn't all sunshine and flowers. What happens to baby birds that fall from their nest, and what can you do if you come across an orphan or two? Find out at this Saturday's Bringing Up Birdie event at The Raptor Trust! Although it's known for rehabilitating hawks, eagles, and owls, The Raptor Trust looks after all avian styles, young and old. Want to guess how many they've fixed over thirty years? Besides saving a homeless avian, you can also go there and see some amazing "rock star" raptors. More...
Many more dedicated organizations have open doors for animal refugees of all makes and models. Here's what they do and how to contact them....

Restless Natives

A native mountain laurel allee at The Cross Estate Gardens in Morristown.
Native plants (those that lived here before the colonists arrived) make outstanding gardens because they are strong growers, ornamental, require less maintenance than many exotics, and are particularly attractive to birds and butterflies. Some are even rumored to be deer-resistant! Go get some for your own yard or garden either at the Musconetcong Watershed Association's Native Plant Sale (Saturday, April 27), or the Spring Plant Sale and Earth Day Celebration (Saturday and Sunday) at Leonard Buck Garden.
You can learn about natives and how to use them next Saturday (May 4) at Well-Sweep Herb Farm's Woodland Gardening With Natives, informative presentations full of ideas about woodland and butterfly gardens, native wildflowers and ferns. The programs are free but reservations are required. Click or call 908/852-5390. Well-Sweep is located between Hackettstown and Washington at 205 Mt. Bethel Rd. in Port Murray.

History You Can Taste

Garden State Heirloom Seed Society Museum.
Although they produce varieties of just about any fruit or vegetable you can think of, heirloom seeds are probably best known for the great tasting tomatoes that they grow. Heirloom seeds, which have been passed down over generations, not only produce the same delicious produce that your forbears ate, but also preserve the natural variety essential to a healthy system. Modern agriculture has already resulted in the loss of 75% of the world’s edible plant varieties. You can learn more about heirlooms and New Jersey's glorious farming past with a visit to the Garden State Heirloom Seed Society Museum, open this weekend! 82 Delaware Rd., Columbia. 908/475-2730

Home Waters

I’ve fished the stream through the chill of March and the dark skies of April. By the time May has arrived I’ve worked out the kinks developed over the long, dark months of winter. Muscle memory has been restored, my rhythm returned.

Steep Devotion

The view from the top of Mt. Tammany is worth the sweat. Photo: Erin Burnett
Whatever your plans in the great outdoors this spring, make hiking in the Delaware Water Gap part of your adventure. The Gap offers trails for all hikers from novice to expert. Come with a sense of wonder, a willingness to explore, and you may find a trail blazed just for you.

Planet Waves

This image was captured in October 2015 when NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) was eighty miles above the Moon's surface traveling 3,580 miles per hour.
The science and technology that gives us such humbling perspective also teaches us that we face critical decisions every day in a fragile and vulnerable world. It is a wonder that we even need an Earth Day to remind us, but here it is!
Author, philosopher, and cultural historian Thomas Berry has long been a voice for Earth’s voiceless. In 1993, Berry wrote a paper that would later be revised, edited and included as a chapter in one of his major books, The Great Work: Our Way Into the Future. Take a few moments this holiday weekend to celebrate his life and the seeds of vision he planted, even while he grieved the terminal phase of Earth’s Cenozoic Era. Here are Thomas Berry's thoughts on the The New Political Alignment.
To celebrate the planet from whence you sprouted, take advantage of a schedule budding with intriguing things for you and your family to enjoy. Or choose among dozens of natural attractions or outdoor activities suggested on our website.

Dig Your Earth!

Asian pears can be a beautiful and delicious addition to your backyard. (Gina Barkovitch)
Make your landscape edible with a backyard orchard, organic style! Start with a tree or two and learn as you go. Here are a few ideas...

The Hills Are Alive

The Hill and Dale Preserve in Tewksbury is the most recent purchase of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation (NJCF), an organization dedicated to saving and protecting New Jersey's important lands and natural resources for all to enjoy.

Hacklebarney Heaven

Hacklebarney State Park is 892 acres of glacial valley, with gorges carved by the Black River and two tributaries that feed it, the Rinehart and Trout Brooks. The dogs play and we talk in celebration of meeting in these Robin Hood woods. We stand on outcrops jutting over the river and gaze in awe at the grass, moss and seedlings living in the rocks brought here long ago. Walk on...

Homegrown Housing

The straw bale house at Genesis Farm.
Natural building considers a structure’s impact on the local environment and culture, the global ecology, the needs and well-being of the inhabitants, and the quality of the building itself. Straw bale homes can make a significant contribution toward relieving the many challenges we face due to the effects of climate disruption, the increased scarcity of safe fossil fuels for our energy future, and the increased demands on the planet’s forests for construction materials for our human buildings. The straw bale house at Genesis Farm in Frelinghuysen demonstrates the use of locally available, time-tested renewable materials to construct an energy efficient, aesthetically pleasing home. Have a look!

Earthlinks!

       


Happy Returns

Jacob sheep await their spring haircut at Jenny Jump Farm.
You’re ready to submit your tax return to the government and clear your desk of all suspicious matters (correct?) Do not let Spring depreciate further! Time to dig yourself back into Mother Earth. And what finer place to dig than the New Jersey’s Great Northwest Skylands? Take advantage of a calendar budding with intriguing things for you and your family to enjoy. Or use the Outdoor Directory for links to all sorts of hikes and outdoor fun!

Schedule See

The massive 32-foot-high stone blast furnace at Split Rock was erected in 1862 during the Civil War, the last charcoal-fired furnace built in New Jersey. It operated for only about ten years, consuming approximately one acre of woodland each day for charcoal fuel. The original Splitrock tract consisted of 3,000 acres in the Farny highlands that included forges, mines and a village, remnants of which are evident throughout the area.
Split Rock Reservoir’s charm lies in its remote, almost hidden location. You can approach it from Rockaway Township via Hibernia Road or through Boonton Township via Split Rock Road. Either way, you end in a mile-long unpaved stretch that brings you to parking and to a one-lane bridge with an unspoiled view down the length of the nearly six-hundred-acre body of water. Not far from Split Rock Road, accessible by trail, stand the towering Split Rock Furnace ruins.

Hidden Assets

This spring, head for the woods on a special type of hunt. You won't find explicit directions, but if you log any appreciable trail time in the spring, you'll eventually come across a vernal pool. These distinctive wetlands are seasonal surprises, maybe something that you've never noticed before. The pools play hide and seek with woods walkers and the critters that inhabit them.

Bird Call

Silent in winter, a loon's spring call is eerie, from the age of dinosaurs. (Dan Bacon)
The pursuit of birds in view appeals to lots of people for lots of reasons. Beyond the activity's obvious natural allure, "chasing" birds keeps watchers physically fit. Learning and identifying hundreds of species on the fly challenges the intellect and intensifies awareness. And for photographers and illustrators, there is no better subject. The concentration of ridges, valleys and wetlands in our area holds a fortune of interaction with the avian experience any time of year, but especially in spring...

Net Worth

Picatinny Peak rises above Picatinny Lake, once known as Clifford Pond.
The Cultural Resource Program at Picatinny Arsenal has documented dozens of historic and Native American archaeological sites that tell a story that spans centuries in the New Jersey Highlands. More...

Household Income

The Jim and Mary Lee Museum
Jim Lee, Sr., a railroad conductor who grew up in Phillipsburg, was so fascinated with the Morris Canal that he bought what had been the site of one of the canal's inclined planes, and moved his young family to a trim two-story house where the man who operated the plane had lived. If it weren't for Mr. Lee's extensive work documenting the Morris Canal era, it may have been entirely forgotten. Today, the former planetender's home at the Morris Canal's Inclined Plane #9 West in Greenwich Twp., houses a collection of Morris Canal artifacts as the Jim and Mary Lee Museum. The museum is open for visitation this Sunday, April 14. 477 County Route 519, Stewartsville.
Sign up for Warren County Wanderings, and get regular updates on things to do in Warren County. Or visit the Explore Warren website.

Opening Day

Opening day of fishing season. Shiny SUVs are parked beside beat up pickups and mud splattered Jeeps behind the local diner, where anglers stand shoulder to shoulder on the bank of the river that passes through our town. Most years, I’d remain at home during opening day; for me fishing has never been a team sport. But it has been an especially long winter, and so instead, I pass by the diner and drive out of town. More..
Early April water is cold, high, and fast, but even the most severe conditions cannot deny dedicated fishers their place streamside early Saturday morning (April 6), when a fresh and feisty generation of stocked rainbow trout become fair game. Six-hundred-thousand of them, to be more precise, each born and bred at the Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center which lies on a 5,000-acre state Wildlife Management Area between Route 46 and Pequest Road in Oxford. Check our general fishing guide and see how to find ‘em, catch ‘em and cook ‘em.

Partners Du Jour

Lou Tommaso at LL Pittenger Farm in Andover provides grass-fed beef, chicken and pork for several area restaurants, as well as for the general public. The cheese and charcuterie board, a staple at James On Main restaurant in Hackettstown, utilizes the local charcuterie produced from Tommaso’s Berkshire hogs.
There is no formal definition for a "farm-to-table" menu, but diners usually expect that so-described selections are prepared with locally sourced ingredients supplied directly by farmers who have raised their crops or livestock without the use of pesticides or hormones. Is this just another exclusive food fad, or can it be part of a social movement towards a sustainable local economy in Northwest New Jersey? More...



On Top of Old Morris

On the southeast side of the park, a broad and colorless swamp is eerily populated by a host of beaver cut and half fallen, decaying trees. (C. J. Kern)
Rising beyond the eastern shore of the Rockaway River, in Boonton Township, stands the Tourne, a modest mountain known for its rocky terrain and spectacular New York skyline views. Add a wildflower trail, a big-time bog, and miles of historic river valley, and you've got a prime spring adventure. More...

Fertile Ground

Community garden at Duke Farms
Who can think of an argument for not having a garden? It’s not easy to do, but you still might have a good reason for not growing your own. Perhaps the deer have finally gotten the best of you. You might not have enough room in your yard, or maybe you have no yard at all. But even if any of these apply to your personal situation, most likely, in the best of all worlds, you’d like to have a garden in your backyard. Gardens are good!
If you're considering a backyard alternative, take a look at a community garden. For most, there are waiting lists, but there's always a chance you can find a spot if you start looking now! More...

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...



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