Today was a different kind of a day out exploring. Instead of a cache run, I took a tour of Salem County re-visiting several places I have gone previously in my travels.
First up was the oak tree in Salem. If you think about it, commemorating the only surviving tree is, well, odd. There used to be a forest here and in 1675 the treaty John Fenwick negotiated with the Lenni Lenape was under this tree. Then the all the others were razed. Go figure. The tree is now supported by guy wires.
After the quick stop, I headed towards Finn’s Point. I decided since I was on fumes, I should fill up. Gasoline is usually cheaper out this way. It was not today. I paid $2.45/gallon. I should have filled up for $2.38 earlier, but thought I could do even better. You roll the dice, you take your chances. So, after dealing with that, it was off to Finn’s Point. There was the obligatory stop at the rear light. How many times have I been here? The sun glared and made it difficult to get shots of the lighthouse. I really just wanted the marker and was able to get the camera lens between the fence.
After that, I stopped by Ft. Mott for a quick walk through the batteries. I was looking for a plaque, but did not see one. I probably should have gone to the office and inquired, but was not up for that. Today was absolutely gorgeous and I didn’t really want to be indoors.
So, out I went and circled around to Finn’s Pt. Here is a national cemetery. The “dunes” in the distance are actually Delaware. Marty has a cache out on the silt and sure enough, it is listed as in Delaware. It seems odd that dredged crap from the river when dumped here is considered the other state. Go figure.
The cemetery was in pristine shape. The lawn had been recently mowed and all was bright green. This is one of those places I love to come to. Other than a hum of ATVs out in . . . err . . . Delaware, one never hears anything here. And today, the ATVs were silent. Wonderful. I walked around and took some photographs. There were some things I wanted to check and after doing so, I headed back to the truck. I did snap a couple shots of the National Register plaque for Markeroni.
As I drove away, I realized I was very hungry. I hadn’t had breakfast. The thing is there is little to dine on out this way. I decided that if I came across fast food (which I knew I wouldn’t) I would stop, otherwise, I would wait until I arrived home. I next sought a dashpoint for this month’s game. It appeared to be on the Salem side of the water, but I have been misled with that previously. Anyhow, as I drove around, I discovered a new water drive that I had never been on before. Ah, this is gorgeous out here. Once I got on Sinnickson I saw two large eagles flying overhead. The road twisted and I saw the GPSr indicate the dp was off to my left. I continued on past it just to see what the rest of the road looked like. I would love to live out this way. The scenery is spectacular. I circled around and came back. As I got close, I just stopped on the road. Yes, on a turn. But there is nothing out here other than the wildlife. The point was 37m in the inlet. I snapped a few photographs, but was unable to get the eagles.
Next up was the wildlife refuge area that PSE&G created to calm the public when it built their Salem nuclear reactor. I love it out here! Tom’s cache first brought me here nearly four years ago. Unfortunately, that cache is long archived and now there are a few others closer to the parking. One has to walk the planks to get to serenity. I sought serenity.
As I hung out here, I was reminded of the initial hook to geocaching. I used to comment how peaceful it was in many of the locations I went to . . . including this one. Not that South Jersey is New York City, but more and more, the hustle and bustle of city life is encroaching. Even the shore is noisy. Caching got me to places where there was no one around. As I sat on the dock along Straight Creek, all I could hear were the shore birds frolicking about and the water lapping every now and then. In a month or so, the fiddler crabs will be plentiful, but today I saw none. This is why I took to caching was because of locations like this.
After a while, I headed back. I stopped at the observation deck. I recalled the two rabbits I had once seen along the path who played hide and seek with me. There are a lot of fond memories out this way.
I wanted to go to the Nicholson House as well. It is remarkable how things change over time. Part of it is that when one first seeks a cache, he doesn’t know where he is going. The return trips are always much more direct. The planks and now Nicholson House always seemed like hikes. Neither is. As I approached the house, the largest eagle I have ever seen took off. He was resting on the roof and with a few flaps of his wings, was gone. As I circled around to the front, several wild turkeys scurried off. Oh, it is so pretty here! I poked around. PSE&G owns the land and there is a sign that the house may be sold at a later date. I recall that from my first visit, more than three years ago. I just soaked up the sun out here. One could not ask for a better day. I took lots of photographs and then noted a few signs along the edge of the property. I thought it odd that No Trespassing signs were placed along the neighboring corn field. Then I realized that PSE&G doesn’t want folks where I was. Hmmm . . . back to the trail and I saw the No Trespassing sign I should have seen when arriving. It is pretty well covered with briars. That means the cache placed here is on private property. Too bad as this is one of the better caches that exist in the area.
On my way back to Millville, I stopped off at the Hancock House. This is another one of those interesting places I learned about from Tom through caching. Each time I stop here, I learn something new. Alicia gave me a tour today. She shared two flags and a map with me that I had never seen. The map is from 1786. It is of the Alloway Creek area. It had been folded and glued to a piece of cardboard. They had it restored and boy does it look nice. The colors used on the map more than two hundred years ago have held up well.
There is a modern American flag in the dining room. Hanging from it are ribbons. I inquired. On 21 March 2000, this flag was flown over the US Capitol. This is to commemorate the massacre that occurred at the house on 21 March 1778. We have a flag that was flown over the Capitol on our wedding day. Each year, this flag is then flown at a different national park. It has flown at Independence Hall and at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, among other places. Next year it will fly at the Statue of Liberty. I think this is awesome! Because it is an organization, they are able to have this flag with a mission flown in these places. Alicia also showed me a photograph of a flag that the Hancock House has in its possession. There are images of two flags. One is an American flag with a circle of nine stars and 15 stripes. The other one . . . errr . . . I have forgotten. I hate getting old. I should have written it down. Anyhow, they have not been able to determine anything much about this flag. They hope to have it restored at some point.
I took one of the longer (but not the longest) paths home from here that allowed me to amble through the rest of Salem and western Cumberland Counties. I love it out this way. There was a lot of activity at Stow Creek, although I did not stop. I drove through Greenwich and got out at the Gibbon House and the tea burning memorial. There is so much history in this area. I didn’t have my historic house list with me so decided not to walk the town, but rather to head home. I also made my usual stop at the Stone School. I always feel like I need a photograph of the marker on the day I claim it, even though I have a gazillion photographs in my files of the same thing. ‘Twas originally going to be a stop on the Cumberland County Tour.
My excitement came to a quick end once I realized that my camera’s media was acting flakey and that most of the photographs I shot today were unusable. Grrr . . . even so, I was able to post two new shutterspots.