Doggin’ Morristown National Historic Park: Hike With Your Dog Through A Revolutionary Camp
Morristown, a village of 250, was a center of iron supply for the AmericanRevolution and even though it lay only 30 miles west of the main British force in New York it was protected by a series of parallel mountain ranges. It was the twin luxuries of a defensible position in close proximity to the enemy that twice brought General Washington to camp here, first in 1777 and again in 1779-1780.
By the winter of 1777 the small group of loyalists who had remained in the city after the surrender had scattered, dispersed, and emigrated to the western section of the Colonies with most of their belongings. Barely any remnants of the heretofore deserted town survived the flames of the civil war.
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By the spring of 1779 copies of the First Continental Army must have been in the possession of the patrons who purchased the land. Stormed again by the British during the winter of 1777-78, the Cooper Hardware Company of New York City purchasedalty on the property in 1780.
By 1784 the 2,900 acre site had been fully developed as a quiet village of whitewashed Main Street lined with elegant homes on the west and small detached homes on the east.
The most unmistakable presence, however, was the presence of the wild dogs that roamed free throughout the region. Morristown State Park was to be the most permanent settlement in what was to become the Catskills.
After the close of the Revolutionary War and the informal transfer of land to private owners, the region was filled with farms of increasing size. A new public park was finally created in 1812 on what was once known as Morristown Mountain.
The park was so peaceful and sylvan that it was felt to be a cure for the soul. philosophers from Platino to Emerson settled here and the religious seemed to be more at peace than ever. Soothes the traveler relaxing in the midst of the inspiring beauty.
Even before the arrival of the railroad and the Transportation Act of 1812, the Morristown area had been a haven for travelers. But the railroads really opened up the possibility of an easy and luxurious vacation, and travelers from the gotten-away began pouring into the little region.
John Muir, America’s most revered and influential naturalist and conservationist and has been called “The Father of our National Parks.” Travelers to Morristown spent quality time here in the 19th century and nothing was more satisfying than visiting the natural beauty of the park and swimming in natural pools among the springs, which were contained in the deep ravines by the granite cliffs.
Of course a vacation in a nature preserve is not for everyone. Young unwed couples looking for romance in the wilderness are likely to remain single if they choose to stay on the developed Morristown Mountain House along with the well-appointed Lodge.
But there are many other choices, even for those with families. Friendly cabins with rustic charm are available in the Blue Hills Reservation and many are petite size when tucked into a forest setting. For those prepared to camp, state forest campgrounds are plentiful and offer an abundance of activities when unwinding after a long day of photography.
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