Warm greetings and best wishes
for a year marked by achievement and fulfillment! This will be our thirty-second 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!
For many, winter is a season for reflection. The challenge of the season strips away pretense, and offers a time for learning.
Although 10,000 winters before had taught native peoples how to adapt, the Morristown encampment of 1779-80 presented a supreme challenge for patriot soldiers. Walk up the hill at Jockey Hollow that held 200 soldier huts for the Pennsylvania Brigade in early 1780. Imagine staying there until it gets warm enough sometime in April to take off your down 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...
Although park grounds remain open,
Morristown National Historical Park’s Jockey Hollow Visitor Center, Washington’s Headquarters Museum and Ford Mansion are temporarily closed to the public, and will reopen on Saturday, February 19.
Plan to visit the site of the Great Story, and learn about the life of a common soldier during the winter encampment. Call 973-543-4030 for more information.
In A Winter Way
The many rolling hills of the Skylands offer an abundance of viewpoints not otherwise visible in other seasons. Some intrepid hikers don't take to the trails until the branches are bare and the ground is frozen, in search of vistas from ice formations to sun glistening on a freshly fallen snow.
Nothing warms the heart and soul like good music, and this month's
Centenary Stage Company's January Thaw Music Fest
series at Centenary College's Lackland Center is a real ice-breaker.
The series launches with Blue Dahlia this Saturday, January 15 at 8pm. Brooklyn-girl, but a nomad at heart, Dahlia Dumont traveled the work from an early age, always absorbing the cultural and musical influences in her path. Her Eastern European heritage and her years as an anthropology student and teacher in France and Senegal shaped her musical palette, and in 2012 she created her project The Blue Dahlia.
On Saturday, January 22, the American Patchwork Quartet reimagines timeless songs from America’s past. Rounding out the festival will be Best of the Eagles on January 29. All performances offer a live streaming option. For tickets, click
or call 908/979-0900.
715 Grand Ave, Hackettstown.
Life of Wiley
Coyote in Winter. Painting by John Mullane.
If rarely seen, the coyote is frequently heard. In the winter, during the January to March breeding times, listen for nocturnal howls when coyote are at their most vocal. They are happy to tell other coyotes, and the world, their location. Stop and listen. They'll fall silent all too soon.
Winter solstice: For a special treat, on the first day
of winter, pull over into the grassy overflow parking area on Route 80 just across
Dunnfield Creek. Look back, and, if you are here early enough, you will
see the sun rise out of the middle of the Water Gap.
The winter solstice will officially greet the new season next Tuesday, December 21. The celestial event seems to have inspired ancient people to observe the year's shortest day with carefully aligned markers on a sight-line that points to the sun's low point in the sky. The most famous of these is Stonehenge in England, but there are local monuments that may have had a similar function. On the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River, overhanging rocks form a shelter perfectly placed to observe the sun rise out of the center of the Water Gap on the winter solstice. A large obelisk protruding from the earth near Haynesville in Sussex County might have been similarly used. And three “sighting stones” near Mt. Bethel in Warren County seem to align with the winter solstice sunrise. Along the shore of Mountain Lake in White Township is a large flat rock outcropping on which legend claims the Lenape stood in ceremony to “bring up the sun”.
And Morris County’s 170-ton Tripod Rock resting on top of Pyramid Mountain suggests use as a "calendar site" long ago.