Friday the 13th – Jersey Style

In 1980, classic slasher movie Friday the 13th hit movie theaters. Since that first movie, Jason has been ingrained in horror movie pop culture. What many don’t realize is that the beginning of that reign of terror started in New Jersey.

CrystalLakeCamp Crystal lake is actually a Boy Scout camp known as Camp NoBeBoSco located in the northern New Jersey in Hardwick Township. The main street in the nearby town of Blairstown was also used as the backdrop for the film.

The camp has been in operation since 1927 making it the oldest continuously operating Scout camp in New Jersey. “No-Be-Bo-Sco” stands for NOrth BErgen BOy SCOuts.

The camp sits on over 380 acres surrounded by the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Nearby to the camp is another 112,000 acres of public land that includes Blair Creek Preserve, Worthington State Forest, Stokes State Forest, High Point State Park, and the Flatbrook-Roy, Walpack, and Hainesville Wildlife Management Areas.

The famous Appalachian Trail runs alongside the camp property and the Delaware River is located just three miles away.

These are all just beautiful open spaces to visit in New Jersey.

Now, I will admit, I have never seen the movie end-to-end. I don’t handle horror movies well – I have “blood” issues. But I will say I was pretty excited when I was in high school and stayed at the camp for “Leadership Training Camp” – known as “LTC” at the time – for New Jersey students involved in their local Student Government Organization (SGO). Everyone was very excited to stay there!

More than 30 years later, people still love this movie. And on this Friday the 13th, I wanted to remind everyone that getting scared out of your wits started right here…in New Jersey.

New Jersey and Independence Day

Ford Mansion

Independence Day is a day for great American pride. What you may not know is that New Jersey played a pivotal role in the Revolutionary War. If you want to celebrate our independence in a patriotic way, check out some of these locations and events.

Ford Mansion

Ford Mansion, image circa 1930. Credit: National Park Service

Morristown: This may be one of the most well-known locations in the Revolutionary War in New Jersey. Morristown is home to Washington’s Headquarters and Jockey Hollow. Historic Ford Mansion was home to General Washington’s military headquarters for six months during the winter of 1779-80. Despite the extreme winter, Washington was able to hold his army together and continue the fight for freedom. The national park consists of four non-contiguous units including the Washington’s Headquarters Unit, the Fort Nonsense Unit, the Jockey Hollow Unit, and the New Jersey Brigade Area. The park features two original structures, the Ford Mansion in Morristown and the Wick House in Jockey Hollow. Soldiers camped at Jockey Hollow until June, 1780. There is an encampment at the site with reenactors to educate visitors on what soldiers endured while onsite. There are approximately 27 miles of walking trails in the Jockey Hollow Unit.

Sandy Hook: Built in 1764, the Sandy Hook Lighthouse is the oldest standing lighthouse in the country. At one point during the war, there was talk about destroying the lighthouse so it wouldn’t fall into the hands of the British. Major William Malcolm received orders in a letter dated March 6, 1776 to “take the glass out of the lantern, and save it if possible; but if you find this impracticable you will break the glass. You will also endeavor to pump the oil out of the cisterns into casks, or not being able to procure casks, you will pump it out onto the ground. In short, you will use your best discretion to render the lighthouse entirely useless.” Less than three months later, the British had the lighthouse repaired and back in operation and would remain under British control for most of the war.

Princeton: On January 3, 1777, Princeton Battlefield transformed into the site of what is considered to be the fiercest fight of its size during the American Revolution. During the battle, American troops under General Washington surprised and defeated a force of British soldiers. The Battle of Princeton gave Washington his first victory against the British on the field. With the victory at Princeton, morale rose in the American ranks and more men began to enlist in the army.

Battle of Second River

Battle of Second River market. Credit: Anthony Buccino/Bellevillesons.com

Belleville: Of course I must include my beloved home town of Belleville, known as Second River during the Revolutionary War. The Battle of Second River in Belleville was fought from Sept. 12 through Sept. 14, 1777. It was the only battle fought in Essex County during the American Revolution. The cemetery alongside the Belleville Dutch Reformed Church holds the bodies of 66 Revolutionary War Patriots.

Hopewell Township/Titusville: These two town names may not sound familiar, but trust me they are incredibly important to our nation’s fight for freedom. This area is the location of Washington’s famous crossing of the Delaware. On December 25, 1776, the Continental Army had little to celebrate that Christmas and seemed beat by hunger and cold. After crossing the rough winter river at night, General George Washington and the Continental Army landed at Johnson’s Ferry, at the site now known as Washington Crossing State Park. At 4 am, they began their march to Trenton where they defeated the Hessian troops in an unexpected attack. This battle was quickly followed by the Second Battle of Trenton on January 2, 1777, and the Battle of Princeton on January 3, 1777.

These are just a few of the important historical locations in New Jersey. I hope you take time to check them out.

All About Frenchtown

I really enjoy going to Frenchtown. It is a lovely little area with plenty of history. The first time I went there I was picking up my spinning wheel at The Spinnery. Since then, I go back for a day trip whenever I can.

Frenchtown, NJ

The Delaware River alongside Frenchtown.

Frenchtown is located along the banks of the Delaware River in Hunterdon County, across from Bucks County, Pennsylvania and bordering Alexandria and Kingwood Townships, just south of Milford. In recent years, Frenchtown has become a cultural destination with many art galleries and specialty shops and restaurants in the small downtown area. I could spend all day wandering the quaint shops and sitting in one of the many small restaurants enjoy a cup of coffee and something sweet.

In 1757, three joint owners purchased of a tract of land from the West Jersey Land Society and began laying out streets and building lots at Calvin’s Ferry. The developing town was to be called “Alexandria” in honor of William Alexander, Lord Stirling, one of the three owners. In 1776, the three sold the settlement to Thomas Lowrey, a Flemington speculator. In 1794, Lowrey sold the tract to Paul Henri Mallet-Prevost, a Swiss fugitive from the French Revolution. He and other early settlers were French speaking, leading some to begin calling the place “Frenchtown.”

In September 2012, the borough’s downtown has been named a Great Place in New Jersey by the state chapter of the American Planning Association. There are wonderful events that take place throughout the year that are great ways to learn more about the area and experience all the great shops, galleries, and eateries. For example, every July they have a wonderful Bastille Day event that includes a wonderful collection of events and is surely not to be missed!

So if you are looking for a quaint little area along the Delaware for a Jersey adventure, make sure you check out Frenchtown!