Winter, 2018

Warm greetings and best wishes for an exciting season! This is our twenty-seventh 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.

February 22 - 28

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!


On Sunday, February 25, the Decoys and Wildlife Gallery hosts their 25th Annual Open House in Frenchtown. Full of museum-quality work by artists from around the world, the gallery also features many fine local artists, many of whom we've profiled: wildlife artist John Crouse, landscape artist Fred Kirberger, miniature specialist Al Barker, decoy carver Jack Wood, and wildlife decorative carver Manfred Scheel, among others.

Get to know some of the painters and carvers that will be at the gallery, and find out how they learned to do what they do. With a raffle of wildlife art donated by the gallery, the event also serves as a benefit for the Mercer County Wildlife Center, who will bring some of their rehabilitated live birds of prey to the gallery. 55 Bridge St, Frenchtown, 908-996-6501.

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!

February 15-23

In the hurried passion of this Valentines Week, save some love for your favorite presidents! Events linger for lovers of history and arts!

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.

In Command

General Knox headquartered at the Vanderveer House
Discover five of the original Somerset County houses that served as general staff headquarters during the Revolutionary War on this Sunday's (Feb. 18) Five Generals Narrated Bus Tour—the Van Horne House in Bridgewater, the Van Veghten House in Finderne, the Abraham Staats house in South Bound Brook, the Wallace House in Somerville and the Jacobus Vanderveer House. The tour, sponsored by the Heritage Trail Association, starts from the Historic Van Horne House at 941 E. Main St. in Bridgewater, and runs approximately two and a half hours. For more information and tickets, click or call 310-691-9388

Behold the Beauty!

Centenary Stage Company continues a fruitful collaboration with the celebrated stage, television and film actor, Randall Duk Kim; and his wife, the acclaimed director, Anne Occhiogrosso, in the play, Art, which opens this weekend (Feb. 16-18). Directed by Ms. Occhiogrosso, and starring Mr. Kim, along with Kevin Carolan and Centenary Stage Artistic Director, Carl Wallnau, the play begins when Serge buys an expensive painting by a celebrated artist: a white canvas with white diagonal lines. Old friends square off over the canvas, using it as an excuse to hilariously batter one another over various slights and failures. Lackland Center at 715 Grand Ave, Hackettstown. Call 908/979-0900 or click for tickets.

The fever of the cabin begins to build. Don't stay put, get out and fill the weeks ahead with adventure! Keep an eye on our calendar and watch out for our virtual efforts to keep you informed.

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 Being Winter!

Float beneath a cathedral of snow-covered trees and listen to the silence in Van Campens Glen, Delaware Water Gap NRA.
If you have ever taken the time to hike, bike or ski in New Jersey then you know there are hundreds of miles of unspoiled terrain to explore. What better time to do it then when the woods are blanketed with snow?
Cross country skiing is always popular, but snowshoeing is perhaps an easier way to get out on the trails. Not only does it provide a cardio-packed punch of a workout, it is also a lot of fun! Snowshoeing is easy to learn, inexpensive compared to other winter sports, and poses little risk of injury. Or get into some back country treks across the New Jersey tundra.


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!!

Fireside Chats

The appeal at the Inn at Millrace Pond has broadened even beyond its reputation as a delightful bed and breakfast, fine dining restaurant, and corporate meeting center. The Inn has become a stage for an exciting schedule live music in the pub, jazz events, and outdoor festivals. There is no better place for winter solace! Upcoming dinner shows include this Friday's (Jan. 27) Bobby Darin Alive Again! followed by Patrick Fitzsimmons next week (Feb. 2), then Comedy Night, featuring Sherry Davey on Feb 9. For Valentines Day Weekend, (Feb. 10) a special night for two includes Chocolate Covered Strawberries, Rose, Prosecco and Sunday Brunch. Then a delicious Valentines Day Dinner on Feb. 14. Call 908/459-4884 for reservations. 319 Hope Johnsonburg Rd. (Rt. 519), Hope.

Poetic Justice

Robert Burns
To liven up the dark, chilly months, The Ship Inn Restaurant and Brewery celebrates the better-known holidays of the British Isles. Tonight, Jan. 25, the celebratory subject is Robert Burns, the bard of Scotland, an iconic poet whose Scottish and English verse has inspired poets, songwriters, and authors around the world. The evening includes traditional Scottish fare (yes, with haggis), fiddle, pipe, and song, and of course, single malt scotch! Reservations can be secured at 908-995-0188. The event begins at 7 pm, All for $35 per person. 61 Bridge Street, Milford, NJ.
Warm greetings and best wishes for a new year marked by achievement and fulfillment! This will be 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!

Deep Freeze

Jockey Hollow
A bit of a chill in the air? Walk up the hill at Jockey Hollow that held 200 soldier huts for the Pennsylvania Brigade in early 1790. Imagine staying there until it gets warm enough sometime in April to take off your down-filled jacket, not to mention long-johns. Imagine standing there without your shoes on, without even one of the huts on top of the hill for retreat from the incessant cold. Try to conceive of something important enough to keep you on that hill for the rest of the winter! More...
Visit the site of the Great Story, Morristown National Historical Park, and learn about the life of a common soldier during the winter encampment. Call 973-543-4030 for more information.

Tip Up!

For dedicated fishermen the season brings special treats, especially when the ice on our big lakes gets thick enough to support ice fishing expeditions for perch, pickerel, northern pike, walleye and stripers beneath the frozen surface. You can head out onto the fishable coves on such impoundments as Lake Hopatcong, Lake Wawayanda, Swartswood Lake, Paulinskill Lake, White Lake, Lake Musconetcong, Budd Lake, Mountain Lake, Spruce Run Reservoir, or any other frozen body of water in where you can gain public access. Make sure to check ahead and see if the location you intend to fish has safe ice. Read more...
You can get one on one instruction about the basics of ice fishing at the Lazy K Ranch, a private three-acre pond in Frelinghuysen, Warren County. Expert guides will show you a good time and walk you through the basics while you fish for natural Bass and sunfish supplemented with stocked tiger trout. They'll provide all of the equipment, drill your holes, and even cook a hot lunch on the ice!


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- 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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