The Pine Barrens in NJ are full of ghost towns, fascinating historic sites, and cranberry bogs. So many times, it's hard to take a break from the rat race and just explore an interesting swath of the country -- but I finally got to take a little time.
Various industries flourished in the late 1800s along the stage coach route between Philly and the Jersey Shore, and then dried up. With no sprawling developments to replace them, many original structures are still standing, and people who live there have an old-fashioned way of life.
"The Pine Barrens" by John McPhee and "Forgotten Towns of Southern New Jersey" by Henry Charlton Beck are inspiring reads about the area's legends.
Chatsworth is a good place to start. According to a newspaper article: "The village of Chatsworth in Woodland Township, Burlington County, is a clearing in the million-acre Pine Barrens. Most of its residents (official best guess is less than 500) live on First, Second and Third Streets. There is no Fourth Street. But somehow, this tiny hamlet wins big praise. National Geographic's Adventure Magazine last year declared it to be one of America's best small towns, impressed with the "swamp-edged streams, stands of pine and cedar [and] tracts of cranberries...Add to that the face that little seems to change around here."
Hope you enjoy my photos! (Click on them to see them better.) Feel free to leave a comment.
|Part of an abandoned farm on the way down|
|Two of New Jersey's money-making industries in one sign ;)|
|Marilyn is a writer and the current proprietor of the store. She bought the place 15 years ago.|
|Cranberry farm in Speedwell, NJ (no, I hadn't heard of it either)|
|Several farms had signs up saying they farmed for Ocean Spray.|
|Random cranberries are occasionally seen on the ground|
|"Green Bank Inn Live Music"|
Other random sites...
|This strange drawbridge seemed to come out of nowhere.|
|My photo-taking skills need work. This stand sells rabbits|
and asks people to leave money in a cup. I'll have to retake this in focus sometime!
|What do these three things have in common?|
|Oh, things you can shoot if you're in the gun club!|
|Is South Jersey in the South? (there's a Jersey Devil sticker in the upper left too)|
|What a great commute to church! Roll out of bed and you're there.|
It takes away your excuse, though.
|Ah, but ain't that America, for you and me. |
Ain't that America. Home of the free. Ain't that America.
something to see...little mint houses for you and me!
I hope you enjoyed this little trip through old New Jersey.