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Stretches of Road – Southern NJ

November 17, 2009
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Evening all!  Lately our content flow has slacked off a bit.  As Paul mentioned, we’ve both been pretty busy with our “real” lives.  That said, part of the issue is also that as we journey deeper into the cold months we’re planning fewer drives.  The reasons for this are simple:

1. It is more fun to drive in warm weather with the windows down, the tires gripping, and green (or yellows/reds/oranges) are all around you

2. Because of number 1, we’re much less inclined to plan a long drive ahead of time.  And we usually have to plan them several weeks in advance.

3. Because of number 2, video footage is mostly going to be limited to shorter local drives, which weren’t really an option last week since we work and the weather was unpredictable.

So, to offset the winter doldrum’s effect on our actual drives, we are going to start highlighting some drives that we research instead of actually undertake.  This is also a useful tool for drives that are, say, in Montana.  Paul and I love to drive, but something tells me that unless we get lots of cashmonies for each hit our site gets…we aren’t going to drive to the other side of the country for the hell of it.  Hundreds of miles across the state of PA…yes.  Thousands of miles across the country…we’re gonna fail you on that one.  Incidently, it is 3,082 miles from my house in NJ to Eureka Municipal Airport in California.  Why Eureka Municipal Airport you ask?  I answer why not!

So without further preamble, I’ll highlight a drive after the jump.

I decided to start more locally again.  I know…boring.  However, Paul recently discussed what our article on the NJ turnpike would be.  Here it is, painstakenly retyped by yours truly.  Ahem.

The New Jersey Turnpike:

It sucks.

The End.

So, being a Jerz native, I feel the need to defend my state and offer up a drive I found while researching on the interwebs.

Of course, the cop-out would have been to mention the drive that mirrors PA’s River Road.  All the scenery of PA’s Delaware-following road, but with twice as many license plates!!  Instead, I’m going to suggest taking a gander at one of NJ’s unique landmarks.

That’s right.  The Pine Barrens!  1.1 MILLION acres of forested area…the largest on the Atlantic seaboard between Boston, MA and Richmond, VA.  If you enjoy nature, you’ll be able to find plenty of things to do actually in the Barrens.  For all the kinda info, I direct you to some Pine Barren’s websites Here and Here

The following stuff is copied directly off of the NJ government page and outlines map directions for actual scenic drives.  After all that I’ll put up some more pics and 1 place to check out:

Fast facts:

Length: Three different routes – Northern, Central and Southern – total approximately 130 Miles
Route: This scenic byway runs from the Mullica River southwest and south to the Maurice River and Delaware Bay through the southern portion of the New Jersey Pinelands.

Northern Route

  • Start on Route 9 in Tuckerton at the junction with Route 539 (Green Street).
  • Go west on Route 9.
  • Turn right on Stage Road and bear left continuing on Stage Road going west.
  • In Bass River Township, turn left onto Route 653 (Leektown Road).
  • Just before crossing over the Wading River, Route 653 intersects with Route 542 (Batsto Bridgeport Road).
  • Take Route 542 traveling west.

At the village of Greenbank in Washington Township, Burlington County, the driver can either continue on with the longer northern loop or take the shorter northern loop.

Longer Northern Loop

  • Continue on Route 542 toward the Historic Village of Batsto.
  • Bear left following Route 542 (Batsto Bridgeport Road) and cross over the Mullica River into Mullica Township, Atlantic County (where Route 542 turns from Batsto Bridgeport Road to Hammonton-Pleasant Mills Road).
  • Once in Mullica Township, continue onto the North Loop or travel south and take the central connector of the North and South Byway Loops.

Shorter Northern Loop

  • Turn left onto Route 563 (Egg Harbor-Green Bank Road) heading south.
  • Cross over the Mullica River into Mullica Township, Atlantic County.
  • Continue on Route 563 into the Village of Weekstown.
  • Bear left following Route 563 (Green Bank Road) and continue the loop as described for the final leg of the northern loop.

First Leg of the North Loop

  • From Route 542 (Hammonton-Pleasant Mills Road) turn left onto Route 643 (Weekstown-Pleasant Mills Road) heading southeast.
  • Turn left onto Route 612 (Elwood-Weekstown Road) which turns into Route 563 (Green Bank Road) at the junction with Route 563 (Egg Harbor-Green Bank Road) where the Shorter Loop joins in again.

Final Leg of the North Loop

  • From the intersection of Route 612 and 563 in the Village of Weekstown, Mullica Township, take Route 563 (Green Bank Road) heading south.
  • In Egg Harbor City, make a sharp left turn onto Route 624 (Clarks Landing Road).
  • Continue on Route 624 (Clarks Landing Road) heading southeast into Port Republic.
  • Just past the Garden State Parkway, bear right onto Mill Street.
  • Take Mill Street to Riverside Drive and make a right.
  • Take Riverside Drive to Moss Mill Road (Alt 561). Make a left onto Moss Mill Road (Alt 561) heading southeast.
  • Turn left onto Route 9 (New York Road) heading north.
  • Bear left onto the Garden State Parkway (exit 48) heading north.
  • Take Exit 50 to follow Route 9 North through the Village of New Gretna, Bass River Township, Burlington County.
  • Follow Route 9 into Ocean County, where it also becomes known as Atlantic Boulevard, then as West Main Street in the Pinelands Town of Tuckerton.

Central Connector Route

  • Take Route 542 (Hammonton-Pleasant Mills Road) heading west toward the Village of Nesco, Mullica Township.
  • Make a left onto Route 658 (Columbia Road) heading south into the Village of Elwood, Mullica Township.
  • Turn right onto Route 623 (Weymouth-Elwood Road) heading southwest.
  • In Hamilton Township, Route 623 runs into and becomes Route 559 (Weymouth Road).
  • Take Route 559 (Weymouth Road) heading south.
  • Bear left when Route 559 joins Route 606 (Old Harding Highway) heading toward May’s Landing.
  • Continue on Route 559 by turning left onto Route 616 (Mill Street).
  • Bear right onto Main Street (still Route 559).
  • Make a right onto Cape May Avenue (Route 40 West and Route 50 South).
  • Make a left onto Route 50 South and continue on Route 50 toward Corbin City.
  • Bear left at the junction with Route 645 and where Route 50 joins with Route 557.
  • Make a right onto Route 611 (Main Street). Here the Central Route merges with the Southern Route.

Southern Route

  • The Southern Route begins on Route 611 (Main Street) in Corbin City, Atlantic County at the junction with Route 649 (Aetna Road).
  • Travel South on Main Street and continue on it as it joins Route 50 South. Cross over the Tuckahoe River into Upper Township, Cape May County.
  • Make a right onto Route 49 traveling west.
  • Bear right onto Route 632 (Marshallville Road) and stay on Route 632 until it joins up again with Route 49.
  • Follow Route 49 to the junction with Route 548. Follow either the longer southern loop or the shorter southern loop.

Longer Southern Loop

  • Take Route 548 (Weatherby Road) at the junction of Route 49 and head west into Cumberland County.
  • In Port Elizabeth, make a left onto Route 47 (Delsea Drive) and follow Route 47 into Cape May County.
  • In Eldora, bear left onto Old State Highway.
  • Make a right onto Route 550 (Paper Mill Road) and take Route 550 until it joins up with Route 47.
  • In Dennisville, make a left onto Route 610 (Dennisville-Petersburg Road).
  • Make a left onto Route 550 (Dehirsch Avenue).
  • In Woodbine, make a left onto Route 557 (Washington Avenue).
  • Make a right onto Route 550 (Webster Street, which then turns into Woodbine Avenue). Follow Route 550 to Belleplain.
  • Make a right onto Route 605 (Broad Street, which turns into Tuckahoe Road, which turns into Belleplain Road).
  • Take Route 605 to the junction of Route 548 (Weatherby Road).

Shorter Southern Loop

  • Follow Route 49 when it bears right and crosses over the Tuckahoe River into Estell Manor, Atlantic County.
  • Make a right onto Head of River Road.
  • Bear right onto Aetna Drive.
  • Follow Aetna Drive to Route 611 (Main Street).

That should set you straight, all you need is google maps to find and chart a course.  Here are some pics I’ve found:

Both those pics are from this place.  It is off of Route 542 which you’ll see is mentioned as part of the scenic drive.  I in no way am affiliated with that place, or the blog I found the pictures on.  I just came across them when looking for some pics of the unexpected scenery you can find in south Jerz.

As far as personal experiences, I can tell you that driving deep into the Pine Barrens can be a surreal experience.  I wouldn’t say that the roads that cut through the Barrens are the most interesting in the world as far as curves, but you can easily find long open stretches especially the deeper you get into the forest.  No, the surrealness I speak of is just a feeling of going back in time, of isolation, and at times of spookiness.  There’s a reason that people make up ghost stories about the Barrens.  In high school my friends and I would occasionally cruise into the Barrens at night.  This was strictly for atmosphere, and clearly not about driving fast on crazy roads.  Remember, there is a lot of wildlife.  No, this is a drive for which (if you’re a mixaholic like Paul and I) you put together a bunch of atmospheric, dark, and possibly psychedelic music and drive for a mood.  If a night drive is not in the books, then enjoy the wilderness in the light of day and possibly stop off for a short hike.  The Pine Barrens website I listed above will put you on the right track.

Alrighty, I think that’s about all for now.  I would like to have gone into more detail with pics and such, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see an actual drive highlighting this area sometime in the future.  Who knows!  Plus, the freakin directions have so many alternative routes that they ended up making this post HUGE, and so I must end it before it takes up the internet.  The whole internet.

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