Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River


Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! Today is National Public Lands Day and this year’s theme is Resilience and Restoration. It is a fee-free day for most parks, so get out and find your park.


The Middle Delaware is a National Park Service unit contained within another NPS unit, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The Wild & Scenic Rivers System was established 50 years ago and protects nearly 13 thousand miles of US rivers. These protected areas are managed by the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Fish & Wildlife Service, and the US Forest Service.


I began my exploration of the Middle Delaware at the Kittatinny Point Visitors Center, right off Route 80 in Columbia, NJ. There, I was able get some pins, look at a map and speak to a ranger about places to go in the park. There is a beach behind the visitors center with a great view of the Delaware Water Gap.


A water gap is formed when water carves a path through a mountain range. In Earth’s ancient history, the North American and African continents collided, creating the Kittatinny Ridge. Streams flowing on one side of the ridge scoured a channel over the course of millions of years and became the Delaware River.


I traveled upriver on Old Mine Road, a narrow road with scary potholes and numerous pull-outs for trailheads and river access. I stopped first at a small pull-out and walked a little way on a level trail that parallels the river. There are some big old trees here.


Next I stopped at Turtle Beach, but didn’t get out because the lot was deserted except for one run down vehicle and I couldn’t see to the river or the road from there. Maybe next time. A little further north, I found Poxono.


Poxono has a boat launch and used to be a Boy Scout camp. There were a few vehicles here, but most of the people were out fishing on the river. I got right down to the water’s edge and had some terrific, unobstructed views of the river.


Location: 85 Mercer Rd, Highlands, NJ 07732

Designation: 40 miles of the Delaware river, Delaware Water Gap, PA to Milford, PA

Date designation declared: 11/10/1978

Date of my visit: 6/3/2018

View downstream of Poxono
Poxono, an island in the middle of the Delaware River.


NRHP: Old Stone House


Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

For the past 8 years, the Northwest Bergen History Coalition  in Bergen County, NJ has been holding a themed History Day. On History Day, several historic sites in the area are open, running tours and stamping passports. This year, the theme was ‘How Immigration & The Railroad Shaped Our Towns’ with 10 sites participating.


The Old Stone House  in Ramsey dates back to the early 1700s. It is actually the Westervelt–Ackerson House, but the highway directional sign as well as the NHRP sign out front refer to it as the Old Stone House. It is a Dutch Colonial farmhouse built from rustic materials including straw and hogs hair.


The Westervelts purchased the land from the Lenape Nation for 50 ounces of silver. After the family moved from the farmhouse, it became a stagecoach stop and then a tavern. It is rumored that Aaron Burr stopped at the tavern for the night before he continued on to the Hermitage to marry Theodosia Prevost.


Today, the Old Stone House is awkwardly situated inside a clover leaf exchange off Route 17. Originally, the State of NJ had purchased the property with the intent to demolish it to build an overpass. But local community groups intervened, saved the home from destruction and now manage it as a museum.


I managed to tour five of the participating sites that day. To see my posts on the other NW Bergen County historic sites, click on the following links:

  1. The Old Stone House (Ramsey)
  2. The Schoolhouse Museum (Ridgewood) – Coming Soon
  3. The Hermitage (Ho-ho-kus) – Coming Soon
  4. The Zabriskie House (Wyckoff) – Coming Soon
  5. The John Fell House (Allendale) – Coming Soon

Location: 2538 Island Road, Ramsey, NJ 07446

Designation: National Register of Historic Places

Date designation declared: 7/20/1977

Date of my visit: 4/28/2018

The docent showing me around the house said this large cabinet probably came with the family when they immigrated from Holland and so could date back to the 1600s.


Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Glen Canyon Dam


Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

Having taken a morning raft tour of the Colorado River, we chose to explore the Glen Canyon Dam after lunch.
First, we stopped at the Dam Overlook on the east side of the river. If heading from Page to the Carl Hayden Visitors center, the overlook is before you cross the river, tucked behind the Glen Canyon NPS Headquarters. We walked down the short, steep path and stairs to amazing views of the Dam and the Colorado River.

Then we crossed the River and signed up for the next Dam tour. We had to pass through security screening and pay a nominal fee. As a federal power plant facility, security measures are in place. While no bags, purses, knives, weapons (duh!) or food are allowed on the tour, wallets, cameras, and clear water bottles are welcome.


On the tour, we got to walk out on top of the dam with a knowledgeable guide. There are some artifacts on display.


The tour took us from the top of the dam, and down into it to see the workings of the power plant.


The Dam was completed in 1966 and forms Lake Powell. Though touted as a vital source of renewable energy and regulated water flow, environmental groups criticized its impact on the Grand Canyon’s ecosystem. Because of the controversy, it was one of the last dams of its size to be built in the USA.


To see my other Glen Canyon National Recreation Area posts, please click on the links:


Location: Hwy 89, Page, AZ

Designation: National Recreation Area

Date designation declared: 10/27/1972

Date of my visit: 8/18/2014

The water level was pretty low when we visited. Our guide said this was the result of over a decade of severe drought.

Liberty State Park: Empty Sky


Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! This is a special post in remembrance of the victims of the 9-11 terror attacks.


Empty Sky is New Jersey’s State Memorial to its victims of the September 11th attacks. It is in Liberty State Park on the waterfront, directly across from the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. If you stand in the center of the western end, the empty sky framed by the walls of the memorial are where the Twin Towers once stood.


The walls are meant to symbolize the towers laying on their sides and are inscribed with the names of New Jersey’s 746 victims. The memorial was completed and dedicated on the eve of the tenth anniversary of 9-11.


I have visited this place many times since April of 2014, and taken better quality photos than these. But the first one from that day, of my daughter alone in the memorial reaching out to touch the names, best conveys to me the sadness that I feel when I stand here.

May the departed rest in peace and may their children go on to make the world a better place.

Location: 1 Audrey Zapp Dr, Jersey City, NJ 07305

Designation: State Memorial

Date designation declared: 9/10/2011

Date of my visit: 4/26/2014



Morristown National Historical Park: Ford Mansion


Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.


The Ford Mansion in Morristown National Historical Park was built by Jacob Ford, Jr. in 1774. The home is considered a mansion because of its grand hall, formal parlor and palladian windows. These were meant to showcase the Fords’  wealth which was earned in the family’s iron forge business.


Ford served in the militia, but died of pneumonia in 1777. His wife, Theodosia, took ownership of the house and kept the family businesses running…unusual for a woman in those days. She rented the house to Continental Army soldiers and weathered a smallpox outbreak as a result.


George Washington arrived  in 1779 and paid to rent the Ford Mansion. He, his wife, aides and servants moved in while his army camped nearby in Jockey Hollow.


Theodosia and her children lived in two downstairs rooms of the house while Washington was in residence.


The location was ideal for Washington and his troops as it was midway between Manhattan (capital for the British Army) and Philadelphia (the American capital.)


The Ford businesses also provided critical resources for Washington’s army. Washington used the Ford Mansion as his headquarters until June of 1780.


You must take a ranger-guided tour in order to see the inside of the house.


Tickets for the tour are first come, first served and can be purchased at the Washington’s Headquarters museum, Wednesdays through Sundays in the Spring and Summer.


I took the tour with a friend in the beginning of the season and it was actually pretty full.


Location: 30 Washington Place, Morristown, NJ 07960

Designation: National Historical Park

Date designation declared: 3/2/1933

Date of my visit: April 2016


Glacier National Park: Rising Sun


Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.


The 50 mile Going to the Sun Road first opened to traffic in Glacier National Park in 1933 and remains a key attraction in the park today. Prior to its opening, visitors came by train and stayed in the lodges built by the Great Northern Railway to capitalize on park tourism. To accommodate the new auto-touring crowd, the company built the East Glacier Auto Camp in 1941. It was later re-named Rising Sun.


During our stay in Glacier National Park, we explored Going to the Sun several times, stopping frequently to see the sights along the way. On our first trip down Going to the Sun Road, we began at the East entrance in St. Mary (scroll down to the end for the video clip.) We parked in the Rising Sun lot.


The exhibit in front of the motel describes Rising Sun as the place “where the mountains meet the prairie.” In addition to the motel, there are log cabins, a campground and a general store. Rose Creek flows through the complex to St. Mary Lake, with the mountain-prairie convergence allowing diverse wildlife to thrive here.


After exploring the area, we boarded the Red Bus for the Eastern Alpine tour. This tour travels Going to the Sun Road from St. Mary to Logan Pass. This fleet of White Motor Company buses have been  touring Going to the Sun Road since the 1930s, with restoration and mechanical updates donated by Ford.


Our driver and guide, Laura, is a school bus driver during the school year and it’s apparent she enjoys her summer job as a Red Bus ‘Jammer.’ When she pulled up at Rising Sun to pick us up, she hopped out and rolled back the canvas top so that we could ‘Prairie Dog’ at stops where we couldn’t get out. And off we went for our morning’s adventure!


When we returned to Rising Sun around Noon, we stopped in for lunch at Two Dog Flats Grill. I didn’t have high hopes for a park eatery in a motor lodge, but our meal was surprisingly good. It is a simple, standard American menu with a few twists, and the food is well-prepared.


We had the huckleberry pulled pork, fruit salad, build-your-own burgers and the best fries we had the entire trip.


To see all of my Going to the Sun Posts, please click the following links:

  • Rising Sun
  • Wild Goose Island and Jackson Glacier Overlook (Coming Soon)
  • Logan Pass (Coming Soon)
  • Going To The Sun Road (Coming Soon)
  • St. Mary Lake (Coming Soon)
  • St. Mary Falls (Coming Soon)

Location: Going-to-the-Sun Road, East Glacier Park, MT 59434, USA

Designation: National Park, NRHP

Date designation declared: 5/11/1910, Lodge added to NRHP in 1996

Date of my visit: 6/24/2018


Fort Sumter National Monument


Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

Fort Sumter was built after the war of 1812 to protect Charleston Harbor. The construction began in 1829 but wasn’t yet finished when South Carolina seceded from the union in December of 1860. In April of 1861, Confederate forces fired on the Union soldiers occupying the fort, forcing their surrender in the first battle of the American Civil War.


The fort is on a man-made island in the middle of the harbor and so is only accessible by boat.  The NPS concessionaire offers a few 2.5 hour tours a day. It takes about 30 minutes each way to get there, leaving a little more than an hour to explore the fort and the museum housed there.


We were staying with cousins in their beach house nearby, so we decided to make the trip into Charleston to visit the fort. We arrived at the visitors center just in time to pick up our reserved tickets for the last tour and rushed onto the boat. We enjoyed the ride out to the island.


Once there, we perused the museum and helped the kids fill out their junior ranger booklets. They had more fun climbing on the cannons than anything else.


Once back in Charleston, we went inside the visitors center again for the swearing-in of our junior rangers. There are more museum exhibits in this facility, but the kids were done with history lessons for the day.


There is another fort, Fort Moultrie, which is a part of the Fort Sumter National Monument. It is older, dating back to the Revolutionary War, and is located on Sullivan Island. This island can be reached by car, but since we’d spent a full afternoon immersed in Civil War history, we did not visit this part of the park. Maybe next time 🙂


Location: 340 Concord Street, Liberty Square, Charleston, South Carolina

Designation: National Monument

Date designation declared: 4/28/1948

Date of my visit: April 2, 2010