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, May 29, 2012

Historic Batsto Village - News Release

Historic Batsto Village
31 Batsto Road                                                        
Hammonton, NJ 08037

For Immediate Release                                                                                                                            Contact:          Wes Hughes                                                                                                   Phone:             856-236-0113
                                                                                    Email:              whughes76@verizon.net

I’ll Second That!

Hammonton, N.J.  – (May 29, 2012) – The Batsto Citizens Committee, Inc. ( BCCI )  announces its Second Saturday program beginning Saturday June 9, 2012 and continuing July 14th and August 11th.
In an effort to bring more life to the site of the once thriving bog iron and glass industries, BCCI and its volunteer organization will fund and facilitate a variety of activities at historic Batsto Village beginning at 10AM and continuing through 4PM on the second Saturdays of the summer.
Highlighting the day’s activities will be demonstrations by the Wheaton Arts Glassblowers. A traveling glass blowing unit will be operated by Wheaton personnel throughout the day. A glimpse into the world of glassmaking; an integral part of Batsto in its later years, will provide visitors a unique look into an important aspect of South Jersey history.
In addition to the traveling glass unit, Revolutionary War re-enactors will provide guided walking tours of the village beginning at 10AM.
The Batsto mansion; home of the Richards family for 92 years and later owned by Philadelphia Quaker industrialist Joseph Wharton, will be open for tours throughout the day for a small charge. The “Big House on the Hill” is a remarkable structure with its beginnings in 1784.
-          more -

I’ll Second That                                                                                           Page 2

The Batsto Post Office; the oldest operational post office in New Jersey and the third oldest in the United States, will be in operation and waiting to apply a cancellation mark to your mail. Batsto is one of only three places in the United States without a zip code.
A blacksmith will be on hand to demonstrate the art of shaping iron into useful items and quilters will also be hard at work in the village.
The working saw mill be powered and making lumber cuts just as it did for many years at the site.
Summer parking of $5.00 / car is in effect at the village Labor Day at Batsto Village.
Batsto Village is located in the Pinelands of Burlington County, South Jersey approximately seven miles east of Hammonton on Route 542 and 15 miles west of Exit 50 of the Garden State Parkway.

About Batsto Citizens Committee, Inc.
The Batsto Citizens Committee was founded in 1956 to aid the State of New Jersey in the development of Batsto Village as an historic site. Its purpose was to advise, assist and promote the restoration and interpretation of the historic and natural aspects of Batsto Village. In 1997, the committee reorganized and became incorporated as the Batsto Citizens Committee, Inc. (BCCI), and continues to follow the above objectives. For more information about BCCI visit http://www.batstovillage.org/

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Heritage Day Meet the Author at Red Bank Battlefield

On Sunday, May 20th, the James and Ann Whitall House will be open for tours and will feature a Meet the Authors Event for the Heritage Day theme.  We will have, among others, Barbara Solem, author of Ghosttowns and Other Quirky Places of the New Jersey Pine Barrens.  There will also be a book sale - 4 books for a buck!  So come on over - the weather looks good and visit with the authors (including me) and buy some books, tour the house and visit with our hearth cooks, who, as they do on all Heritage Days, will be cooking a colonial meal on the hearth.  Hope to see you there! 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Spirit of the Jerseys History Fair

There could not have been a more beautiful day for the Spirit of the Jerseys State History Fair at Washington Crossing State Park.  Saturday, May 12, turned out to be cool in the morning and warm in the afternoon.  A great addition to the otherwise deplorable food offered at fairs in general was an all natural smoothie bar.  Most restaurants and any size eating establishments by this period have added vegetarian options, but the outdoor fairs seem geared toward fried dough such as funnel cakes or hot dogs and hamburgers.  There was however, also a falafel stand, but we had brought our own picnic lunch and only needed something cool and refreshing and pina colada smoothies fit the bill.
My highlight of the fair was the visit to the Johnson Ferry House where my daughter and I listened to a musician play The Endless Jigg and invite President and Mrs. George Washington to dance.  The President, having just gotten off his horse, declined. 
The woods were dappled with sunlight and the leaves danced in the breeze, this is always a lovely place to hike, maybe most so in early spring or fall before the terror of ticks and other insects.  It was a lovely way to celebrate Mother's Day (a day early) with my daughter who took the train down from New York to Princeton Junction. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Great Books on Oysters

Thinking of my daughter coming to visit from New York, where she lives, reminded me to  mention a really good book I'm reading called The Big Oyster - History on the Half Shell by Mark Kurlansky.  He also wrote a wonderful book called Salt.  I had just finished reading the Oyster Wars of Chesapeake Bay by John R. Wennersten, another fascinating read that I strongly recommend. 
From the book on the Oyster Wars, I was shocked to read about the shanghai, kidnap and enslavement of new immigrants from Germany and Ireland for service on the windlass of oyster schooners.  It was heartbreaking to read how they were mistreated and even murdered.  In one pitched battle between oyster pirates and marine police a ship was sunk with immigrant mariners locked in the hold.    It is also sad to read about the watermen who depleted their own oyster beds in New England and New York, then sailed down the coast to raid the oyster beds in Virginia and Maryland. 
Now, anyone reading this who knows me personally, knows that I am a vegetarian, though a tolerant and not too self-righteous one, so I'm not about to criticize anyone for boiling alive a crab or lobster or ripping the shell apart and eating a living oyster, but it doesn't sound appetizing to me.  The main thing to me, was that the oysters each filtered and cleaned upwards of 22 gallons of water a day and when they are gone, the dumping and polluting into the rivers on top of the loss of the natural filtering provided by the oyster, is a death knell to the big rivers like the Hudson.  What a shame.  Hopefully newer generations will have more respect for our natural world and learn from those among us who already do and have struggled in the good fight for decades. 
I have always had a deep love of rivers from my childhood in South Philadelphia, not far from the Delawaare River.  In fact, my old childhood church, Gloria Dei, Old Swede's Church, which I have mentioned before, was right on the river and I saw the changing face of that noble waterway every Sunday thoughout the seasons.  It is encouraging to hear that the Delaware has made such a turn-about from its former state of pollution. 
When you see a clean river, after being used to the dark, murky and algae and refuse filled rivers where we live, in particular the Cooper, it is a pleasant surprise. 
Finally, to anyone out there who is reading this and is a Mother, I salute you!  To anyone out there reading this who has a living mother, you are lucky - appreciate her.  May the weekend bring pleasure and health and family love to all!

Mother'sDayTreat-Spirit of the Jerseys State History Fair

Tomorrow I will pick up my daughter in Trenton at the train station and we will go to Titusville, New Jersey for the Spirit of the Jerseys state History Fair!  Since it is our Mother's Day celebration as she'll be away on Sunday, it was my choice of several fun things to do including the aforementioned boat rides on the Maurice or Toms River.  This fair is free admission from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and $5 to park. It is being held at Washington Crossing State park.
Hope to see you there!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Call for Volunteers for Atsion Mansion!

Historic Atsion Mansion to open for tours – Summer  2012
Are you interested in local history?  Do you enjoy meeting new people?  Then Historic Atsion Mansion in Wharton State Forest is the place for you!  Volunteer docents are needed to provide public tours of the Mansion on weekends beginning June 9th.  No experience is necessary.   All volunteers will be provided with a script as well as training to get you started.  Even if you can only help one day each month, you will be making an important contribution.
The first training for volunteer docents will be held on May 19th at 10:00 a.m. at the Atsion Park Office, on Rt. 206 in Shamong NJ.  Contact Barbara Solem at barbsolem@aol.com or 609-268-5556 for information on how to get involved

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Here is information in case you'd care to enjoy a sail on the two-masted oyster schooner, A. J. Meerwald.  Two friends and I sailed around the Island off Burlington City this past Tuesday and it was like living in a fantasy - anyone remember Adventures in Paradise with Troy Donahue?

Give it a try! 

Buy your sail tickets online at www.bayshorediscovery.org 
or call 856-785-2060. 
Sail Schedule:  

*Saturday, May 5:  Family Special Sail  10:00am-12:30pm
*Saturday, May 5:  Afternoon Sail  1:30-4:00pm

Sunday, May 6:  Afternoon Sail  1:30-4:00pm

Sunday, May 6:  Evening Sail  5:00-7:30pm

Friday, May 11: Second Friday Sail!  4:00-6:00pm - Come down early on Second Friday and take a sail on the river, then stay for an evening of music, food and fun at the historic Shipping Sheds (5:30 - 8:30pm).
*Saturday, May 12:  Family Special Sail  10:00am-12:30pm
*Saturday, May 12:  Pirate Sail  1:30p-4:00p - Hear pirate tales; costumes welcome!

  Sunday, May 13:  Mother's Day Breakfast Sail 10:00am-12:30pm - Treat Mom to breakfast on the bay!
Sunday, May 13:  Oyster Sail with Raw Bar  1:30-4:00pm - Learn about the oyster industry; watch shucking demonstration; taste some raw oysters.
Sunday, May 13:  Evening Sail  5:00-7:30pm

Sunday, May 20:  Afternoon Sail  1:30-4:00pm

Sunday, May 20:  Music Sail 5:00p-7:30p - Local musicians will entertain on board!

  *Saturday, May 26:  Marine Critters Trawl Sail 1:30p-4:00p - Haul in & identify local marine life.

*Saturday, May 26:  Evening Sail  5:00p-7:30p

Sunday, May 27:  Lighthouse Cruise  12:00-6:00pm - Learn about the Bay's lighthouses; sail past as many as wind and tides allow. Bring a camera!
Monday, May 28:  Memorial Day Birding Sail 8:00a-12:00p - Enjoy complimentary breakfast, as experts help spot and identify local birds and other wildlife. Spotting scopes and field guides will be available. Bring your cameras and binoculars!
Monday, May 28:  Memorial Day Staycation Special Sail  1:00-2:30pm  (Discounted prices!)

The Bayshore Discovery Project is a non-profit organization whose mission is to motivate people to take care of the history, the culture and the environment of New Jersey's Bayshore region through education, preservation and example. BDP operates the authentically restored 1928 oyster schooner A.J. MEERWALD, New Jersey's official Tall Ship, as a hands-on sailing classroom throughout the region; and offers shore-based programs and events in her home port of Bivalve on the scenic Maurice River in Cumberland County.