Visit: Jockey Hollow {Morristown, New Jersey}

by Cate on January 11, 2016

Jockey Hollow

On the same day that we visited Washington’s Headquarters, we also took a short drive to check out Jockey Hollow. Although we’ve lived within half an hour of Jockey Hollow forever, it was our first visit. In case you’re not familiar with Jockey Hollow, it’s the place where Washington’s army was encamped for about six months, from December 1779 through the following summer. After a quick stop into the Visitor’s Center for a map and information from the Ranger, we took off to visit the cabins. You can park at the Visitor’s Center and walk to the cabins, but it’s a little over a mile one way, and it was quite hot the day we visited and we were totally NOT feeling it. Jockey Hollow

So we drove down the trail and parked.

Once there, we walked up the large hill to where Ranger Thomas Winslow was holding court and checked out the cabins. They are, of course, recreations of the dwellings that the soldiers slept in while they were there. At its height, there were over 1000 huts and each slept 12. There were also a few separate cabins that slept four, and they were reserved for the men that were higher up in the Army’s rankings.

Over 100,000 men on the fields that we stood on.

Amazing. And so hard to visualize.

Ranger Winslow was a huge font of information; he was our favorite part of our whole visit.

Jockey Hollow

He emptied out his bag and showed us some traditional items the soldiers had at encampment (some replicas, and a few original pieces), and then he gave us a lesson on how to load the rifle, which was awesome. I especially loved hearing about all the tidbits he shared about food … what they ate (or, unfortunately, didn’t eat as the case may be), cooked, and how their day-to-day was. The army rationed that each soldier was supposed to get a pound of beef and a pound of bread every day, but Ranger Winslow said that that literally never happened, and there were even a few instances where soldiers were moved to cook up their shoes and eat the leather just to survive. Jockey Hollow

Jockey Hollow

Seeing the primitive living arrangements was a real eye-opener, both for me, and for my kids. Especially knowing how harsh New Jersey winters can be. Jockey Hollow

If you happen to be in the area, or even a slight drive away, it’s worth a visit (be sure to check their operating schedule – they will reopen for the season on President’s Day weekend). It’s a gorgeous area to visit and makes for a wonderful history lesson. In the warmer months, it makes a great destination for a good hike, a picnic lunch, and we even spotted people playing Frisbee on the fields when we were there. The entrance fee is just $7, but there are many times during the year when you can visit for free (listed here), as we did, including the upcoming President’s Day weekend.

Jockey Hollow Visitor Center
580 Tempe Wick Road, Morristown, NJ 07960

Hungry for more to do in New Jersey?
I’ve got all my New Jersey activity posts in this dedicated Pinterest board.

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