How Califon

Got Its Name

In the early 1850s, the town of Califon could not be found on any road map, mainly because no one had given it a name yet. Folks found their way around by referring to familiar landmarks like, “Cole’s Mill,” “Frog Hollow,” “The Swamp House,” or “Peggy’s Puddle.” The town was finally given a proper name, but it may not have been the one that was originally intended…

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Black River Roasters


“We are grateful for financial support from the Anne L. and George H. Clapp Charitable and Educational Trust, which enables us to secure highly talented actors; Barker Bus Company, which donates transportation for school districts that cannot afford bussing; re-enactors from John Lambs Artillery Company for providing fascinating military demonstrations; Lady Ellen Ruck for her portrayals of domestic life during the Colonial period; and our museum coordinator, trustees, and volunteers who make this program possible,” observed Sutherland. 

Based upon the program’s growing popularity among school groups, Sutherland says the Friends hope to add a second day of educational programming during this year’s Colonial Christmas. 

About The Jacobus Vanderveer House & Museum 

The Jacobus Vanderveer House served as headquarters for General Henry Knox during the winter of 1778-79 and is the only surviving building associated with the Pluckemin Artillery Cantonment, now recognized as America’s first military training academy and the precursor to The United States Military Academy at West Point. The Jacobus Vanderveer House & Museum interprets Dutch colonial life in America as well as the stay by General Knox and his family during the 1778-79 encampment. A National and New Jersey Historic Site, the Jacobus Vanderveer House is a true landmark that offers a vivid look into the history of our country and the lives of those who made it 

Operated by the nonprofit Friends of The Jacobus Vanderveer House (a 501(c)(3) organization) for the past 20 years, the museum is located at 3055 River Road and can be accessed via River Road Park. The Friends sponsor public events throughout the year; for directions and more information, visit

1st Annual Black River Road Clean-Up

The Sloppy Joe

In most of the U.S. if you ask for a “Sloppy Joe” you’ll get a sandwich made with sautéed ground beef and onions, with a sweetened tomato sauce on a hamburger roll. Many of us recall this version from our elementary school “hot” lunch days. But ask for a Sloppy Joe Sandwich in Northern or North Central Jersey and you’ll get something completely different...  ​Read More


Betsy Ross, portrayed by Kim Hanley of Philadelphia’s American Historical Theatre, with 3rd grade students from the Willow School, in Pottersville during the School Group Tour Day at the Jacobus Vanderveer House & Museum’s 15th Annual Colonial Christmas. (L-R) Leah Holmes, of Pottersville; Emily Rapp, of Chester; Catie Clark, of Harding; Collin Russ, of Flanders; Dylan Auerbach, of Bedminster; Franki Meyer, of Stroudsburg, Pa.; and Peter Clark, of Harding. Ms. Ross discussed her life and challenges during the American Revolution while cutting a five-point star to be sewn onto the first United States “stars and stripes” flag. The children were also treated to military demonstrations by members of John Lambs Artillery Company and learned about domestic life during the Colonial period, courtesy of Lady Ellen Ruck, of Chester.

Bedminster Township Celebrates the Local Agricultural Community With the Opening of a New Weekly Farmer's Market  Photos Couretsy of Bedmister Farmer's Market

Bedminster Township is hosting a weekly Farmers Market on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Township’s River Road Park located at the corner of Routes 202/206 south and River Road. The market will run through Saturday, September 29, and provide residents from Bedminster Township and the surrounding areas with access to quality, locally grown or prepared foods and agricultural products.

Currently, over fourteen vendors have signed on to participate weekly and will offer a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables, greens and herbs, mushrooms, coal fired brick oven breads, 

An Interview with

Caitlin Rutkay

of C.R. Interior Designs


Morris Animal Inn is Helping Couples Include Dogs in Their Nuptuals

For many couples, including their four-legged family members in their nuptials is a dream come true. But doing so can be fraught with challenges—from dirty paws on the bride’s gown to Bowser helping himself to the buffet...

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BRJ Online

Including  new and expanded content, and images not available in our print edition 


Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House Earn Third History Award


In Our Current Issue...


gluten free baked goods, cheeses, pastas, eggs, flowers, honey, hand-dyed yarns from a local fiber farm, organic coffees; all natural pasture raised Angus beef, pork, chicken; small batch New York style deli pickles, pickled condiments, olives, relishes and tapenades, and more!

“We truly value our agricultural community, and we are thrilled that more than half of the vendors are from our immediate Bedminster area,” said Township Committeeman and lead organizer Larry Jacobs. “The Farmers Market will also serve to educate consumers and school aged children about the benefits of small independently owned/operated farms,” Committeeman Jacobs added.

 “River Road Park is an ideal location for our Farmers Market as it serves as the gateway to Bedminster’s agricultural community,” said Mayor Steven Parker. The park is centrally located between the Township’s population centers, and is easily accessible from all points via the Township’s recently completed Hike & Bike trail. Plenty of parking is available at the park.

The Bedminster Township Farmers Market is supported and managed by Bedminster Township and administered through the Bedminster Township Farmers Market Committee comprised of dedicated volunteers from the Township’s governing body, Environmental Commission, and new Agricultural Advisory Commission whose mission is to promote and encourage the successful development of local agriculture. The Farmers Market Committee is hoping the Bedminster Farmers Market will not only provide access to locally grown food and agricultural products, but help educate residents about the importance of maintaining land for agricultural uses.

For more information, please visit or call the Bedminster Township Recreation Department on (908) 212-7000, Ext. 404.


Community, Culture, and Conservation  Kicks off its 2018 Season

 WCCC opened its exciting and event filled 2018 calendar with a reception to celebrate Artist, Jeff McConnell. The fun continued with an intimate evening with Broadway composer and musician Jonathan Brielle...

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Caitlin Rutkay launched C.R. Interior Designs in 2007 after many years in Manhattan working for venerated decorators. She brings her cultivated eye to every project, whether staging a home or building a home from the ground up...

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Black River Roasters

BRJ Featured Advertiser

The Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House have earned a 2018 Somerset County Historic Preservation and History Award from the Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission (SCC&HC). The award recognizes the Friends’ “outstanding contributions to the enhancement of history education in Somerset County” through a popular School Group Tour Day held during the Jacobus Vanderveer House & Museum’s annual Colonial Christmas. 

“We are truly proud to be recognized for our educational programming, and to receive this prestigious honor for the third time in a row is just tremendous,” commented Craig Sutherland, President of The Friends of The Jacobus Vanderveer House, who accepted the award, May 23, at the Brook Arts Center in Bound Brook. 

The Friends earned History Awards from the SCC&HC in 2014 for its video “In Quarters Comfortable & Clever: The Continental Army at Pluckemin” and again in 2016 for its summer archaeology camp for children. 

During the museum’s School Group Tour Day, between 300-400 school-aged children from public, private and homeschool groups learn about life during the Revolutionary War through interactive performances by actors and reenactors portraying historic figures such as Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Betsy Ross.


celebrating a sense of place


The Holmes family enjoy their walks down Black River Road in Pottersville, but during one family stroll they counted 650 pieces of trash. So, their oldest daughter, Juiliana, a 5th grader at The Willow School, decided to do something about it. Not only did she organize a clean-up of the road with her family and friends, she is analyzing the litter to see what people are throwing out and will present her findings to her class when she returns to school in September, as part of her “Passion Hour Project." According to her Dad, Rob, she has made some pretty astute connections. “Dad, these look like people are throwing out all their bad habits,” she told her father. “There’s soda and alcohol and cigarettes.” When asked how she felt to be making a difference, she said “I feel good about it ... I don’t really feel like walking on a road with trash on it.” “Thank you!” a driver yelled out as he passed Juliana and her volunteer clean-up crew.

17th Annual Califon Memorial Day Parade

Photos by Lee C. Wolfe

Organized by the Califon Recreation Committee, this year’s marchers included the Pipes and Drums from St. Ann’s of Hampton, the 15th New Jersey Volunteers Infantry Company A accompanied by the NJ Field Music Fife and Drum Corps, antique cars, scout troops, area fire and rescue squads and more!  In honor of those being remembered, bagpipes played from the center of the Califon Bridge and led the parade to a memorial service at the Califon Veterans Memorial, where the Voorhees Choir performed the Star Spangle Banner while local scouts raised the flag, followed by a 21-gun salute by the 15th, NJ.