This adventure that I am taking you along with me today, is to the gorgeous village of Batsto. This is a Piney town that will turn your frown upside down. Batsto is an abandoned village in the Wharton State Forest. Upon your travels, you will be whisked away to over a century ago.
The name is derived by the swedish word of bastu. Bastu means “sauna or bathing” in English. Which originated most likely from the nearby Batsto and Mullica Rivers that were popular for bathing by the Native Americans. The village was isolated from a lot of areas in NJ. It quickly grew into a large-scale almost self-operating town. A saw mill, grist mill, general store, paper mill, iron works, glass factory, ice house, pig house, blacksmiths, and various other “trades” came into the picture over time.
The village was erected in 1766. It was used for charcoaling trees from the forest. Also, for the bog ore for making iron. It was a hustling and bustling village of a magnificent era. Batsto was a happening town.
Fast forward through the century, a man by the name of Joseph Wharton (do you get it? Wharton State Forest?) purchased the property in 1892. He used the property primarily for a vacation home. If any of you folks are familiar with an ivy league school in Philadelphia…wink wink… The University of Pennsylvania. Wharton founded the renowned business school. He was a self-made millionaire. A Robert Morris of his era. He accumulated over 96,000 acres in his lifetime. Most of it is now part of our good old preserved Pine Barrens.
When he croaked, the property went to a trust fund. Folks lost their jobs because production stopped and no money was flowing through the village. People had to seek elsewhere to find a living.
In 1955, the good old state of NJ purchased the property. People continued to live in the homes as recent as 1989.
Today, it is a beautiful oasis in our treasured Pinelands. Over 40 buildings are still standing and well-preserved for your walk back in time. A must to stop is at the visitors center. There is a great historical museum of the Pinelands and information on the families that lived at the village.
There are regular tours of the mansion. It is a great Greek revival masterpiece. It lacks all of our modern conveniences of running water, plumbing, and heat (except for the fireplaces). These luxuries were never installed.
At Batsto, they offer a great cellular walking tour. Which helps to aid in information of all the buildings. Some of the structures are open daily so that you can discover it on your own. There is a great nature center educating folks of the delicate Pine Barren ecosystem.
The Batsto Lake is beautiful. There are many trails to yonder. Including one of the biggest trails in NJ, called the Batona Trail.
I wanted to check out the trails and planned on it. I just didn’t expect my son’s wheels on his main mean of transportation the stroller to go COMPLETELY FLAT. Well, if you know the Yummygal she’s going to have to make a trip back!
Batsto is a serene splendor. Did I mention that this is all FREE? Yup! Take the kids, your sweetheart, mom and dad to this Piney pleasure wonderland. It is awesome.