Fairy Trail

Fairy Trail

The Rahway Fairy Trail is located at 197 Glen Ave. Millburn, NJ 07041 in South Mountain Reservation,  across from the Millburn Public Library.  Take a walk along the trail and open up your imagination to see the tiny fairy homes. You will find the fairy homes hidden between the trees and along the path. The houses are made of twigs, moss, seashells and other items to make their fairy home cozy. I suggest you wear comfortable shoes and bring bug spray. You will enjoy this trail young or old. Enjoy your visit and be sure not to disturb their homes. During your visit or on another day you can walk through the Rahway River Loop and pass Hemlock Falls and Maple Falls Cascades.

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Waterloo Village

Waterloo Village is located on Waterloo Rd. in Stanhope, NJ 07874. Opening hours are 6:00 am- 6:00 pm. Being new to the area I was curious to take a visit to this abandoned village. My first trip to this 19th century beauty was during a peaceful walk during the winter afternoon. I enjoyed looking at the homes and walking along the Morris Canal. With the snow covered trees it looked like a winter wonderland. Waterloo Village was a small town that serviced the Morris Canal through the Hudson River to the Delaware River. Waterloo Village had a general store, an inn, church, and a blacksmith shop. There are many events held here throughout the year including private events and even weddings. There’s a walking trail throughout the village and it’s free to the public except when events are held. I couldn’t wait until the spring to come back and visit the grounds. It was just as beautiful with the trees and flowers full bloom around the property. Check online for events that take place during the year. Take a step back into time and enjoy your visit.

http://www.friendsofwaterloovillage.com/

Smith Store

The Sterling Hill Mining Museum

The Sterling Hill Mining Museum is located at 30 Plant St., Ogdensburg, NJ 07439. It was an educational tour that showed us how mining was done and the dangers the miners took each day when they came into work. I was simply amazed at all the artifacts around the museum. It’s best to arrive early before your tour times. We started our visit at the Rock Discovery Center where the children and myself  searched and collected coal, slate, marble, and basalt. We walked the grounds to discover all the mining equipment. We saw a huge stamp mill, compressors, track drills and steel used to mine. The Zobel Exhibit Hall used to be the Change House where miners would come to change their clothes. There are many things on display from meteorites, artwork, crystals, stones and fossils. They have a scavenger hunt while your’e touring Zobel Hall,  so be sure to check off all your items during the visit.

It was time for our two hour tour of the Underground Mine. The mine stays at a temperature of 56° so bring a jacket. We walked through the tunnels and saw the lamp room, shaft station and mine gallery. The best part of the tour was traveling through the Rainbow Tunnel of fluorescent zinc ore. Under ultraviolet light the walls and the minerals glow. The mine is opened to the public and also for private events. Sterling Hill Mine opens from 10 am-3 pm. Please call or check the site for tour times. There are prices for the tour or other activities on the grounds I suggest visiting their site to plan your day.

http://sterlinghillminingmuseum.org

The Garden State

During the summer of 2017, I wanted to get out and practice more of my nature photography. I went to the search engine and typed: Gardens in New Jersey. There were many to choose from. To my surprise, there was a garden less than ten minutes from my job. My first visit was to  Greenwood Gardens for a photography class. I planned a few family day trips to the Grounds for Sculpture, Freeman Gardens and Frelinghuysen  Arboretum.  After our visit to the lovely gardens we were hooked and couldn’t wait to visit them again! These were truly secret gardens I discovered in New Jersey. Before visiting the following gardens always check their website and Groupon for any special rates for entry.  Be sure to check the rules, opening and closing times, bring water and wear sunblock. The following gardens hold workshops, private and public events,so be sure to check the website before your visit. There are fun things to do for all ages.

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Greenwood Gardens is located at 274 Old Short Hills Rd., Short Hills, NJ 07078. The garden is surrounded by South Mountain Reservation. During my trip, I saw well-preserved  stone sculptures, amazing architecture, beautiful flowers and chipmunks running through the grounds. The weather was perfect during my visit and I was able to capture great photos from my photography class. Greenwood Gardens is truly a hidden gem that you should experience. You can visit the gardens by train or car. The Garden open Sunday- Wednesday 10:00 am -5:00 pm during rain or shine, but will close during strong storms.  Admission for Adults $10, 65+ and Students with ID $5, and Children under 12 are free. Greenwood Garden allow amateur photography (nonprofessional ) to take pictures with cell phones or pocket-size cameras. There are many events and tours held at the garden, take a step back into time and enjoy your visit.

http://greenwoodgardens.org/

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Frelinghuysen Arboretum is located at 353 Hanover Ave., Morristown, NJ 07960. The Arboretum is opened daily from 8:00 am to dusk and free of charge to the public. We went during Cherry Blossom season and the trees were filled with beautiful pink blossoms. The tulips were full-bloomed with colors of red, yellow, orange and white that filled the charming landscape. Frelinghuysen Arboretum offer many different plant life around the grounds. There are different trails for hiking and biking. The Arboretum offer several programs for all ages, check the website and enjoy your visit.

https://www.arboretumfriends.org

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Freeman Gardens is located at 644 Hawthorne Ave. Glen Ridge, NJ 07028. The garden is a great place to view the roses or relax to take in the many species of birds and plants. I was honored to witness the wedding of my brother and sister in law. If your looking to hold a small intimate outdoor event Freeman Garden is a perfect place. The entry for the Garden is free. To hold a private event you will need to call for further information.

 

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The Grounds for Sculpture is located at 181 Fairgrounds Rd., Hamilton. NJ 08619. We spent two hours during my visit and still missed many sculptures. This is definitely a day trip where you can spend hours looking at the amazing sculptures. There are over 270 sculptures on 42 acres. This is truly a garden with many wild flowers and trees with gigantic artwork surrounding them. You don’t need to leave the grounds to go and eat,  Rat’s Restaurant offer many different variety of food on the menu. We enjoyed the beautiful peacocks that roamed around unbothered by the guests. Tickets are required, so reserve a slot online in advance. Tickets are timed, please visit the site for further information. Admission price for Adults $18 and kids under 5 are free. As always check their website or Groupon for any discounts or become a member. Once you come here, you will be back. Wear comfortable shoes and prepare to be amazed at the wonderful art, you will spend a few hours here and still may not see all the sculptures. Events are held her regularly with new exhibits, check the website before you go! Enjoy.

http://www.groundsforsculpture.org

Turtle Back Zoo

Turtle Back Zoo has changed over the years with new attractions being added each year. You can spend the day here having fun meeting the animals, taking the zoo train around South Mountain Reservation and visiting the zoo aquarium. The Zoo is opened year around with events held each month. We enjoy going to the Holiday Light Spectacular during December. It’s never to hot or cold to visit the zoo there’s always something to do. Turtle Back Zoo is fun for all ages. The new Education Center offer several learning programs for infants and children up to eighth grade. We were excited to see the new giraffes at the African Savanna Exhibit. I suggest bringing water and wearing comfortable shoes during your trip. There’s the Savanna Cafe to get a bite to eat and rest with indoor and outdoor seating.

Turtle Back Zoo is located at: 560 Northfield Ave., West Orange, NJ 07052. You can reach the zoo by car or the #73 New Jersey Transit bus. Admission for toddlers and babies under 2 are free. Children and adult prices range from $12-$15. I found a Groupon one time, so always check to see if there are any deals before your visit. The zoo is opened January-December weather permitting from 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

There are other attractions near the zoo that are just steps away. Looking for a little more excitement and if you’re not afraid of heights visit the Adventure Treetop Course with a zip line. There’s a Mini Golf Safari with a 19-hole golf course. Paddle Boat along the Orange Reservoir in a giant size duck. McLoone’s Boathouse offer lunch, dinner and great drinks if you’re looking for more of an adult day escape. Whatever you decide to do I want you have a great time. Enjoy your visit.

http://turtlebackzoo.com

The Summer Bucket List

My husband and I made a plan to start saving for our dream home. That meant for the next two years we would be putting off our tropical vacations that we took each year and putting money into the bank. With saving money we had to find things to do with little to no cost and that was also fun for the kids.  I went to the search engine and typed things to do near me. The more popular things to do were either North, West or South Jersey. Each way was 45 minutes to a hour for me to drive. I was stuck in the middle and at the time I wasn’t ready to take a road trip no longer than 30 minutes. I’m laughing to myself because I drive all over now and my new bucket list is to drive across the United States. Funny how things change once you start getting out.

I knew there were places in between that I could find, I just had to dig deeper. My passion and hobby has always been nature photography. I love being outside and taking in all the beauty around me. Must be the air sign in me. I heard of waterfalls that were close, gardens filled with amazing flowers and grounds. We even had local museums that I never visited. I lived in New Jersey for 40 years now and didn’t know we had so many historic and charming hidden gems. If you want to get out for a walk, see amazing gardens, go to your local farms for fresh produce, visit a museum or go out for some good food this blog is for you.

I got out of my comfort zone of wanting to stay close and not drive, to looking forward to a new adventure each week. I started taking photos of places that I visited and gave my review. I became a local Google guide and as of now my photos have been viewed over 690,000 times. I’m happy to have added new photos and give a glimpse of the great attractions so others can see the beauty New Jersey have to offer. Please enjoy my blog and visit these great places.

The Traveling Aquarian