It's All About the Pine Barrens!


Pine Barrens Self-guided Tours
(© PineyPower.com)

Travel the scenic routes of the Pine Barrens and see what makes this area so very special, and understand why this environmentally-sensitive region should be preserved! Please feel free to print out the following tour itineraries for your personal use; however, reproduction of tour itineraries for use in other websites or for distribution is not permitted, as they are the sole property of PineyPower and not intended for commercial or mass use. Please email or phone (609-698-2501) PineyPower with any questions.

Please help PineyPower - if you stop into any of the locations listed in the self-guided Tours that we have prepared for you, please tell the business or facility owners/managers that you found them through PineyPower! This is an independent website; it receives NO funding, grants or government subsidies - it is supported through the generosity of its sponsors - please thank them!

If you are a Pinelands business owner and would like to be part of our tour itineraries, please feel free to EMAIL PineyPower!

Coastal Pinelands Trip
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The Jersey shore is much more than ocean beaches and boardwalks. The bayshore between the barrier islands and the mainland is rich in ecology, history and legend! Most of the area north of Atlantic City is within the Pinelands National Reserve, so there are plenty of wildlife areas to explore by car, kayak or foot. There's something to do here year-round, so don't let the weather stop you from visiting!

Suggested itinerary:

With historic Tuckerton NJ as your starting point, visit Tuckerton Seaport, located in the heart of town on Route 9. In season, have lunch at Skeeter's, or wait until you're headed south to the Forsythe Wildlife Refuge. When you get to New Gretna (Burlington County), turn onto Route 542 West (Batsto), drive about 5 miles to Lower Bank Tavern for a great, but reasonably-priced lunch. You'll see a wonderful example of freshwater wetlands as you cross the Wading River!

After lunch, return to Route 9 and continue south. You will briefly be on the Garden State Parkway in order to cross the Mullica River. Pass Historic Smithville Village on your right, then look for turn left on E. Great Creek Road. Continue to the end, entering Forsythe Wildlife Refuge. There is an 8-mile loop road into the wetlands here at the Refuge that offers some wonderful birding opportunities from right inside your car! Afterwards, follow the signs to the Noyes Museum to view their collection of art, or stop at Historic Smithville village for shopping and a snack.

You can end your day now and head home, but why not make it a mini-vacation and stay at the beautiful J.D. Thompson Inn (609-294-1331) in Tuckerton? You can go back to your room for a hot shower, then enjoy a delicious dinner at one of several local restaurants. Innkeepers Catherine and Lorenzo Lauro will be happy to recommend one!

Day Two: After a delicious breakfast at the Inn and depending on your homeward route, the following stops are suggested.

Returning North - Garden State Parkway to Exit 69; take Rt. 532 west, look for signs to Wells Mills County Park, located on 1,800 acres in Waretown. Visit the Nature Center, and if weather permits, take a short hike on one of many trails.

Returning South - Garden State Parkway to Exit 10B, to Route 657 East (Stone Harbor Blvd.) to Stone Harbor and The Wetlands Institute, where you'll learn all about coastal ecology. The book and gift shop here is fantastic!

Returning West to Trenton area - From Route 72 West, take Route 532 about 4 miles west to Chatsworth, and stop in Buzby's Chatsworth General Store (call 609-894-4415 for hours). This historic building in the "heart of the Pine Barrens" has a large selection of handmade items, including jams made on the premises, as well as a large selection of books.

Returning west to the Philly area - Take Route 9 south to Route 542 west; follow to Historic Batsto Village, where you can tour the village, or just visit the museum and gift shop and learn about the fascinating history of Iron in the Pines, the importance of the area during the Revolutionary War and more.

Getting Here

From Philadelphia: Route 76/676 to Route 42/Atlantic City Expressway, then North on Garden State Parkway. Get off at Exit 50 to Route 9 North. Continue about 7 miles to Little Egg Harbor Township and Tuckerton.

From Trenton: Take Route 206 to Route 70 east to Route 72 east. Look for traffic signal at Route 539; turn right. Follow Route 539 south (becomes Green Street) to Route 9 (Main Street) in Tuckerton.

From North Jersey: Take the Garden State Parkway south to Exit 58 (Tuckerton/Little Egg Harbor). Make a left at end of ramp onto Rt. 539 South. Follow Route 539 to Route 9 in Tuckerton (Main Street).

From South Jersey: Take the Garden State Parkway north to Exit 50 (New Gretna/Route 9 north). Follow Route 9 north for approximately 7 miles through New Gretna and into Little Egg Harbor Township and Tuckerton.

Drive Times

From New York City: 106 miles - 2 hours15 minutes

From Philadelphia: 73 miles - 1 3/4hours

From Baltimore: 162 miles - 3 1/2 hours

From Long Beach Island: 15 miles - 30 minutes

From Atlantic City: 28 miles - 35 minutes

From Cape May: 58 miles - 1 hour

© PineyPower LLC

Heart O' the Pines Trip
© PineyPower LLC

If you're planning your first visit to the Pine Barrens, this route will pass cranberry and blueberry farms, and includes a visit to Historic Batsto Village.

Suggested itinerary:

Start your day in Chatsworth, the unofficial "capital of the Pine Barrens". Stop at Buzby's Chatsworth General Store (call first for hours: 609-894-4415). Here you'll find maps and books of the Pine Barrens, and you can have a delicious breakfast at Buzby's cafe (Thursdays thru Sundays, 7AM - 2PM). On weekends, try the "Buzby Buns" - get there early before they run out!

Head south on Route 563. After passing through Chatsworth, you'll eventually pass the state's largest cranberry farms. While the actual harvest takes place in October, most days will find activity going on. There are several great vistas as you drive down the road, but please keep in mind that these farms are on private property, and trespassing is not polite!

 

At the 679 fork, keep to the left. Just after passing Harrisville Lake on your left, pull into the dirt parking area on the right, and look for the ruins of the Harrisville Paper Mill. The ruins are surrounded by a 6' chain link fence to prevent vandalism, but a decent view can still be had. Harrisville has a colorful past. Stay on Route 679, turning right on Route 653/542 W. towards Leektown. You'll get a good view of Wetlands as you cross the bridge over the Wading River.

Lower Bank Tavern, offers great food at a reasonable price.When you're ready for lunch, look for The Lower Bank Tavern on the right for what's said to be the best burger around! You can also get a veggie burger, or grilled chicken breast sandwich, or fish & chips, a Grilled T-bone or maybe some hot wings - there's plenty to choose from. You don't need "fancy" for fantastic food! If you've got kids, there is a dining room separate from the bar area. Tell owner/chef Billy that PineyPower sent you.

Continue on Route 542 for a scenic drive to Batsto Historic Village, with numerous panoramic views of the beautiful and very historic Mullica River on your left along the way. Batsto Village is located within the Wharton State Forest, and has great nature trails, including part of the 50-mile BATONA TRAIL, as well as the beautifully restored town. Stop in the Welcome Center - it contains a small museum, and a short movie that runs continuously. The gift shop also has a lot of interesting information about the fascinating history of the area. Take a self-guided tour of the village. (The beautiful mansion is very photogenic, but it's closed for renovations until further notice.) Don't miss another photo op at the lumber mill by the dam of the Batsto Lake. Beyond this are the workers' cottages and Nature Center.

You can end your day now and head home, but why not make it a mini-vacation and stay at the Hammonton Inn? (609-561-5700) Continue on Route 542 West, passing huge fields of blueberries! After all, Hammonton is the Blueberry Capital of the WORLD! At Route 30, continue west about a half-mile to the hotel.

Check into your room, freshen up, then enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.

Day Two: After checking out of the Hammonton Inn, take Route 30 East to Route 206 North. Continue north on Route 206. You'll pass Atsion Lake on the left. Immediately after, on the right, you'll see the Atsion Mansion, which is currently being restored by the State of NJ. Atsion is also part of Wharton State Forest.

If you'd like to savor your visit to the Pine Barrens via a local wine, a stop at Valenzano Winery is a must! From Route 206, look for "Old Indian Mills Road (Route 648) which will fork to the right. Continue about a mile to the Winery. A bottle of cranberry wine is a great gift, but this winery boasts many other great wines, several award-winners among them! (check website for tasting hours)

From Valenzano, continue on Old Indian Mills Road, back to Route 206 and home, but if you're hungry, head to the village of Tabernacle - just a minute or two from Valenzano's - and stop at Nixon's General Store for a delicious deli sandwich and a hot or cold beverage before you head home. It's a step into yesteryear, including the friendliness of the staff!

Right across the street, you'll find Russo's Farm Market, brimming with fresh local produce from Easter through Christmas - and be sure to try the apple cider donuts! Their produce prices are very reasonable. Whenever I visit, I'm amazed at how much I can get for so little!

Depending on your home location, you can continue east back to Chatsworth and Ocean County, or take Route 206 north to return home.


Getting Here

From Philadelphia Area: Route 70 East to Route 72 East. Look for Route 563 on the right; this will take you right into Chatsworth.

From Trenton Area : Take Route 206 South to Route 70 east to Route 72 east. Look for Route 563 on the right; this will take you right into Chatsworth.

From North Jersey: Take the Garden State Parkway south to Exit 69 (Waretown) and turn onto Route 532 WEST. Continue about 5 miles; turn RIGHT at Route 72. Continue on, passing the Pygmy Pine forest. Turn LEFT at Route 532 WEST/Chatsworth and continue about 4 miles. This will take you right to Buzby's Chatsworth General Store, located at the intersection of Routes 532 and 563.

From South Jersey: Take the Garden State Parkway north to Exit 58; turn onto Route 539 NORTH. At Route 72 intersection, turn LEFT/West; Continue on, passing the Pygmy Pine forest; turn LEFT at Route 532 WEST/Chatsworth and continue about 4 miles. This will take you right to Buzby's Chatsworth General Store, located at the intersection of Routes 532 and 563.

Drive Times to CHATSWORTH (Starting point)

From New York City: 103 miles - about 2 hours 3 minutes

From Philadelphia: 39 miles - about 1 hour

From Baltimore: 131 mi about 2 hours 35 mins

From Long Beach Island, NJ - 24.9 mi about 40 mins

From Atlantic City, NJ- 49.3 mi about 59 mins

From Cape May, NJ: 80.3 mi 80.3 mi about 1 hour 31 mins

From Albany, NY - 245 mi about 4 hours 10 mins

From Boston, MASS - 306 mi about 5 hours 39 mins

© PineyPower LLC


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The Pine Barrens is becoming a popular tourist destination. It offers history, nature, boating and fishing, swimming, camping, and most of all, peace and tranquility in our great outdoors. It's important to families who live here, whether for a few years or many generations, that our peace and tranquility be preserved. Thousand dollar suits aren't what impress people of the Pines - taking care of nature and fellow man is what matters. To that end, it is important for you to know that as a visitor to our precious Pine Barrens, you should show respect for the flora and fauna, for the historical buildings or their remains, and show respect for the "locals". Walk, talk and drive gently. DON'T LITTER. Respect the privacy of others. Treat our Pine Barrens as you would would want a visitor to treat your own home town. The people of the Pine Barrens are wonderful, caring people who want to protect the Pine Barrens; if you follow these simple guidelines, you too will be treated with respect and congeniality.

© 1998-2012 PineyPower LLC
P.O. Box 307, Barnegat NJ 08005
609-698-2501

Member, Board of Directors, Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce

Barnegat Chamber of Commerce

Natural Resource Educational Foundation/Lighthouse Center

Tuckerton Seaport

Please note: Unless otherwise noted, all articles and photographs on this site are the property of PineyPower, and as such, may not be reproduced without written permission.
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The Gold Duster, Barnegat NJ
THE GOLD DUSTER

Art/Craft Gallery
Barnegat NJ
Ramada Inn of Hammonton NJ
HOWARD JOHNSON INN

Hammonton, NJ
Valenzano Winery, Shamong, NJ
VALENZANO WINERY

"South Jersey's Farm Vineyard and Winery"
Shamong, NJ