Dave and I are enjoying our National Parks during the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the National Park Service. We spend numerous times throughout every year at these spectacular places that have been set aside for all of our enjoyment. All of these parks, including National Recreation Areas, National Historic Parks, etc are steeped in our history.
We recently spent a lovely fall weekend in New York State visiting two of these National Parks. The first one was Saratoga National Historic Park. About 3 hours away from our home in NorthWestern New Jersey, the Saratoga Battlefield is north of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area. The Battlefield lies just north of Albany not very far from the SouthWest corner of Vermont.
Two battles took place here in the Fall of 1777 – one on September 19th and the second October 7, 1777. These battles were seen as a decisive victory for the American rebels against the English Troops. The victory here and surrender by the British troops that were in Saratoga provided a much-needed moral boost to the fledgling American army. The final definitive battle taking place in Yorktown four years later in October of 1781.
It was at the Battle of Saratoga that Benedict Arnold operating against General Gates’ orders helped to turn the tide for the American Troops. This was also the site where he was shot severely in his left leg, eventually leaving this leg 2″ shorter than the right. During his stay in Saratoga, General Arnold and General Enoch Poor were housed in the Neilson House shown below.
There is one way loop road through the park. Along the way there are stops with interpretive signs, however the best way to take the road tour is to use either your cell phone or via a tour app. Both of these options provide for a narrative of the sites throughout the park.
There are also 3 other locations that are attached to this National Historic Park and they include Victory Woods, the Schuyler House (and yes this was at one time a house enjoyed by Alexander Hamilton and his wife, Elizabeth Schuyler) and the Saratoga Monument.
Testing out my new hiking boots, as we have plans for November in Zion and Bryce (Utah), Dave and I took a little hike in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. This park covers the entire region of the Delaware Water Gap in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The hike we took this day was on the Pennsylvania side near the town of Dingmans Ferry.
We decided to also test out some hiking backpacks we had just got, including one for our cameras and this hike to Digmans Creek Trail was a nice easy one to start. The park service has constructed a boardwalk that is wheelchair accessible to the main falls and then stairs to the upper falls. The picture above is of the main falls, taken late afternoon. Dave took this triple shot on a tripod to bring out all the light and color of the afternoon.
The full hike to the top of the falls, with a view of some upper falls, is just under 1/2 mile one way. The last tenth of a mile is up a set of stairs to the top of these main falls and a view of the upper falls shown below. A very easy hike, and it was a great hike to start our fall off, along with breaking in some new hiking boots.
The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is a great way to spend a day with many trails on both the New Jersey and Pennsylvania side of the Deleware. As I noted in an earlier post, the Appalachian Trial runs through this recreation area on the New Jersey side of the river.
More practice hiking to come before our Thanksgiving trip to Utah.
A couple of weekends ago, celebrating my birthday, Dave and I stopped off at one of our favorite New Jersey Wineries, Beneduce Vineyards. The winery is located in Pittstown, New Jersey and is well worth the visit.
I know what some of you are thinking – New Jersey has wineries? Yes we do. There are currently 45 wineries that are members of the Garden State Wine Growers Association, and the list grows every year. Over the years Dave and I have visited about 30 of these wineries and continue to find some very pleasant wines that we enjoy. The Association also holds numerous events throughout the year which include a number of the wineries and music. A couple of big events are the annual wine festivals in Cape May (October) and Northern New Jersey (Memorial Day weekend) – this one now held in our home town over the past two years.
Beneduce Vineyards has an event every weekend called “Group Therapy“. Saturday night from 6 pm to 9 pm and Sunday afternoon from 2 pm to 5 pm there is live music – normally a band on Saturday evenings and acoustic performers on Sunday. There is a small cover charge of $10 on Saturday evening as well as a food truck (you are more than welcome to bring your own food). They will provide you with a wine glass for $2, which you can keep or return for your $2 deposit. The night we were there the band playing was Crabdaddy (Rock & Roll) along with the food truck Fired Up Flatbread (pizza pictured above).
Alongside our pizza we enjoyed a glass of Three Windows White Riesling. Our preference for New Jersey wines leads us to the whites – the Riesling’s in particular. This grape grows well in New Jersey and you can find dry, off-dry and sweet varieties. I lean towards the dry and off-dry styles.
Sitting outside on Beneduce’s patio, enjoying a nice glass of wine and a really good pizza while listening to a fun band was a great way to spend my Birthday weekend. Thanks Dave.
Beneduce Vineyards Patio and Fire Pit