As a Canadian, I haven’t traveled extensively in the US. Sure, I’ve done Disney and made a few trips down to NYC (and I got married in Central Park), but until the last couple of years, I hadn’t seen much of the US. I was lucky this year to spend some time with some friends in New Jersey not just once, but twice in the last few months. My most recent trip found me in Tuckerton, New Jersey, where I visited a great place—The Tuckerton Seaport! I don’t have any family ties to Tuckerton or to New Jersey, but it’s a great place to soak in history and see how early American immigrants lived and worked.
I’ve been to historic sites before, but nothing like Tuckerton. They’ve recreated a historic seaport village complete with a boardwalk, nature trails, blacksmith, wood-carving, boat making and (coming soon) glass-blowing! I was lucky to be joined by five amazing ladies, but this would also be an amazing place to spend some time with your kids or even your significant other.
Breakfast at The Union Market
We were treated with a delicious breakfast at The Union Market. Their gallery had hand-made artisan goods (I did a little Christmas shopping…) and my breakfast (The Notorious P.I.G.) was delicious. Bacon and eggs on a French Toasted croissant with a green healthy smoothie (The Hendrix had pineapple juice, banana, mango, and kale). Even though the skies were a bit overcast, we ate on the deck overlooking the water. And that was just the beginning of our day.
Meeting the “Makers”
From there, we went to see the “makers.” First on our list was the blacksmith. In addition to being very charming, Steve the Blacksmith is very talented and showed us how to handcraft a spoon after only seven heats. Steve was able to tell us all about blacksmithing in the “old times” and give us some idea of changes that have happened in the past few centuries (as well as many of the things that have stayed the same).
After the Blacksmith, we headed to the wood carving shed. The Seaport has a replica of Jay C. Parker’s carving shed. Jay was a Jersey Shore Bayman who carved decoys and sold them right from his front porch. The seaport hosts carving workshops and the master carver we met “graduated” from Tuckerton’s Seaport Youth Carving Club. The group is open to students from ages 11-17 and meets the first and third Saturday of each month. The carvers at Tuckerton make beautiful, lifelike decoys, and also use their skills to create beautiful wood carved and hand-painted holiday items for the gift shop.
Tea and Curiosities with Lady Magpie
We closed out our time at Tuckerton in their new tea parlor in the Captain’s house. After exploring the fascinating “curiosities” of the STEAMpunk house, we sat down and enjoyed baked goods and tea with Phyllis (aka Lady Magpie). The tea parlor is just starting up and will be available for your afternoon delight (including sandwiches, soup and baked goods), and Lady Magpie advised that the parlor will be available soon for wedding showers and other get-togethers.
So Many Other Things
And with all of the things that we saw at the seaport – seeing history come alive – we only saw a small percentage of what Tuckerton has to offer. There’s the Clam and Oyster House, where kids can learn how clams were historically harvested, and the sawmill, and even a reproduction of the Tucker’s Island Lighthouse. And there’s more coming too – a glass blowing studio, and possibly a bed and breakfast. And we were a bit too early for the Haunted Seaport – Tuckerton’s celebration of Pirates and Sea Captains for Halloween. If you’re looking for an exciting and fun-packed day and you happen to be in the area, I’d highly recommend a stop at The Tuckerton Seaport. For information on upcoming events you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter or on Instagram.