The Skylands was originally a marketing region established by the New Jersey Department of Tourism for the western sections of the northern and central parts of the Garden State. The area “officially” encompasses Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Sussex and Warren counties. But from a geographic, cultural, and economic standpoint, most New Jerseyians feel the boundary of The Skylands represents the northwest part of the State. Let’s take a look…

On the Map. North of 1-78 and west of I-287 create easy boundaries for The Skylands. Go east of of I-287 and you are in “North Jersey.” Cross south over I-78 and you’re in (arguably) “Central Jersey”. This more practical Skylands definition excludes Hunterton and Somerset counties, but includes western Passaic County plus the Ramapo Mountains in Bergen County. This corresponds nicely to…

A Unique Landscape. The Skylands differ from the rest of “North Jersey” and indeed the entire State by its numerous mountains, lakes, and forests. These are the “Highlands” and “Ridge & Valley” physiographic provinces. The Skylands were shaped in large part by the Great Wisconsin Glacier 12,000 years ago. The highest point in the State is in the Skylands’ Stokes State Forest (which also boasts New Jersey’s portion of the Appalachian Trail). Within the Skylands is the protected “Highlands” watershed. Extending into New York, it is one of the oldest landscapes in North America (Precambrian!) and supplies clean drinking water to 2/3 of New Jersey’s population. We also get the most snow in the State, the earliest frost in Autumn, and the last frost in Spring (okay, not everything is great here). But you may find…

A Calmer Vibe. The Skylands mixes small towns and cities with open space and agriculture. With fewer rail stops and a long commute to Manhattan, this creates a Skylands melieu that is distinct from the “North Jersey” and “New York City Metro Area” labels it gets folded into. Blacktop and sidewalks share the landscape, rather than dominate it. Mountains are are all around you. Lakes and forests abound. You learn to live with more and varied wildlife. County Fairs are the real deal here, and a summer day spent at a lake are par for the course. You have room to roam in the Skylands. Nature is a short walk wherever you are. The Skylands is a model (albeit imperfect) of how development should be done and why we love it out here. Along with the slower, more polite pace.

Lots to see and do out here in The Skylands. So get some fresh air and discover new towns and natural beauties.

Beaver Brook, Denville, NJ (late summer)
Beaver Brook, Denville, NJ (winter)

%d bloggers like this: