Memorial Day and warm temperatures FINALLY arrived, hooray! With that, we have good and bad news.
The bad news – The Pres, Tree Rider, and the whole gang here at South Jersey Trails will be abandoning you for pretty much the whole summer, for the Rockies are calling and we must go.
The good news – we’re leaving you with a list of ten awesome things to do this summer, because there are so many awesome things to do in South Jersey in the summer. Such as….
10) Go for a hike to celebrate our nation’s birthday!
On July 4, 2016, Wenonah will host it’s 20th 20th Annual Independence Day Hike around Wenonah Lake. Meet up at the Wenonah Lake Parking Lot on Maple St in Wenonah, NJ 08090. The hike starts at 4 PM and is free! The Pres and I went last year, and we had a great time doing 2 miles on trails there (2nd mile was optional last year), led by one of the members of the Wenonah Environmental Commission. For more info, check out the Wenonah Environmental Commission page!
9) See the stars!
The West Jersey Astronomical Society (http://wasociety.us/) hosts several stargazing events each summer at Batsto. This year’s dates at June 11 from 8 PM to 10 PM, July 9 from 8 PM to 10 PM, August 6 from 7:30 PM to 10:00 PM, and September 10 from 7 PM to 10 PM. This is one of the few things on here we haven’t done for ourselves yet, so anyone who goes, let us know how it was! For more info, call (609) 567-4559
8) Go see a Native-American powwow!
Each year, the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation holds a powwow at the Salem County Fairgrounds, the public is invited! This year’s event will be on June 11-12, 2016, the the gates opening at 10 AM each day, and the Grand Entry starting at noon. The grand parade is really something to see, you’re guarenteed to learn something about another culture, and The Pres highly recommends the drumming (oh, how he loved the drumming) Admission is only $5 per person, but bring some extra money and get some some great food or buy some crafts. The Salem County Fairgrounds is located at 735 Harding Hwy in Woodstown, NJ 08098. For more info, visit their event page .
7) Go to the rodeo
South Jersey’s own Cowtown Rodeo has been livening up the last 61 summers, and this summer they are back at it. Each Saturday night at 7:30 PM from now until September 24, head out and enjoy seven rodeo events from bull riding to barrel racing! Tickets at $20 for 13 and older, $10 for the 3-12 crowd, and free for the 2 and under set. I haven’t taken the kids to this yet, so this is on the “must do” for us this summer. Fore more info, check out www.cowtownrodeo.com/.
6) Honor Mexico’s great Ambassador of the Air
Back in 1928, a young Mexican pilot named Emilio Carranza Rodriguez completed a flight from Mexico City to New York City (roughly the same distance that Lindbergh had recently flown over the Atlantic), bringing with him a message of peace and brotherhood. On his way home from that mission, he was caught in a thunderstorm and was killed. Each year, American Legion Post 11 of Mount Holly (whose members found the aviator’s body and served as an honor guard until it was recovered by the Mexican government) remember Captain Carranza and his mission with a ceremony. This year’s will be on July 9, 2016, beginning at 1 PM at the Carranza Memorial on Carranza Road in Tabernacle, NJ. The ceremony includes speaches by local dignitaries and the Mexican consulate from Washington DC, wreath laying by local and national groups, a reenactment of the search mission, and more. It’s a good idea to bring a chair and plenty of water! For more info, check out the website of American Legion Post 11
5) Celebrate New Jersey’s favorite elephant’s 135th Birthday!
On July 23, Lucy the Elephant will turn 135 years old! Details for this year’s bash have yet to be announced, but past year’s celebrations have included carnival games, activities, rides, food, and more! In previous years, they have had free parking at the Margate Municipal Building (formerly the Union Avenue School Playground) located at 9001 Winchester Avenue in Margate, NJ with a free shuttle to the event! Of course, any other day of the year is also a great time to visit Lucy! Visiting is always free, but its worth shelling out the cash to go inside the elephant and see the museum and the view from the howdah! More info at www.lucytheelephant.org
4) See where the Hindenburg crashed!
The Hindenburg crash has to be the most famous air disaster in world history, and it happened right in the pine barrens! And while the crash site in on an active US military base, the Navy Lakehurst Historical Society leads tours the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month this summer! This one requires a little preplanning, as you have to register the names and information of the people in your group at least two weeks ahead of your tour date (active military base, after all). For your trouble, you get an awesome tour that includes the Air Cathedral (the stained glass windows alone make the tour worthwhile), the crash site, and the historic airship hanger. Taking along a two month old baby is option, but it worked for us when we did this two years ago! If my math is correct, tours this summer would be on June 11 and 25, July 9 and 23, and August 13 and 27.
For the right info for how to make this happen, check out their official website at nlhs.com.
3) 33rd Annual Whitesbog Blueberry Festival!
On June 25 & 26, the place where the cultivated blueberry got it starts throws a giant two day party for one of the pine barrens biggest gifts to the world – the blueberry! Whitesbog (120 W Whites Bogs Rd #34, Pemberton Township, NJ 08015) will hold their festivities each day from 9 AM to 5 PM, which includes vendors, music, food, storytelling, bog and house tours, demonstrations, and more! There is a small fee for parking (not listed and I can’t remember what it is), but nearly everything in the festival is free, with the exception of some of the tours, which are very reasonable. For more info, check out the Whitesbog homepage.
2) Go listen to folk music
Our second to last one is a personal challenge, as I decided to go do this about twelve years ago… and still haven’t made it happen – go hear music at Albert Music Hall in Waretown. Each and every Saturday night from 7:30 to 11:00 PM, Albert Music Hall features South Jersey’s best folk, country, and bluegrass acts, as they have for over 40 years. Play an instrument? Bring it along and get together with other musicians at “the picking shed” for a jam session. Cost is ridiculously cheap – $5 per adult, $1 for kids 11 and younger.
1) Go hiking!
Did you really expect anything else? With over 100 documented trails to choose from, and plenty more out there waiting to be discovered, get out there and go hiking! From Wells Mills to Fort Mott, from Roebling Park to Cape May State Park, there are so many amazing hikes in South Jersey. Check out the South Jersey Trails website or our handy, dandy Google map!
Of course, this is only a tiny taste of what is out there to do this summer in South Jersey. I never got a chance to mention canoeing the Wading River in Wharton State Forest, taking in a a vintage baseball game at Batsto, backpacking on the Batona Trail, swimming at Atsion Lake, riding on the AJ Meerwald, or any number of other awesome activities of awesomeness!
Please feel free to share more summer activities in the comments section!