by Laura Kiniry
The greater New Jersey area is filled with American and cultural history, with everything from Revolutionary War sites to the labs of legendary inventors easily accessible on one tank of gas or less. Here are some historic homes, museums, and military sites in northern New Jersey that'll have you singing the praises of the Garden State. The best part? You can get to all these destinations on one tank of gas (or less).
30 Washington Pl.
Morristown, NJ 07960
(973) 539-2016 ext. 210
here that General George Washington and his men spent a brutally cold
six months beginning in December 1779. The headquarters and museum
features several interesting galleries, “including the Military
Gallery,” Park Ranger Kim Watts said. “Although not yet
complete, it is open to the public.” The park also features the Ford Mansion,
where Washington lived.
Do: Take a guided tour of the 18th
century, Georgian-styled Ford Mansion, then swing by the American
Style Gallery to see painter Gilbert Stuart's iconic though
unfinished Washington portrait—the same one that appears on the
Tip: Just an eight-minute drive from the headquarters, Fort Nonsense (which is
also part of Morristown National Historical Park) offers Morristown's
best views. On a clear day you can see all the way to NYC.
The Fine Print: The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Tours of the Ford Mansion take place six times daily on the hour, beginning at 10 a.m. (no tours at noon). Entry fee for both is $4.00 for adults 16 and up; cash or check only. Kids get in free.
6 Normandy Heights Rd.
Go? What began as a collection
of curios has morphed into one of the Tri-state area's most diverse
museums, with nearly 50,000 historic, cultural, and scientific
objects that include vintage costumes, dinosaur skeletons, rocks &
minerals, American Indian artifacts and more.
Do: Don't miss the museum's permanent exhibit, Musical
Machines & Living Dolls: Mechanical Musical Instruments and
Automata from the Murtogh D. Guinness Collection.
Both interactive and highly original, it features more than 150
automated musical instruments ranging from player piano rolls to
one-of-a-kind cylinder music boxes. Daily demos take place at 2 p.m.,
there are definitely things to keep adults occupied, Yelper Hank C.
said most of the museum's exhibits are actually meant to “impress
kids” ages 3-8. The
second and third Thursdays of every month from 5 to 8 p.m. are "pay
as you wish."
Open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday; closed Monday and major
holidays. Adults $10; seniors and children 3-12 $7; children under 3
211 Main St.
West Orange NJ
Go? The park encompasses both Thomas Edison's industrial research
laboratory—where the inventor worked until his death in
1931—as well as Glenmont, his 29- room Queen Anne-style mansion. History buffs will be happy to find the largest single body of
Edison-related material in existence, including an
exact replica of Edison’s Black Maria—the world’s first motion
the cell phone tour!” said one Foursquare user, while another recommends catching Edison's 1903 silent film
Great Train Robbery
in the laboratory complex.
museum now boasts two floors of Edison's main laboratory that were
previously off-limits to visitors. Another thing to note: in order to
visit Glenmont you must first stop at the visitor center at the
Laboratory Complex (211 Main St.), where you pick up a car pass
laboratory is open Wednesday through Sunday 10:00
a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Glenmont is open from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through
Sunday, with house tours offered noon through 3 p.m. The overall entry fee for both is $7.00.
58 Macgruder Rd.
Go? “Fort Hancock is
such an important military installation because it's been active
through every major war in American history,” said Daphne Yun, spokesperson for Gateway National
Recreation. “It wasn't deactivated until the
1970s.” The fort was home to a military artillery testing proving
ground until the early 20th
century, and at one point housed Nike missiles set to intercept Cold
a guided tour (1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily) of the Sandy Hook Lighthouse,
America's oldest continuously operating lighthouse. Kids must be
four feet tall to climb the tower.
Guided tours of the Nike Missile site leave from parking lot L at
Horseshoe Cove on various weekend days throughout the year.
The Fine Print: Fort Hancock and Sandy Hook are open daily 5 a.m. through 8 p.m. Entry is free, but there's a $15 parking fee Memorial Day-Labor Day.