Being one of the original 13 colonies, New Jersey has a vast and very interesting history. However did you know that New Jersey boasts some pretty unique places to visit? Check out our list of the most captivating places in the Garden State.
|1. Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital – Morris Plains
The crumbling ruins of the once largest building in the America has quite a famous history. Out of the thousands of patients that visited the hospital, the most famous was Woody Guthrie, the folk singer. At one point, there were over 7,000 patients checked in even though it was built to house only a few hundred. There have been fierce campaigns to save this historic building but the battle was lost and it is set to be demolished by years end.
|2. The Stone Pony – Asbury Park
In Asbury Park, you will find one of the world’s most famous music venues. This is where Steve Van Zandt from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band got his start. From it’s less than promising opening night where the bar total was $1 to the headliners that play there today, The Stone Pony will go down in the history books for great tunes, drinks and all around an amazing time!
|3. Lucy the Elephant – Margate
Lucy the Elephant stands six stories high a mere two miles south of Atlantic City. She was constructed in 1881 by a local developer to attract tourists to the area to hopefully purchase real estate. For over 125 years, Lucy has stood tall even through Hurricane Sandy, which did damage to the surrounding areas. You can visit her and take a guided tour and learn all about her amazing history.
|4. Watchung Reservation – Union County
The Deserted Village in the Watchung Reservation is a fascinating historic site that is a little off the beaten path. You can visit the village and take tours of the area. Be beware, there are rumors of ghosts here. In 1912, three girls went camping in the nearby woods and the only thing that was recovered was their bonnets. Local lore says the three girls haunt the village to this day.
|5. Ramapo Mountain State Forest – Ramapo
Nestled atop a high mountaintop with views of Ramapo Lake and the surrounding forest, you will find the remains of the Van Slyke Castle. This once grand home was unfortunately burnt down in 1959 by vandals after standing vacant for many years. However, if you take the beautiful hike up, you can see the remains of what was once a grand house.
|6. Sunset Beach- Cape May
Not only will you be able to enjoy one of the best sunsets on the east coast but you get to visit a piece of American history. During World War I, there were ships commissioned that were built out of concrete. One was the S.S. Atlantus. After the war, it was purchased and towed to Cape May to be used as a ferry dock. However, after a severe storm, the ship broke free and ran aground and has been there ever since. You can visit the beach and see parts of the ship. Make sure to visit soon because the ocean has began to claim the ship and it will only be a matter of time before she is gone from view forever.
|7. Towne of Historic Smithville – Galloway
In 1787, the Smithville Inn was constructed and it still stands and is used today as The Smithville Inn. Back in the ‘60s several other historical buildings were brought into what is now Smithville Towne Center. During the first weekend of October, Oktoberfest is held in the center of town. It features 100’s of local artists, jewelers and food vendors.
|8. Grounds for Sculpture – Hamilton
For a magical day trip, visit the Grounds for Sculpture on the former grounds of the New Jersey State Fair. There are over 250 different contemporary sculptures and you should visit each year because 15 new sculptures are added. For an unforgettable dining experience, visit Rat’s Restaurant with fantastic views of the garden while you dine.
|9. Great Falls – Paterson
If you are looking for a majestic day visit the Great Falls on the Passaic River. There is some tremendous history here starting with Alexander Hamilton. He gave birth to the industry era here by using the force of the waterfall for power. Make sure to cross the bridge that spans the waterfalls. You will get to see the once in a lifetime view of the amazing rainbows.
|10. Princeton University – Princeton
Princeton University has a long-standing history of producing some of the best and brightest. However did you know that it was originally founded as The College of New Jersey in Elizabeth? Three of our presidents attended Princeton along with several Pulitzer Prize winners, future astronauts and many more. When you visit, walk the paths of campus as well as checking out the town. There are lots of places to explore and learn in these learned halls.
Have you visited any of these places in our list? Tell us on Facebook!