New Jersey is a very modern state that is chock-full of history. We offer many places that not only provide a glimpse into another time, but fully immerse you. Our living history farms, villages and open air museums will transport you into the past and make it come alive. Visit these incredible sites to interact with iron workers, churn butter, enjoy reenactments, and so much more!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. The Historic Village At Allaire, Farmingdale
Allaire Village is centered around the former Howell Iron Works Company and recreates life as it was in the community during the 19th century. Enjoy tours of well preserved buildings, historic exhibits and living history demonstrations.
2. Batsto Village, Washington Township
Another iron works community, Batsto has been very well preserved. Enjoy guided tours of numerous buildings including a working gristmill, post office, iron furnace, blacksmith and of course, the owner's mansion.
3. Howell Living History Farm, Lambertville
Howell Living History Farm serves as an example of farming as it was practiced in New Jersey in the period between 1890-1910. It is very interactive, allowing visitors to harvest crops, care for animals and even make ice cream the old fashioned way!
4. Historic Smithville and The Village Green, Smithville
This quaint village is reminiscent of days past, though it does not focus on a specific time period. A great spot for both antiquing and discovering new treasures, enjoy a simpler time and stay for the weekend. A popular place for lodging and relaxation is the Colonial Inn. Enjoy shopping, vintage arcade games and historic reenactments.
5. Historic Cold Spring Village, Cape May
Historic Cold Spring Village brings to life the day-to-day activities of villagers living in South Jersey between 1789-1840. A truly immersive experience, visitors can enjoy 26 restored buildings, interactive demonstrations and free carriage rides. Hand made goods reminiscent of the time period are also available for purchase.
6. Double Trouble Village, Bayville
See what life was like in the Pine Barrens, circa 1900. This village was centered around cranberry production and includes many buildings necessary for the trade. Though there are well over a dozen different buildings, only the sawmill and cranberry packing house are restored and open to the public at this time.
7. Historic New Bridge Landing, River Edge
New Bridge served as a battleground, fort, encampment ground, military headquarters, and intelligence-gathering post in every year of the American Revolution. It is home to several buildings including the Steuben House, a temporary headquarters for George Washington. Explore the village for special events, including the upcoming Baronfest. Take this opportunity to tour the buildings and experience and 18th century tavern.
8. Waterloo Village, Stanhope
Waterloo Village is a restored 19th-century canal town that serves as an open air museum. Explore a working mill complex with gristmills and sawmills, a general store, blacksmith shop and several historic houses. Educational tours are available.
9. East Jersey Old Town Village, Piscataway
East Jersey Old Town Village is a collection of original, replicated and reconstructed 18th and 19th century structures. Guests can explore the New Brunswick Barracks, Runyon House, Williamson Wheelwright Shop, Fitzrandolph House and Smalleytown Schoolhouse which are representative of life in Central Jersey centuries ago. The Village provides activities including exhibitions, displays, demonstrations, hands-on workshops, storytelling, lectures, tours and more, free of charge!
10. Whitesbog Village, Browns Mills
An early 20th century agricultural community, Whitesbog Village is the birthplace of the Highbush Blueberry. Home to several historic buildings, the grounds are open to the public all year while the buildings are open only for scheduled events and prearranged tours.
11. Wheaton Village, Millville
Wheaton Village, home to WheatonArts celebrates the historic art of glass blowing. In addition to daily glass blowing and artist demonstrations, WheatonArts features special exhibitions, programs, workshops, performances and several weekend festivals throughout the year.
12. Red Mill Museum Village, Clinton
This small village is centered around the historic Red Mill, which was in operation from 1810-1928. The site is home to the mill museum and several outbuildings including a schoolhouse, sheds and a log cabin. Enjoy mill and quarry tours along with historic reenactments.
13. Tuckerton Seaport, Tuckerton
Tuckerton Seaport’s 40-acre site includes 17 historic and recreated buildings connected by a boardwalk, a maritime forest and wetlands nature trail, two houseboats, a decoy gallery, a working boatworks building, decoy carving workshops and the recreated Tucker’s Island Lighthouse. The Jersey Shore’s rich maritime heritage is brought to life by historically accurate daily demonstrations.
14. Historic Speedwell, Morristown
This 7.5 acre site preserves several early and mid-nineteenth century buildings, the most notable of which is the Telegraph Factory. The telegraph was invented here by Alfred Vail and Samuel Morse, the Vail Estate also sits on the property. Guided tours and various exhibits are available for visitors to enjoy.
15. Historic Walnford, Upper Freehold
Historic Walnford, a former mill village and country estate located along the Crosswicks Creek Greenway, showcases over 200 years of New Jersey history. Explore several buildings and a working gristmill at the site operated by the Monmouth County Parks System.
Visiting any of these villages is like stepping straight into the past, experiencing it first hand. Most are interactive and many are free or very affordable. Have you enjoyed any of these historic treasures? What others would you add to this list?