Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Jersey Pine Barrens and South Jersey

I'd been wanting to get to this area for some time. Though South Jersey seems like an unlikely tourist destination, it's one of several unique spots on the East Coast that are a little isolated from the megalopolis by virtue of being east of the main routes (much like the Delmarva Peninsula). The Barrens themselves struck me as a colder version of the coastal Carolina pine forests and indeed that's how biologists think of it. Even that far from the coast the tides still affect the river although I didn't see any crabs in the water that far inland. The soil was even sandier than I expected. I'm impressed at how well the most densely-populated state in the U.S. has preserved this area; I saw a couple trail markers that pointed to another state forest 25 miles away. Nice! While I didn't see any Jersey devils, I thought Batsto Village was both interesting and a bit Adams-Family (look at the pictures, you'll see what I mean.)

While I was driving through South Jersey I visited a number of other off-the-beaten track sites: the Matthew Henson statue in Camden commemorating the first human ever to stand at the geographic North Pole (forgotten maybe because he was black); the discovery site of the first relatively complete dinosaur (in Haddonfield) where the discoverer actually knew what it was; two robot gardens, one in Hammonton and one in Buena; the Palace of Depression (economic, not psychiatric); and a Futuro House on the Jersey side of Delaware Bay. If you're interested in any of these they're not particularly hard to find online.

THE PINE BARRENS, WHARTON STATE FOREST










BATSTO VILLAGE, which contains some of the creepiest buildings I've ever seen






See what I mean? Of the ones above and below, I'm sure at least one of them was built to cure human meat. In actuality, the one below is a corn crib.



Inexplicably, as if remembering something long forgotten, I was drawn into the house...




ROBOT GARDEN #1: HAMMONTON








ROBOT GARDEN #2: BUENA






This guy reminds me of the Mechanical Hound from Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, except he seemed a little friendlier. A little.












There were many unexpected things in rural South Jersey. (Near Buena. Photo taken from Mapio.)




PALACE OF DEPRESSION, VINELAND



FUTURO HOUSE, GREENWICH (COHANSEY RIVER/DELAWARE BAY ESTUARY)














BLUEBERRY FIELDS, HAMMONTON)








MATTHEW HENSON, FIRST MAN AT THE NORTH POLE (STATUE AT MARITIME MUSEUM, CAMDEN)




HADROSAUR DISCOVERY SITE, HADDONFIELD





No comments: