Round Valley State Park
Weldel White Exhibit
Bivalve and Baskets
Sunday, April 15 and I am on my way to Burlington County Historical Society for the Sunday Lecture Series, today's topic Civil War Women.
Every week is an exciting week of things to do and places to go and this week was a perfect example. On Tuesday, my 55 State parks hiking pal, Barb Spector, my loyal Lab, Blizzard and I set out for Round Valley Recreational Park which is a sparkling reservoir nestled amidst gently sloping hills. It reminded me of Bali Hi - there was an exoctic quality to it. The sandy beach is pristine and the water CLEAR! They offer scuba lessons in the summer. We hiked around the lake then headed back home arguing with our gps the who way. She wanted us to take 95 through Pennsylvania and being a loyal New Jerseyan, I was determined to make my way to and fro via New Jersey highways even if they weren't direct, and they weren't. We ended up taking 130, 29, 287 then 78. Still, it is worth your time. Take a picnic lunch and spend the day.
On Wednesday it was off to Bivalve for more training for Museum service. The highlight for me this trip was the story of Noah Lambert's baskets. He did the whole process from going into the woods to fell the right trees, to shaving the strips to weave, and hundres of his baskets per season were suded by oystermen to take the oysters off the ships, floats and scows and put them into bags for loading into the trains. Speaking of trains, one of the article we were given for our reading homework, which I have to say, I have devoured and enjoyed and added to on my own, was an article on the trains as well as one on Noah Lambert Basketmaker. Also, one of the volunteer's ancestors was a ship carpenter and his tools were donated to the museum. The descendant, a man named Drew, showed us how some of the tools were used, in particular I remember how he said novice carpenters stood in empty wooden nail kegs to protect their shins and ankles as they learned to wield the adz between their feet on boards.
Last of all, on Friday, I went to the Villas to visit a cousin who has recently moved there from Pa. and we went to tour the Physick House, which I have been happy to visit on one or two other occasions. This time, the Carriage House also featrued an exhibit of photographs from Wndel White, whose other book, Small Towns, Black Towns, I bought at the Peter Mott House on an Underground Railroad tour once some years back. This exhibit was entitled Schools for the Colored. It was evocative and as you may know if you've read my blog for a time now, I am fascinated with one room and small schools and have visited many. These little schools and their hard-working and dedicated teachers have been the way out of poverty for many generations of children.
I alsways say the past is a great place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there and when I researched the photographs of oyster shuckers and the places they lived, that was brought home to me even more. By the way, one of the little one room schools I saw there and will try to find again was a prime example. I think it was in Shellpile, but I'm not sure. I haven't seen it for half a dozen years.
Happy Trails everyone! Sorry to say the Wendel White exhibit is now closed, I think but you may want to call. It was Jan 18 to April 14.
Off South Jersey topic, there have been a plethora of fascinating documentaries on the Titanic since this week was the anniversary of the tragic short life of that ship. My favorite quote from one of them was from a Belfast shipyard worker. Many in Ireland were not only mourning the loss of loved ones but felt shame that their great unskinkable ship went down on it's maiden voyage, but one fellow, interviewed about that said, "It was okay when it left Belfast."