Jan 31, 2019

Day Trip Along Monmouth County’s Cultural and Heritage Tours

By Joanne Colella

Monmouth County’s Cultural Heritage Tours

A fun and interesting day trip doesn’t always have to be a distance away. Sometimes, the best of ideas can be found right in your own backyard, and Monmouth County offers a wealth of options for delightful ways to spend your day.

With that thought in mind, the Monmouth County Division of Planning recently launched a unique and useful tool: a series of Cultural and Heritage Virtual Tours that can be explored online, from the comfort of your home, before you hit the road. Eight virtual tours are available, featuring various historic, natural, cultural, scenic, architectural, institutional, commemorative, and arts attractions throughout Monmouth County that are interconnected along scenic byways.

The user-friendly, flexible online format offers the chance to explore the points of interest along each route, with each tour showcasing a different theme or category and appealing to a wide range of visitors’ tastes. Choose a tour from the tabs at the top of the page and the left column will give you a complete explanation of the journey, its significance, and sites to be seen. Expand the map and click on each dot along the color-coded route to open its location, an image, the site’s category, a brief description, and a website link, if available, that will launch you to additional details. There is information pertaining to science and technology, military and civic spaces, neighborhoods and downtown commercial districts, pop culture, and legends and folklore. The entire series covers dozens of highlights in all 53 towns in Monmouth County, although some are not open to the public. Collectively, the series not only inspires and supports local and regional tourism, but also bolsters economic development initiatives.

Visit the Monmouth County Division of Planning webpage or link directly to http://bit.ly/monmouthmap to view the eight virtual tours, which are summarized as follows:

South Monmouth Emerald Byway: Travel through parks and open space along the Manasquan Greenway across southern Monmouth County.

Monmouth County Crossroads Byway: Take a journey through American history along historic crossroads, following Revolutionary War troop movement from Millstone to Sandy Hook via Monmouth Battlefield.

MoCo Cultural Byway:  Discover the best cultural happenings and places to be down the Jersey Shore between Matawan and Manasquan.

Bayshore Drive: Unexpected natural beauty and fascinating stories abound in the waterfront towns of the Raritan Bayshore.

Country to Coast Byway: Travel through time, from villages and horse farms to boats and beaches.

Ocean Drive: Meander along famous Jersey Shore towns, beaches, and boardwalks.

Two River Tri-Way: Enjoy the peninsula’s picturesque charm and community-based culture that defines the Two River region.

Upper Freehold Historic Farmland Byway: The lush rolling hills and farmland of Upper Freehold, set alongside colonial Allentown, provide the backdrop for this loop tour through the rural reaches of western Monmouth County.

Towns, local tourism boards, and chambers of commerce are encouraged to link to the Cultural and Heritage Virtual Tours to generate interest and share information about visiting their communities. Additional sites will also be considered for inclusion. To nominate a site, email the name, location, brief description, and photo (if possible) to planning@co.monmouth.nj.us.

Happy daytripping along the beautiful byways of Monmouth County!