Route Summary from Delaware to Connecticut

I would like to take this opportunity to document our travel route from Delaware to New Milford Connecticut. Most of it is listed as we did it but some of it is how we think we were supposed to do it or might try it next time.

 1) The first leg of the trip is to get from Wilmington, Delaware to Rt 29 River Road north of Trenton. We took I95 from Wilmington, DE up through Philadelphia. Once you cross the Delaware River you take the first exit in New Jersey which is Exit 1. The next time I do this I am going to cross the Delaware Memorial Bridge and go up I295 and get off at Rt 129 and Rt 29 and cut through Trenton. This could be better than going through Philly, but we will see.

Geroge Washington Crossing Park

2) The next leg of the trip is Rt 29 and Rt 513. River Road follows the meandering Delaware River, passes George Washington Crossing State Park. Rt 29 ends and Rt 513 begins in Frenchtown, New Jersey. Rt 513 runs north east to West Milford New Jersey and is 85 miles long. During colonial times this road was used to move iron ore for munitions. If you follow Rt 513 be careful when you get to Dover, NJ because there is a lack of signage for this route though town. From Prospect Street bang a right onto West Blackwell Street and follow it all the way to the end and then bang a left onto what I believe is Rockaway Road. One might bypass Dover by taking a right onto Rt 10 and use a jughandle to take a left onto Franklin Road to Franklin Ave. Take a left on Main Street in Rockaway. Take a right on Church Street to get back on Rt 513.

3) Rt 513 ends in West Milford. We beared right at the Shop Rite shopping plaza. I think this is Rt 696 Marshall Hill Road. It merges with Rt 511 Greenwood Lake Turnpike. This road takes you down through the scenic Wanaque Reservoir. Keep an eye out for a sharp left onto Sloatsburg Road which is Rt 697. This road will take you through Ringwood Manor State Park and will become Sterling Mine Road once you cross into New York state. Sterling Mine Road, or Rt 72, will dump you onto Rt 17 North in Sloatsburg, NY. There is a cool biker friendly tavern on the right called the Rhodes North Tavern .

Inside the Rhodes North Tavern

4) The 4th leg is the best. It has the best scenery and the best roads. Some of it is how we think it should go, not how we actually went. From Rt 17, just past the Rhodes North tavern take a right onto Seven Lakes Drive. Seven Lakes takes you past seven lakes and through Harriman and Bear Mountain State Parks. We exited the park onto the Palisades parkway and took the exit for Route 6 East to the Bear Mountain Bridge to cross the Hudson River. On the other side of the river stay on Rt 6 to the right along the cliffs of the New York Military Reservation on the Hudson River. Take the Bear Mountain Parkway briefly to Rt 63 heading north on North Division Street. This will become Oregon Road which will become Oscawana Lake Road. Take a left onto Canopus Hollow Road which merges with Dennytown Road. At the end of Dennytown take a right onto Rt 301. This is Clarence Fahnestock State Park. Rt 301 ends in Carmel, NY. If you want to go directly to Danbury from Carmel, follow Rt 301 to the end and take a right onto Rt 52 heading south about a block before you catch Rt 6 East which will take you into Connecticut and to Danbury.

We exited Rt 302 at the Taconic Parkway and took the parkway north to Beekman Road. We took Beekman past Rt 55 and took a right onto Wingdale Rd which is Rt 21. We followed Rt 21 east to Rt 55 which took us across the border into Connecticut. Rt 55 ends at Rt 7 just south of Kent. We took Rt 7 South to West Milford. I would recomend taking the Taconic Parkway further north in order to cut over to Rt 7 and come back down Rt 7 depending on how much time you have.

We could possibly take a 1 day trip up to the Berkshires using the Taconic Parkway to get us as north as we can get before nigthfall. Then wake up and come down Rt 7.  Or we could scoot west to the Catskills which I have never been to in my entire life. Hmm… what to do next?

Labor Day 2009 in Connecticut Montage

Labor Day Trip to Connecticut 2009

Diana’s Bike at Harriman State Park

Our second annual Labor Day Trip to visit John and Margie in Danbury, Connecticut on Saturday September, 5th was a complete success! We chose a phenominal route, had a beautiful sunny day and no problems of any kind.

Stockton Bridge

The Delaware River

Our trip from Newark, Delaware to New Milford, Connecticut covered 280 miles of scenic roads. We left at 9:00 am. With the exception of the first hour and a half of busting butt up Interstate 95 through Philly to Trenton, NJ the route was completely awesome. We traveled through back country roads, quaint old towns, a parkway and several state parks without hitting anymore Interstates. Travelling through Philly on such a nice day wasn’t too bad, the Philadelphia skyline was an impressive sight with sunny blue skys as the backdrop.

George Washington Crossing

Geroge Washington Crossing Park

We got off I95 after crossing the Delaware River at Trenton and exited onto Rt 29 River Road. This road follows the meandering Delaware River, passes George Washington Crossing State Park and ends in Frenchtown, New Jersey. In Frenchtown we picked up Rt 513 which is the 85 mile star of this trip which enabled us to travel up through the middle of New Jersey on colonial era roads through farmland, mountain ranges and qaint towns to get to West Milford, NJ. If you follow Rt 513 be careful when you get to Dover, NJ because there is a lack of signage for this route though town. From Prospect Street bang a right onto West Blackwell Street and follow it all the way to the end and then bang a left onto what I believe is Rockaway Road.

Rt 513 ends in West Milford. We beared right at the Shop Rite shopping plaza. I think this is Rt 696 but there was no sign that I remember saying so. It is probably marked as Marshall Hill Road. It merges to Rt 511 but again the signage was lacking. It may have been marked as Greenwood Lake Turnpike. This road takes you down through the scenic Wanaque Reservoir. Keep an eye out for a sharp left onto Sloatsburg Road which is Rt 697 but not marked as such. This road will take you through Ringwood Manor State Park and will become Sterling Mine Road once you cross into New York state. Sterling Mine Road, or Rt 72, will dump you onto Rt 17 North in Sloatsburg, NY. There is a cool biker friendly tavern on the right called the Rhodes North Tavern that was packed with bikes.

Diana and Jay at the Rhodes North Tavern

Inside the Rhodes North Tavern

Just past the Rhodes North tavern you bang a right onto Seven Lakes Drive. Seven Lakes takes you past seven lakes and threads you right through the heart of both Harriman and Bear Mountain State Parks. This was up there at the top of my list of most beautiful roads I have been on so far and it is safe to say this is the most beautiful road I have been on north of the Mason Dixon. As you pass through the park these mountain lakes spring up on both sides of the road one after another. Some are filled with swimmers, others with sail boats. It was awesome!

Diana on Seven Lakes Drive

Harriman State Park

Motorcycles in Harriman

Bear Mountain State Park

We exited the park onto the Palisades parkway and then followed Route 6 East to the Bear Mountain Bridge to cross the Hudson River. On the other side of the river follow Rt 6 and Rt 202 to the right along the cliffs of the New York Military Reservation on the Hudson for the best S-turns ever! Take the Bear Mountain Parkway briefly to Rt 63 heading north on North Division Street. This will become Oregon Road which will become Oscawana Lake Road. Take a left onto Canopus Hollow Road which merges with Dennytown Road.

Dennytown Road is the most curvy hilly road I have ever encountered! Diana found out about it on a chat board where someone boasted it was the best road they had ever been on. This road is killer, you have to check it out! It takes you into Clarence Fahnestock State Park where you can catch Rt 301. Rt 301 runs through the park and is absolutely gorgeous! It is my favorite find. Not only do rocket bikes use this road as a miniature version of an AMA race course but it takes you past several lakes and then actually takes you across a lake before you come out of the woods in Carmel. If you want to go to Danbury from Carmel, follow Rt 301 to the end and take a right onto Rt 52 heading south about a block before you catch Rt 6 East which will take you into Connecticut and to Danbury.

We were going to meet our friends at an Octoberfest in West Milford so Diana planned a scenic route taking us further north. We exited Clarence Fahnestock State Park at the Taconic Parkway and took the parkway at expressway speed north to Beekman Road. We took Beekman past Rt 55 and took a right onto Wingdale Rd which is Rt 21. We followed Rt 21 east to Rt 55 which took us across the border into Connecticut and ended at the southerly portion of the scenic portion of Rt 7 just a ways south of Kent but north of New Milford. We enjoyed the cool part of Rt 7 that was made for a motorcycle knowing that it would soon become a major suburban artery that carries mini vans to and from shopping stores, strip malls and everything the small city of New Milford has to offer. We arrived at New Milford High School at 6:00pm, parked our bikes and met our friends for the second year in a row at the Octoberfest. Cold German beer, potato pancakes and bratwurst were waiting for us!

We arrived at Octoberfest

Octoberfest

A great end to a great ride

We had an awesome day and then went to the John and Margie B&B. Our favorite guestroom with big fluffy pillows awaited our sleepy heads. It’s home away from home, but nicer. The perfect end to a perfect ride and a perfect day!

the guest room

There are backroads in New Jersey!

By George! There really are backroads in New Jersey! 

On Sunday August 30th Diana and I hit the road at 9:30am to see if we could get to Bear Mountain in New York by way of backroads through New Jersey and make it home at a decent hour. We didn’t make it to the New York Border, but we were close before we took a wrong turn and inadvertently got lost. We rolled into the garage at 9:00pm and had logged 384 miles. During that 11.5 hour trek we rode Interstates and backroads and some Main Streets. We crossed the Delaware River 4 times. Most of the day was a success but getting home was less than strategic as I made several wrong turns, mistakes and bad decisions… but we felt in control even when we were temporarily lost and we had ourselves an adventure. We explored River Road on both sides of the Delaware River north of Trenton. Passed the George Washington crossing on both sides where the revolutionary war took a positive turn for our side. I couldn’t help but imagine our General and his troops marching on Trenton that cold December evening. We rode through small towns in the hills and mountains of New Jersey and I could swear we were in the Berkshires of New England. We rode Rt 513 up through New Jersey and proved there is a scenic backroad that can take us up to the New York border. We visited the Delaware Water Gap and rode a good protion of scenic Rt 519. On the downside, or the up side depending on how you look at it, we survived going through Camden, NJ by way of Rt 130 and lived to tell about it. I’m glad we didn’t become another murder statistic. We had to pay a toll to get back into Delaware by way of the Delaware Memorial Bridge. The best thing is we found a viable route that will take us to Connecticut without using the Turnpike or the Parkway and we did it on our own. We had great weather and a great ride. We had very little down time during the 11.5 hours so we were toast by time we got home. I can’t wait to hit the road again this weekend.

New Jersey Backroads

The question is: Does New Jersey have backroads?

New Jersey Backroads

To find out I ordered some books from Amazon.com one of which is Backroads New Jersey, Driving At The Speed of Life by Mark Di Ionno which turned out to be a very good book. Mark is a journalist and the book is filled with historical and personal accounts of the state he loves. He is a true Jersey Guy through and through as well as a writer. For my purposes a book with less fluff and more maps and hard facts is probably what I was looking for, but finding out the rich history of the area was interesting. Being from New England I was under the impression we were the center of the revolutionary war, but apparently New Jersey is considered the Cockpit of the Revolution and George Washington and his troops spent a lot of time fighting the British and their allies in New Jersey. The roads that originated in that era are still there and the answer is: Yes, there are scenic backroads in New Jersey.

To truly explore New Jersey, you have to take the secondary roads. Backroads, New Jersey.

The secondary roads – also known as the intercounty roads or “500” series – are a 6,788-mile network of mostly two-lane highways. These roads, marked by blue-and-yellow five-sided shields bearing county names, makes up over 20 percent of New Jersey’s 33,741 miles of public roads.

The odd-numbered “500” roads run north-south, the evens east-west.

What the secondary road system provides is a well-maintained network of “backroads.” The “500” roads are good roads-smoothly paved and clearly marked as they wind through the countryside, connecting New Jersey’s small towns and main streets.

Many of the secondary roads have their roots in colonial times and some go back to Native Amaericans.

These roads are never the fastest or the most direct way to get to anywhere. They meander. They go through residential areas and school zones. They bog down as they become Main Street in many towns. But when you break out of the towns and hit the country, they are a pleasure to drive.

Let the people in a hurry take the Interstates, let the shoppers and the errand runners take the state highways. Leave the secondary roads to the explorers, and the restless, and the wanderers. And therein lies the true beauty of the secondary roads – so much to see, and so few to see it.

For this book Mark identifies and writes about 9 different significant routes or sets of routes. The book is broken up into 9 chapters and each chapter explores one to three of the best of the 500 series roads and represents each corner of the state. For my purposes Chapter 7 was of most interest. Chapter 7 goes over in detail an 85 mile long road from Frenchtown to Upper Greenwood Lake. The route starts on the banks of the Delaware River just north of New Hope, PA and winds its way Northeast ending just shy of the New York state border not far from Harriman State Park. This could work for us! This could be the route that will get us to Connecticut in a decent amount of time utilizing scenic backroads and avoiding the NJ Turnpike and the Gardenstate Parkway.

Chapter 9 is also worth noting. There are three routes in the mountainous northeast corner of the state which are probably the most scenic and travel through the Delaware Water Gap region. They are 517, 519 and 521.

These are driver’s roads. Mostly open, curving, sloping – a gear changing wind through New Jersey’s most dramatic scenery, roads that are challenging and fun even when you keep the speed limit. Roads built for motorcycles and sporty car commercials.