“Down the Shore” – Part Two in a Series

The Jersey Shore encompasses over 140 miles of beautiful coastline. Famous for its boardwalks, arcades, and amusement piers, each shore town has its own unique vibe. Seaside Heights, which developed a bad reputation thanks to a terrible television show, is popular with teenagers and young twenty-somethings, while Wildwood Crest is more popular with families. The shore region is made up to five different counties – Ocean, Atlantic, Cape May, Middlesex, and Monmouth.

Now I will say there is a “love/hate” relationship between the full-time residents of South Jersey and the seasonal visitors of North Jersey. Seasonal visitors, often called “BENNYs” (which stands for Brooklyn/Bayonne, Elizabeth, Newark, New York), are considered rude, litter the beaches, and generally act like idiots. As a life-long North Jersey resident, I’ve seen “BENNY behavior” first hand and it is embarrassing. NJ.com even posted an article awhile back about how to not be a BENNY. At the same time, however, the summer months play a key role in the economy of these shore towns by visitors spending a lot of money on vacation, which creates jobs,  generates tax income (via crazy parking costs and tickets), and other positive local contributions. When Hurricane Sandy destroyed many of these shore towns, BENNYs (and their money) were welcomed with open arms. Quickly, however, it returned to “BENNYs go home.” If you don’t act like an ass, for the most part, visitors are treated well.

If you ask most Jersey residents, North Jersey and South Jersey are practically considered two separate states, and at one point in history, New Jersey was two separate colonies. The so-called “Central Jersey” doesn’t really exist.

Nevertheless, the Jersey Shore has a fabled and rich history.

Many people today are unaware of the role New Jersey, and especially the Raritan Bay shore, played in the lives of many pirate legends in the late l7th and early I8th centuries. The waters between Sandy Hook and New York City were infested with pirates and French privateers. Blackbeard raided farms and villages near what is today Middletown, and Captain Morgan often visited the area.¹ To this day, there are many who still search the Jersey Shore for the hidden gold of these fabled pirates.

GATE-Sandy-Hook-Lighthouse-websmall

The 250-year-old Sandy Hook Lighthouse. 
NPS / JERRY KASTEN, Volunteer-In-Parks

The barrier island of Sandy Hook, part of what is known as “The Higlands,” has a long history that predates the formation of the United States. The oldest route to the eastern coast of the United States is the Minisink Trail which started on the upper Delaware River, came through northern New Jersey and ended at the Navesink River. Navesink means “good fishing spot” in the native tongue at the time. The trail was used by Native Americans, such as the Algonquin and Lenni Lenapi tribes. They came from all over New Jersey to spend the summer fishing and finding clams. The Newasunks, Raritans, and Sachem Papomorga (or Lenni Lenapis) were the most prevalent tribes and stayed the longest. These were the tribes which mostly traded with early settlers.² Richard Hartshorne purchased a 2,320-acre tract of land from the Native Americans which provided him with control of nearly all of Sandy Hook and Highlands which was then called “Portland Poynt.” Hartshorne and his family became the first permanent settlers of the area.² Built in 1764 to help reduce shipwrecks, Sandy Hook is home to the oldest operating lighthouse in America and a National Historic Landmark. A primary mission of the fort was the defense of New York Harbor. From 1874 to 1919, Sandy Hook also served as the U.S. Army’s first proving ground for testing new weapons and ordnance.³ The 1,665-acre area of Sandy Hook became part of the National Park Service in 1975 after the Army deactivated Fort Hancock. Today it is a beautiful area full of wildlife, historical buildings, great beaches, and of course that important lighthouse.

Before Atlantic City was known as “the little sister of Las Vegas,” it was known for its four miles of boardwalk, built in 1870. Since 1921, it has been home to the Miss America pageant. In 1853, the first commercial hotel, the Belloe House, was built at the intersection of Massachusetts and Atlantic Avenues.4

So as you can see, the Jersey Shore has a wonderful history. I hope you check back for my next post in this series.

Sources:

1: http://weirdnj.com/stories/mystery-history/captain-kidd/

2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highlands,_New_Jersey

3: http://www.visitnj.org/city/sandy-hook

4: http://www.cityofatlanticcity.org/about.aspx

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Get Outside: Mount Hope Historical Park

Mt Hope Park 3

Starting on my lunchtime hike.

Every year I look forward to the warm weather. This year I have the added bonus of working from home so I can enjoy going outside at lunch more often than in the past. So today I took a light hike in the woods nearby – Mount Hope Historical Park.

This little gem is on the grounds of what was once a busy mining area. Mining began in the very early 1700s and continued until 1978. Now, it is a lovely little space that sits on a total of 6271 acres, known as the Mount Hope Tract. John Jacob Faesch developed the tract in 1772, with each mine owned by one or more companies. It is one of the oldest iron mining areas in the United States and provided iron ore until the mid 1950s. The state’s richest mines, the Richard, the Allen, and the Tboe are part of this site.

If you decide to check out this area, it is important to stay on the marked trails. There are many mines on the grounds and they are not all marked. Be careful for large or deep depressions in the ground, known as subsidence pits, as well as mine shafts.  You may find magnetite iron ore on the trails, what the Native Americans called Succasunny. Look for small black stones that are rectangular in shape that feel heavier than other rocks. Additionally, the rocks along the trail are representations of the mineral below ground. Look for rocks that are shiny black or red. Many of them contain large deposits of quartz.

Frog

My little hiking buddy today.

It doesn’t take long to leave the sound of the nearby roads behind you and take in all that is around you. I was hoping to find some sheds today, but no luck. I did, however, make a little friend of a frog that was jumping along with me on the trail!

There are multiple trails of varying levels of difficulty. I am not what I would call a “serious” hiker, but I am able to traverse the trails without much issue. As I have a bad ankle, I always feel that my trekking poles are very helpful when going up and down hills. There’s a pond at the end of the open space that I often fish with my husband. If you like to Geocache, there are several hidden throughout the park.

Like I said, it is a great little gem of an area.

If you decide to hike Mount Hope Historical Park, or any other hiking area, I would like to recommend a few things. I am not a hiking expert, but I do think it is a good idea to be prepared when heading into any wooded area.

Here’s my “standard” list:HikingBootsHikingEquipment

  • Solid hiking boots
  • Whistle
  • Bear spray/Mace
  • Trekking poles
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Water
  • Inhaler (I have asthma)
  • Tissues/Wipes
  • Neoprene straps
  • Phone and/or GPS

You may wonder what the straps are for. I use them normally to keep my pants comfortable in my waders when fishing. When I hike I use them from keeping little crawlers from taking their own walk up my pants leg. Tick season is expected to be quite bad this year, so it is important to do whatever you can to keep them at bay.

Mt Hope Park 1

Just a light hike on a lovely warm day!

It is also a good idea to keep a whistle and bear spray with you. While I did not encounter any bears or deer – like I said, just my little froggy friend – it is important to be prepared when heading into any natural area.

Always make sure you have a water bottle with you to stay hydrated and whether you hike in a small area or a large national park, keep your phone with you in case of an emergency.

So as the weather continues to improve, make sure you get out and enjoy these great little open spaces throughout New Jersey. Some may be closer than you think!

Get Ready for Fishing Season!

As the latest round of snow slowly melts away and we officially enter spring, that means one thing for anglers in New Jersey – fishing season!

LafayetteBridge

Paulinskill River, Lafayette – Sussex County

Waters that are stocked by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife are now officially closed to fishing until April 8th, 8:00 a.m. It is incredibly important to leave these waters as they are while staff and volunteers stock and allow fish to become acclimated to their new surroundings.

It is also incredibly important that those required purchase a fishing license and know the fishing regulations for New Jersey. I know many people complain about the cost of the licenses for fishing and hunting, but they really are important. These fees help make sure our rivers are stocked, and rules are enforced through conservation officers. They also provide other great programs like Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs (Glenn and I are proud to be a part of) and free licenses for specific groups of people, such as handicapped, senior citizens, and active military. My husband and I always catch and release, but we still purchase a trout stamp because we believe in the work Fish and Game does and we know how limited their budget is. So I ask each and every one of you who requires a fishing license to spend the $22.50 and make the purchase. The cost of a ticket for fishing without a license is FAR more expensive.

Enjoy the fishing season, follow the regulations, fish ethically, and remember to “carry in/carry out.

Tight lines!

Why I love New Jersey

My husband and I were watching a television show about real estate in Montana. One couple was planning a move from California to Montana. Now, when most people think of Big Sky Country, they imagine the open prairie, cowboys, and wood cabins. Instead of embracing the lifestyle, they were trying to shoehorn California living into their new house. They obviously shouldn’t have left California. That’s where their heart is.

That’s kind of like how I feel about New Jersey.

Frankford-Cemetery

Frankford Cemetery in black and white by Lisaann VanBlarcom Permunian.

I am often asked a simple question. “Why would you EVER want to stay in New Jersey?”

When my husband and I were married there very were few things that were non-negotiable. One of those non-negotiable items is that I would NEVER move out of New Jersey.

“Why?”

New Jersey is my home. I was born in Columbus Hospital in Newark and spent over 30 years in Belleville. When a move needed to take place, we stayed close by in Nutley until we could decide on our next move. While it may sound crazy, going to the next town over from Belleville was tough. I also felt like I had betrayed my beloved Belleville by moving to our rival town. Two years later, we moved again. Instead of town-to-town, we moved county-to-county. Again, I almost had a nervous breakdown.

As my regular readers know, I don’t deal well with change. I know people who have moved across the country and half-way around the world. Me? I move from Essex County to Morris County and I could barely handle it. I’m a Jersey Girl through and through. I would’ve been very happy to stay in my house on Irving Street for the rest of my life.

Where else can you be at an awesome beach and then the mountains within a two hour drive

Rutt's Hut

A typical meal at the Jersey famous Rutt’s Hut.

in the same state? Have the best REAL Italian and REAL Portuguese cooking in the same city? I can go fly fishing in Walpack or grab a cheese steak at Seaside Heights. You want a great deep fried hot dog? I know the place. Oh, and I don’t pump my own gas.

Some people see Newark Airport and the Turnpike. Me? I see important places that played key roles in the birth of our nation. We are tough. If you are from Jersey, you need to be tough to fight off all the stupid stereotypes from those horrible television shows which I will not name.

So will I travel? Sure. But I will always come home to my New Jersey.

December Events at the Essex County Environmental Center

Essex County Environmental Center The following was announced today by The Essex County Environmental Center. Check out all the great events planned!

A variety of programs are being offered at the Essex County Environmental Center during the month of December that will teach children and adults about nature and help them gain a greater appreciation and understanding of our environment.

The deadline to submit entries for the 9th Annual Sustainable Homes Gingerbread Contest & Exhibit is Monday, December 2nd. Create a unique gingerbread house with natural accents and green building design features! Sustainable Gingerbread Homes will be on display from Wednesday, December 4th through Friday, December 20th. Prizes will be awarded in various categories. Call the Environmental Center at 973-228-8776 to register or for more information.

Tuesday Afternoon Yoga with Meditation is for adults. The focus of this class is on the many benefits of long-held, seated poses. Participants will lengthen tissues that connect, wrap and interweave the muscles, helping to increase range of motion and free up areas of limitation. All levels are welcome. Dress comfortably and bring your own mat. Cost is $10 per class. Advance registration is required. For information, call 973-228-8776. Tuesday Afternoon Yoga with Meditation will be held as follows:

Dates: Tuesdays, December 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31, 2013
Time:  3:30 p.m.
Place: Essex County Environmental Center
621B Eagle Rock Avenue
Roseland, NJ

Birding Hike in Essex County Hilltop Reservation is presented by New Jersey Audubon. Take a leisurely winter hike while looking for winter wildlife, especially field and forest birds. Meet at Mountain Avenue and Courter Lane, North Caldwell. This is a free event. Please call 908-766-5787 or e-mail kelly.wenzel@njaudubon.org to register. Birding

Hike is scheduled as follows:
Date:  Thursday, December 5, 2013
Time:  8:30 a.m.
Meeting Site: Intersection of Mountain Avenue
and Courter Lane
North Caldwell, NJ

Little Explorers Fall Nature Program is for young children ages 2 to 5. This child-caregiver class uses stories, walks and crafts to develop an awareness and appreciation for science and nature for the child as well as the caregiver. Each week, a different nature or science topic is covered. The program will be held rain or shine. Cost is $7 per child/session. Advance registration and payment are required. For information, call 973-228-8776. Little Explorers Summer Stroll will be held as follows:

Age: 2 year olds
Dates & Times: Thursdays, December 5 & 19, 9:45 a.m.

Age: 3 year olds
Dates & Times: Fridays, December 6, 13 & 20, 11 a.m.

Ages:  4 and 5 year olds
Dates & Times: Thursdays, December 5, 12 & 19, 1:30 p.m.
OR Fridays, December 6, 13 & 20, 1:30 p.m.

Place: Essex County Environmental Center
621B Eagle Rock Avenue
Roseland, NJ

Thursday Evening Yoga Series is geared for adults. This all-levels yoga series will focus on alignment, flow and warmth followed by a restorative pose to unwind the body and mind for bed. Dress comfortably and bring your own mat. Cost is $40. Advance registration and monthly payment is required. For information, call 973-228-8776. No refunds will be given for missed classes. Thursday Evening Yoga is scheduled as follows:

Dates: Thursdays, December 5, 12, 19 & 26, 2013
Time:  6:15 p.m.
Place: Essex County Environmental Center
621B Eagle Rock Avenue
Roseland, NJ

Friday Morning Yoga is geared for adults. This class will explore the many joys of yoga. Breathing synchronized with movement will warm the body and relax the mind. All levels are welcome. Join for the series or just one class. Dress comfortably and bring your own mat. Cost is $10 per class.  Advance registration is required. For information, call 973-228-8776. Friday Morning Yoga is scheduled as follows:

Dates: Fridays, December 6, 13, 20 & 27, 2013
Time:  9:30 a.m.
Place: Essex County Environmental Center
621B Eagle Rock Avenue
Roseland, NJ

Birding Hike in Essex County South Mountain Reservation is presented by New Jersey Audubon. Visit several key locations within one of Essex County’s largest parks. Discover how easy it is to find wildlife in winter when there is plenty of food, water and shelter. Participants will carpool to various locations within the park. Meet at Essex County Turtle Back Zoo, 560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange. Cost is $6 for NJA members and $8 for non-members. Please call 908-766-5787 or e-mail kelly.wenzel@njaudubon.org to register. Birding Hike is scheduled as follows:

Date:  Saturday, December 7, 2013
Time:  8 a.m.
Meeting Site:  Essex County Turtle Back Zoo
560 Northfield Avenue
West Orange, NJ

Nature Knows: Experience Nature’s Wisdom through Yoga, Journaling and Trail Walk is for adults. Nature guides us, giving us solutions, clues, and messages. When any one of life’s challenges appears, it is tempting and often habitual to try to think, analyze, and figure out a solution, but this can leave questions unanswered and life situations unchanged. In this class, participants shift from “thinking” to “being.” Flowing with the stream of life, participants open to natural and sometimes surprising shifts of perception, understanding, and change. Bring an unanswered question, a wish, a virtue to cultivate, or just an open mind. Beginners to yoga are welcome. Participants must be able to get up and down from the floor easily. Dress comfortably, wear layers, and bring a yoga mat. Part of the class will be outside, rain or shine. Cost is $25. Advance registration is required. For information, call 973-228-8776. Nature Knows will be held as follows:

Date:  Saturday, December 7, 2013
Time:  10 a.m.
Place: Essex County Environmental Center
621B Eagle Rock Avenue
Roseland, NJ

Bug Club is for children ages 6 to 10. The Bug Club is devoted to young people who want to explore the wonders of insects through field walks, games, stories and crafts. This club meets year-round. Cost is $7 per child per session. Advance registration and payment are required. For information, call 973-228-8776. Bug Club will be held as follows:

Date:  Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Time:  4 p.m.
Place: Essex County Environmental Center
621B Eagle Rock Avenue
Roseland, NJ

4-H Environmental Kids Club is for children in grades 2 through 6. The environment is filled with things, big and small, that surprise and help us. Participants will discover how much fun it is to learn about our world. Meet in Garibaldi Hall. Advance registration is required. For information, call 973-353-1338, Ext. 109. 4-H Environmental Kids Club will be held as follows:

Date:  Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Time:  4 p.m.
Place: Essex County Environmental Center
Garibaldi Hall
621A Eagle Rock Avenue
Roseland, NJ

Baking with Ms. Barbara is for children ages 5 and 6. Those who enjoy baking may come join Barbara in the kitchen to make organic gingerbread cookies from scratch, minus the nutmeg. Young bakers will create some interesting rolled cookies to decorate and take home. Cost is $10 per child. Meet in Garibaldi Hall. Advance registration is required. For information, call 973-228-8776. Baking with Ms. Barbara will be held as follows:

Date:  Thursday, December 12, 2013
Time:  4:15 p.m.
Place: Essex County Environmental Center
Garibaldi Hall
621A Eagle Rock Avenue
Roseland, NJ

Wreath Making Workshop will be led by Master Gardener and floral designer Donna Dorsey. Participants will make their own wreath, with a bow, as well as a door swag if materials allow. The lesson on bows alone can be utilized year-round for seasonal enjoyment. All wreath supplies are included. Please bring gardening gloves and clippers if available. Cost is $50 per person. Advance registration is required. For information, call 973-228-8776. Wreath Making Workshop will be held as follows:

Date:  Thursday, December 12, 2013
Time:  6:30 p.m.
Place: Essex County Environmental Center
621B Eagle Rock Avenue
Roseland, NJ

4-H Lego Club is for children in grades 3 through 6. Members will use their imaginations to build animals, castles, and more with other children who are interested in Legos. Advance registration is required. For information, call 973-353-1338, Ext. 109. 4-H Lego Club will be held as follows:

Date:  Saturday, December 14, 2013
Time:  10 a.m.
Place: Essex County Environmental Center
621B Eagle Rock Avenue
Roseland, NJ

Holiday Essential Oils Workshop and Craft is for adults and children ages 15 and up. Peggy DeArmond, CCA and Jennifer Forino will teach how therapeutic-grade essential oils, including lavender, lemon, frankincense, and peppermint, can enhance your family’s health and wellness throughout the holidays and into the new year! The class will make fragrant gifts of relaxing bath salts and aromatic air fresheners for the upcoming holiday season. Cost is $25 per person. Advance registration is required. For information, call 973-228-8776. Holiday Essential Oils Workshop and Craft will be held as follows:

Date:  Saturday, December 14, 2013
Time:  12 Noon
Place: Essex County Environmental Center
621B Eagle Rock Avenue
Roseland, NJ

Kids Make Green Gifts is for children ages 7 to 12. Give Green this holiday season by crafting and giving sustainable and alternative gifts! Make something special for your loved ones. A variety of kids’ crafts will be offered. Children can make one of each craft. Cost is $7 per child. Advance registration is required. For information, call 973-228-8776. Kids Make Green Gifts will be held as follows:

Date:  Saturday, December 14, 2013
Time:  12 Noon
Place: Essex County Environmental Center
621B Eagle Rock Avenue
Roseland, NJ

Horticulture for Seniors is for senior citizens. The Rutgers Master Gardeners of Essex County present this horticulture class especially designed for senior citizens. This month’s topic is Artistic Designs. Meet in Garibaldi Hall. This is a free program. Advance registration is required one week prior to program. For information, call 973-379-5488 or 973-731-0717. Horticulture for Seniors will be held as follows:

Dates: Monday, December 16, 2013
Time:  1 p.m.
Place: Essex County Environmental Center
Garibaldi Hall
621A Eagle Rock Avenue
Roseland, NJ

Birding Hike in Essex County Hatfield Swamp is presented by New Jersey Audubon. Take a journey into the frozen swamp to search for winter visitors and lingering fall migrants that call the heart of western Essex County home. Meet at Stop & Shop, 875 Bloomfield Avenue, West Caldwell. Cost is $6 for NJA members and $8 for non-members. Please call 908-766-5787 or e-mail kelly.wenzel@njaudubon.org to register. Birding Hike is scheduled as follows:

Date:  Thursday, December 19, 2013
Time:  8:30 a.m.
Meeting Site:  Stop & Shop
875 Bloomfield Avenue
West Caldwell, NJ

Little Explorers Winter Camp is for children in kindergarten to third grade. Camp sessions are available for Forest Explorers for children in kindergarten to first grade from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Wildlife Adventurers for children in second and third grade from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Cost is $50 per child for both days OR $30 per child per day. For more information, call 973-228-8776. Little Explorers Winter Camp will be held as follows:

Dates: Thursday, December 26 and Friday, December 27
Ages and Times: Kindergarten to First Grade, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Second and Third Grades, 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Place: Essex County Environmental Center
621B Eagle Rock Avenue
Roseland, NJ

The Essex County Environmental Center is pleased to host Nature Inspired Photography by Newark resident Maria Robinson during the month of December. The Environmental Center is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free.

Registration is required for all programs at the Essex County Environmental Center, unless otherwise noted. For more information or to register, please call 973-228-8776.

The Essex County Park System was created in 1895 and is the first county park system established in the United States. The Park System consists of more than 6,000 acres and has 22 parks, five reservations, an environmental center, a zoo, Treetop Adventure Course, ice skating rink, roller skating rink, three public golf courses, golf driving range, two miniature golf courses, three off-leash dog facilities, a castle and the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens.