Monday, November 22, 2010

The Hamilton-Trenton-Bordentown Marsh

I write a lot about Cape May, so much so that many readers probably assume that I live there. No, it was my parents' home, I was born there, and my sister and I maintain our family home there. I planted myself in Hamilton, NJ, because I'm near highways, trains and airports that lead me to all the places I like to visit. (Was that a long story not made short enough?)
My house sits on a bluff overlooking the Hamilton (-Trenton-Bordentown) Marsh, now a county park, but hundreds of years ago it was Lenni Lenape territory. Hunters would wait in what is my backyard for game to appear in the marsh below. Location, location, location.

At the turn of the last century and after, there was an amusement park in the marsh centered around Spring Lake. It was built by a trolley company so that people in Trenton would have a reason to ride the trolley on weekends. This stairway is leftover from that time. Visitors would walk down these steps to get to the amusements after riding the trolley through my current neighborhood's backyards. The houses on my street were built in the 1950s, but this neighborhood is a hodgepodge of single homes, duplexes, and rowhomes of all ages. There is even a mansion once owned by Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon's older brother. I don't think he lived there, but his mistress did, and he lived on the other side of the marsh in Bordentown. Location, location, location.

Today the marsh is a great place to go to photograph nature in all seasons. In spring, the water lilies begin to bloom in Spring Lake.
And the Old Man Tree is surrounded by new growth.

In summer, wildflowers abound and avian residents hang near the lake to stay cool. This photo, "Single Cattail," actually sold at a marsh photography show a few years ago.

In fall, the leaves turn and start to drop revealing less obstructed views like this one of beaver lodges.

In winter, it's a treat to stand in my backyard and see the marsh covered with snow. Location, location, location.

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