Last updated on May 16, 2017 at 02:41 pm
Do you ever get the feeling like you were born in the wrong decade or century? Sometimes I do. When I long for the days when technology was no more than steam trains and blacksmiths, I turn to Allaire State Park located in Monmouth County.
What I love most about this place is the variety. Here’s a quick overview of all that Allaire State Park has to offer visitors:
Historic Allaire Village
In the 19th century this village was known as the Howell Works. Back then it was a thriving industrial community that produced pig and cast iron. The buildings you see in the village today are the same ones that existed back then: the general store, carpenter’s shop, blacksmith shop, manager’s house, church, and foreman’s house. The building that houses the Visitor Center and Museum was once one of the workers’ row house buildings.
The historic village also sponsors over 40 programs and events annually. These include living history events (I’ve been to them and they are tres cool), antique shows, arts and craft shows, and flea markets. You can view upcoming events, purchase tickets online or register to be a vendor on their events page.
Nature Interpretive Center
Don’t let that name fool you. This center is really amazing when you think about it. Large areas of this park have been left in their natural state. How cool is that?! Over 200 species of wild flowers, shrubs, trees, and other plants have been identified in the park so far. Wildlife is also present and it’s a great reminder of the wonders of nature. Operated by the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, their website contains information on programs and operating hours.
There is an impressive network of trails snaking through the park that offer great opportunities for mountain bikers, horseback riders, and hikers. Many of these trails are accessible from the main parking area. With over 800 acres to explore, there’s lots to see along these trails!
Pine Creek Railroad
This is the part where my inner history nerd jumps up and down excitedly. Ever wonder what it would be like to travel on a train at the height of the steam era in the United States? Well thanks to the Pine Creek Railroad, you can! Established in 1953, these live-steam and diesel, narrow-gauge trains are operated by New Jersey Museum of Transportation. From holiday themed events to parades and more, you’ll definitely want to check out their schedule and plan a trip.
Whether you prefer a tent, trailer, or yurt (a circular tent with wood floors and a wooden door that locks), there’s a camping option for everyone at Allaire State Park. To stay overnight, you’ll need to make a reservation via ReserveAmerica, the new reservation system for all overnight facilities within the New Jersey State Parks and Forests.
Plymouth Rock wants you to take the challenge and unplug for a day or two. Put down the smartphone, turn off the television, and go explore Allaire State Park. With spring in the air, now is a great time to reconnect with the great outdoors. That’s what makes Allaire State Park one of my favorite destinations in New Jersey, what are some of your favorites?