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October 21 - 28

Glory Days!

God’s Art. Photograph by Camille LaPlaca-Post; a finalist entry in the 2020 Highlands Juried Art Exhibition.
For sure, there's not much time left to get out and feel a warm breeze while enjoying the amber and gold colors of autumn leaves. But, there is still plenty of scenic excitement and journeys worthy of your attention!

Pequest Pilgrims

Bucolic pasture along Long Bridge Road.
Immerse yourself in autumn beauty, the region's heritage, and a spectrum of natural features along this forty-mile loop that parallels the Pequest River through its upper reaches. Some of the things to look for: Swamp islands, black dirt, a Quaker burial ground, Logg Gaol, the Lackawanna Cutoff, Muckshaw Ponds, Moody's Rock, Yellow Frame, Dark Moon Cemetery, an octagonal house, Devil's Kitchen cave, the White Pilgrim, Jenny Jump, Ghost Lake, and Shades of Death. You'll need a designated driver to see all this stuff!

Southern Exposure

Part of the former the Kuser Estate on top of Bald Pate Mountain.
Just a few miles south of Lambertville lies an area ripe for weekend adventure and exploration. At Bald Pate Mountain, components of local, national, and natural history are well represented, as well as brilliant prospects for craft seekers, hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, and picnickers. To get there, head south from Lambertville on Route 29, enjoying glimpses of the Delaware & Raritan Canal feeder and the Delaware River along the way.

Botanical Spell

A peaceful scene at the Bamboo Brook Education Center.
Even as they retreat, gardens seem to procure new life in the fall. Plan to spend a day on an easy walk along Patriot's Path--garden to garden--from Kay Environmental Center to Bamboo Brook to Willowwood Arboretum. Get to know the richness and pleasures of their natural and cultivated diversity.

Canal Days at Bird's Lock

The revived towpath at Bird's Lock in Wharton.
The Morris Canal Greenway is a continuously expanding project to preserve the 102-mile route of the Morris Canal across New Jersey. By connecting points of interest along the canal throughout local communities and serving as a corridor of open space across northern NJ, the Greenway offers a unique educational, travel, and recreational experience along the historic towpath trail. You can plan your trip by referring to a handy collection of downloadable brochures from the Canal Society of New Jersey, each tailored to a specific destination along the former canal route.
Among the shreds of Morris Canal that have somehow avoided destruction is a quarter-mile watered stretch that leads to Lock 2 East in Wharton’s Hugh Force Park. Of all stretches of walkable canal prism and towpath, or associated sites along the Morris Canal Greenway, this is the only operating lock. The crumbled remains of the lock tender’s house — occupied since the 1860s by generations of the Bird family, for whom the lock became known and named, will soon be rebuilt as well. Wharton's canal walk along the towpath leads to the canal basin, where boats waited their turn for passage through the lock, now home to lily pads and turtles, cordoned off by the old towpath from Stephens Brook and the Rockaway River. There is a return loop along an abandoned railroad grade with access to former iron mine sites. More...

Up in Smoke

This eroding field at Wattles Stewardship Center in Asbury was taken out of farm production to protect a nearby Musconetcong River tributary and planted with the warm-season grasses. There is Indiangrass, switchgrass, little bluestem and big bluestem (with the turkeyfoot top). Among the field’s inhabitants are field sparrow, Savannah sparrow, and pollinators like cabbage white butterflies and native bees.
They called it “prairie coal”. The abundant fuel that kept American midwestern farming families warm through the winters of the late nineteenth century was the tallgrass that grew wild all around them across the plains, twisted into bundles and burned in rudimentary household stoves. Warm season grasses can still be a steady reliable source of heat-yielding, combustible, carbon-rich biofuel — and 90% emission free!


Autumn has arrived, and so has our fall issue. Sign up to receive your copy of the next Skylands Visitor magazine here.
While you wait for the mailman, Stay tuned to our Day Trip Map for good ideas for a scenic drive! For the more aerobically inclined, the Outdoor Map shows the way to go, or choose among dozens of natural attractions or outdoor activities suggested on our website. Choose your own adventure!
Northwest New Jersey and destinations just beyond those borders, in Pennsylvania and New York, offer brilliant ways to get out and enjoy the pleasures of the season.

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