Historic Places in South Jersey

Historic Places in South Jersey - Places to Go and Things to Do

A discussion of things to do and paces to go, with the purpose of sharing, and encouraging exploration of South Jersey.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Rollin' on the River

It is the time of year when you start feeling as though it might be nice to take a boat ride on the river.  By good fortune, at several places I visited recently there was information on various boat rides in SJ, so I'm sharing some of the information with you.  As always, check their web sites for more complete information.

A friend and I, both of us are taking volunteer training at the Bayshore Discovery Center,  will be taking the May 1st Burlington City sail on the A. J. Meerwald which has been in Philadelphia and has now docked in Burlington. 

The rivers link all the historic places that I visit and at which I volunteer and, the Delaware River is my home river as I was born a scant 10 minute drive from it and spent my childhood going to Sunday School at Gloria Dei, Old Swedes Church right on the river front.  Also when I was a child, my family and our Sunday school took many pleasure trips on the Wilson Line to Riverview Beach and the joy of those days will never be forgotten.

Maurice River Cruises
www.CruiseTheMaurice River.com
Fridays and Saturdays (they have other hours 10 a.m and  4 pm but I thought this was more convenient) depart at 1 and return at 3:00 from Ware Ave. City of Millville Marina, Millville, NJ Call for reservations 856-327-1530

River Lady
All week, 6 tour options from  lunch through dinner - my special choice would be #3Historical Sightseeing Cruise which is at 11:00  Tues., Thrus. Fri.  There’s a lunch cruise on Sat. at 12:30
One Robbins Parkway
, Toms River, NJ 732-349-8664

The Meerwald has a Mother’s Dail Sail at 10:00 a.m. but I probably won't be making a reservation for that one as I'll be celebrating Mother's Day with my daughter the day before.

Happy Trails always and for the upcoming month Happy Sails!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

State Parks Adventure

This week my intrepid state parks adventure pals, Barb and Blizzard, and I set out for the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park. It was another of this spring's generous gifts of a breezy and sunny day.
Thanks to our sometimes confusing but usually useful gps devices, we've had far less trouble finding these parks than with just our paper maps. This one had the unexpected wrench in the works of a major detour on exactly the road we were supposed to take to find the park building where we ould get the stamps for our Passports to Adventures Program booklets. Again, we marveled how people can work or live right down the street from something and be etnrely unaware of its existence. For example, the people we met at the Princeton Center for Arts and Education had no idea where the D & R Canal State Parks building was and vice versa, when we called the D & R folks, they had no idea where the Princeton Center was, but we finally found an alternate route to the building and hiked a mile or two on the charming canal path, then headed over to a really excellent deli to buy picnic lunches. They had lots of vegetarian and vegan selections and everything was FRESH - it was the best fruit salad I think I've ever bought. I rarely buy fruit salad out because it always has a stale and slimy quality. We returned to the Canal for a picnic at a nice shady canalside table provided for that purpose.

WATER TRAVEL: Lately my mind ha been taken up with transport in the state. Since I'm taking volunteer training at Bivalve, I've once again been introduced to both boat and river travel and railroads of the past. So it looks like it was wind and water into canals and mules, steam boats, followed by coal fired railroads and electric trolleys, followed by trucks.

I missed an interesting talk at the Mauricetown Historical Society on steamships on the rivers, given by a fellow volunteer from Bivalve. I was just overexted that week and couldn't push myself to one more activity, no matter how tempting.

Speaking of tempting activities: the Sunday Lecture on Civil War Women at Burlington County Historical Society, Corson Poley Center was Outstanding. the presenter was enthusiastic, very knowledgeable and gave a lively and fascinating lecture with power point slides. The whole Sunday Lecture series has been wonderful and i'm glad I knew about it and went to it. I think there is one Sunday lecure left.

I missed the Burlington County Roundtable this month, however, because it conflicted with a course I'm taking in the Westward Expansion at Camden County Coollege, Rohrer Building, Cherry Hill. The Roundtable was at Paulsdale, too, a double disappointment to have missed that visit to a favorite site as well as the always edifying Roundtable. Hopefully the plannets will be aligned for me to make the next one.

Happy Trails!

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Physick House
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."