Go West Young Man (Woman and Children Too!)
You’ll find the Wild Side of New Jersey
“Go West” – is good advice to an international traveler landing in Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) in search of an American adventure. “Go West Young Man” was a quote that encouraged young men to help their country in forging a path through the wilderness of the untamed West. Going West from EWR (yes that’s right you will not be traveling the infamous NJ Turnpike Exit) will bring you to spectacular wildlife viewing, bird watching, and geographical marvels.
Traveling West on Route 78, just an hour’s drive from EWR will bring you to the world-famous Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area. The vistas and historical sites along the way will leave you asking “This is New Jersey?”. Exploring Northwest New Jersey makes for a perfect holiday or vacation in America.
Where to begin…
Why not where George Washington strategized over the Revolutionary War – Morristown New Jersey? Morristown is located 25 minutes from EWR. The Morristown National Historic Park was the United States’ first national historic park. It consists of 4 units: the newly expanded and renovated Washington Headquarters Museum, the Ford Mansion, Fort Nonsense, and Jockey Hollow. Fort Nonsense sits high on a hilltop with a view of the New York City Skyline. At Jockey Hollow you can view a video of what life was like for the soldiers during the brutal winters they spent encamped in Morristown. The park includes approximately 27 miles of walking trails.
Dining and accommodations recommendations are available from the Morris County Tourism Bureau at www.morristourism.org or call 973-631-5151.
A Bird Watchers Paradise
Returning to Route 78 via Route 287 stop in Bernardville at the Sherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary – one of 10 New Jersey Audubon Wildlife Centers. You’ll find over 100 programs annually, 276 acres of woodland, field and floodplain habitat, and over 200 species of wildlife.
Just minutes away is Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge consisting of 7,735 acres of varied habitats and is a resting and feeding area for more than 244 species of birds. Fox, deer, muskrat, turtles, fish, frogs and a wide variety of wildflowers and plants also call the refuge "home."
The Raptor Trust, a wild bird rehabilitation center is open to the public seven days a week during daylight hours. Visitors have a unique opportunity to view at close range the many hawks, eagles, falcons and owls that are permanent residents at the facility. For more information go to www.theraptortrust.org.
Continue on Route 287 towards Route 78 to the picturesque town of Clinton situated on the banks of the South Branch River of the Raritan River. On one side of the river you will find the Red Mill Museum Village. The Red Mill is the most photographed spot in New Jersey and one of the top ten most photographed buildings in the U.S. Originally a wooden mill in time it processed grains, plaster, talc and graphite and also served as a way to generate electricity. The Red Mill Museum has a collection of over 40,000 artifacts that are exhibited on a rotating basis. For more visit www.theredmill.org.
For more information visit the Clinton Guild website at www.clintonnj.com.
The Ultimate Adventure
Continue west on Route 78 just until you come to the Delaware River. You are now as west as you can go in New Jersey and you’ve reached Phillipsburg. There is plenty of outdoor recreation along the Delaware River - fishing, rafting, tubing and kayaking. Visitors proclaim the ultimate adventure is a hot air balloon ride with Balloonatics and Aeronuts. To really appreciate New Jersey’s great outdoors, experience it from the sky. Your Champaign picnic balloon ride will take you to new heights or skim the tree tops over beautiful Warren County, New Jersey.
For more information on booking your flight with Balloonatics & Aeronuts visit www.njballoorides.com
Stay overnight at a secluded bed and breakfast like the RoseMary Inn, situated in close proximity to the Delaware Water Gap.
There is something for every season at the Delaware Water Gap including cross country skiing or snowmobiling in the winter months, exploring the waterfalls of Van Campen’s Glen or the historic Millbrook Village. Pick up the Appalachian Trail and hike to Stokes State Forest and all the way up to High Point State Park.
Ok, maybe this is more hiking than what you planned…Perhaps a leisurely drive on Old Mine Road, thought to be the earliest roads in the region is just what you’re looking for. Old Mine road follows the forest along the Delaware River. This historic road was used for transporting copper and slate from the mines and quarries in the area, and is believed to have originally been a well-defined Indian trail. The trail was also used by fur traders and Dutch settlers.
By now you have discovered the endless beauty of the New Jersey Highlands, the abundant wildlife, the cultural history of the Revolutionary War and the vibrant historic towns that fueled the Industrial Revolution of our Nation.
Please come back and visit again – there’s plenty more to do and see.