When Indians walked Route 94

| 07 Mar 2012 | 09:34

Thin places are places that feel different, where you can sense something else. It may be your own garden in the early morning or as the sun sets, or a lookout, a road, a special water feature, tree or rock that “says” something each time you see it. Here are a few of the thin places I know about, all within two miles of one another.

Route 94, the major route between Sussex and Orange counties, was also the major trail for the Lenape, the last Native Americans to live in this area. Off this road are some of the great thin places in the area. In Vernon at Maple Grange Park, on Maple Grange Road, is the now protected 40-acre Black Creek Site, a major Lenape Indian campsite. More than 15,000 artifacts, some dating back to 8,000 BC, have been found there. Sussex County Community College is doing archeological field work there this summer.

Near this camp, just down Canal Road off Maple Grange Road, are several chert quarries on the Appalachian Trail. Chert is a stone used for making tools and projectile points. You can recognize it by the way it’s found sandwiched in layers with other rocks. Most of the chert I’ve seen around here is black, though it can be white, grey or even red.

High Breeze Farm on Barrett Road, off Route 94 at the Vernon-Warwick border, is a triple delight. It is the closest you can get to what a 19th century farm looked like because it was operated as one by Luther Barrett until 1986. Secondly, it is a living museum of Lenape artifacts and there’s a little pull-off on Barrett Road just above the farm, where you are treated to a wondrous view of the mountains north and west of here.

– Daniel Mack, Warwick

Dan invites you to share your thin place in the comments here.