Fall in New Jersey has always been a great time to be in the area. The leaves begin to change and the crisp fall air just begs you to get outside. Over the years, the Mr. Local History Project has researched the history of four fantastic places where you can take in the fall air and have a great walk. Oh and you can learn some great history to boot!
The four places that scream out for your attendance are all within an hour to most New Jersey residents. Fresh air, great foliage, and a beautiful walk all welcome you to get out there and experience the beauty of fall in New Jersey. And you can bring your dogs to three of the four as well.
Our day trips start in Somerset County at the historic Natirar Estate and County Park in Gladstone, New Jersey. Then we venture north to Waterloo Village in Stanhope, and High Point State Park in Sussex, New Jersey. Finally we conclude not in New Jersey but in the lower Hudson Valley at the 150 year old historic Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York.
Before you go, check out this great fall foliage map and pick your target travel date – Click Here to Open Map in New Window
Natirar Estate and County Park – Peapack/Gladstone, New Jersey
Tucked in the the Somerset Hills of northern Somerset County, New Jersey, the Somerset County Parks Commission bought the 491-acre estate in 2003 for $22 million with the intent to preserve this crown jewel as open space where it now serves as a public park including businesses in the preserved estate. Natirar is really two separate entities owned by Somerset County. The first is the park system managed by the Somerset County Parks Commission. The other is a 90 acre section that’s not under the green acres funding is a leased partnership with Pendry Hotels. Pendry is of the most bespoke hotel management companies in the country.
Natirar ( Raritan spelled backwards) is a two part journey. First walk the cinder trail below the estate and the grassy footpath beyond the Raritan River. Then hop back in the car and drive up to 90 acres, a beautiful 4 star restaurant and a hotel, cottages, and the historic former Kate Macy Ladd estate.
For Directions – Click Here
Waterloo Village – Stanhope/Bryam, New Jersey
Just off the highway on the border of Sussex and Morris County in New Jersey in a quiet rural community lies a quiet historic village of a time long gone. The Mr. Local History Project took a day trip and visit the historic Waterloo Village in Byram, New Jersey.
Twenty original buildings dating from 1760 to the 1860’s – homes, barns, workshops, a mill, a church, a country store, an inn have been preserved. Fourteen of these have been restored, furnished with antiques and opened to the public. Three more are presently under restoration.
For directions – Click Here
High Point State Park – Sussex, New Jersey
High Point in Sussex, New Jersey is the summit of the Kittatinny Ridge, rises 1,803 feet above sea level — the highest elevation in the state of New Jersey. Kittatinny Ridge is the product of continental collisions that crumpled the earth’s crust, the grinding force of mile-high ice sheets, and centuries of erosion that washed soil and rock into the valleys. The result is a mountain with unrivaled views of three states and a scenic landscape where uncommon plants take root, animals find refuge, and people come to sightsee, play and relax.
The land for High Point State Park, donated by Colonel Anthony R. and Susie Dryden Kuser (Bernardsville, New Jersey), was dedicated as a park in 1923. The pleasant landscaping was designed by the Olmsted Brothers of Boston, a prominent landscape architectural firm of that time. The brothers were the sons of the eminent Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed Central Park and was also from Bernardsville, New Jersey.
Atop the mountain’s summit is the High Point Monument, dedicated to New Jersey’s veterans. This monument and the more than 16,000 acres that comprised High Point State Park were the generous gifts of Anthony and Susie Dryden Kuser in 1923. Beginning in the mid-1800s, people have been refining High Point’s already-inviting natural landscape – building roads and trails, beaches and picnic grounds, concession areas and campgrounds – all planned to enhance both the natural beauty of the landscape and to make the park more enjoyable for visitors.
For Directions – Click Here
Mohonk Mountain House – New Paltz, New York
Happy Birthday Mohonk Mountain House, who celebrated 150 years of their wonderful history tucked in the Catskill Mountains just a short drive from New Jersey. As the video below starts off, the speaker talks about the beauty and nature and the serenity of this beautiful historic gem in the lower Hudson Valley. Read more below about the history and what you can do on a day trip to Mohonk Mountain House. And if you visit in the fall, you are treated to one of Mother Nature’s greatest gifts.
Founded by the Smiley Family in 1869, the Victorian castle resort is nestled in the Hudson Valley on top of a mountain, bordering the crystal waters of Lake Mohonk and surrounded by 40,000 acres of pristine forest. Located only 90 miles north of New York City. MLH posted a great story about the history below.
For Directions – Click Here
History/ Background Stories
Please feel free to post a comment on your favorite Jersey foliage day trip below. Better yet, take one of these trips and let us know if you agree that these are 4 great fall day trips.