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Archive for new jersey

The Jersey Coast Trail

By Linda Tancs

New Jersey’s Coastal Heritage Trail is a vehicular route stretching nearly 300 miles along the state’s shore and bays. It’s divided into five regions: Sandy Hook, Barnegat Bay, Absecon, Cape May and Delsea. Of equal interest to hikers and bicyclists, the trail passes national wildlife refuges, lighthouses, a Civil War fort, migratory bird settlements and several other places including, of course, the Jersey Shore.

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Tulips in New Jersey

By Linda Tancs

If you can’t fly to Holland, then you can drive there—Holland Ridge, that is. Located in Cream Ridge, New Jersey, it’s the site of a massive tulip bloom, just like the Dutch variety. In fact, the Holland Ridge Farms Tulip Festival is reportedly the largest on the East Coast. You’d expect nothing less from fourth-generation tulip growers from Holland. The flowers are in high bloom. Better hurry.

High Drama in Perth Amboy

By Linda Tancs

Proprietary House in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, is a jewel in the crown of America’s colonial history. Completed in 1764, it is the only remaining official royal governor’s mansion still standing in the original 13 colonies. It became the home of William Franklin (Ben Franklin’s son) when he was appointed Royal Governor of New Jersey by King George III. Drama ensued at the mansion when Ben unsuccessfully attempted to win his son over to the Loyalists during the Revolution. William’s loyalty to the Crown was ill-fated. He lost possession of the mansion and was imprisoned in Connecticut until freed in a prisoner exchange in 1778. Nearly lost to history after decades of ruin and decay, the restored house is open for tours every Wednesday and Sunday.

A Geological Enigma in New Jersey

By Linda Tancs

One of the oldest mines in the United States, Sterling Hill was first worked before the 1730s, a source of local employment for residents of Ogdensburg, New Jersey. It is one of the most famous mines in the world and a geological enigma, with 350 different mineral species found there (a world record for such a small area) and more than two dozen of those found nowhere else on Earth. Closed in 1986, it was the last operating mine in the state and produced 11 million tons of zinc ore. It’s also famous for the abundance of mineral species documented as fluorescent, highly coveted by collectors. Named to both the state and national registers of historic places, guided tours last about two hours and include one hour in the underground zinc mine, 30 minutes in the large exhibit hall and about 10 minutes in the museum of fluorescence. Mineral collecting is also available amidst 200 tons of high-grade zinc ore, much of which contains fluorescent mineral.

A Natural Landmark in New Jersey

By Linda Tancs

Protected and administered by Rutgers University, Hutcheson Memorial Forest Center boasts more than 500 acres of conserved land, much of it uncut forest, one of the last in the Mid-Atlantic. In fact, the old growth forest is the only uncut upland forest in New Jersey, and it appears on the National Park Service Register of Natural Landmarks. Public tours led by university faculty and researchers occur throughout the year on designated Sundays. The meetup point is at the forest entrance located at 2150 Amwell Road (Route 514), just east of historic East Millstone.

Twin Lights

By Linda Tancs

Prior to the 1820s, the only permanent lighthouse in New Jersey’s Highlands was Sandy Hook Light. Thereafter, an increase in shipping led to the construction of an additional light in the area, Twin Lights, two lighthouses separated by 320 feet. The original design provided for one tower with a fixed light and the other with a rotating light so that mariners could easily differentiate between the single Sandy Hook Light and the dual lights of the new station. More than just another lighthouse, Twin Lights made history when the first Fresnel lenses in the United States were installed in the towers. The lights gained notoriety again in 1893 when the site was selected as the location for the first official reading of the Pledge of Allegiance as America’s national oath of loyalty. Another cutting-edge development occurred in 1935, when the U.S. Army began field-testing radar at the site. The radar experiments held at Twin Lights not only helped the Allies win World War II, but they also led directly to modern innovations that enable air traffic control.

Huguenots and Hackensacks

By Linda Tancs

In 1709 a group of French Huguenot merchants bought a tract of land in present-day New Jersey from the Hackensack Indians. Later in the 1700s a portion of that tract (Ho-Ho-Kus in Bergen County) became the site of the Hermitage, a significant example of the Gothic Revival style, with tall gable roofs, diamond-paned windows and pointed Tudor arches. The historic colonial home was a rest stop for George Washington when he passed through Ho-Ho-Kus in 1778 after the Battle of Monmouth. Among other notable figures to visit the house during the Revolutionary War were James Monroe, William Paterson, the Marquis de Lafayette, Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Today a National Historic Landmark and house museum, the Hermitage is a rich source of history and the site of numerous Native American artifacts found bordering the property. Tours are available year round Wednesday through Sunday.

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