Original Article – https://www.nj.com/salem/2021/11/things-to-do-in-salem-county.html
In New Jersey, a trip down the shore and a hike along the Appalachian Trail can happen on the same day. Pizza is better here than anywhere else in the country, music venues are legendary, downtowns are made for strolling and historic sites and museums are in no short supply. Forget the What Exit jokes … we love the Garden State.
So, for those residents — out-of-staters, too — who are ready to make plans after more than a year of being cooped up, we have some ideas for those who would rather grab their car keys or a mass transit ticket than book a flight.
Consider this an insider’s guide to the state, broken down by counties. It’s not an all-encompassing list, and it’s not meant to be. It’s a jumping-off point and then go do some exploring and let your curiosity — and some help from locals — be your guide.
The latest in our series takes a look at Salem County.
Markets and More
Cowtown Farmers Market (780 Harding Highway (Route 40), Pilesgrove | 856.769.3000) is a year-round indoor/outdoor farmers market and flea market. The market, which has been in operation since 1926, is open on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and features some 400 vendors. There are jewelers as well as vendors of food, apparel, electronics, flowers, housewares, pet supplies, hunting gear, memorabilia, tools and more.
And that’s not all. This market puts on a rodeo. Yup, a rodeo.
For nj.com’s Pete Genovese, the Cowtown Rodeo in Pilegrove is listed as a greatest thing about every single south jersey town. He writes: “The nation’s longest-running weekly professional rodeo is in … New Jersey? Cowtown Rodeo, held every Saturday night from late May to late September, features bull riding, saddle bronc and bareback riding, steer wrestling and barrel racing. Sit in the stands: You’ll feel as if you’re in Montana, or at least somewhere far from Jersey.”
Built in 1886, this three-story Victorian landmark might be the oldest, continuously-operating grocer in New Jersey.
The goal of this market is to “provide as many of our offerings as possible from local organic farmers and artisans.”
If you’re looking to bring home baked breads, pies, pastries, coffee, a meat and deli counter, soups, cheeses, fresh-roasted nuts, chocolates and vintage candies, packaged goods and pantry essentials, seasonal specialties, plenty of produce, fresh-cut flowers, and potted plants then … this is your place.
Looking for antique, vintage or thrift shops? Boutiques? Well, then, for post-Thanksgiving Day shopping, go to Historic Downtown Salem. Have no fear, if you’re hungry and parched from the shopping there is ample opportunity to stop for a snack, meal or sip. And, all in a historic downtown district that features splendid structures built centuries ago.
If you’re planning a visit to Salem this holiday season, put the 34th annual Yuletide Tour of Historic Salem on your calendar. The event will be held on Dec. 4 from 1 to 6 p.m. Included on the tour of historic homes, churches, sites and museums is the Richard Woodnutt House.
The circa 1738 Richard Woodnutt House, is currently a three-story, 15-room home that underwent many architectural changes in 1888. The home was doubled in size with the addition of a two-story structure extending from the front brick house. Several bay windows and leaded-stained glass windows were added along with a library on the third floor and a two-room gardener’s cabin was built in the yard in 1800.
Tickets are $15 pre-tour and $20 day of event. For additional information, call 856-339-0400.
A winery and a farm (for arts and music)
Auburn Vineyard and Winery | 117 Sharptown-Auburn Road, Pilesgrove | 856.769.9463
Come to this Pilegrove location for the opportunity to sip wine among the vines. The vineyard features a wine bar, patio and courtyard. There are outdoor fire pits, too.
Oh, and … bring your dog, if you’d like! Leashed dogs are permitted outdoors. Reservations are recommended.
This farm grows talent.
The mission here is to “to provide people of all ages, cultures and economic backgrounds with a supportive, cooperative environment in which to explore the fine and performing arts.”
Some 117-acres of open fields and woods is the home to Appel Farm Arts and Music Camp (457 Shirley Road, Elmer | 856.358.2472). The farm features two outdoor music stages, the indoor 250-seat Clare Rostan-Appel Theatre, an art gallery and modern studios for pottery, drawing, painting, dance and more.
Appel Farm offers arts experiences for both adults and children. Events include a Music and Wine Festival and Family Earth Day at Appel Farm.
The Abel and Mary Nicolson House (127 Fort Elfsborg Road (Route 624), Salem), designated a National Historic Landmark, is an example of the 18th century patterned brick house. The east gable elevation features a diamond-patterned “1722.” The house has not been modified to accommodate heat or electricity and retains a high level of integrity to the interior. The 1859 addition also retains its architectural integrity.
The New Jersey Historic Trust holds an easement on the Nicholson House, which protects the building from “inappropriate changes to its historic appearance and materials.”
The Hancock House (485 Locust Island Road, Hancocks Bridge | 856.935.4373), a pattern end brick home, was constructed in 1734. Notable is the brickwork on the west elevation, which features the initials of owners William and Sarah Hancock and the construction date. Upon his death in 1762, Hancock left the house to his son, William, who would become His Majesty’s Judge of the County Court for the County of Salem.
This house has a place in Revolutionary War history.
In the winter of 1777, when George Washington and his Army encamped at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, the British occupied Philadelphia. Both armies needed food and supplies. The Continental Army foraged for food, cattle and horses in South Jersey. The British troops did the same. But the British were met by resistance from the Salem County militia and local patriots.
Angered by the support the people of Salem County offered the Continental Army, British Gen. Charles Mawhood issued the following mandate “spare no one – put all to death – give no quarters’s.” On March 21, 1778, local Tories attacked the Hancock House where they knew the local militia was stationed. Everyone inside was bayoneted without a shot being fired. Among the wounded was Judge William Hancock. He died several days later.
In 1931, the State of New Jersey acquired the house for $4,000; it was opened as a museum in 1932. The museum, which hosts events and special programs, will be closed from Dec. 21 through Jan. 2.
A National Cemetery and a state park
Finn’s Point National Cemetery (454 Fort Mott Road, Pennsville | 215.504.5610), which sits on the bank of the Delaware River, was originally a burial ground for Confederate prisoners of war and their Union guards. The site became a national cemetery in 1875.
Adjacent to Finns Point Cemetery is Fort Mott State Park.
Located on the Delaware River, Fort Mott State Park was originally built as part of the federal government’s late 19th-century plan to defend the river. Today, the park offers visitors historical, cultural, and recreational activities. In addition to family-oriented educational and entertaining events; self-guided tours of the Fort Mott fortification and an interpretive center for visitors, there are areas for fishing, picnicking and sledding.
Contact the park office at 856-935-3218 for information regarding disability access needs. Text telephone (TTY) users, call the NJ Relay & CapTel Service at 711 or 1-800-852-7897 for English or 1-866-658-7714 for Spanish.
Salem Community College Glass Education Center (460 Hollywood Ave., Carneys Point | 856.299.2232) offers associate degree programs in glass art and scientific glass technology.
Each year, the college hosts the International Flameworking Conference, where “excellence in the glass-working process known as flameworking” is celebrated.
The 2022 International Flameworking Conference at the college will be held from March 18 to 20. The conference, which will continue its core mission of education, will include presentations, demonstrations, exhibits, and vendor displays.