Allaire State Park
The clanging of metal begins to fill my ears as soon as I walk into
town. The blacksmith seems to be starting early today, busy making
nails for the nearby carpenter. After walking a few more feet, the
aroma of freshly baked bread fills my nose. It looks like the bakery
is at it, too. A few of the women from the village wave to me as I
walk by. Dressed appropriately for the 1850s; their hoop skirts go
down to their ankles and white bonnets keep their hair out of their
eyes while they work. Nearby, the church bell tolls to let us know it
is 9 a.m.
And so begins another day in Allaire Village.
No, I didn’t hop into my Delorean, and travel back in time to see
these sights. I merely got into my 2001 Alero and traveled down CR-524
to Historic Allaire State Park, located in Howell, NJ.
Allaire is one the nation’s ‘living history’ museums. Run by the
nonprofit organization Allaire Village Inc., the park sponsors more
than 40 programs and events annually, including living history events,
antique shows, arts and craft shows, and flea markets. You can
experience how life was lived back in the early 19th Century almost
every day of the year when volunteers assume the roles of townspeople
and take you on a tour of the Howell Works, New Jersey’s finest
example of the bog iron industry.
Of the special events that are held throughout the year, visitors can
also experience first hand what it was like to be in a 19th Century
militia unit, attend a re-enactment of an authentic 19th Century
funeral, and help celebrate the wedding of Maria Haggerty Allaire.
Daily guided tours of the Allaire Home will provide guests a glimpse
into how an affluent family of the period lived. The Historic Village
also holds annual holiday events, which include Holiday Candlelight
Tours, Haunted Hayrides, a 19th Century All Hallows Eve celebration
and a Thanksgiving Celebration.
Aside from the historical aspect of the park, Allaire also has
numerous trails for hiking or bike riding through their woods. Up the
road from the main park is a campground as well. If you’re not busy
one weekend, it’s easy to lose a few hours of your day here, as it is
filled with fun things for the entire family to enjoy.