It's spring, the season of optimism! Longer days and lighter evenings mark this season of change. Bees are buzzing, flowers are blooming, and our moods are boosted. Our great state offers hidden gems and amazing spots to explore year-round, but spring has a way of elevating the adventure with sounds, smells, and sights.
Let's have some fun planning our upcoming adventures in this great state of New Jersey.
Only in Spring — Cherry Blossoms in Bloom!
Early in April, Bloomfest takes place at Belleville/Newark’s Cherry Blossom Welcome Center Extension and Essex County Branch Brook Park. With theatrical performances, cultural displays, and kid-friendly activities, Bloomfest draws approximately 7,000 visitors from New Jersey and the tri-state area.
Home gardeners make up many of the visitors to Middletown’s Deep Cut Gardens and Demonstration Gardens. The 54 acres of greenhouses and gardens are intended to serve as a living inventory of exotic and domestic plant species that can be experienced throughout the year. At least 55 different rose varieties spread amongst more than 170 bushes may be found in the refurbished Rose Parterre. By taking a stroll in the park, visiting the reference library, or asking the staff horticultural questions, you can learn new strategies for enhancing your backyard garden. There are also workshops and programs for budding gardeners.
Cross Estate Gardens – Bernardsville
In Bernardsville in Somerset County, you can find Cross Estate Gardens, which has both formal and natural plant gardens. It’s located at the New Jersey Brigade Encampment Site of Morristown National Historical Park. The property’s previous owners, Mr. and Mrs. John Anderson Bensel, who resided on the site between 1903 and 1906, initially referred to it as “Queen Anne Farm.” The location has a stone water tower and a majestic 23-room home, both of which are still in existence. The property is open daily. There are no entry fees and there is also free parking.
New Jersey Botanical Garden at Skylands — Ringwood
The 1,119-acre estate called Skylands lies within Ringwood State Park, a borough of Passaic County. In addition to the 96-acre New Jersey Botanical Garden, the Skylands property includes the immense Skylands estate home, The Castle at Skylands Manor, and other historic buildings. The Lilac Garden, Magnolia Walk, Wild Flower Garden, Perennial Garden, and Crab Apple Vista (an allée of 166 trees spanning almost half a mile) are just a few of Skylands’ attractions.
High Point State Park – Sussex
Situated at more than 1,800 feet above sea level, High Point Monument offers a breathtaking, picturesque view of three states’ worth of verdant valleys, gentle hills, and rich agriculture. The lush mountains of New Jersey and Pennsylvania are separated by the blue line of the Delaware River. High Point has excellent hiking and skiing paths, as well as peaceful camping and fishing areas. Col. Anthony R. and Susie Dryden Kuser donated the property, which was established as a state park in 1923. The Olmsted Brothers of Boston, the sons of the renowned Frederick Law Olmsted (who designed New York City’s Central Park), created the attractive landscaping.
Watchung Reservation History Trail — Union County
The biggest nature preserve in Union County is Watchung Reservation. Its 1,945-acre area is bordered by the municipalities of Berkeley Heights, Springfield, and Scotch Plains, as well as the city of Summit and the borough of Mountainside. Most of the preserve is made up of the upper valley portion of Blue Brook, which is located between the slopes of the First and Second Watchung Mountains.
Enjoy a Bike Ride
Sandy Hook Bike Path — Monmouth County
The 8.7-mile Sandy Hook Multi-Use Pathway follows the Sandy Hook peninsula’s scenic beaches and historical landmarks. Starting at the Gateway National Recreation Area, the walk makes a ring that passes around the old Fort Hancock.
Pine Barrens River Ramble — Atlantic and Burlington Counties
The 42.6-mile (with no hills) easy-riding Pine Barrens River Ramble circle travels through a distinctive natural area of Atlantic and Burlington Counties. Three significant rivers — the Batsto, the Mullica, and the Wading — as well as virgin pine and oak woods, meandering cedar-colored streams, cranberry and blueberry bogs, and other natural features — are among the sights you’ll see here.
Vineyards and Wineries
Terhune Orchards Vineyard and Winery – Princeton
Located in Princeton, Terhune Orchards is a 250-acre sustainable farm still run by a single family, the Mounts. As 10th-generation farmers in central New Jersey, the Mount family has been growing fresh fruits and vegetables from their present site for more than 45 years. A full range of family farm activities, the opportunity to choose one’s own fruit and vegetables, and the onsite farm store and winery draw visitors from both near and far.
Tomasello Winery at Alstede Farms – Chester
Established in 1933, a third-generation family-owned vineyard and the Tomasello Winery are situated in Atlantic County’s Outer Coastal Plains and are recognized for creating award-winning wines. Their outstanding wines are available for tasting and purchasing at Alstede Farms in Chester. The winery’s single-varietal wines are estate-grown and bottled for the best possible flavor and quality. The winery produces more than 40 different types of wines, including Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Sauvignon, and rare varieties like Blaufrankisch, Petit Verdot, and Rkatsiteli.
The Edge of the Pine Barrens, Parvin State Park — Pittsgrove
Parvin State Park can be found in southwestern New Jersey. The park features hardwood forests, pine woods, and wetlands and is situated around Parvin Lake and on the border of the Pine Barrens. The New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry manages and maintains the park, which is also close to Pittsgrove Township in Salem County.
The Meadowlands (32 square miles that include the Hackensack River watershed) — along the Hudson River on the New Jersey-New York border
The huge ecosystem of wetlands located in northeastern New Jersey, a few miles to the west of New York City, is referred to as the New Jersey Meadowlands, sometimes known as the Hackensack Meadowlands for the main river that runs through it. The Meadowlands is partially made up of built regions that were once a portion of the natural wetlands substantially developed by H. Bert Mack in the 1960s. The remainder of the Meadowlands is 8,400 acres of open, undeveloped space.
Exit Zero Jazz Festival — Cape May
Cape May will host the acclaimed Spring Exit Zero Jazz Festival from May 5-7. More than a dozen internationally recognized touring acts and performers will play at the Cape May Convention Hall, located at 714 Beach Avenue, as well as on nearby indoor and outdoor stages.
Rock & Roll Steampunk Fair — Washington
It’s nearly time for the third annual Rock & Roll Steampunk Fair, taking place from 10am to 5pm on April 29 in Washington. Enjoy a day of live entertainment, craft fairs, street performers, and other steampunk antics. Attendees are encouraged to dress appropriately for the event!
Battleview Orchards – Freehold
The oldest “pick-your-own” orchard in New Jersey is Battleview Orchards. Located in Freehold, Battleview Orchards is a family-run farm that produces regional produce and allows visitors to pick their own New Jersey strawberries, peaches, sour cherries, apples, nectarines, and pumpkins.
Donaldson Farms – Hackettstown
A family-run farm in Northern New Jersey, Donaldson Farms offers hundreds of acres of seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables, apple picking, pumpkin picking, strawberry picking, raspberry and blackberry picking, group tours, private tours, farm education, and family-friendly activities.
Take Some Time to Enjoy All that Spring Has to Offer
As the April showers make way for sweet May flowers, let that be your inspiration to enjoy spring, and the great outdoors, here in New Jersey. And when you set out to explore, be sure to take Lakeland along with you — it’s easy to manage your finances on the go with Digital Banking or find the nearest Allpoint® ATM.