The Personality of Northwest New Jersey Skylands

“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.

This Autumn, Think Skylands!

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.

Autumn Meadow Walks

A walk in an autumn meadow -- make it simple and bring just your senses. Look at the vibrant golden and purple wildflowers and luminous oranges of butterflies like the Buckeye and Monarch. Smell crisp and pungent aromas of Mountain Mint and Wild Bergamot seed heads. Listen to the song of our state bird, the Gold Finch. Or bring some gear like a camera and binoculars, perhaps a magnifying glass or loupe to bring your findings into close focus. Whatever your approach, make sure to take a slow ramble this fall.

Eminent Remains

A visitor walking around the Burying Ground will recognize two things right away: a lot of gravestones corresponding to Morristown street names such as Mills, Cutler, Condict, DeHart, Vail and Phoenix (to name a few); and what the ravages of time and nature can do to a place.

Welcome to Kinney Land

It began with a tobacco fortune and country retreat carved out of New Jersey hills and farmland. From high elevations -- socially, financially and geologically speaking -- the Kinney family, founders of the Kinney Tobacco Company, could look back toward New York City, where the money was made.

Bends in the River

A number of years back, my wife and I spent two weeks along the western coast of Ireland. The plan had been to tour the countryside. In County Mayo, we stepped outside into a fine mist that had descended upon the village of Cong. It was what the Irish call a soft day. On that day, a number of years back, the wind had picked up by the time I turned down a lane at a wooden sign with the words QUIET MAN BRIDGE painted on it.

Club Car Memoir

Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad "Club Car" No. 2454 has returned to service following an extensive restoration to its 1930s-era splendor by the Whippany Railway Museum and many benefactors and dedicated volunteers who worked over the course of seven years to turn a rotting hulk into a gleaming gem.

The Owls Have It

From books and movies to commercials and graphic tee shirts, owls abound in popular culture. They draw us in with their big, soulful eyes and luxuriously soft-looking feathers, and we appreciate how that spark of interest can be nurtured into the type of informed appreciation that leads to conservation action. These amazing birds have earned their moment of fame and the platform it provides for education.

Acorn Hall: Light From Within

When approaching a big birthday, it never hurts to discover buried treasure in your own backyard. Better yet, your basement. That's where the Morris County Historical Society recently unpacked an artistic gem hiding in plain sight -- a stained-glass window crafted by the New York studio that once rivaled Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Beguiling Bridges

Bridges beguile with their simple beauty. A bridge's context and charm can make your passage delightful.

Thanks for Thirty

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.

The region contains two national parks at its edges, 60,000 acres of state parkland, and a diverse and beautiful geography filled with lakes, rivers and picturesque hills dotted with farms.

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.