An Atlantic County Scenic Day Trip
Oh these explorations just get better and better!
I’m taking you guys along for a lovely drive through seductive South Jersey. Hang on tight… It may get a little “Piney” up in here. It was a lovely winter day with the sultry snow laying on the ground.
I truly love exploring new and undiscovered places. I was born and raised in South Jersey. I find it amusing all the places I have not seen…. YET!
This is one of those exploring days that just rocked.
I discovered a few Pine Barren Scenic road trip maps developed by our state. This route I came across, was created in 2005, as a scenic byway of the Pine Barrens. I will have the route directions posted on the bottom of this page for your own prancing pleasure.
I was always curious into what treasures are along these routes as some don’t actually tell you…they really want you to just enjoy them on your own. Oh, and funny yummy did!
Side Note: You will need an entire day for this trip, if you really want to live it up.
Your first stop is through the back roads of Atlantic County.
First, it will take you through some tree farms and abandoned cranberry bogs (which you’ll have to pull over to check them all out). Giddyup further along and it will take you to your first major stop…
Located in Hamilton township it is part of the Atlantic County Park System. It’s probably the most known of all the parks in Atlantic County. There are picnic tables, outdoor grills and the scenic Great Egg Harbor River flows through it.
The neat surprise in Weymouth Furnace is the ruins of the old bog iron and paper mill that was thriving in the 1800’s. The iron was produced using local bog iron (from the Egg Harbor River) and forged the iron by using charcoal made from peat moss and trees that thrived in the surrounding forest.
The Weymouth furnace park once contained a furnace, forge, gristmill, Methodist church, sawmill, mansion, general store, workers’ houses, a blacksmith shop, and a wheelwright. Not too shabby, I must say!
During the War of 1812, the Weymouth Furnace was a supplier of cannons and cannonballs to the United States Government. On their non-war days, they mostly made nails, pipes and stoves.
By 1862, the Forge could no longer compete, due to competition of the anthracite coal powered forges in Pennsylvania. It became almost obsolete. These forges in our nearby state were faster and cheaper to produce. The ironworks were reportedly destroyed by fire that same year.
Through the 1860’s, the land was the site of 2 paper mills: Atlantic Paper Mills and Weymouth Paper Mills. These two plants produced paper primarily from old manila rope, rags, and old bagging (old cloth and material) up until 1886, when wood pulp was used for paper production. The mills at Weymouth ceased production in 1897.
The land was then sold to pay debts, but it was never developed. The new owners of the property let everything crumble. The millpond damn even collapsed. However, now it is a treasured piece of history here in South Jersey!
Okay, enough of the history lesson…Lets go to our next site!
The directions will have you whizzing by this next place….but you have to stop!
Weymouth Road (Route 559)
This gorgeous recreation site was a former Girl Scout Camp. The camp operated from 1952-1963 and the name is an acronym for Atlantic City Area Girl Scout Camp, it isn’t Native American as some would think:)
The former camp bordered by the Great Egg Harbor River to the east. The river flows and curves around each blissful bank at this park. It has become a popular spot for canoe and kayakers as well as those who want to cool off on the clean beaches (although swimming in NJ state land is prohibited, unless supervised by a lifeguard.)
This was my favorite spot on this entire trip. It is a bit more rustic than other sites along the way, but that is perfectly fine with me. I enjoy the peace and quiet.
And we’re off to the next stop…..
Park entrance at 6303 Harding Highway in Mays Landing
Lake Lenape is over 2,000 acres of exploratory fun. In 1847, it was created by the construction of a dam of the Great Egg Harbor River. The area was before a sprawling apple orchard. Now, it is a panoramic lake for all to enjoy. Recreational facilities include; boating, park for kids, fishing and birding.
Last stop on the Yummygal express is…
Estell Manor Park
Route 50 Mays Landing
The first European settlers on the land were the Estell family.
In the 1800’s, it was the site of a glass works factory called whatdoyouknow the Estell Glass works. It operated from 1825-1877 and created for the Estell family, in which they owned up until 1858.
The land passed through many hands and owners the next six decades.
The property became the site of a munitions plant during World War I. After the United States declared war on Germany, heavy weapons and munitions were needed. Ten thousand acres were purchased in early 1918 with some of the land part of the Estell farmstead. A railroad was quickly installed, a town was planned out, to meet the demands of production and voilà it became the town of Belconville, derived from Bethlehem Loading Co. It is a lost town like Amatol near the Hammonton Creek WMA.
After 70 years, this diverse forest, has reclaimed its land. Ruins remain of both the Glassworks, Munitions plant and the historic Daniel Estell Manor home. Estell Manor is truly a historic property filled with recreation, walking trails, various flora and fauna, nature center and Veteran cemetery.
This is the end of our tour today. I hope you had an enjoyable ride. Below, are directions, to the start of the Pine Barren Scenic Byway and it will lead you to all these sites, plus many other surprises along the way.
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 (which is still Route 559).
Make a right onto Cape May Avenue (Route 40 West and Route 50 South).
Make a left onto Route 50 South.
Continue on Route 50 toward Corbin City.
Until our next adventure my friends, -Yummygal