Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Natural History

By Molly McGrath

Experience the power of nature and learn a little of our country’s history this summer. The Morristown National Historical Park offers both a historical learning experience and a chance to become closer to nature and enjoy the warm weather! With activities for all ages that are both fun and educational, this park is the perfect place for a day trip with the whole family.

Morristown joined the historical map when it housed the Continental Army during The Revolutionary War. The area offered great natural defenses—the Watchung Mountains and Great Swamp—while still being only a two-day march away from the British based in New York City. This natural defense eliminated the threat of a surprise attack from the British, and the many roads passing through the area allowed the Continental Army to move in any direction, countering any British maneuvers. The area where the army was encamped has been preserved as part of the Park.

Immerse yourself in the region’s history as you walk the same ground as George Washington and the Continental Army. Visit Washington’s Headquarters Museum and the Jockey Hollow Visitor Center for historical exhibits and presentations and a chance to browse for a souvenir. Or, tour The Wick House, which you can explore on your own or with a park employee in period dress. Tours of The Ford Mansion, which served as George Washington’s Headquarters, are also offered and begin at the Washington’s Headquarters Museum.

If the great outdoors is what you seek, check out the 27 miles of foot and horse trails in the Jockey Hollow area of the park. Color-coded maps are available at the Jockey Hollow Visitor Center. Other outdoor activities including bicycling, hiking, horseback riding, bird watching, and leaf peeping. The park provides the perfect way to spend a beautiful summer afternoon.

For families with youngsters, consider the Junior Rangers program. Stop by Washington’s Headquarters Museum or the Jockey Hollow Visitor Center when you get into the park and pick up a free Junior Ranger activity booklet. Spend the day learning about the history of the region as well as park preservation and stewardship—the complete Morristown National Historical Park experience!

Whether it’s learning, fitness, relaxation, or a little of everything that you seek, the Morristown National Historical Park has it. For more information about the park, hours of operation, and a schedule of activities visit nps.gov/morr or call one of the following numbers: Washington’s Headquarters Museum, 973.539.2016 x210; Jockey Hollow Visitor Center, 973.543.4030; Ranger Station, 908.766.6841. Morristown National Historical Park, 30 Washington Place, Morristown.

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