Ringwood State Park
Ringwood (Bergen and Passaic Counties)
Size of park: 4,044 acres
The 96-acre New Jersey State Botanical Garden, adjacent to Skylands Manor on the eastern side of the park, is an idyllic place for a quiet autumn stroll. Wildflower and bog gardens are at the northern edge of the garden, with the tree-covered Ramapo Mountains as a backdrop.
The manor is a 44-room, granite, Tudor-style home built in the 1920s by Clarence McKenzie Lewis, who intended to keep the surrounding property a botanical showcase. Within a short walk is Crab Apple Allée, a 1,600-foot-long row of 156 trees that lead to a lodge.
Farther down the bumpy road from Skylands Manor, tucked just inside the state line, is the 74-acre Shepherd Lake, where several trails originate for hikes into the rolling hills. There is also a picnic area and an easily accessible boat launch for fishermen.
Sloatsburg Road, which branches off Route 511 north of Wanaque (exit 55 off I-287), leads to Ringwood Manor, a stately white house owned more than a century ago by the ironmaster Abram S. Hewitt. Tours are offered year-round, Wednesdays through Sundays from 10 am to 3 pm.
Licensed anglers can fish in Sally’s Pond, stocked with trout, in front of the main house. A barn gallery adjacent to the main house has art on display. Two trails, rated as easy, also originate at the main house and loop through the low hills that surround the manor property.