Communities and Recreation
Updated On: 10/26/2012 4:07:54 AM
Because of the sprawling nature of JB-MDL, its surrounding five counties offer a wide range of choices for settling down in the area. Burlington, Camden, Ocean, Monmouth and Mercer each have their own individual county flavor and advantages, depending upon whether you wish to be closer to Philadelphia, Trenton or New York City. People who live in New Jersey refer to themselves as New Jerseyites or New Jerseyans. You will also hear the terms "freeholder" and "township" quite often. read more...
A freeholder is an elected, part-time legislator at the county level of government. State statutes determine the number of freeholders based on county classification and population. The title of freeholder is derived from an old English term used to refer to a person who owned an estate of land free of debt. The title was adopted in New Jersey during the Colonial period, when only those who owned real estate free of debt were eligible to participate in elections or hold public office. New Jersey is the only state that retains the title of freeholder to denote the elected members of the county governing body.
While township is a rather loose term when applied to varying types of local entities elsewhere (with or without municipal status), it is used particularly in New Jersey as a class of incorporation with fixed boundaries and has an equal standing to a village, town, borough or city. It is abbreviated "Twp."
Burlington's boundaries stretch from vast and unique pinelands forests that meet the Atlantic Ocean to quaint and historic downtowns along the Delaware River. The county is comprised of 40 municipalities and is physically the largest county in New Jersey. From the Pinelands recreation areas and farmlands to office and industrial parks, Burlington County offers a wide range of work, education and recreation opportunities. In between, Burlington County provides more than 820 square miles of history, outdoor recreation, shopping, dining, theater, arts and music.
The earliest settlements in the Burlington region are shrouded in the mystery of three and a half centuries ago, and in the history of three maritime nations: Sweden, Holland and England. All laid virtually simultaneous claim to the territory. In 1677, a large contingent of English Quaker settlers came prepared with trading goods to be used in negotiation with the Indians. They fortunately found on the scene a few of the earlier pioneers of Swedish, Dutch and Danish blood, who understood the Indian tongue and could serve as interpreters. The oldest standing home from this pioneer period, the Revell House, dates to 1685 and is located on Wood Street in the town of Burlington. Thomas Paine (who lived in Burlington from 1736 to1809) also called this part of New Jersey home. He left an unhappy career in England as a stay-maker to travel to America in 1774. Using his sword-arm to power an eloquent pen, he hurried the course of rebellion and helped to win the Revolutionary War.
Home of the rich and famous at the time, Burlington attracted Napoleon's brother, Joseph Bonaparte, ex-King of Spain, who lived in voluntary exile in Burlington County from 1816 to 1839. He escaped from France under an assumed name after the Battle of Waterloo; and while Napoleon was dying in forced exile on St. Helena, Joseph was buying real estate in the area.
The pirate Blackbeard, slithering into the Delaware River in his freshly tallowed ship, Queen Anne's Revenge, is said to have buried all his ill-gotten treasure at Burlington in the year 1717 - vast wealth which, so far as anyone knows, is still there. Killed in 1718, Blackbeard died before he got the chance to return to Burlington.
The success story of Burlington's River Route
It used to be called the Route 130 Corridor and for decades it was increasingly synonymous with empty big box retail sites, decaying strip malls, cheap motels, empty parking lots and other forms of suburban blight.
Today, the 57-square mile area has been rechristened as the Burlington County River Route, hailed as the County's "Gateway to Opportunity," and recognized by professional planning organizations as a model for the "right way" to do suburban revitalization. (Find out more on the Web site at http://www.burlingtoncountyriver route.com/about.html).
The proof of the River Route model's success is in the numbers. While commitment for funding from the State of New Jersey is assured through 2012, private business has also stepped up to the plate. Since 2005, at least 203 major businesses have invested more than $2 billion in new projects up and down this stretch of Burlington County that is home to a dozen different municipalities, resulting in 3,000 additional jobs to the area. With its own light rail line (River Line) and connections to major bus lines, living along the River Route should be considered by those who want a short commute to Philadelphia, Camden and Trenton while living in picturesque Burlington County.
Sites, concerts and historic centers
Burlington County Amphitheater
Burlington, NJ 08016 ................(609) 265-5858
Run under the auspices of the Burlington County Parks Department, this five hundred seat amphitheatre is host to a variety of concerts, performances and other events throughout each season.
High Street and Delaware River
Burlington, NJ 08016 ..................(609) 386-0200
The mile-long promenade offers views of the ever-changing Delaware River, providing chances for relaxing, scenic strolls, as well as being the site for summer concerts and other special events throughout the year.
Burlington Pharmacy (circa 1731)
301 High St.
Burlington, NJ 08016
New Jersey's oldest pharmacy in continuous operation, Burlington Pharmacy was owned by Quaker William J. Allinson, an abolitionist. It has been said that slaves were hidden in tunnels under this building as part of the Underground Railroad. The Burlington Pharmacy building was also home to Isaac Collins, the royal printer, from 1770 to 1778.
Burlington County Historical Society
457 High St.
Burlington, NJ 08016 ..................(609) 386-4773
This historical society preserves and promotes public education in regard to the rich history of the region, with such locations under its auspices and within its complex as the Bard-How House, the James Fenimore Cooper House, the Captain James Lawrence House, the Collins-Jones House and much more.
Burlington County Library System
5 Pioneer Blvd.
Burlington, NJ 08060 ..................(609) 267-9660
Serving Burlington County, this library offers a great collection of books, periodicals, reference and research materials, computers, audio and video tapes.
City of Burlington Tour OfKce
12 Smith Alley
Burlington, NJ 08016
Carriage House ............................(609) 386-3993
Fun follows as your colonial-costumed guide escorts you along the tree-shaded, brick-cobbled walks on this tour. Visit inside rarely-seen historic sites in this National Register of Historic Places District. They include New Jersey's first recorded European settlement (1624) and capital of West New Jersey. See New Jersey's oldest library (1758), a pharmacy (1831), fire company (1795) and the county's oldest residence (1685).
Burlington County includes towns such as Medford, Marlton, Burlington and many more small towns. There are a number of excellent restaurants located throughout Burlington County that serve tasty food on a daily basis.
Indian Chief Restaurant is located on Route 70, Medford NJ. The 50-year old restaurant was designed and structured to resemble the culture of the Cherokee Indians, which were once dominant throughout the Medford area. Open daily for both lunch and dinner with a selection of meat, seafood, sandwiches and homemade soup. Prices are very reasonable and reservations are required on special holidays. Directions to the Indian Chief are available by calling (609) 859-2301. Major credit cards are accepted.
Red Lion Restaurant is located on 1753 Route 206, Southampton NJ. Open Monday through Sunday. The menu offers a selection of chicken, steak, seafood, salads and a variety of tasty desserts. In addition, there is a small bar inside the restaurant that serves wine and some mixed drinks. The Red Lion is a famous stop for those on the way to the North Jersey Seashore for a quick meal. The crab cakes are top rate. Early bird specials are offered weekly. Additional information is available by calling (609) 859-2301.
Barnacle Ben's Restaurant is located on 300 Young Ave., Moorestown, NJ. Barnacle Ben's serves tasty seafood platters. All seafood is fresh and the menu offers shrimp, flounder, haddock, clams, crab cakes and scallops. Prices are moderate to high. Reservations are not required unless a large group is dining. Call (856) 235-5808. Major credit cards are accepted.
Tarantella Restaurant is located on Route 70 and Hartford Road, Medford, NJ and serves exquisite Italian food daily. A complete takeout menu is also available. Prices are moderate and the service is excellent. Banquet rooms are available for special occasions. Additional information is available by calling (609) 714-9050. Most major credit cards are accepted.
Lourdes Medical Center
of Burlington County
218A Sunset Drive
Willingboro, NJ 08046 ................(609) 835-2900
Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County is located on Sunset Road in Willingboro, New Jersey and is easily accessible from Routes 130 and 295. Free parking is available to visitors in the front of the hospital's main entrance.
From Philadelphia and Camden: Route 130 (from the South). Follow the signs over the Walt Whitman, Ben Franklin or Betsy Ross Bridge to Route 130 North. Follow Route 130 North to Van Sciver Parkway, Willingboro, just past the Willingboro Plaza. Turn right at the traffic light onto Van Sciver Parkway. At the first traffic light (Sunset Road), turn left. The hospital will be on the right.
From Trenton: Route 130 (from the North). Follow Route 130 South to the Van Sciver Parkway jughandle (Willingboro), just before Willingboro Plaza. Take the jughandle and cross over Route 130 onto Van Sciver Parkway. At the first traffic light (Sunset Road), turn left. The hospital will be on the right. You may also take Route 130 South off the Burlington Bristol Bridge to access the hospital from the northeastern Philadelphia suburbs.
From Cherry Hill: Route 295 (from the South). Follow Route 295 North to exit 45B (Willingboro). The exit ramp will put you onto Beverly-Rancocas Road. Go 2.1 miles to the fifth light and turn right onto John F. Kennedy Way. Go 1.9 miles on JFK Way to the third light (a water tower will be on your right) and turn left onto Van Sciver Parkway. Go .6 miles and turn right at the light onto Sunset Road. The hospital will be just ahead on your right.
From Bordentown: Route 295 (from the North). Follow Route 295 South to the Burlington exit 47B. Follow Route 541 to the Sunset Road jughandle, just past the gas station on the right. Cross over Route 541. Continue on Sunset Road through three traffic lights. The hospital is on the left. In all cases, follow the blue hospital signs as you Approach Willingboro.
Located midway between New York and Philadelphia, Mercer County is within an hour of both cities and the famous Jersey Shore. From the Ivy League halls of Princeton University, to the convenient Route 1 business corridor, flourishing suburban neighborhoods, rural farms and urban centers characterize life in Mercer County.
Mercer County is home to more than 350,000 people in 226 square miles with 10 percent of the U.S. population living within a 75-mile radius. The transportation infrastructure in Mercer County is also excellent. Key corridors along the New Jersey Turnpike in Mercer County are considered the most lucrative commerce centers in the state. In addition, Interstates 95, 195 and 295, as well as state highways routes 1, 29, 31 and 130 provide Mercer County with attractive commute options. Mercer County also offers access to commuter rail services, a light rail system and the Trenton-Mercer Airport.
You might like to step back into the past at the Howell Living History Farm, where household and farmyard chores are done as they were in the 1890s; ride a horse at the Equestrian Center, or visit the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. All three are Mercer County facilities in Hopewell Township.
Recreation and entertainment are abundant with first-class parks, four public golf courses, the Trenton Devils professional hockey team and the New York Yankees AA-affiliate (Trenton Thunder) at Waterfront Park, an attractive destination in itself. The Sovereign Bank Arena is ranked among the best performing venues of its size in the world. Mercer County's excellent schools, tourist destinations, and a diverse, well educated workforce make this county a great place to live, work and play.
Officially founded in 1838 and carved out of other surrounding counties, Mercer County has a historical impact that reaches back to the pivotal battles of the American Revolutionary War. On the night of Dec. 25, 1776, General George Washington led the American forces across the Delaware River to attack Hessian forces in Trenton, New Jersey, who did not anticipate an attack near Christmas. Washington followed up the assault with a surprise attack on General Charles Cornwallis' forces in the Battle of Princeton on the eve of Jan. 2, 1777, eventually retaking the colony. The successful attacks built morale among the pro-independence colonists.
Mercer County also has the dubious distinction of being the famed landing spot for a fictional Martian invasion of the United States. In 1938, in what has become one of the most famous radio plays of all time, Orson Welles acted out his The War of the Worlds invasion. Wells landed his imaginary aliens on Mercer County soil, using what is now West Windsor Township as the point of first contact. A monument commemorating the Martian "landing" is erected at Grover's Mill Park.
Along with a highly skilled and educated labor pool, Mercer County is also home to Princeton University, Rider University, The College of New Jersey, Thomas Edison State College and Mercer County Community College. The county holds some of the state's greatest cultural and historic sites with Revolutionary War battle sites in Trenton and Princeton.
Commitment to revitalization
During the 60s, 70s and 80s, Trenton (the State Capital and Mercer County seat), suffered through hard times. The city began to decay, and the suburbs felt the squeeze of the urban center's problems. Beginning in the early 1990s, Mercer County began to experience a rebirth. The suburbs began to flourish again, redevelopment efforts successfully turned around Trenton and its suburbs and work continues to revitalize the area. Open spaces were preserved and parks and recreational lands were created, becoming the envy of the state. In all, Mercer County has 13 municipalities. Trenton is the only municipality with a city form of government. The other municipalities are Hightstown, Hopewell, Pennington and Princeton boroughs, East Windsor, Ewing, Hamilton, Hopewell, Lawrence, Princeton, Washington and West Windsor townships.
While federal, state, county and municipal governments provide jobs for many, the county also has state-of-the-art industries such as the Sarnoff Corporation, the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab and Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Mercer County has the oldest farmer's market in the state, and farms dot the county's landscape.
The Delaware River is the County's best-known waterway. The Delaware and Raritan Canal, no longer a venue for trade or travel, is used for recreation. The Assunpink Creek runs 25 miles from Monmouth County into Hamilton, Trenton and Lawrence, covering a 91-square-mile watershed. Mercer County also lies within the 285-square mile watershed drained by the Stony Brook and Millstone River.
You can find a wide range of recreational activities here, many operated by the County. The Kelly Cup Champion Trenton Titans, an AA affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Islanders, play in the Sovereign Bank Arena. The Arena, which is owned by the Mercer County Improvement Authority, also serves as a venue for popular performance acts, such as Disney on Ice and the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus.
Waterfront Park on the Delaware River is home to the Trenton Thunder, a New York Yankees AA affiliate. Mercer County Park has fields for cricket, football, lacrosse, softball, soccer and volleyball, an ice rink for skaters and hockey leagues, as well as Mercer Lake for paddle boating. The County Park abuts the wooded campus of Mercer County Community College. The campus has been the home base for the top-ranked New Jersey Wildcats professional women's soccer team for over five years.
Mercer County is proud of its many museums dedicated to local history and to art and science, as well as its various shopping districts and malls. You can drive to all the sights or take a train to one of the New Jersey Transit train stations in Princeton, Hamilton, Trenton and the Princeton Junction section of West Windsor or on the River Line, which runs from Camden and stops at many towns along the Delaware before it gets to Trenton.
It's easy to find good food throughout Mercer County. Each town and intersection seems to have someone's personal favorite. Worth a special visit is Lucy's Ravioli Kitchen and Market at 8320 State Road (Route 206) in Princeton, NJ. Call (609) 924-6881 for hours. All the pasta and ravioli are natural and hand-crafted.
Because of the popularity of its location, many restaurants near and around Mercer County Water Park can be pricey. A good bet is La Villa Family Restaurant, 21 S. Pennsylvania Ave., Morrisville, PA 19067. Call (215) 736-3113 for hours. The lunch buffet is totally reasonable and their tomato pie stands out. If you're used to wine with your entrees, you'll need to bring your own bottle (BYOB).
Palmer Square in downtown Princeton offers great shopping, theater and gallery experiences, as well as a wide choice of dining venues, including Chez Alice with breakfast, lunch and fabulous pastries served throughout the day. The Yankee Doodle Tap Room in the unique Nassau Inn offers elegant breakfasts, lunch and dinners. The restaurant was named for Yankee Doodle after Norman Rockwell painted a thirteen-foot mural about the historic figure for the inn in 1937. This piece of American art history continues to hang behind the bar. Call (609) 921-7500 for more information.
Located along the Jersey Shore, Ocean County, like its county seat in Toms River, is one of the fastest growing areas of New Jersey with an estimated Census population of 558,531. Ocean County was established in 1850 from portions of Monmouth County, except for Little Egg Harbor Township which seceded from Burlington County in 1891.
Ocean County is 50 miles east of Philadelphia, 70 miles south of New York City and 25 miles north of Atlantic City, making it a prime destination for residents of these cities during the summer .As with the entire Jersey Shore, summer traffic routinely clogs local roadways throughout the season.
While considered part of the New York Metro Area, its location in the southern part of New Jersey makes Ocean County's many tourist attractions a frequent destination by Delaware Valley residents. These attractions include a myriad of beaches, such as Long Beach and Seaside Heights, along with resorts, such as Island Beach State Park and Six Flags Great Adventure. Ocean County is also a gateway to New Jersey's Pine Barrens—one of the largest protected pieces of land on the East Coast.
On Feb. 15, 1850, Ocean County came into being. It was then comprised of the townships of Brick, Toms River, Jackson, Plumsted, Stafford and Union (Barnegat), which, in the aggregate, had previously been the portion of Monmouth County lying south of the Manasquan River. Little Egg Harbor merged into the new political subdivision in 1891. Over time, this vast geographic area was carved into 33 municipalities.
Toms River was selected as the "seat" of the new County government. On May 8, 1850, the first Board of Chosen Freeholders, consisting of two representatives from each of the six original townships, selected insignia to represent the public officials of the time. The sloop, schooner and steamboat are still the official seals of the Freeholders, County Clerk and Surrogate, respectively. The choice of these symbols reflects the rich maritime tradition of the area.
Most historians agree that the Lenni Lenape Indians were the first inhabitants of the Ocean County area. Annually, they migrated from as far away as Delaware to enjoy the shore and its plentiful food supply. Captain Cornius Hendreickson charted the New Jersey coast for the Dutch from 1614 to 1616.
By the end of the 17th century, whalers were at work off the coast. This opened the region to settlement. Soon saw and grist mills flourished along the streams and rivers leading into the bay. The whalers, turned smugglers in the first half of the 18th century, were the grandfathers and fathers of the privateers during the American Revolution. Ocean County endured 23 Loyalist and British attacks on its salt works, as well as other skirmishes during the Revolution. There were 77 naval battles off the coast.
As seafaring men sought peaceful pursuits after the Revolution, new industries evolved in the Pine Barrens. Forges and furnaces were built to smelt the local bog ore into pig iron. Thousands of acres of trees were cut to produce charcoal. Commercial fishing and boat building along the coastal region became primary industries in this fledgling county. By the mid-1850s, "cranberrying" and farming had expanded in the rural regions of the county.
The heavy loss of life from immigrant ships wrecked along the coast during the 19th century prompted Congress, led by Dr. William Newell of Manahawkin, to appropriate funding for the construction of lifesaving stations. Within a few years, the first station, built in 1849, was joined by many more, every five miles along the shore. This early Lifesaving Service became the forerunner to the United States Coast Guard Service founded in 1915. The U.S. Coast Guard Training Academy is located at Cape May, just south of Ocean County. Ocean County's extensive water resources, boardwalks, parks and golf courses offer a special place where recreation and tourism flourish.
While Ocean County is home to many tourist attractions, including the Barnegat Lighthouse, Island Beach State Park, Long Beach Island, Six Flags Great Adventure, which is the home of the world's tallest and formerly fastest roller coaster, Kingda Ka, its crown jewel is historic Tuckerton, home of the Tuckerton Seaport and Baymen's Museum
The one-of-a-kind, 40-acre maritime village in the heart of historic Tuckerton (in George Washington's time, it was the third port of entry on the eastern coast, just behind New York and Boston), brings the Jersey Shore's maritime traditions of the past and present to life through people, exhibits and hands-on activities. Tuckerton Seaport's partner organization is the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve. Experience the rich traditions of the Jersey Shore and its Baymen through the Seaport's recreated and historic buildings, lighthouse, demonstrations, interpretive exhibits, events, festivals, live aquatic displays and more. Decoy carvers, boat builders, basket makers and baymen entertain, educate and delight visitors of all ages. Renowned wildlife painter and bird artist, Tom O'Connell, displays his wood-carving techniques at the Seaport once a week.
The Seaport's Lunch 'n Learn Series, as well as boat-building and bird-carving classes, are reasonably priced. Stroll the 3/4-mile boardwalk and experience life on Tuckerton "Crik." Identify birds and plants on the1/4 mile nature trail. Tour the site and view garveys, sneak boxes, cruising yachts and party boats on land and water.
Tuckerton is home to several excellent marinas that provide charter fishing excursions, eco-tours, ocean kayak rentals, boat rents and bait and tackle. The Visitor Center is at 120 West Main St. and the Seaport is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., all year, rain or shine. Call (609) 296-8868 or visit the Web site at http://www.tuckertonseaport.org.
With so much available, the Seaport Museum and its environs are worth a longer stay. Browse the attractive galleries, including the Watermark Gallery, 115 Water St., Tuckerton, owned by famous watercolorist, June Sullivan, and features South Jersey artists. Call (609) 294-3343 for hours.
Attend live plays at The Surf-Light Theatre, Engleside and Beach Haven Avenues, at nearby Beach Haven. This summer stock venue presents high-quality musical productions. Plays are staged during other seasons and a musical version of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" is produced each December. Call (609) 492-9477 for ticket information.
The area boasts good restaurants, including The Octopus Garden (609) 597-8828, The Grapevine (609) 296-7799, Tuckerton Pub and Tuckerton Beach Grille (609) 294-3600. The Seaport Museum has its own restaurant, Scojos (609) 296-5700, on its grounds and they also do nice picnic "to go" lunches.
Monmouth County is the northernmost county on the Jersey Shore and is within the New York metropolitan area. Its population was estimated at 642,030 in 2007 by the U.S. Census. The county seat is Freehold Borough and its most populous municipality is Middletown Township with 66,327 residents. While the county has a total area of 665 square miles, 193 square miles of it is water. Much of Monmouth County remains flat and low-lying even far inland. However, there are some low hills in and around Holmdel Township, and one of them, Crawford Hill, the former site of a radar facility, is the county's highest point at 380 feet above sea level. The top portion of the hill is owned by Alcatel-Lucent and houses a research laboratory of Bell Laboratories.
The northeastern portion of the county, in the Locust neighborhood of Middletown Township and the boroughs of Highlands and Atlantic Highlands, are also very hilly. The lowest point is sea level. Working in New York City is a familiar commute for many Monmouth Country residents who live in the areas served by train, bus or ferries to the Big Apple. Allow 1 and 1/2 hours each way, although taking the ferries provide a slightly faster journey. Most Manhattan businesses work 9 to 5, so it is manageable.
Along with adjacent Ocean County, Monmouth County is considered Mecca for boating and fishing. Its waterways include several rivers and bays that Wow into New York Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean. The Manasquan Inlet is located in the county, which connects the Atlantic Ocean with the estuary of the Manasquan River, a baylike body of saltwater that serves as the starting point of the Intracoastal Waterway.
For the past five years, Monmouth County has been in the national news as state and local governments flight the base realignment and closure (BRAC) action regarding Fort Monmouth. The Army continues to transfer functions, military personnel and civilian employees to other bases, mainly in Maryland and Ohio. Under BRAC law, Fort Monmouth must close no later than Sept. 15, 2011.
The Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Act established the Fort Monmouth Revitalization Planning Authority, which will plan and manage the redevelopment of the facility once closure is completed. The Fort Monmouth closure is having its greatest impact in the borough of Oceanport, a residential community that is also home to Monmouth Park Racetrack.
Monmouth County was established in 1675. At the June 28, 1778 Battle of Monmouth, near Freehold, General George Washington's soldiers battled the British under Sir Henry Clinton in the longest land battle of the American Revolutionary War. It was at Monmouth that the tactics and training from Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben Friedrich developed At Valley Forge during the winter encampment were first implemented on a large scale.
Monmouth Battlefield State Park, where the Continental Army defeated the British army in 1778, is a great destination. Each year, the park hosts a reenactment of the historical battle that you won't want to miss. For more information on activities in Monmouth County, contact the Monmouth County Department of Economic Development/Tourism at (732) 431-7476 or (800) 523-2587.
Monmouth County's school systems are highly rated. In addition to multiple public high schools, there are many parochial schools in Monmouth County, such as Red Bank Catholic High School, Christian Brothers Academy, St. John Vianney High School and Mater Dei High School; as well as one secular private school, Ranney School. The county has an extensive vocational high school program, known as the Monmouth County Vocational School District, including five magnet schools.
Brookdale Community College is the two-year community college for Monmouth County, one of a network of 19 county colleges statewide. The school is in Lincroft. Monmouth University is a four-year private university located in West Long Branch.
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, has a partnership with Brookdale Community College which offers Bachelor degree completion programs at Brookdale's Freehold campus. For more information on this program, please visit http://www.wmhec.rutgers.edu.
With all the great Italian, Asian-fusion and seafood restaurants, eating out in Monmouth County is a total pleasure. Some personal favorites include:
Drew's Bayshore Bistro is at 58 Broad St. in Keyport. This place is somewhat hard to recognize among the cobbled together storefronts that make up the restaurant, so call (732) 739-9219 for directions and to make reservations for weekend prime times. The soft shell crabs are outstanding, as well as the chowders and pork dishes. This place draws crowds with its unique Cajun-fusion type menu...BYOB—Bring Your Own Bottle! Bahrs Landing Seafood Restaurant at 2 Bay Ave. in Highlands has been packing them in since 1917. Seafood heaven, Bahrs is a destination in itself with docks, marina, cocktail lounging on the water front and a wide variety of dining venues (inside, outside and "to go"). They pull diners from New York City (since they pick up clients at the ferry), so reservations are a good idea. The Bahrs Web site at http://www.bahrs.com provides complete menus, a virtual tour and links to all sorts of wonderful things to do in the area. This is the place for lobster and fresh, fresh seafood. Their lunch board menu provides an affordable option for the best in seafood and German specialties. Call (732) 872-1245.
Camden County is within the Philadelphia- Camden metro area. The estimated population is 516,282. The county has a total area of 228 square miles and is uniformly Wat and low-lying because it is part of the Delaware River Valley. It is bordered by Burlington County (northeast), Atlantic County (southeast), Gloucester County (southwest) and Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania (northeast).
As of the last Census, the racial makeup of the county was 70.88 percent White American, 18.09 percent Black or African American, 0.26 percent Native American, 3.72 percent Asian, 0.04 percent Pacific Islander, 5.09 percent from other races, 1.93 percent from two or more races and 9.66 percent of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Ancestries listed were 17.9 percent Italian, 15.4 percent Irish, 10.5 percent German and 5.3 percent English. The per capita personal income in Camden County is an estimated $32,108. This is considered 104 percent of the national per capita income, which is an estimated $30,906. While most of its boroughs are working class, Camden County has many contrasts in its demographics. Most of Camden and parts of Lindenwold are considered highly impoverished, while Cherry Hill Township (Vve miles east of Philadelphia), Voorhees Township (many of its residents commute to Cherry Hill or Philadelphia for work), Haddon Heights (New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Haddon Heights as the 98th best place to live in its 2008 rankings of the "Best Places to Live" in New Jersey),Haddon Township (Haddon Township has a slightly higher number of liquor stores, restaurants which serve alcohol, and bars because the neighboring boroughs of Collingswood, Haddonfield and Haddon Heights prohibit the sale of alcohol) and Haddonfield (Haddonfield has a PATCO High- Speed Line station that links it directly to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and other towns in Camden County) have a number of prosperous and upper-class enclaves.
Much of the growth of Camden County directly resulted from the success of another Quaker colony across the Delaware River, known as Philadelphia, which was founded in 1682 and soon had enough population to attract a brisk trade from western Jersey and Camden. Trade was Camden County's reason for being and still provides a wide range of commercial activities today. Situated on the Delaware River, with access to the Atlantic Ocean, the county's location gave rise to the Port of Camden, which handles breakbulk and bulk cargo. The port consists of two terminals: the Beckett Street Terminal and the Broadway Terminal (commonly known as the Port of Camden). The port continues to receive hundreds of ships moving international and domestic cargo annually.
Initial European activity in the vicinity of present day Camden County occurred along the banks of the Delaware River where the Dutch and the Swedish vied for control of the local fur trade. Fort Nassau, built by the Dutch West India Company in 1626, was the first European attempt at settlement in the area.
Beginning in 1700, Quaker colonists had begun to reshape the West Jersey environment. Indians and settlers coexisted peacefully, but the European presence altered Indian life drastically. The native inhabitants, the Lenni Lenape, were peaceful hunters and gatherers who resided along streams in wigwams or long houses. English encroachment upon their woods and streams, and the use of other natural resources taxed the Indians' survival. The introduction of alcohol and the exposure of the Indians to infectious, diseases (to which they had no inherent immunity) further dwindled Indian populations. A half-century after settlement, virtually no Indians remained in the area.
By 1840, the population of Camden had grown to 3,371. Camden, then located in the upper half of Gloucester County, appealed to the state legislature for better representation. This request resulted in the creation of Camden County in 1844. In 1848, the city of Camden was voted the county seat.
Camden prospered during strong periods of manufacturing demand until the late 1950s. By the 1960s, however, weakened industries were closing or departing. The city of Camden was gradually left with pollution, high unemployment and urban decay, leading to widespread poverty and crime. Government corruption was also a problem in the late 20th century for Camden.
Edge cities and surrounding suburbs fared better. With the excellent transit systems in place throughout Camden County, workers can take advantage of employment possibilities not only in the city of Camden, but throughout western Jersey and Philadelphia.
Nature's bounty Thanks to Camden County's commitment to preserving its agricultural base, it is home to numerous farmers' markets. You'll find many ways to experience the region's home-grown bounty. Every single Camden County farmer's market has its own unique character, events and vendors.
Berlin Farmers' Market
41 Clementon Road
Berlin ..........................................(856) 767-1284
Open year round.
Hours: Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Camden Community Farmers' Market
Broadway and Martin Luther King Boulevard
Camden ......................................(856) 963-2432
Open from end of June to November
Hours: Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Collingswood Farmers' Market
Between Collings Avenue and Irvin Avenue
Collingswood ..............................(856) 559-0234
Open from beginning of May through November
Hours: Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.
Farmers' Market at the Transportation Center
Open from July to November
Hours: Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Haddon Field Farmers' Market
Kings Highway at Chestnut Street
Haddon Field ................................(856) 616-8311
Open from mid-May to last Saturday in October
Hours: Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.
For a full list of Camden County farmers' markets, visit the Jersey Fresh Web site at http://www.state.nj.us/jerseyfresh.
One of the most popular attractions of Camden is the city's waterfront, along the Delaware River. The waterfront is highlighted by its four main attractions: the USS New Jersey, the Susquehanna Bank Center, Campbell's Field and the Adventure Aquarium.
The Adventure Aquarium was originally opened in 1992 as the New Jersey State Aquarium at Camden. In 2005, after extensive renovation the Aquarium was reopened under the name Adventure Aquarium. The aquarium is one of the original centerpieces in Camden's efforts to revitalize the city.
The recently renamed Susquehanna Bank Center (formerly known as the Tweeter Center) is a 25,000-seat open-air concert amphitheater that was opened in 1995.
Campbell's Field, opened in 2001, is home to the Camden Riversharks (minor league baseball team), of the Atlantic League and the Rutgers- Camden baseball team.
The USS New Jersey (BB-62) was a U.S. Navy battleship that was intermittently active between the years 1943 and 1991. After its retirement, the ship was turned into a museum along the waterfront and opened in 2001. The New Jersey saw action during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial is a 501© non-profit which offers guided and self-guided tours, as well as an overnight encampments program. Guests experience dinner and lunch from the crew's mess, a tour of the ship, a ride on the 4D Wight simulator and the opportunity to sleep in the bunks that the crew of the USS New Jersey once did. Also, special group packages and event/meeting space are available. For more information, call (856) 966-1652 or visit the Battleship Web site at http://www.battleshipnewjersey.org
Other attractions at the Waterfront are the Wiggins Park Riverstage and Marina, One Port Center, The Victor Lofts, the Walt Whitman House, the Walt Whitman Cultural Arts Center, the Rutgers- Camden Center for the Arts and the Camden Children's Garden.
The Waterfront is served by two modes of public Transportation .New Jersey Transit serves the Waterfront on its River Line, while people from Philadelphia commute via the River Link Ferry, which connects the Waterfront with Old City Philadelphia.
The beauty of this Camden Count area's restaurants is that they can look extremely unassuming but, taste wise, pack a big punch. Somewhat pricey, but definitely worth the visit is Ritz Seafood, 910 Haddonfield-Berlin Road (Route 561) in floorhees. Call (856) 566-6650 for hours.
And here's the ideal splurge to get your hands messy and keep your tummy full. The half ($10) or full ($19) rack of ribs at the Carolina Blue Smokehouse and Taproom at 692 Lambs Road in Pitman are the ideal choices to cheat on your diet. Using local peachwood, the ribs are smoked no less than 18 hours. Open for lunch and dinner, there are also a wide variety of other menu items. Call (856) 582-8586 for hours.