Autumn, 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.

September 20 - 27

eQuality!

Known to generations of local school kids as the Rock House, the Parsippany Rock Shelter is a collection of titanic glacial boulders that tumbled to form a rudimentary shelter.
As the sun heads south across the equator, Northwest New Jersey will prove itself a popular stage for arts, crafts, natural and historical celebrations all season, as autumn arrives on Monday (Sept. 23) with a schedule of colorful programs. Soft and mellow autumn days can be intoxicating. For now, at the equinox, day = night, but the balance begins to tip! So make sure to keep an eye on our calendar for this and coming autumn weekends. And pick from a multitude of daytrip itineraries!

Just seventeen

Disprove the idea that museums are musty and boring when you visit some of the seventeen Morris County museums and historic sites opening for visitors during this weekend's Pathways of History Museum Tour (Sept. 22-23). Native wildflowers blooming at the Tunis Ellicks House gardens in New Vernon and the Martin Berry House in Pompton Plains are featured venues. Other highlights include the Obediah LaTourette Grist Mill in Washington Township, the Bowlsby-DeGelleke House in Parsippany and L’Ecole Kinnelon Museum. Start at any location; see the complete list here. Free admission and refreshments make this an excellent idea for a family outing. For more information, click or call 973/316-0976.

Come and listen to a story...

Waterloo in the canal heyday.
Prior to its career as one of New Jersey's most renown historic sites, Waterloo Village had all the components necessary to become a thriving canal town, approximately half-way along the Morris Canal's 102-mile journey across the state, from Phillipsburg to Jersey City. This Saturday's (Sept. 22) Waterloo Canal Day is the final installment of this year's series commemorating those times, presented by the Canal Society of New Jersey. Enjoy guided tours of the restored canal village, along with a wide range of programming, including narrated canal boat ride, trades demonstrated at the gristmill and blacksmith shops, period music and eight historic structures open for inspection. Waterloo Village is stuffed with stories -- and a new one has been added, about the recovery of a lost Morris Canal boat which is now on display! For more information click or call 973-292-2755.

Through the Farny Highlands

Split Rock from a kayak is a beautiful sight in autumn. Photo by Lee Sandstead.
A trio of Morris County reservoirs, each less than ten miles from the next, dot opposing sides of a triangle that frames sharply contrasting environments. Split Rock sits in one of Morris County’s most remote regions; Taylortown in Montville’s preserved mountains and woodlands, steps away from suburbia and Boonton near the busy intersection of Routes 287 and 80. An autumn visit to each or all promises ample leaf peeping vistas, woodland or urban hikes with water views and flashes of Revolutionary and Civil War history. Put this trip on your list this fall!

Wings and a prayer

MacKenzie Hall releases a young male Big Brown Bat on his maiden flight.
Photo by Bob Thompson.
Bats are a fascinating group of animals. They've been flapping through the skies for more than fifty million years and are still the only mammals on Earth that can truly fly. But they are largely misunderstood, and have had very hard times of late. In a big way, the White-nose plague swung the door wide open to understanding and appreciating bats. Even grade school kids now know that bats are important insect-eaters. And bats save crops from corn earworm moths, potato beetles, cucumber beetles, even stink bugs, reducing the need for chemical pesticides. Those are rather good reasons to want bats around. Read more!

Rooms With A View!

Camping doesn't have to end with the summer. In fact campgrounds make a perfect home base for most outdoor fall activities such as leaf peeping, bird and wildlife watching, hunting and fishing, simply because they've got "location, location, location."
  • 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
  • Triple Brook Family Camping Resort
    Park yourself on a 250 acre farm tucked away in the legendary Kittatinny Mountains. Spend the season steps away from an Olympic size pool, heated whirlpool spa, private lake, tennis courts, and fully stocked camp store. You'll have time to explore all the natural attractions in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation a few miles away, or the Pocono Mountains. There's also an open air pavilion available for weddings, picnics, retreats. 58 Honey Run Rd., Hope, 908/459-4079.
  • 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, 800/543-2056
  • 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, 800/543-2056
  • 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

Plan Ahead!

       

Pick Your Own!

      


Don't Miss A Thing!

No doubt, fall is the most precious season. It looks good, especially with Northwest New Jersey's usual spectacular crop of fall foliage. And it tastes even better, thanks to the efforts all kinds of farmers. You never really know when autumn's gonna end, but you absolutely know what's coming behind it... SLUSH!
Don't miss a thing this fall. It comes and goes so fast, so keep an eye on our calendar and watch out for our virtual efforts to keep you informed.

Hands On

If you're considering a drive through the western reaches of the Skylands in search of fall flavor this weekend, two annual events deserve attention.
Wilbur's Country Store will host it's 38th annual Fall Craft Fair (Sept. 15 & 16) as always, on the lawn behind Wilbur's barn-style complex where craftspeople and artists from four states will set up their wares in a real country setting. For more information about Wilbur's or the fair, located at 735 Route 94 in Frelinghuysen (between Newton and Blairstown), click or call 908-362-8833.
The annual Warren County Preservation Day takes its place at the Roseberry Homestead this Saturday, Sept. 15. The Department of Land Preservation will celebrate Warren County’s vast array of parkland, historic preservation locations, farmland, and open space with live music, history, activities, an exotic animal presentation, food vendors, and much more! Located at 540 Warren Street in Phillipsburg, the Roseberry House is an 18th Century Georgian manor, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, undergoing preservation and restoration. The event will be held rain or shine and admission is free. Click or call 908/453-2650

Skylands By Saddle

Riding is a partnership! Photo by Bob Thompson.
In a land crisscrossed by interstates, punctuated with traffic lights, and clogged with cars, it’s easy to overlook how much northwestern New Jersey territory you can still cover on a horse. Through warm summer months and into fall, you can explore rivers, streams, fields, and hills and enjoy remote views and vistas—all from the saddle. Across the Skylands region, a horse can take you where no car can—faster and sometimes farther afield than your own two feet. Exercise? Certainly. But also the pleasure of working with a 1,000-pound companion who can handle the footwork. Saddle up!

Meant For Meandering

The sheer volume of towns and municipalities in New Jersey is often cited as our state's major burden. But each of our 566 "domains" has a history that never fails to fascinate. Driving down the Mountain Lakes Boulevard through one of America's most expensive zip codes, 07046, is certainly dazzling. But for those who choose to explore, there is a story waiting -- one of plain old human fragility. More...

Bushels of Fun

An apple orchard in autumn radiates a particular security. A walk among ageless trees laden with the mythical fruit is a trip through a special kind of garden. Apples come in many varieties, each cultivated for its own purpose. All have one thing in common; they are good for you. Visitors are often content to roam traditional orchards. Some include wagon rides to the picking area and shops filled with baked goods. Others sell local cider, and a few places make their own, just like in the old days. More than half of New Jersey's apples ripen in September, so its time to pick yours! Check here for locations and more information.
  • Ochs Orchard.
    One of the best! Cider made on site from Red Delicious for sweetness, Winesap for tang, McIntosh and Empire for body. 4 Ochs Ln, Warwick, NY, 845/986-1591
  • Brook Hollow Farm.
    PYO apples, several varieties including semi-dwarf trees (great for kids). Peaches from our orchards, farm market. Near the beautiful Delaware Water Gap, you’ll be glad you found us! Frog Pond Rd., Columbia, 908/496-4577
  • Riamede Farm.
    Pick your own apples and pumpkins at our 250 year old farm. Simple, authentic and without the carnival. Thirty varieties of apples, traditional, heirloom and your modern favorites. Free hay rides on weekends through the scenic old orchards out to the pumpkin patch. Cider, donuts, jams, local honey & more. 122 Oakdale Rd, Chester 07930, 908/879-5353

Skylands Prime

The Brook Hollow Winery, in Knowlton Township, looks out over the vineyard, then beyond to the Delaware Water Gap.

Enjoy hand-crafted wines fermented, aged, and bottled at the Brook Hollow Winery Ritter family farm in the heart of the scenic Delaware Water Gap. In addition to wine tasting and sales, a schedule packed full of events and entertainment makes a visit to Brook Hollow even more essential to a complete autumn agenda. Next Saturday, Sept. 22, you can sit down with the Ritter's for a special evening of delicious food, exclusive wine releases/tastings, good discussion with friends and family, and more. Look for the notice here and make your reservation, or call 908/496-8200! Dinner is limited to just fifty people. Brook Hollow is located at 594 State Highway 94 in Columbia.

Primetime!

Ripe and Ready! Don't let these apples fall far from the tree!
In Northwest New Jersey, there's so much going on in September, we need to add a few more days to the end of each week. Otherwise you'll have to make some choices! Keep an eye on our calendar and watch out for our virtual efforts to keep you informed.

Bringing it all back home

Smadar English, Judy von Handorf, Hannah Hobbs, McKenna Oettinger, Sister Miriam MacGillis, and Linda Keirnan at Genesis Farm in Blairstown
Women make up twenty-two percent of New Jersey's 15,936-plus farmers, and their rate is steadily increasing (USDA Census). They come with ideals and energy to make the world a better place. They earn a living being outdoors doing what they love, and they come to educate. They all come with grit, knowledge and spirit. Meet a couple...

Power of the Pyramid

Its particular geography makes Pyramid Mountain, in Boonton Township, home to an especially wide range of wildlife. The rugged terrain harbors an estimated four-hundred types of native plants and is crisscrossed by thirty types of mammals and one-hundred varieties of birds and myriad butterflies. Take a walk on the Pyramid!

Passages

What was left of Riegelsville Bridge after flood of 1903 was replaced by Roebling's Steel suspension bridge which still stands.
Although the New Jersey historical writer, Frank Dale was nationally recognized for his book Delaware Diary and other work, he was always generous in assisting our efforts to characterize the personality of Northwest New Jersey. In 2001, he provided sketches from a book he was preparing, called Bridges Over the Delaware, that described the many river crossings in Hunterdon County. The story still makes a wonderful travel guide to that section of the Delaware Valley, especially in the fall. Here it is...

Carping

A Grass Carp caught by James Dempsey, Jr of Ewing New Jersey on May 12, 2011 is the official state record. The huge fish weighed an astounding 55 lbs. 8 oz.!
No, we are not talking about complaining here. To an angler, in particular, a fisherman from Great Britain, the word denotes someone who is dedicated--no, devoted--to the fine art of seeking and catching what some Americans foolishly call "Trash Fish". Carp! You see, more people fish for carp in the world than for any other species. Here in New Jersey, we have countless lakes, rivers, ponds and streams that hold carp. Go fishin!

Skylands Prime

Perfectly positioned along a northern journey in search of autumnal adventure, Riviera Maya, a family-owned authentic Mexican restaurant offers all your favorites with a few surprises, expertly prepared and exquisitely presented. Celebrating twelve fantastic years at 340 Route 206 in Branchvile the restaurant is always a fun and exciting dining experience. Or try their other fine-dining location in Rockaway. Call 973/948-6292 or click. Bienvenido!

More lodging and dining...

Field Guide

The Wattles Stewardship Center in Port Murray, is New Jersey Audubon's model for blending environmental awareness, wildlife habitat, and agriculture. The trails, woods and fields are also delightful places to walk!

Learning Hibernia

A forgotten cemetery high above today’s Hibernia.
Tucked between Rockaway Township's town of Hibernia and Split Rock Reservoir lies one of New Jersey's many multi-use Wildlife Management Areas. These tracts of land have been set aside for a variety of public uses including hiking, nature study, photography, exploration, fishing and hunting. Some also offer great opportunity to delve into some of the more obscure aspects of the area's history. Lovers of nature, history, and geology will all find something, laced with a bit of intrigue at Wildcat Ridge.

Wildlife Tracking

When you go for a walk, seek the not-so-obvious. Examining scat and peering through "runs" in the bush, listening to the warning calls of birds, or locating the area where deer slept the night before are the kinds of things that make a hike worthwhile. You need no destination or deadline, just wander. Look closely and you'll feel like you have lived an entire day in a single hour. More...

Skylands Prime

The High Point Mountain Motel is a pet-friendly, AAA-rated motel that offers all the comforts of home on seven country acres on a spectacular hillside location minutes from High Point State Park and Appalachian Trail. Cozy, warmly decorated rooms with up-to-your-door parking offer free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs, plus microwaves and minifridges. Kids age 12 and under stay for no extra charge. This fall, take your whole family, including the dog, to the Top of New Jersey--and not spend an arm and a leg! Click or call 973/702-1860. 1328 Route 23, Wantage.

More lodging and dining...



Nowhere Fast

Have you ever followed a highway sign and gotten nowhere? Follow some directional markers off Northwest New Jersey country roads and that's just what you'll get. Unless of course you slow down long enough to take a closer look. A few older homes clustered together, a crumbling foundation, cemetery stones worn with time: these places tell stories worth knowing. Huntsville, in Sussex County, is such a place. There is no post office, general store, fire station, or church. Yet upon closer inspection, those old buildings hold clues to the town which once thrived. Step back in time, a mere fifty years, and the town of Huntsville exists again.

Rock A Bye Baby

The Rockaway Valley Railroad was about 25 miles long and lasted for about 25 years. It was constructed primarily to ship peaches, and although it also saw other freight and passenger traffic, Hunterdon County orchard owners were responsible for the railroad's commencement in 1888. Record peach crops kept the railroad afloat in the 1890s, even as the financial picture for the company clouded. Unfortunately, before the little railroad had an opportunity to turn a profit, the peaches were infected with blight, and the Hunterdon orchards passed their prime. The Little Railroad That Couldn't lives on, if only for hikers, cyclists and patrons of local lore. Take a walk and imagine the slow moving locomotive rocking back and forth on its way through the countryside.

Skylands Prime!

A Bedminster destination for 32 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. The store specialty is custom farm tables. Is there a better place to spice up a lazy summer afternoon? 285 Lamington Rd., Bedminster, 908/ 439-2034.

Hazy and Lazy

Never more than on a hot summer's afternoon does the Delaware River’s cool, clean serenity invite complete immersion. Friends and family enjoy getting down the river by a never-ending variety of methods. Canoes, sailboats, rafts, kayaks, jet-skis, and small motorboats map a tapestry of tracks in the water. Through the indiscriminate labyrinth of wakes float the coolest of customers; the tubists. Effortless and inexpensive, drifting at the river's leisurely flow of 1.5 mph in an inflated oversized inner tube is the supreme expression of aquatic relaxation. However you choose to ride the river, you'll find most any stretch of water accommodating, hospitable and pristine. More...

Scenes you should make

Long lazy days of summer seem like they'll last forever. Don't be fooled, make a splash while you can!

Tomahawk Lake
For 66 years, an immaculate sand bottom sloping gently out to floating rafts has attracted visitors to Tomahawk Lake in Sparta. The park has since added a mountain of water slides. 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.


A public access launch for Swartswood Lake on Route 521 is quiet and remote, but leads to boatloads of fun.
The best known feature of the Stillwater area is probably Swartswood Lake State Park, but there are myriad treasures throughout the rolling hills and three villages in that corner of Sussex County. The lake was a major resort in the early 1900s, and readers remember Louis Lakehouse.

Situated half in New Jersey and half in New York, Greenwood Lake is not about political boundaries. It is a state of mind, a Highlands destination in the with the biggest water in the New York area.

Get to know Lake Hopatcong!


Three Hundred Years of Solitude

Now vacant, the Solitude House stands as a testament to our collective history as a new nation, as well as testament to all those who persevered in the face of overwhelming odds to succeed.
The Hunterdon County Borough of High Bridge would on its face appear little different than any of the other many municipalities in New Jersey. However, the sign, “Settled in 1700”, which welcomes those who pass through this sleepy little town, implies a long abiding heritage: a story of the longest continually operating iron and steel company in United States and the workers who helped shape our country's history and destiny. Read about the Union Forge and walk the Taylor Steelworkers Historic Greenway...

Overnighters!

       

Summer Classic

Lake Hopatcong at Nolan's Point
Back in the day, Lake Hopatcong was a classic summer destination for generations of families. It seems that day has come again, at least on Nolan's Point. This weekend (or anytime), take the family for a game of miniature golf on a tiered lake-side course featuring replicas of historical sites. Then sit down at Alice's Restaurant for a delicious meal and drinks all in the company of scenic views overlooking the lake. Or enjoy delectable Italian fare lakeside at The Windlass.
Book a signature or specialty cruise any day of the week on Miss Lotta, Capable of accommodating up to 45 guests, Miss Lotta boasts a newly refurbished full dining room and upper deck as well as a full bar and a state-of-the-art audio-visual system.
Live the Lake!

Path to Discovery

Stonebridge Road in Stillwater.
Exploring the Paulins Kill Valley Trail is a fine way to spend a mid summer day. With access points and parking spaces in many places along this 27-mile soft dirt-cinder path, you can stroll at leisure or pick up the pace as you wish. You can also explore off trail and discover hidden gems of nature, history and the early culture of coal, commerce and railroads. The trail is flat, easy and comfortable for walkers, horse-back riders, and bicyclists.
For cycling the trail, let 4 Track Bike and Hobby show you the way! Trail rides leave Tuesdays and Saturdays from the shop at 15 Main Street in Blairstown. Bike rentals are available, 908-362-5699



Short Walks on the Long Trail

The Appalachian Trail, which stretches over two thousand miles from Georgia to Maine, enters New Jersey at the Delaware Water Gap, heads north along the Kittatinny Ridge to High Point, then east through the Pochuck Valley. The 72-mile New Jersey section is mostly undeveloped, and striking panoramas -- comparable to those in the Blue Ridge, Berkshire, and White Mountains, even the fabled Great Smokies -- are not uncommon along this rugged and remote section of trail. You can explore the midsection of New Jersey's Appalachian Trail as it traverses two of our most celebrated state parks — High Point and Stokes Forest — and the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, along a 45-mile route along the Kittatinny Ridge through Sussex and Warren counties. Country lanes or park roads every few miles intersect the entire stretch so that you can plan any number of modest day hikes along the AT. Or take a couple of days to walk the whole distance. Elevation in this section ranges from 350 to 1,685 feet, and, if you prefer to walk downhill most of the time, hike north to south. You can conquer the Trail this summer by taking these suggested day hikes.

Twilight Time

Craters of the moon, photographed from 238,855 miles away at the UACNJ site in Jenny Jump State Forest by Wolfgang Damm, NWJAA.

What better occupation on a serene summer evening than to star gaze? The United Astronomy Clubs of New Jersey (UACNJ) facilities in Jenny Jump State Forest, near Hope in Warren County, are 1,100 feet above sea level, one of the few dark sky locations left in the state. And at Voorhees State Park in Glen Gardner, the New Jersey Astronomical Association has installed a 26-inch Newtonian reflector telescope, one of the largest privately owned telescopes in New Jersey.
But there's more than stars in the sky. How about fireflies? Experience their magic at this Friday's Firefly Festival at Duke Farms! It's free, but please register in advance.


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 summer. More...

Your Neighbor's Cow

Dairy workers at the Springhouse Creamery.
A gallon of milk from the supermarket is a combined effort of thousands of cows, raised on any number of farms who knows where. But single herd milk is just that: milk exclusively from the cows that reside on one dairy farm. Northwest New Jersey is now home to two dairy farmers who sell their milk directly to the consumer. It may not seem like much, but it is an important step forward in developing a more direct relationship between food and farm. Cream at the top! Read more and go get some!

Paradise Lost, and Found

A mile-and-a-half north of Millbrook Village in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, you can turn off Old Mine Road and head straight uphill towards the top of the Kittatinny Ridge. Just below the ridge are a series of small lakes that define a haven for those looking for a place to get lost wandering through mountainside forest full of wildlife and open meadows surrounding crystal clear waters. But, the pristine aura at Blue Mountain Lakes yields scant evidence of the ambitious development for which it was created. More...

Go Daddy Go!

Dads love to paddle, and the Delaware River is the place to do it! Islands of the Delaware are markers for the miles traversed on a float down the river, and for centuries of human history along its banks. By canoe, kayak, raft or tube, river trips are about perfect this time of year. The water is high, the flow is brisk, and the summer crowds have not yet arrived.
In the Delaware Water Gap area, Adventure Sports is a great choice for a canoe, kayak or raft trip. (Click for a discount here.)
Or Chamberlain Canoes for one or multi-day trips for individuals and groups of any size. (Click for a discount here.)
The river becomes more tranquil as it continues south. Just south of Frenchtown, Bucks County River Country has provided family fun for more than fifty years -- kayaking, canoeing, and rafting and tubing! (Catch the deal of the day here!)

Camp Skylands!

Cabins are now 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; the Fourth of July is just around the corner! What dad wouldn't enjoy hanging around the campfire, testing marshmallows and telling stories
  • 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
  • Tall Timbers Campground and Recreational Community
    The private campground community offers central water and sewage disposal, two pools with certified lifeguards and a private stocked lake perfect for fishing, and an exceptional recreation program and activities for all. The northern Sussex County location is close to High Point State Park, Action Park and Mountain Creek Ski Area. 100 Tall Timbers Rd, Sussex 07461, 973/875-1991
  • TripleBrook Family Camping Resort
    Park yourself on a 250 acre farm tucked away in the legendary Kittatinny Mountains. Spend the season steps away from an Olympic size pool, heated whirlpool spa, private lake, tennis courts, and fully stocked camp store. You'll have time to explore all the natural attractions in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation a few miles away, or the Pocono Mountains. There's also an open air pavilion available for weddings, picnics, retreats. 58 Honey Run Rd., Hope, 908/459-4079.
  • 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, 800/543-2056
  • 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, 800/543-2056
  • 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

Plan Ahead!

       

Stranger in a Strange Land

The roseate spoonbill, native to South America, Central America and parts of Florida, was photographed last week by Bob Thompson in Knowlton Township. Sharp eyes, sharp lense!
You know weird things are happening when you see an exotic creature like this scouting wetlands near the Delaware Water Gap. But here she is! As you choose among dozens of natural attractions or outdoor activities in our part of the world, keep your eyes open and don't be a stranger!

Packed to the Rafters

Learn something everyday, even if it's about roof-lines! How about this Dutch Gambrel? Ain't she a beauty?
Early Dutch settlers wandered through the Raritan Valley in the mid 1700s and put down roots in what is now Readington Township in Hunterdon County. One of those old farmsteads later became a summer retreat for a famous actress and her acclaimed playwright husband. Today the Bouman-Stickney Farmstead and surrounding sixty-acre park, which is always accessible for walks or peaceful respite, is worth noting for a summer destination. More...

Major Scales

Heading for cover off Old Mine Road. Photo by Bob Thompson
Nobody's gonna tell you they're cute and cuddly, or anything less than dangerous, but timber rattlesnakes are state endangered and protected by law. They are vulnerable animals. As part of a forest's ecology, they keep the rodent population down and in turn are eaten by hawks, owls, other snakes, and coyotes. They disappear in the hands of collectors, the jaws of predators, and the shovels of bulldozers. They die crossing roads. They die because their den becomes the home of homo sapiens. More...

Power Plants

For those in the know (and it's important that you know before you pick) the forests and fields of Northwest Jersey offer a visitor much more than a walk in the park. They are a veritable garden; Nature's garden of edible and medicinal plants. From the lowliest ground creeper to towering trees, each plant has some nutritional, chemical, edible properties, for better or worse. Much more...

Take a Float on the Wild Side!

Heading upstream through the Refuge from Bassetts Bridge, the Wallkill is a corridor of beauty.
The Wallkill River shares with great rivers like the Nile and the Rhine the peculiarity of northward flow. From out of Lake Mohawk, it spills over a dam then becomes a stream, bubbling and rushing fast, seeming most determined to be free.

Big Bucks

If you like to hike in New Jersey, chances are you know Worthington State Forest. But few of the hikers, campers, canoeists, and nature lovers that visit Worthington realize that industrial pumps are responsible for the preserved wilderness and natural wonders that they enjoy there. Charles C. Worthington, a prominent and very wealthy New York socialite, sportsman, fisherman, and skilled rifleman, assembled this park in the late nineteenth century. He called it Buckwood Park. More...

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...

On A Beach

Tomahawk Lake
Don't miss the 66th 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.

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!

Planet Jersey!

If you come upon a wood turtle, admire that groovy carapace and those sexy red legs; and move him out of the road if you have to. But you may not take him home! Wood turtles gained designation as a threatened species in 1979 because of habitat loss and their popularity in the illegal pet trade. There ten types of turtles in our neck of the woods; all quite fascinating, but let them be! Take a closer look...
For turtles and more, 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 recreational enhancement! For the more aerobically inclined, the Outdoor Map shows the way to go.

Whole Lotta Love

Capable of accommodating up to 45 guests, Miss Lotta boasts a newly refurbished full dining room and upper deck as well as a full bar and a state-of-the-art audiovisual system.
Sailing from her home port on Nolan’s Point, Miss Lotta is a 57-foot SkipperLiner dinner cruise vessel. She is named for Lotta Crabtree, an actress well-known in the late 1800s who spent her leisure at an elegant house on Lake Hopatcong, then known as the Jewel of the Mountains. Reclaiming that old-time reputation for fine hospitality, Miss Lotta is the largest boat on the lake and available for lunch, dinner and specialty cruises as well as private events during the spring and summer. Celebrate your spring by choosing from dozens of themed cruises, all exciting and creative ways to see the lake. Miss Lotta is only one of several attractions that make Nolan's Point a prime destination for a lovely day. Live the Lake!

Wedding Bell Bliss

Love rules in Spring. But should you find yourself having accepted a proposal for long-term commitment, ask yourself, "Is love all you need for a great wedding?" Love helps, but if you want to really enjoy yourself on The Day, it takes a lot of planning for your once-in-a-lifetime, spare-no-expense affair. If you’re looking for something different and memorable, a place with some soul, point yourself to the rural corners of New Jersey.

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.