A Walk Beneath the Trees 🌲
Batsto is a well-known historical village in Burlington County, New Jersey filled with ghosts from the past and a beautiful landscape. There are many historical structures still standing and trees that could tell you stories from a different, much simpler time. The Batsto Iron Works along the Batsto River was built in 1766 and since Batsto had the natural resources readily available to make iron, it became a hot spot during the Revolutionary War Years. Batsto manufactured supplies for the Continental Army, as well. Iron creation suffered a huge decline though in the 1800s, which lead to the birth of Batsto’s glassmaking community. Sadly, the glassmaking business deteriorated also, and the once busy Batsto Village began to fade from what it used to be.
Joseph Wharton, a Philadelphia businessman bought Batsto in 1876 and also purchased surrounding land. Wharton repaired and enhanced the beautiful mansion that still stands tall in the center of Batsto, and he did work on some of the other buildings on the massive property. Wharton passed away in 1909 and until 1954 the property and surrounding Pine Barrens land was managed by a Trust. The state of New Jersey purchased all that Wharton owned in the 1950s, naming the forest we love so much, Wharton State Forest. Those who resided in the actual village of Batsto remained there until they no longer wished to live in the area, or they died. The last house to be vacated was in 1989, which honestly wasn’t that long ago. To think, what’s now abandoned was someone’s home not that long ago makes you think of the historical site differently. Those dusty dirt trails once felt the pounding of wheels from horse-drawn carriages and the trees shaded children from the sun.
I love walking in the footsteps of those who used to care for and live on our now, historical and sometimes, abandoned land. I’ve been coming to Batsto and enjoying it’s quiet, natural atmosphere since I was a little girl and now I take Greyson there to walk beneath the pine trees.
When I was in high school and shortly after I graduated, Batsto Village and the cemetery next to the vast property became a popular ghost hunting area for me and my friends, and in case you were wondering, our experiences were haunting and chilling, to say the least. I even broke down in someone’s SUV in the woods behind Batsto Village, on a dark, narrow trail in the middle of the night and we swear until this day that we saw The Jersey Devil. I have so many unforgettable nights and days spent in Batsto and in Wharton State Forest. Regardless of what you believe in when it comes to legends and old tales, The Pine Barrens has an incredible history and we often forget to care about those who once existed there when we’re going for a stroll, or doing a photo shoot, using historical sites as a backdrop.
Wherever you go on your daily adventures, go with positivity and purpose, and take a moment to remember that many others have walked where you walk and the earth was once a natural place. I wish for my son and future generations that our main focus going forward is on the earth and all of it’s inhabitants.
Have fun exploring the world around you and be sure to follow me on more of my adventures 💗