Saturday, May 2, 2015

History and River Outing Long Valley to Hampton New Jersey

Today's outing with my wife intended to explore Teetertown Ravine. If anyone knows how to get to it or if you know it's no longer available to public access, please comment and let me know. New Jersey Skylands Visitor is the guide to New Jersey Highlands history and access, Bob Koppenhaver an amazingly informed man who has written scads of excellent articles. ( But though the information I gathered on the ravine got us fairly close to it, I'm sure, it remains as yet to be experienced.

First, we stopped at Washington Township Museum in Long Valley. At least I think that's the name. It happens to be open Sundays 2-4, so we plan on a return someday. Just to the right and behind the museum are the ruins of Old Union Church, right there on Fairview Avenue in town. Pastor Muhlenberg, who introduced Lutheranism to America, led the congregation when the church opened in 1794. Considering the enormous institution Lutheranism is today in America, this free-standing rubble is a marvel to stand inside and contemplate.

We drove on looking for Sliker Avenue, stopping at Schooley's Mountain General Store for a 50/50 iced tea and lemon, and water for Sadie, our black lab. We sat at a table outside; I went into the trunk for my camera to get a shot of skunk cabbage, which is about at the stage of growth I'd expect around April 10th.

We never found Sliker Avenue leading to the ravine, nor did my Hagstrom map locate it, though it's on the map, just not there in reality. I doubt a GPS would have helped and I sort of hope to get through life without ever bothering with one of the devices. We pressed on through Penwell and stopped at Changewater, enamored by the river and Warren Railroad Company's Changewater Trestle, dismantled in 1960, year of my birth. This stripped railroad ran between Scranton, PA, and Hampton, NJ, from 1862-1959. Realizing I've never slowed down for Hampton before, we decided to pay the town a visit, first passing very slowly through New Hampton, admiring buildings on the historical register, one or two of them late 18th century.

Hampton hardly hosts any businesses, but the early 20th century homes are adorable. Once known as Hampton Junction, coal provided big business. We wound up in the northern reach of Glen Gardner, stopping at a homemade ice cream shop across Route 31 from the family farm owning the business. We sat outside in 75-degree sun and basked awhile, then headed back north to New Hampton, stopping at Lebanon Township Museum and finding it open, a quilt artist's reception winding down, warm invitations for us to join in and enjoy punch and snacks. Lots of Lenape artifacts, instruction legers from the 19th century, a coca cola trinkets display that's impressive, old schoolhouse desks, antique farming equipment and of course amazing quilts filled this 1825 schoolhouse. The mandala pattern of the blue quilt reminds me of 20th century depth psychologist Carl G. Jung's artwork created as he struggled to come to grips with profound inner experience.

We absorbed the friendly atmosphere and contents of the museum. I felt especially impressed by the down-to-earth frankness of a local farmer and how his ties to the earth obviously seem to give him a very healthy character.

Stopping at Point Mountain and hiking in, we didn't attempt the steep, rocky final climb. Trish wore sneakers, for one thing, but in any case, she's done attempting the likes of that. Ever since she tore meniscus in her right knee, she doesn't want to risk it.

And then we drove back through Long Valley and into Chester Township, stopping to eat dinner at Old Mill Tavern at the Black River.

Old Union Church
The Names of the Buried at Old Union Church 

Schist Boulders Beneath Point Mountain Along Trail

She Seemed Unaffected by Chilly Musconetcong River Water
A Long Valley Farm
South Branch Raritan River Long Valley


  1. Love this stuff. Think this will be a road trip soon.


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