No need to travel the globe — or back in time — when you can find splendid sights right here.
Too bad no one thought to bring a camera.
Sights like the Colossus of Rhodes, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and the Lighthouse of Alexandria survive only as legend — and will stay that way, until someone invents a practical time machine. The single ancient wonder you can see, The Pyramids, is a ruin.
So here’s a reminder. When you visit New Jersey’s own Seven Wonders, take your iPhone and your selfie stick. Posterity will thank you.
What, then, are the Seven Wonders of New Jersey?
People will argue about that — but then, the ancients used to argue about their own seven wonders (the Colosseum and the Great Wall of China are among those that didn’t make the cut). There’s no accounting for ancient taste.
We based our own — somewhat arbitrary — list on two criteria.
One, it had to be cool. Two, it had to be photogenic. After all, who is going to believe you saw a six-story elephant, if you don’t bring back pictures?
So here they are — the Seven Wonders of New Jersey. Behold, and tremble!
Lucy The Elephant
Let Egypt keep her sphinx. We have a six-story elephant — dating back to 1881, and considered the oldest roadside attraction in America. Lucy the Elephant has, at various times, had a cottage, a restaurant, and a tavern in her belly. Visitors can climb around inside her during visiting hours, and she makes a great picture at any time. Margate’s famous pachyderm once had a big sister in Brooklyn — considered the single must-see attraction in Coney Island. Hence the phrase, “seeing the elephant.”
Go: 9200 Atlantic Ave., Margate City; lucytheelephant.org
The Pharos of Alexandria was the mother of all lighthouses. But one of her most famous babies is Barnegat Lighthouse, “Old Barney,” guarding the shores of Long Beach Island since 1859. She’s tall: 189 feet. She’s got a history: she was designed by
Lt. George Meade, later a general and the hero of Gettysburg. And she is a great camera subject — whether you shoot her at ground level, or climb
the 217 steps to the top and take views from the crow’s nest (check the website for visiting hours).
Go: 208 Broadway, Barnegat Light; state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/parks/barnlig.html
The Great Falls
Niagara is OK, in its way. But when Alexander Hamilton visualized America’s first industrialized city, and Tony Soprano pondered where he could throw a victim off a bridge, they both thought of Great Falls in Paterson — a 77-foot cataract that remains one of New Jersey’s most spectacular (and under-visited) sights. Best of all, it’s always open!
Go: 72 McBride Ave., Paterson; nationalparks.org/explore-parks/paterson-great-falls-national-historical-park
Some folks just naturally look down on New Jersey — and more the fool they. The rest of us can get a bird’s-eye view of the state from its highest vantage point, 1,803 feet, at High Point in the Sussex County Skylands. You can go higher than that: a 220 foot obelisk at the peak, erected in 1930 to honor war veterans, offers views of Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, all from one perch.
Go: 1480 Route 23, Sussex; state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/parks/highpoint.html
Delaware Water Gap
Spectacular scenery, Appalachian trail hiking, and water sports as two states meet on the Delaware. You’ll find quaint bridges, historic houses, mountain vistas, old railroad bridges, and other camera-worthy sights. And if you have a fishing rod, bicycle, kayak, or bathing suit, you’ll want to have them handy. No jumping into waterfalls, though.
Go: Kittatinny Point Visitor Center, 1 1 I-80, Columbia; nps.gov/dewa/index.htm
Gingerbread, as Hansel and Gretel knew, is always worth checking out. And this town on the southern tip of New Jersey has — famously — more gingerbread than a bakery in December. Beaches, historic houses and a great lighthouse, are part of what makes this area a favorite with both tourists and photographers.
Go: If you like your Americana dainty and quaint-y, set your GPS for Cape May Welcome Center, 609 Lafayette St., Cape May; capemaycity.com
Liberty State Park
The Manhattan skyline may be one of the greatest sights in the world — and we, not New Yorkers, are the ones who get to see it. One of the best views is from Liberty State Park in Jersey City, right across from Lower Manhattan. There’s lots else to see there too — including the Liberty Science Center and a 9/11 Memorial. But nothing can top the moment is when the sun goes down, and the lights of a hundred skyscrapers start to blaze.
Go: 200 Morris Pesin Dr., Jersey City; nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/parks/liberty.html
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