Our 12-mile ride tours Drew and Fairleigh Dickinson universities and traces the historic Traction Line past St. Elizabeth's College.
- Drew University's Greek Revival Mead Hall mansion dates from the 1830s, the centerpiece of an estate known as "the Forest."
- Fairleigh Dickinson's signature building is the 100-room Georgian-style mansion finished in 1896 for Florham Florence Vanderbilt Twombly & Hamilton Macon Twombly during Morris County's "gilded age" of country homes for the ultra-weathy.
- St. Elizabeth's distinctive main building houses the administration for the oldest four-year liberal arts college for women in New Jersey and one of the first Catholic colleges to grant degrees to women. [back to top]
Our 25 and 35-mile rides explore The Great Swamp and The Great Oak
- Bought for a barrel of rum, 15 kettles, 4 pistols, 4 cutlasses plus other goods, and 30 pounds cash, the current Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is all that remains of a 30,000-acre tract deeded by the Delaware Indians in 1708. By the Revolutionary War, settlements dotted the area and local settlers fashioned wagon wheel parts with wood cut from the Great Swamp woods. We enjoy it because the threat of building a jetport mobilized an army of volunteers in one of the first successful battles of the environmental revolution during the ‘50’s and ‘60’s.
- Look for one of the oldest white oak trees in the Western Hemisphere and its 156-foot spread in Basking Ridge. By the time of the Revolutionary War the oak was already nearly 400 years old when George Washington was said to have picnicked in its shade along with Lafayette and other officers. Want to know who's buried under the Oak?.
- The flatter 25 mile route now goes through Lord Stirling Park, where the home of the Continental Army general Lord Stirling was located. NOTE: A small segment, approximately 1/4 mile long, is dirt and gravel. Please plan accordingly. [back to top]
Our 50 and 65-mile rides feature a rest stop at Jockey Hollow, part of the Morristown National Historical Park
- The Continental Army bivouacked here for two winters 1777 and 1779-80. This was strategically sound because the elevation of Jockey Hollow was several hundred feet above the British to the east. In the days of horsepower, this was considered an impregnable redoubt. The ’79-‘80 winter was the "cruelest" of the war, worse than the one at Valley Forge. Desertions and mutiny were commonplace. On May 25, 1780, Pennsylvania troops put down a mutiny. Two of the ringleaders were hanged. Fortunately, they are not still hanging around.
- Stroll from the rest stop to the Wick House, quarters of Major Joseph Bloomfield of the 3rd New Jersey Regiment and the winter headquarters of General Arthur St. Clair in 1779-80. A myth was that Henry Wick's daughter, Tempe, in an attempt to hide her horse from the British, coaxed the horse up into the Wick House attic. Visit the Wick House at the Jockey Hollow rest stop and look up the attic stair to see if it could have been true. [back to top]
Our 100-mile ride explores the area around Round Valley Reservoir
- All the best history and riding of the 50/65 PLUS the vast vista of Round Valley and the quaint towns of Mountainville, Whitehouse Station and Stanton.
- Explores the area around the Round Valley Reservoir, known for its pristine clear blue waters. In Colonial times, the valley was a patriot's refuge. The Round Valley Reservoir was created by the New Jersey Water Authority in 1960. The reservoir is named after the naturally formed circular valley surrounded by Cushetunk Mountain.
- Pass through Pottersville on the way back -- following roads built on Native American trails. [back to top]
The Morris County Stronghold
- Morris County was among the few Revolutionary strongholds in New Jersey. Morristown provided Washington with an important defensive advantage. The country lying behind Long Hill and the Watchung Mountains was protected from sudden attack by both those rugged heights and broad swamps.
- More importantly, the furnaces and forges that provided iron products for the army were located nearby. The army was able to subsist in the Morristown area without overburdening the local economy or depleting its food reserves.
- Morristown would be a great place for a visit or a meal after the Ramble. [back to top]
Our Ride HQ: Drew and Bottle Hill
- Today it’s called Madison, but when it was founded a half-century or more before the Revolutionary War, it was called Bottle Hill. Today, The New York Times says it has a downtown that looks like a movie set, great places to eat and the NJ Transit Station is about a mile from Ramble HQ at Drew.
- Drew, founded over 120 years ago, has a campus they call the Forest (you’ll see why) and top-notch liberal arts, graduate and theological schools. [back to top]
For All Riders: Plan a Visit after the Ramble to The Ford Mansion, Washington's Headquarters, part of the Morristown National Historical Park.
- George and Martha stayed here while the troops were in Jockey Hollow. The Mansion is a restored Georgian-style home built for colonel Jacob Ford Jr. The home became Washington's Headquarters during the cruel winter of 1779-80.
- You can tour the Mansion and the Museum with its world-renowned collection of Revolutionary War objects, paintings and documents. [back to top]
All our hills are downright historical!