Barnegat Lighthouse State Park


Welcome back to National Parks 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.


Every October the NJ Lighthouse Society runs the Lighthouse Challenge of New Jersey in order to raise funds for the state’s historic lighthouses and maritime sites. This year, we purchased an incomplete commemorative deck of cards at our starting point and then tried to complete the deck by collecting cards at each of the participating locations. There were 13 sites included in the challenge this year and I got to 5 of them on the Saturday of the challenge.


After visiting Absecon in Atlantic City and then Tuckerton Seaport, I headed out to the northern end of Long Beach Island and Barnegat Lighthouse State Park. This historic lighthouse is a sister to the Cape May and Absecon lights and is similar in design.


In 1835 a 40-foot-tall lighthouse was erected in this spot, but its small stature and non-flashing light was inadequate. In 1859, ‘Old Barney’ replaced this older light, which had fallen into the sea.


Jetties have been built around the lighthouse to prevent the further erosion of the island. There were several people fishing from the jetty when I was there.


When completed, Barnegat Light stood 172 feet above sea level, four times taller than the original. The new light was a first-order flashing Fresnel lens.


The light became obsolete and was deactivated  in January 1944 and given to the State of New Jersey. The Friends of Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, a local non-profit organization, campaigned to reactivate the lighthouse.


A new, more modern light was installed and was lit on Barnegat Light’s 150th anniversary in 2009. It now shines daily from dusk until dawn. The original Fresnel lens is on display at the Barnegat Light museum around the corner.


After going to the adjacent visitor center, I climbed the 217 steps to the top of the lighthouse and was treated to spectacular views of nearby Island Beach State Park and the more commercial Long Beach Island.


Lighthouse Challenge and related posts:


Location: 208 Broadway, Barnegat Light, NJ 08006

Designation: State Park, NRHP

Date designated or established: 1957 (State Park), 1/25/1971 (NRHP)

Date of my visit: 10/20/2018

Top 10 Posts of 2018


Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! As 2018 draws to a close, I’d like to do a year-in-review post. It’s been a great inaugural year here on the blog, with 113 posts, over 5000 visitors and over 600 people following along on the journey. I am grateful for and humbled by your support.

Here are the top ten most popular posts from 2018 (you can click on each title to go to the original post):

10: Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Clingman’s Dome (Tennessee/North Carolina)DSC05739

9: Montezuma Castle National Monument (Arizona)IMG_5657

8: Muir Woods National Monument (California)F-_2012_2012-08-11-San-Francisco_DSC02511

7: Crater Lake National Park – Garfield Peak (Oregon)Day7-IMG_6122

6: Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)DSCN0953

5: Flathead National Forest – Whitefish Mountain (Montana)IMG_1677

4: Acadia National Park – Loop Road Highlights (Maine)IMG_1355

3: Acadia National Park – Jordan Pond and the Bubbles (Maine)2007_0527(009)

2: Glacier National Park – Running Eagle Falls (Montana)IMG_1792

And the most popular post of 2018….Capitol Reef National Park – Cathedral Valley (Utah)IMG_8712

Happy New Year everyone and here’s to happy exploring ahead for 2019!

NJ Pinelands National Reserve: Batsto Village


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.


Merry Christmas to all who celebrate! In the spirit of the day, I thought I’d put up a post with some wintry photos. Enjoy the day!


The NJ Pinelands encompasses a large portion of southern New Jersey and was the nation’s first National Reserve, declared by Congress in 1978. The Pinelands are an affiliated unit of the National Park Service and so the protected areas within are administered by other agencies.


Historic Batsto Village is managed by Wharton State Forest. There is a visitor center in the village with souvenirs, NPS literature and information. We signed up here for a $3 guided tour of Batsto Mansion with a docent.


The village grew up around an iron works in the 1760s and provided artillery for the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. As the need for iron wares diminished, the village turned to glass-making.


The State of NJ started buying the historic structures in the 1950s and the last residents were gone by the late eighties. Today, Batsto is a museum village with about 40 restored buildings, including the central mansion. Entrance to the mansion is by guided tour only.


The mansion was renovated by Joseph Wharton in the late 1800s to its current design. It has 32 rooms and many of the furnishings are intact. We were not allowed to take photos inside. We did enjoy the tour of the mansion, but it was too cold to explore any of the other buildings in the village.

Location: Batsto Rd, Batsto, NJ 08037

Designation: National Reserve, State Park, NRHP

Date designated or established: 1978

Date of my visit: 1/31/2016


Duke Farms


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.


In 2014, I attended an Instameet at Duke Farms, then a newly reorganized park open to the public. The history of the estate is an interesting one. The 2700 acres was purchased and developed in the late 1800s by James Buchanan Duke,  who founded the American Tobacco Company.


After Duke’s death in 1925, his 12-year-old daughter, Doris Duke sued her mother for the estate and took ownership of it by the age of 15. She further developed the property using sustainable farming practices and then designed a botanical garden that was opened to the public in 1964.


After her death in 1993, Doris Duke’s charitable foundation closed the gardens, demolished them and then renovated the estate to be a modern example of environmental stewardship. Non-native, invasive plant species were removed and the energy efficiency of the greenhouses was improved.


The mansion that Doris Duke lived in was torn down and a visitor center placed in the Farm Barn. There are extensive paved paths where you can bicycle or stroll past the network of man-made lakes and landscapes originally created by James Duke.


A curiosity is the maze-like foundation for a mansion that was never built. Speculation has it that James Duke chose not to complete that project because of the dissolution of The American Tobacco Company under anti-monopoly laws.


The estate is noted for being home to four of New Jersey’s ten oldest trees as well as two champion trees (the largest living of their species in the United States.)


An unexpected snow storm began during our visit, so we explored only as long as our frozen extremities would allow.


Location: 1112 Dukes Pkwy W, Hillsborough Township, NJ 08844

Designation: Public Park owned by a charitable foundation

Date designated or established: 1998

Date of my visit: 1/25/2014


Merry Christmas from Ringwood Manor National Historic Landmark District


Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T! Merry Christmas to my followers who celebrate and best wishes to all for a Happy New Year.


Earlier this month, my daughter and I visited Ringwood Manor for the Victorian Christmas Event. The Manor was built in 1807 and then purchased by the Cooper-Hewitt family in 1853. The 51 room mansion was donated to the state by Erskine Hewitt, the last heir of the family’s iron fortune.


In December, the Women’s Club of West Milford decorates the first floor of the mansion and hosts an open house to raise funds for the park. We enjoyed browsing the rooms and I remembered some of the history from my previous visit and guided tour. A more detailed post on this park is coming soon! Happy holidays!

Ringwood State Park posts:
  • Ringwood Manor National Historic Landmark District (Coming Soon)
  • Merry Christmas from Ringwood Manor National Historic Landmark District
  • Victorian Christmas at Ringwood Manor (Coming Soon)
  • Skylands Botanical Gardens (Coming Soon)

Location: 1304 Sloatsburg Rd, Ringwood, NJ 07456

Designation: National Historic Landmark District, State Park

Date designated or established: November 13, 1966

Date of my visit: 12/8/2018


Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Wahweap Overlook & Marina


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.


From the top of Wahweap Overlook, there are panoramic views of Wahweap Bay and the surrounding waters of Lake Powell. There is a signed turnoff on highway 89 about 3 miles North of the dam. Follow the short dirt road, to the parking lot.  There is a shade shelter and a bench.


We stopped at the overlook on our way to dinner at the marina and were lucky enough to see a thunderstorm descending on the far side of Lake Powell. We stayed for a while, trying to capture photos of the lightning strikes and enjoying to cool breeze.


Down at the marina, we had dinner on the roof deck of a restaurant on one of the docks. The restaurant itself was nothing special, but the view made it worth the trip. We watched the sun set and saw a rainbow after the storm passed.


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

Location: 100 Lakeshore Drive, Wahweap Marina

Designation: National Recreation Area

Date designated or established: 10/27/1972

Date of my visit: 8/18/2014



National Historic Landmark: Lyndhurst


Welcome back to National Parks and 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. 


Lyndhurst is a Gothic revival mansion that sits on 67 acre park overlooking the Hudson river. The New York City mayor William Paulding built  Lyndhurst as his retirement home with architect Alexander Davis. Work began on the structure in 1838. It was so ornate and detailed that it took 5 years to complete.


The building was unusual for its time in that it was asymmetrical and featured a lot of ornamental turrets. It has a wood frame structure with a marble facade giving it a castle-like appearance.  The marble for the building was mined at Sing Sing prison in upstate New York.


The second owner, merchant George Merritt engaged the original architect to double the size of the house. The 7000 square foot addition is virtually seamless because it was all Alexander Davis’ vision.


Merritt had Italian-style murals painted on the ceiling of the drawing room near the entrance. There are twelve panels, each panel representing an hour between sunrise and sunset. Merit only spent nine years at Lyndhurst before he passed away.


The estate was then purchased by Jay Gould, a railroad tycoon. Gould lived there from 1880 until his death in 1892. Ownership of Lyndhurst then passed on to each of his children. Anna Gould, the last surviving daughter, donated the estate to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1961. It became a National Landmark in 1966.


My daughter and I signed up for a basic guided tour of the mansion. I was able to get discounted tickets because of my membership in the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Our guide Nathan met us at the carriage house and visitor center. There was a short film shown about the history of Lyndhurst. Then our group walked up to the mansion and toured the rooms on the ground and second floors.


The National Trust has kept one room very simple and faithful to the way it was during the time of William Paulding, the first owner.


The more ornate drawing room just off the foyer is representative of the time of George Merritt, the second owner. The rest of the house is the way it was when the Goulds lived there.


Nathan told us that Jay Gould was the most hated man in America during his time. He was a ruthless business man who caused the financial ruin, and perhaps suicides, of some of his adversaries.


But in his private life, Gould was a family man devoted to his wife and children. He took a yacht down the Hudson River every day to travel to his office in New York City. This was not an easy commute.


He returned home each evening rather than staying in his city apartment so that he could spend time with his family.

Jay Gould’s ‘laptop’: Each day this 100 pound folding desk was locked up and carried to Gould’s boat to accompany him to his office in NYC. He kept all of his records here.


Location: 635 S Broadway, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Designation: National Historic Landmark

Date designated or established: November 13, 1966

Date of my visit: August 24, 2018

There is Tiffany glass-work throughout the mansion. Tiffany was a neighbor of the Goulds.
These elaborate ironwork and marble breakfronts are actually coverings for the radiators.
The high-ceilinged art gallery on the second floor
Madonna of the Roses, hanging in the art gallery
Bedroom of one of the Gould daughters