For the past two years, NJTV has hosted a tournament to find the ultimate tourism destination in the state, as voted by viewers. This year’s theme was historic places in the Garden State. Now that the competition is over, check out all amazing destinations that made it to our 2019 bracket.
2019 Tourism Tournament Champion: Red Mill Museum Village
Location: Clinton (Hunterdon County)
The top destination in our tournament, The Red Mill Museum preserves the social, agricultural, and industrial heritage of Hunterdon County and its surrounding area. The 10-acre site houses 12 historic buildings which include a grist mill, the Mulligan quarry buildings and several relocated historic structures. It display permanent and changing exhibits showcasing agricultural, industrial and domestic artifacts.
Runner up: Ringwood Manor
Location: Ringwood (Passaic County)
Ringwood Manor is a National Historic Landmark District, having historical importance spanning from Native American occupation through the early 20th century. The surrounding Ramapo Mountains’ rich magnetite iron deposits made the area a major iron supplier and became the home to a succession of ironmasters for over 200 years.With original historical structures, gardens, and landscapes on 582 acres and extensive historical collections illustrative of family life, community, industry and culture, Ringwood Manor is a unique repository of American history.
Old Barracks Museum
Location: Trenton (Mercer County)
Last year’s Tourism Tournament winner, the Old Barracks, in addition to housing soldiers during the Revolutionary and French and Indian War, was the first mass medical treatment in the Western Hemisphere. During the Revolutionary War disease actually killed more soldiers than combat. Today The Old Barracks is the only surviving structure used for that purpose.
Battleship New Jersey
Location: Camden (Camden County)
Battleship New Jersey earned the Navy Unit Commendation for Vietnam service. She has received nine battle stars for World War II; four for the Korean conflict; and two for Vietnam, and three Campaign Stars for service off Beirut, Lebanon and service in the Persian Gulf, prior to Operation Desert Storm. With a total of Nineteen Battle and Campaign Stars, New Jersey is America’s most decorated battleship and surviving warship.
Double Trouble Village
Location: Lacey and Berkeley Townships (Ocean County)
The Double Trouble Historic District is a window into past and current industries in the Pine Barrens. A succession of sawmills has been on site since the mid-1700s. As swamps were cleared of cedar trees, a new industry emerged with the planting of cranberry vines. The village has fourteen historic structures dating from the late 19th century through the early 20th century.
Indian King Tavern
Location: Haddonfield (Camden County)
Indian King Tavern Museum’s more than 270 year-old historic building is New Jersey’s first state-owned historic site. It’s where New Jersey completed the transition from colony to State passing laws revising election procedures, creating township governments, and setting up state courts. At the Indian King, the assembly passed measures imposing martial law, strengthening the militia, regulating a war economy, and providing emergency support to the Continental Army after its defeat at Brandywine.
Location: Port Norris (Cumberland County)
The Schooner A.J. Meerwald is New Jersey’s official Tall Ship. She is a restored oyster dredging schooner, whose home port is in Bivalve, Commercial Township, New Jersey. Launched in 1928, A.J. Meerwald was one of hundreds of schooners built along South Jersey’s Bayshore before the decline of the shipbuilding industry which coincided with the Great Depression. Today, the A.J. Meerwald is used by the Bayshore Center at Bivalve for onboard educational programs in the Delaware Bay near Bivalve, and at other ports in the New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware region.
Location: Perth Amboy (Middlesex County)
The Franklins didn’t move into Proprietary House until 1774, but their time there would be short but fateful. With the outbreak of hostilities between the colonies and Britain in 1775, high drama played out at the governor’s mansion when Ben Franklin visited and tried in vain to win his Loyalist son over to the cause of independence. But William remained loyal to the crown. The New Jersey Assembly ordered the Governor held under house arrest at Proprietary House in January 1776 and removed him for trial in June of the same year. Soon convicted of treason, William was imprisoned in Connecticut. He had been not only New Jersey’s last royal governor, but also the last in the colonies still trying to cling to power.
Location: Hardwick (Warren County)
Millbrook Village is a recreated community of the 1800s located in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Although most of the buildings at the site are replications, Millbrook has a real past. At its peak, the village had 75 inhabitants and about 19 major buildings.
Historic Batsto Village
Location: Hammonton (Burlington County)
Historic Batsto Village, a nationally recognized historic site, is located in Wharton State Forest in Southern New Jersey. The Village has changed and survived during several different periods of American history. Archeological investigations have also discovered evidence of Prehistoric life in the Batsto area. Evidence shows land use dating back several thousand years.
Morristown National Historical Park
Location: Morristown (Morris County)
Morristown National Historical Park commemorates the sites of General Washington and the Continental army’s winter encampment of December 1779 to June 1780, where they survived through what would be the coldest winter on record. The park also maintains a museum and library collection related to the encampments of George Washington, as well as items relating to pre- and post-Revolutionary America.
Liberty Hall Museum
Location: Union (Union County)
In 1760 when planning to build a country home, lawyer William Livingston bought 120 acres in what was then sleepy bucolic Elizabethtown, New Jersey. For the next 12 years, Livingston developed the extensive grounds, gardens and orchards and oversaw the building of a beautiful 14-room Georgian-style home. Livingston, a signed of the United States Constitution, on August 31, 1776, became New Jersey’s first elected governor
Location: Newark (Essex County)
The Newark Museum is the state’s largest museum. It holds fine collections of American art, decorative arts, contemporary art, and arts of Asia, Africa, the Americas, and the ancient world.
Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum
Location: Rio Grande (Cape May County)
Travel back in time at the NASW. Commissioned in April 1943, NASW served as an active dive-bomber squadron training facility during World War II. Today, Hangar #1 has been restored and transformed into an Aviation Museum that houses a number of aircraft, engines, special exhibits, and educational interactive displays.
Location: Mount Laurel (Burlington County)
Paulsdale is the birthplace of women’s rights activist Alice Paul. Less than 4% of National Historic Landmarks commemorate the work of a woman, placing Paulsdale in the small group of historic sites that honor the legacy of significant women in American history.
Emlen Physick Estate
Location: Cape May (Cape May County)
A visit to the Physick Estate today offers a look back at Cape May’s Victorian past as evidenced by its architecture, decorative arts, customs, and the lives of one particular Cape May family, the Physicks.
Location: Smithville (Atlantic County)
Historic Smithville features fun festivals, shoppes, restaurants and more. While it has an interesting beginning, Smithville was never actually a town.
The Historic Village at Allaire
Location: Farmingdale (Monmouth County)
Allaire State Park’s earliest recorded history of industrial activity was in the early 1750s. Over 10 to 15 years, he intensively developed the site, building homes and industrial buildings. The site soon developed into a self-sustained community or 400 people. The Howell Works produced casting and pig iron which were shipped to Allaire’s foundry in New York for building steamship engines and boilers.
Historic Cold Spring
Location: Cape May (Cape May County)
Dr. Joseph Salvatore and wife Patricia Anne acquired Cold Spring Grange #132, thus beginning Historic Cold Spring Village, a living history museum. Their objective was to provide visitors with a sense of stepping back in time to a South Jersey rural community of the 1800s.
Location: Stanhope (Sussex County)
Waterloo Village is a 19th century restored village that covers the time from a 400-year old Lenape (Delaware) Indian village to a bustling port along the once prosperous Morris Canal. The Village is a working mill complex with gristmills and sawmills, a general store, blacksmith shop and several historic houses. During the summer months, there are classical and popular music concerts. Waterloo Village is rich in history, dating back to the time of the Munsee (Lenape) Indians who inhabited northern New Jersey and made use of the rich natural resources and the abundance of the landscape and waterways.
Van Wagenen House
Location: Jersey City (Hudson County)
Known as the Apple Tree House, it given its name based off the story of the meeting between General George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette during the American Revolution in 1780. Legend claims that while camping in Bergen for three days, they dined in the yard “underneath and apple tree” and discussed strategy for French Naval intervention.
Jacobus Vanderveer House
Location: Bedminster (Somerset County)
The Jacobus Vanderveer House and Museum was the headquarters of General Henry Knox during the winter of 1778-79 and the only surviving building associated with the Pluckemin Artillery Cantonment, America’s first military academy. The Vanderveer House interprets 18th century Dutch-Colonial life through the Vanderveer and Knox families and underscores the Pluckemin Cantonment’s role in helping the Continental Army to defeat the British during the American Revolution
Red Bank Battlefield Park
Location: National Park (Gloucester County)
The Red Bank Battlefield, located along the Delaware River in Gloucester County, was the location of the Battle of Red Bank in the American Revolutionary War on October 22, 1777. Fort Mercer and its sister, Fort Mifflin in Pennsylvania, defended the river and prevented the British from using it for transportation. The forts successfully delayed the British.
Location: Lower Alloways Creek Township (Salem County)
Built in 1734, the Hancock House is an important tangible link to understanding the History of Salem County and our Nation’s struggle for independence. It was the home of a prominent “Salem County family and is an excellent example of English Quaker patterned end wall brick houses associated with the lower Delaware Valley and southwestern New Jersey. It was also the scene of a British- led massacre during the Revolutionary War.
African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey
Location: Atlantic City and Newtonville (Atlantic County)
The African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey (AAHMSNJ) sprang from the passion of its founder, Ralph E. Hunter, Sr. Starting in his apartment, which his friends affectionately referred to as “The Museum”, today the museum has two locations in South Jersey.
Whippany Railway Museum
Location: Whippany (Morris County)
The Whippany Railway Museum has been bringing to life the history of New Jersey’s railroads to the public since 1965. However, the Museum’s age belies its heritage. The Museum is built upon nearly 50 years of preservation experience.
New Jersey State Museum
Location: Trenton (Mercer County)
In 1895, the New Jersey State Legislature formally established the New Jersey State Museum in the capital city of Trenton with a mission to collect and exhibit specimens in natural history, archaeology, and industrial history. Original collections included natural history specimens amassed in the 19th century. Between 1900 and 1912, the State Museum strengthened its archaeology focus by initiating a field research program.
Vietnam Era Museum and Educational Center
Location: Holmdel (Monmouth County)
The Vietnam Era Museum is the first Vietnam war museum of its kind in the United States. Dedicated in September 1998, the Museum provides political, cultural and historical context for the Memorial. It helps visitors gain an understanding of the conflict in Southeast Asia and the surrounding political strife in America and its lasting impact on American culture, with an emphasis on experiences in New Jersey.
Location: Mount Holly (Burlington County)
Located in Mount Holly, Smithville Mansion was the home of Hezekiah B. Smith, an inventor and industrialist from Massachusetts. Him and his wife came to New Jersey in 1865 and purchased the village in which this home sits.
Location:Ho-Ho-Kus (Bergen County)
The Hermitage is a historic house museum and National Historic Landmark that encompasses over 250 years of American history. General George Washington headquartered at the hosue for four days with his staff, including Alexander Hamilton and John Laurens. He was also accompanied by the young French nobleman, the Marques de Lafayette. Bergen County, specifically around Paramus, was a hot bed of military activity during the war and the Hermitage found itself positioned in the middle of the British and the Americans.
Morven Museum and Gardens
Location: Princeton (Mercer County)
Home to one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and to five NJ governors, Morven has played a role in the history of New Jersey and the nation for more than 250 years. A National Historic Landmark, Morven is situated on 5 pristine acres. This former New Jersey Governor’s Mansion showcases the rich cultural heritage of the Garden State through regular exhibitions, educational programs and special events.
Location: Paterson (Passaic County)
“The Castle,” a well-known landmark in Northern New Jersey, is located on Garret Mountain overlooking the City of Paterson. Once a private residence, the building is fashioned after an English castle.