Tuesday, April 26, 2011

South Jersey

I have been living in New Jersey for 26 years and it still amazes me how little I know of the back roads of the Garden State.  The southern part of New Jersey is pretty much flat with the Wharton State Forest in the middle. The park is the largest single tract of land in the state park system of New Jersey, it encompasses approximately 115,000 acres (470 km2) of the Pinelands. Three Sundays ago, my friend Wayne invites me to meet him and a few other riders for breakfast at the Vincent Dinner and then follow him for a ride through the Pinelands.  It was a beautiful day, I didn't have anything to do but my wife would disagree with me on that, and I needed to clear my brain so I left the house around 9 to meet him at 10.

We leave the dinner and head south crossing the park as shown on the map.  I didn't have a chance to take any pictures but I promise I will ride alone through the park one of these days and will take lots of pictures.  Our first stop was at the Batsto Village, a historic site located in Wharton State Forest in the south central Pine Barrens, and a part of the Pinelands National Reserve.  I had no idea the place even existed, so thanks to Wayne for taking me there.

A little history:
In 1766, Charles Read, a well-known ironmaster, built the Batsto Iron Works along the Batsto River on the site of the future village. The area had an abundance of bog ore which could be mined from the area's streams and rivers, and wood from the area's forests was harvested for charcoal for smelting the ore. The rivers, despite their modest drop, were also harnessed for iron making.

In 1773, John Cox bought the Iron Works, which produced cooking pots, kettles, and other household items. Batsto manufactured supplies for the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.

Read more here: Wikipedia

The Batsto Village has over forty structures including the Batsto mansion, a sawmill, a 19th century ore boat, a charcoal kiln, a carriage house and stable, a blacksmith and wheelwright shop.

Back of the Batsto Mansion

The Batsto Mansion

The Post Office is still in operation, and collectors have stamps hand-cancelled, with no zip code.

I walk around the village visiting some of the open buildings and admiring how hard life must have been back then.  No electricity, no TV, no "internet", oh my goodness, what did people do at night?
The corn sheller and corncrib, I don't even know what they mean, where's the supermarket? (sarcastic smile here)

Corncrib housing the corn sheller

Some of the other buildings, all very well maintained.

One last picture before I leave the village, the rest of the group was anxious, this was supposed to be a ride and not a sight seeing tour, but I love to take pictures and share with my fellow national and international readers.

We continue south and make the next stop at the L's Restaurant and J Bones Tavern for a quick lunch.  The Burgers were good and the atmosphere was friendly.  I will be back.

Four Triumphs and a lone Kawasaki Concours
Next we make a stop for gas, the Triumphs have smaller gas tanks than my bike.  I didn't need gas but since there has been talk on the blog-sphere about gas prices I took a picture to show what we were paying on April 3rd.  It has gone way up since then but we still have the cheapest gas in the country.

At this point some of the riders decided to break up and head home, it was left to Wayne and myself to continue the ride in South Jersey.  We head towards Egg Harbor City and make our next stop at the Renault Winery.  I had no idea we had one of the oldest winery in the country, I was amazed that my good friend Wayne knew about it, makes me wonder how he knows these places.

Nearly a century and a half old, Renault Winery is a recognized New Jersey State Historical site and one of the oldest continuously operating wineries in the United States.
The place is also a resort with a couple of restaurants, a golf course and the Tuscany House Hotel.

Click on the picture to be able to read the words
They offer Sunday Brunch, I guess I will have to go back again to taste some of the local wine.  We leave the winery and make the next stop at a small fishing village that seemed abandoned.  I'm not exactly sure where it's located since my route recorder on my Android phone had decided to stop recording.  I should know better to never trust technology, I guess next time I will take notes too.

At this point it was getting late and I had told my mom I would stop by her house.  As we were about to leave I spot the turtle sign on the lonely road leading to the fishing village.  Interesting, how come the turtles only cross the road from May through August? must be another New Jersey mystery just like the Jersey Devil.

I had dinner at my mom's house and then headed home covering a little over 200 miles. So much to see, so little time.


  1. Awesome! I'd love to explore the Batsto Village and surroundings. Wonderful old architecture. Good ride report and pics! I think at every juncture you said you'd have to go back again. Sign of a great ride...leaving you wanting more :)

    btw, any news on the Tenere? 'Tis almost May!

  2. I have learnt a little bit of American History today. Good read George. Now when does that Tenere arrive?

  3. George:

    Batsto is a Gem. Lots of historic stuff there and thank you for the photos, even though you held the group up. I also like to ride and explore, NOT just ride all the time.

    and . . . where is the S10 ? any news yet ?

    Riding the Wet Coast

  4. Kari:
    Thank you. There's lots to see and explore in Batsto, I would like to go back but I want to take my daughter and my wife, maybe I should just get a Ural ;-)
    It seems there's never enough time at any place I go :-(

    Same here, I keep learning about American history everywhere I go too, I always go to Wikipedia for more research, it's amazing how much info it's already on Wikipedia.

    I also like to take my time but when riding in a group one has to respect the group priorities :-( To ride just for the ride is great if you have beautiful scenery all around you but that doesn't happen that often though.

    As far as the Tenere, no word from my dealer yet but some users on the ADV site are saying Yamaha is going to send a letter out telling the customer they can get their deposit back if we decide to bail out because they are not going to start deliveries in May as promised :-(
    Some ADV users are speculating the bike won't get here until October/November due to parts shortages at the factories. I am not dropping out, I will just have to continue riding my Kawi :-)

  5. I'm amazed at what there actually is in Jersey. You'd think it'd all be industrial waste and wasted teenagers - but it really seems to live up to the moniker 'Garden State.'

    I believe the evenings used to be spent with books. I still spend my evening with a book. It props my monitor up to the exact height I need.

    Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

  6. Nice ride report! I like your photos. The one of you leaning on the railing makes me a little nervous. Did you use the timer and leave the camera on the railing? If so, the way you framed it it looks like the camera is more on the water side of the railing. It's a nice photo but for me it makes it better thinking that the camera was at risk. It adds some drama. :)

    I like exploring too and the Batsto Village looks real nice!

  7. Brady:
    Ha ha, yea that's what books are now being used for, everyone using some kind of I-something to read books :-)
    There are interesting things to see in NJ but the central part is like you said "industrial waste land"

    Thanks. I use the timer all the time and yes, it was on the edge of the railing since I wanted to capture as much of the water as possible :-) Check out this photo taken with the camera on the railing of a cruise ship, if it dropped it would have been in the ocean :-)