Backroads of New Jersey: Your Guide to New Jersey's Most Scenic Backroad Adventures

Overview

Beyond New Jersey’s bustling cities and busy turnpikes are lesser known marvels of nature and history, all within easy reach of a traveler consulting this book. Let Backroads of New Jersey guide you to the natural wonders, historic sites, and other secrets of the Garden State, from scenic lake country and bountiful farmlands to woodland forest preserves and the glistening white-sand beaches of a 127-mile Atlantic Ocean shoreline.

One of the original thirteen colonies, New Jersey...

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Overview

Beyond New Jersey’s bustling cities and busy turnpikes are lesser known marvels of nature and history, all within easy reach of a traveler consulting this book. Let Backroads of New Jersey guide you to the natural wonders, historic sites, and other secrets of the Garden State, from scenic lake country and bountiful farmlands to woodland forest preserves and the glistening white-sand beaches of a 127-mile Atlantic Ocean shoreline.

One of the original thirteen colonies, New Jersey was the site of some of the most famous battles of the American Revolutionary War. Today you can walk in George Washington’s footsteps and revisit milestones of the Revolution at Washington Crossing State Park, the historic Morristown area, and the great Princeton Battlefield. This book’s twenty-nine backroads tours also invite you to experience nature at its most splendid, in the Meadowlands, the Delaware Water Gap, the Great Swamp, and the Pine Barrens region—the largest wilderness area east of the Mississippi River. Follow the multitude of seaside routes along the boardwalks and beaches of the Jersey Shore from Sandy Hook in the north to Cape May in the south. Or turn inland and stop at a world-famous diner, buy farm-fresh Jersey tomatoes at a roadside stand, or explore the hidden corners of old, industrial cities like Paterson, Hoboken, and Newark. And don’t overlook the state’s oddities and folklore: Grovers Mill, invaded by Martians in Orson Welles’s infamous “War of the Worlds” broadcast; Flemington, where the Lindbergh kidnapping trial took place; and Leeds Point, birthplace of the mythic Jersey Devil.

Whether you’re planning a day trip, looking for unusual destinations, or simply want to learn more about the region, all routes in Backroads of New Jersey will lead you to the true heart of the state.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Asbury ParkSunday Press Nov. 4, 2007

“The photography is striking, at times still life or landscape, at times pure art in Backroads of New Jersey… a genuinely enjoyable and informative book perfect for use as a guide to taking day trips in nice weather, alone or with friends or family, and getting to know the hidden corners of New Jersey.”

New JerseySunday Herald, Oct. 7, 2007

“Just in time for those fall foliage rides, Voyageur Press has published Backroads of New Jersey, which takes us from one end of our Garden State to the other with suggested drives illustrated by the beautiful photography of Hopatcong resident Paul Eric Johnson. This book reminds us of the beauty around us.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780760329542
  • Publisher: Voyageur Press
  • Publication date: 8/15/2007
  • Series: Backroads Of ... Series
  • Edition description: First
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 1,374,499
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

John Gilman and Robert Heide have co-authored more than a dozen books on travel and American popular culture, including New Jersey: Art of the State, O' New Jersey, Dime-Store Dream Parade, Popular Art Deco, and more. Gilman and Heide are both based in New York City and make frequent trips to the Garden State. Paul Eric Johnson is an environmentalist and photographer whose images have appeared in books, magazines, and calendars throughout the world. Johnson's most recent book, Lighthouses of the Mid-Atlantic Coast, was published by Voyageur Press. He is the Director of Photography for the Wohlfarth Galleries in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C. He lives in Hopatcong, New Jersey.

Paul Eric Johnson is an environmentalist and photographer whose images have appeared in books, magazines, and calendars throughout the world. Johnson\u2019s most recent book, Lighthouses of the Mid-Atlantic Coast, was published by Voyageur Press. He is the Director of Photography for the Wohlfarth Galleries in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C. He lives in Hopatcong, New Jersey.John Gilman and Robert Heide have co-authored more than a dozen books on travel and American popular culture, including New Jersey: Art of the State, O' New Jersey, Dime-Store Dream Parade, Popular Art Deco, and more. Gilman and Heide are both based in New York City and make frequent trips to the Garden State. Paul Eric Johnson is an environmentalist and photographer whose images have appeared in books, magazines, and calendars throughout the world. Johnson's most recent book, Lighthouses of the Mid-Atlantic Coast, was published by Voyageur Press. He is the Director of Photography for the Wohlfarth Galleries in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C. He lives in Hopatcong, New Jersey.

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Table of Contents

Contents

 

Introduction

 

Part I    The Northern Highlands: Land of Lakes and Mountain Greenery

Water on the Mountain: New Jersey’s Northern Border

Wild River Drive: The Delaware Water Gap via Old Mine Road

Ridge and Valley: An Eastward Drive from Manunka Chunk

The Place within the Hills: The Allamuchy Mountains and Lake Hopatcong

Colonial Towns of the American Revolution: Madison, Morristown, and More

 

Part II  The Gateway Region: Cities, Suburbs, and Jersey Diners

Hudson River Views: From the Palisades to Hoboken

The Diner Quest: Through the Meadowlands

Cityscape Tour: Newark and Neighborhoods

            Valley Road Route: From Montclair to Paterson

Thomas Edison Country: Along the Watchung Ridge

Parks and Nature Preserves: The Watchung and South Mountain Reservations

 

Part III The Central Belt: Crossroads

Raritan Roads: From the Raritan Bay to the Delaware and Raritan Canal

Farmlands and Estates of Central Jersey: Clinton, Flemington, and Somerville

Antiques and Rivertowns: Hopewell to Frenchtown

Remembering the Revolution: Washington Crossing to Princeton

The Historic State Capital Region: Trenton to Timbuctoo

 

Part IV The North Jersey Shore: From Bayside to Seaside

Bayshore Views: Exploring Raritan and Sandy Hook Bays

Touring Monmouth County: From Hartshorne Woods to Tennent

Down the Shore: From Sandy Hook to Ocean Grove

The Seaside Life: From Bradley Beach to Cattus Island County Park

The Sandbar Tour: Between Barnegat Bay and the Ocean

 

Part V  The South Jersey Shore: Summertime Boardwalks and White-Sand Beaches

Old U.S. Highway 9: The Road to Tuckerton

Jersey Devil Country: New Gretna to Absecon

Route of the Gulls: Ocean Drive from Old Atlantic City to Cape May

 

Part VI The Pine Barrens and Delsea Region: Secrets of the Garden State

Among the Pines: Lakewood to Penn State Forest

The Long and Happy Road to Camden: Wharton State Forest and the Home of Walt Whitman

The Waters of the Pine Barrens: Hammonton to Bass River State Forest

A Delsea Drive: Exploring the Delaware Bayside

Garden State Spot: Vineland to Finns Point

 

Suggested Reading

Index

About the Author and Photographer

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Introduction

"I've been a lot of places,
Seen pictures of the rest.
But of all the places I can think of
I like Jersey best."

-Lyric from "I Like Jersey Best," by Joseph Cosgriff

Benjamin Franklin once likened New Jersey to "a beer-barrel keg tapped at both ends," sandwiched between the bustling cities of New York and Philadelphia. But the great state of New Jersey has plenty of personality, excitement, and history of its own.

One of the original thirteen colonies, many of the famous battles of the American Revolutionary War were fought here. In 1776, General George Washington and his troops made their famous crossing over the ice-clogged waters of the Delaware River to defeat King George III's troops in a surprise attack at Trenton. This victory is considered to be a pivotal turning point in the American Revolution. The region known as New Jersey achieved statehood on December 18, 1787, and the sense of its past before, during, and after the Revolutionary War can be found in historic towns like Bordentown, Morristown, and Princeton.

Early settlers colonizing New Jersey included trappers, miners, Dutch farmers, British Puritans, Quakers, and Swedish Lutherans, as well as German, Irish, and Italian immigrants. At the end of the nineteenth century Eastern European Jews settled into New Jersey cities like Newark and Elizabeth. By the mid-twentieth century another strong influx from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Mexico, and other Latin-American countries brought new workers in the Jersey factories, later followed by skilled workers from Asia, Russia, and India. Today, New Jersey is the most densely populated of the fifty states.

New Jersey is a complex and diverse placethat has been called a microcosm containing elements of all the other states. Co-existing with industry, technology, and science research centers are bountiful farmlands, woodland forest preserves, scenic lake country, and an extraordinary 127 shoreline with glistening white-sand beaches. As the eagle flies, the tiny state of New Jersey is 166 miles from top to bottom and only 32 miles wide at its narrowest point. The state's western border with Pennsylvania is defined in its entirety by the Delaware River. With the exception of the 50-long northern border with New York State, New Jersey's 8,244 square miles are completely surrounded by water. The fifth smallest state, New Jersey has over six hundred state parks and wildlife management areas. It is known as the "Garden State" and works overtime to maintain high standards when it comes to protecting its precious natural environment. Agriculturally, the state is famous for the Jersey tomato, which competes along with Jersey's silver queen white corn, cranberries, and blueberries to be the finest in the land.

The official state seal of New Jersey depicts Ceres, the Greek goddess of agriculture, and a horsehead, the horse being the official animal of the state. Other official designations are the state bird, the Eastern Goldfinch; the state flower, the common meadow violet; and the state tree, the red oak, which is found all along the beaches and the estuarial waters of the coastline. Alas, the state has no officially designated song, although some attempts were made in the legislature to push forth "Born to Run," by Jersey native Bruce Springsteen. In the 1940s, "The Jersey Bounce" had been considered, and today the popular "I Like Jersey Best," written by Joe Cosgriff and recorded by John Pizzarelli, is the latest contender. First suggested in 1983, this song is still under serious consideration in the halls of the capitol in Trenton.

There are many reasons to "like Jersey best." One travel writer referred to the Jersey shore region as New York's California, and now that gas prices have risen, residents of the tri-state area-New York, Connecticut, New Jersey-and outlying "locked in" states, like Pennsylvania and Ohio, are driving to the Jersey shore for a summer vacation that is easier on the budget than more distant spots. During the summer months the ocean, the beaches, and the famous boardwalks at the shore are just perfect, be it at Sandy Hook, Asbury Park, Ocean Grove, Seaside Heights, Atlantic City, Wildwood, or Cape May.

Some detractors like to think of New Jersey as an industrial wasteland, but what is called the "industrial belt" is a relatively narrow corridor stretching across the middle of the state, from New York to Philadelphia. Once out of this immediate industrial zone and off of the New Jersey Turnpike, there is more than enough for motorists to enjoy that is invigorating, abundant, and unique in a scenic sense.

A word to the wise as you traverse the backroads and highways: Drive slowly, carefully, and somewhat defensively in a land where the message is often "Faster! Faster!" Some motorists will want to do a quick-jump and travel on major roads and interstates in order to get to the backroads we recommend. (And why not?) It is a good idea to have a Jersey map handy; and hey, if confusion sets in, just stop on a street corner, at a local gas station, or maybe at a Jersey diner and find out where you are and how to get where you are going. If you choose to look at your map at the counter of a diner, don't forget to order a cruller and a cup of "diner coffee" to send you on your way.

The thing to remember-if you don't know it already-is that Jersey is really a fun place to vacation, travel, and explore, be it a day trip, a weekend, a week, or more. Relax, sightsee, have a good time, and enjoy the passing scenery just as Grandma and Grandpa did when they hit the road in a touring sedan . . . and don't forget to sing along with your auto tape or CD with "I Like Jersey Best."
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