Piney Power

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 ;)

Lake Pemberton


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

Route 563

The Green Bank Inn was built in the 1920s and in recent years became
a popular biker bar.  The woman who owned it passed away
only two years ago, but it appears to have already fallen into ruin.
Graffiti on the building tells a story (see below; click to enlarge).

"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. 



Geoffrey Holder, 'Punjab' from Annie, passes away

It's lucky I even remember how to log in here.

Anyway, I got to take a little trip to the "Annie" bridge in Kearny for something I'm writing for the local magazines.  I didn't realize Geoffrey Holder, who stars in that crucial bridge cliffhanger scene, had passed away today.  RIP, Punjab! 

This section of town is full of the wonders of urban decay, incidentally.  I find them beautiful - history before our eyes.  If you like seeing and photographing that stuff, head over to Passaic Avenue.


February snow



There's another storm comin'.  Stay tuned!


All-day snowstorm.


Hoboken in the snow 
Jan. 22, 2014

(and...not snowy, just voyeuristic)