“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.
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.
For over 12,000 years the Lenape and their ancestors occupied northwestern New Jersey. Who were they? How did they live? What kinds of tools did they make and use? Archaeologists have been trying to answer these questions for over a century.
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.
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.
The first fishable ice (three inches or more) usually forms by sometime in mid to late December. Then you can head out onto the fishable coves on such impoundments as Lake Hopatcong, Lake Wawayanda, Swartswood Lake, Paulinskill Lake, Cranberry Lake, Lake Musconetcong, Budd Lake, Mountain Lake, or any other frozen body of water in where you can gain public access.
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.
Bridges beguile with their simple beauty. A bridge's context and charm can make your passage delightful.
Hastened by the first blanketings 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.
The Winter season has its own wonders that merit braving the cold. In fact there are intrepid hikers that don't take to the trails until the branches are bare, in search of vistas from ice formations to sun glistening on a freshly fallen snow.
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.