66 October 2014 NJMONTHLY.COM
removed in favor of creating a scenic
parkway and camp.
“The cliffs’ survival is not a happy
accident or coincidence,” says Nelsen.
“People determined that it had to be
saved. Now it seems so obvious, but it
really was an extraordinary achievement. If nobody had done anything, the
quarries would have been happy to keep
blowing up the cliffs, and the land would
have been cluttered with billions of dollars of [private estates]. It was a fight.”
DESIGNATED A NATIONAL HISTORIC
Landmark in 1965, the park encompasses more than 100,000 acres and 24
miles of Hudson River shorefront, cliffs
and uplands. Only 2,500 narrow acres
of the park are actually in New Jersey.
Our strip of this paradise stretches 12
miles from Fort Lee north to the state
line, averaging less than a quarter of a
Two main trails run the length of the
Jersey section: the Long Path skims the
clifftops, and the Shore Trail follows the
edge of the Hudson below.
Marked with aqua-blue blazes, the
13-mile New Jersey section of the Long
Path traverses easy to moderate terrain.
The trail starts south of the George
Washington Bridge at Fort Lee Historic
Park, gaining a mere 200 feet as it heads
north to the State Line Lookout. Along
the way, it provides access to a number
of 400- to 500-foot overlooks, including
Rockefeller Lookout and Alpine Look-
out, both offering extraordinary views
of the Hudson and beyond.
The Long Path also passes by the
Greenbrook Sanctuary, a 165-acre mem-bers-only woodland preserve (
membership is $35 a year), as well as the Women’s Federation Monument, a minature
castle-like structure dedicated in 1929 to
honor the New Jersey State Federation
of Women’s Clubs for their part in preserving the Palisades. Toward the end
of the Jersey section, hikers can spot an
abandoned swimming pool, a remnant
of one of the mountaintop mansions.
(The trail continues another 343 miles
to John Boyd Thacher State Park near
Albany, New York.)
While the Long Path is dramatic, it
tends to get crowded and can be noisy,
thanks to passing cars on the nearby
Palisades Parkway. The white-blazed
12.2-mile Shore Trail, situated along
the river below the cliffs, is a more
“A natural instinct for first-time hikers is to go to the top of the cliffs for the
views, which are great,” says Nelsen.
“But I think the nicest hiking is actu-
ally along the riverfront.”
The Shore Path starts at Fort Lee
Historic Park, but winds down to the
river, where it hugs the shoreline, pass-
ing Hazard’s Dock—a boat launch for
trailer-towed boats under 24 feet and
jet skis ($20 cash) or car-top canoes
and kayaks ($10 cash)—and through a
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on display. For guests 21 and
6-9 PM. $35 per person or $60
per couple. Camden’s Children’s
Garden, Camden (856-365-8733;
7OC TOBER 10-12
This three-day festival o;ers
activities for the whole fam-
ily, including amusement
rides, pumpkin-wine sam-
plings, a Little Miss & Mister
Pumpkin Pageant and a live
performance of The Legend
of Sleepy Hollow. New this
year is a costume contest for
children ages 3 to 10 and the
Cast Iron Toss for women
18 and up. This year’s Big
Pumpkin Weigh-O;, set
for Saturday at noon, gives
pumpkin growers a chance to
win $4,000 for the plumpest
Friday, 5-10 PM; Saturday, 10
AM- 8 PM; Sunday, 10 AM- 5 PM.
$6 per car. Salem County Fairgrounds, 735 Harding Highway,
West Cape May
Lima Bean Festival
The lowly legume takes center
stage, delighting locals and
visitors alike with its array of
recipes, crafts and products.
Proceeds from this annual
event benefit the West Cape
May Shade Tree Commission.
9 AM- 5 PM (Rain date: October
12). Free. Wilbraham Park, 133
Myrtle Avenue (609-884-9325;
Harvest, Honey &
7OC TOBER 11
The fifth annual festival celebrates the county’s agriculture, ecology and arts. Browse
the farmers’ market for local
produce, flowers and wine. The
Sussex County Beekeepers
FALL FESTIVALS FOR ALL
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Hall (200 Congress Place) offers an adult
fright night on October 31 with a costume
contest, spirits, food and dancing.
Fall is prime time for migrant species
to be spied at Cape May Bird Observatory (600 N. Delsea Drive). October 24
through 26, the New Jersey Audubon
Society offers a birders’ festival that
includes field trips and boat rides, plus
evening workshops led by the observatory’s new director.
There is no shortage of options for fine
or casual meals. Try the Blue Pig Tavern
(251 Beach Avenue) for farm-fresh eggs,
bacon and berries from Beach Plum Farm,
or venture to Red Store (500 Cape May
Point), another of NJM ’s Top 25 restaurants, for general-store atmosphere,
house-baked goods and memorable food.
Take advantage of the off-season to visit
George’s Place (314 Beach Avenue), where
during summer lines wind around the
corner. The fare is Greek/Mediterranean
and the menu is broad. At M’Ocean (429
Beach Avenue), a newcomer, the view is
the ocean and the ever-evolving menu
is from the sea. Longtime favorites like
Tisha’s (322 Washington Street) and the
romantic Ebbitt Room ( 25 Jackson Street),
with its farm-to-table cuisine and artisanal cocktails, are satisfying year-round.
Fall is a fine time for a weekend stay;
when the temperature drops, so do the
rates. Choose from intimate Victorian
bed-and-breakfasts and classic boutique
hotels. The Mainstay Inn (635 Columbia
Avenue), a grand, 12-room, 19th-century
B&B, is appointed with period finery. Fall
rates from $185. The 24-room Virginia
Hotel offers fine dining and classic decor.
Fall rates from $129. Family-friendly
Congress Hall has 108 rooms, energized
with bright colors. Built in 1818, it has
been updated with modern comforts like
air conditioning and sumptuous marble
baths, while retaining period touches like
sash windows with Dutch-door bottoms.
There’s an on-site pool, a full-service spa,
a dance club, restaurant and cocktail bar.
Fall rates from $129.
Looking ahead, the Exit 0 Interna-
tional Jazz Fest (November 7-9) will host
well-known musicians throughout town.
In December, Cape May sparkles with
holiday lights, decorations and lots of
festivities including a tree-lighting ceremony and weekly parades. ■