Parks and Local Attractions
New Jersey has hundreds of thousands of acres dedicated to parks and green spaces. The state oversees 39 state parks, 11 forests, and 57 historic sites. These locations provide visitors and New Jersey residents alike many great opporunities to enjoy all that nature has to offer.
The Appalachian Mountains stretch across the eastern seaboard from Maine to Georgia. The Appalachian Trail, opened in 1937, is a 2174-mile footpath. It follows major valleys of the mountains and up along the ridge crests. The trail attracts many hikers, some even hike the entire tail in one season. Each year more than 4,000 volunteers give over 185000 hours of time and effort to keep the trail open.
The Liberty State Park is on the New York Harbor. The waterfront was a major industrial area, with a very detailed freight and passenger network in the 1800's and early 1900's. The Park also features the historic Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal that includes a two-mile promenade. It attracts over four million visitors a year. The park has also aided in the development of New Jersey's metropolitan area. Transforming old railroads and industial buildings into this park in 1976 has definitely been a positive thing for this area.
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This beautifully preserved area encompasses nearly 70,000 acres of scenic features. Stretching the New Jersey and Pennsylvania shores to the Appalachian Mountains and providing an amazing view of the Delaware Water Gap. There are tours, cross country skiing, horseback riding and more. It is a great place to go and enjoy the great and picturesque outdoors.
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This historic site is part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. It features a museum that is dedicated to the importance of the island for a trip through American history as well as the infamous Statue of Liberty. The museum provides a documentary film on a continuous basis as well as a research library that contains materials of the history of the island and the events occurred there. Officially closing in 1954 and becoming part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument in 1965. Come here and see the sights like they were all those years ago.
General George Washington used this site during the Revolutionary war in the late 1700's for shelter. This national parks consists of four units: Washington's Headquaters with the Ford Mansion and Museum, the Jockey Hollow Unit, the Fort Nonsense Unit, and the New Jersey Brigade Area. The Jockey Hollow Unit includes reconstructed solder huts and about 27 miles of walking trails. The Washington's Headquarters Museum is undergoing a major expansion project that is scheduled to be reopened in 2007. The Fort Mansion Unit was used by Washington; the whole site is a very important part of U.S. history.
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The Pinelands is a special place that provides a habitat for over a thousand different plants and animals, including about 100 of which are threatened or endangered. As a United States Biosphere, this national reserve also provides a research program that integrates the social, physical and biological sciences so that it can promote a harmonious relationship between humans and their environment. They are promoting growth and looking for more room to expand.
The Sandy Hook Park includes 1665 acres and seven miles of ocean and bay beaches and offers tours, hiking and natural areas. The Sandy Hook Lighthouse, which is the oldest in service in the U.S., is also a big part of Sandy Hook Park and has a unique style. The historic Fort Hancock, which was originally built to protect New York Harbor, defended the harbor from 1895 until 1974. The large sandbar also used to provide a useful docking station for ships in the past. Its an isolated area with many old buildings to explore. There is much to see here, so plan a day trip.
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The famous Jersey Shore runs along the New Jersey coastline, imagine 127 miles of white sandy beaches. Here visitors can enjoy water activities, sand sculpting, and even nature walks in the protected wetlands. There is so much to see no matter what the weather is like. Amusement parks, aquariums, antiques, train stops, galleries, raceways, cruises, zoos...the list goes on and on. Walk along the boardwalk and see the sights.
Manasquan includes pristine beaches and many great activities for family outings. The historic site was first settled in the late 1600's. The weather is ideal almost all year round, which makes this location the perfect destination any time of the year. There are rental cottages, sports, and a little town nearby for shopping and eating. There is even a museum to explore the location's history. The town prides itself on its high moral standards and excellent community.
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New Jersey growers have been producing award-winning wines for over 200 years. Two growers were recognized in 1767 by London's Royal Society of the Arts for the quality of wine they produced. The state has nearly 20 wineries that offer tours, wine tasting, festivals, concerts, shows, grape-crushing parties, and many other events throughout the year. New Jersey's wineries produce more than a million gallons of wine each year, including over 40 varieties of wines. Overall the state is the fifth in production in the nation. The Garden State Wine Growers Association also encourages visitors to go on "wine trails"- excursions that take guests to 3 to 6 different wineries.
The Alba Vineyard is located in a historic 1805-converted stone barn. They carry 18 varieties of wines including red, white, and dessert wines. Their wines have been winning medals in national and international competitions since 1984. They hold featured events throughout the year including Mother’s day, Father’s day, Harvest Festivals, and more.
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Established in 1933, the Tomasello Winery has had plenty of time to perfect their winemaking skills. The sandy loam soil in which their grapes vines grow benefits the acidity of the wine. With over 30 varieties of wine, Tomasello Winery is sure to have a wine that appeals to your palate. Offering a “Wine Lovers Club” and hosting six Gala events a year (as well as hosting wedding receptions), the Tomasello Winery has earned recognition from publications such as the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer and Parker's Wine Buyer's guide.
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Established in 1988, this family owned and operated winery produces reds, whites, blushes and fruit wines. The wines are range in price from inexpensive to moderately priced, and Frequent Case Buyer's club is available for true aficionados. Events held at the Cream Ridge winery range from music festivals to charity benefits.
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This historic location, dating back to 1774, has gone through many stages and is now a well-known winery. The first grape seeds were planted in 2000. Westfall Winery is a unique winery, offering free wine tasting as well as barrel tasting of wines not yet released. Not only does Westfall Winery offer winemaking classes, they also hold events throughout the year.
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The New Jersey Nets were one of the original members of the American Basketball Association when they took the floor in 1967. The team soared in those early years with the magic of basketball legend Julius "Dr. J." Erving. Upon entry into the NBA, the team became a bottom dweller for many years. The late 80's and early 90's saw the team's return to respectability, culminating in back to back trips to the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003.
The Devils had a rough start, struggling through the years with moving, different coaches, and plenty of losing. They were originally formed in 1974 in Missouri as the Kansas City Scouts, moving to Denver and becoming the Colorado Rockies in 1976. The team finally settled in New Jersey in 1982. After moving to New Jersey, the Devils began to finally build a faithful fan base and enjoy moderate success. Though the team has faced its ups and downs, the Devils have made a name for themselves. They have won three Stanley Cups to date, beginning with their first title in 1995.
Horse racing fans will find the legendary harness race of the Hambletonian Festival at the Meadowlands Racetrack. There are numerous rides, games, and entertainment between races to keep the family entertained. The track is also a popular venue for special events throughout the year. As part of the Meadowlands sports complex, the racetrack is located near Continental Airlines Arena, which houses the two-time Stanley Cup winners - NBA's New Jersey Nets and the National Hockey League's New Jersey Devils. In addition to these, both the New York Giants and New York Jets of the NFL actually play their games at Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands.
Skiing & Water Sports
Locals can appreciate the scenic beauty of the Appalachians while taking a quick ride down the mountain on their skis. Tucked away in a quiet corner of the mountain, Hidden Valley prides itself on being a four-season resort destination. The swim and tennis club is a popular spot in the summer months, and the resort frequently hosts weddings and special events. The mountain itself features 5 lifts serving 12 trails, as well as a Snow Tubing park and Terrain Park.
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Mountain Creek offers diverse snow sports activities for people of all skill levels. For beginners, an extensive snow sports school will get provide a great start. Mountain Creek offers fine lodging, dining, shopping, and nightlife. During the off-season, Mountain Creek also provides other outdoor activities in the Water Park, golf, the zoo, and much more. When the weather is right, canoeing, kayaking and water skiing are popular. The nearby Mountain Creek Water Park offers up aquatic fun, and Diablo Freeride Park is popular mountain biking terrain in the warmer months.
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