It’s a step back in time that includes Little Silver’s Parker Homestead — at more than 350 years of age, a house that’s every bit as old as the colony of New Jersey; the homes and graves of rebel patriots and Tories alike; and centuries-old structures that have served as worship houses, museums and even venues for some Reckless Steamy Nights.
If it’s the first Saturday and Sunday in May, this must be the Weekend in Old Monmouth — and if you’re sufficiently curious about the rich history of the place where you live, there’s never been a better time to get acquainted with the Greater Red Bank Green’s historic sites.
A series of free, self-guided tours of nearly 50 historic sites in Monmouth County, the 10th annual event (brought to you by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Monmouth County Historical Commission) runs four color-coded tour routes on Saturday from 10 a.m.to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., with all stops waiving admission fees.
Many of the oldest structures in and around the Greater Green are included on the Northern (or Purple) Tour and the Eastern (or Blue) Tour, with the Purple path winding its way past several sites in Middletown — the “Old Stone Church” and hillside cemetery at All Saints Memorial in Navesink; the Joseph Murray Farmhouse at Poricy Park; the Old First Church, Taylor-Butler House and Marlpit Hall on Kings Highway, and the Seabrook-Wilson House (aka “The Spy House”) at Bayshore Waterfront Park in Port Monmouth.
Staying on that route will also bring you to such nearby (if off-the-Green) landmarks as the Twin Lights of Highlands, and the formidable Strauss Mansion, home to the Atlantic Highlands Historical Society.
Working the Blue line will carry time-tripping tourists to places like the aforementioned Parker Homestead, as well as the Woman’s Club of Red Bank (aka the Reckless Estate); Rumson’s First Presbyterian Church and Seabright Lawn Tennis and Cricket Club; the Crawford House at Tinton Falls, and the buildings of Shrewsbury Borough’s Historic District (intersection of Broad Street and Sycamore Avenue).
By far the most contemporary property on the tour (dating back merely to 1984), the Borough of Shrewsbury Historical Museum is also among the richest experiences; a splendid starting point for a “four corners” excursion that also boasts the 1816 Friends Meetinghouse (at 201 years old, the “newest” of the Quaker houses that date originally to 1672) the county-owned Allen House, and Christ Church Episcopal. Keep “working Blue” and visit the well-appointed historical museums of nearby Eatontown and Ocean Township.
The event coordinators have also mapped out a Southern (Green) Tour and a Western (Orange) Tour, together comprising an eclectic collection of Revolutionary War battlegrounds, WWII installations, Victorian estates, farmhouses, schoolhouses, and storefronts — with several of the stops new to the Weekend in Old Monmouth this year. Each of the participating sites will offer printed tour booklets free of charge to visitors. Take it here for a downloadable version of the 2017 Tour Map and Guide Book — and read on for a detailed list of locations (with zip codes included for GPS directions) around the greater Red Bank Green.
400 Sycamore Avenue, Shrewsbury (07702)
All Saints Memorial Church
202 Navesink Avenue, Navesink (07752)
380 Sycamore Avenue, Shrewsbury (07702)
750 Tinton Avenue, Tinton Falls (07724)
First Presbyterian Church
East River Road and Park Avenue, Rumson (07760)
Joseph Murray Farmhouse at Poricy Park
345 Oak Hill Road, Middletown (Red Bank 07701)
137 Kings Highway, Middletown (07748)
Old First Church
69 Kings Highway, Middletown (07748)
235 Rumson Road, Little Silver (07739)
Red Bank Woman’s Club
164 Broad Street, Red Bank
Seabright Lawn Tennis & Cricket Club
5 Tennis Court Lane, Rumson (07760)
Bayshore Waterfront Park
719 Port Monmouth Road, Port Monmouth (07758)
Shrewsbury Historical Museum Municipal Complex
419 Sycamore Avenue, Shrewsbury (07702)
Shrewsbury Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
375 Sycamore Avenue, Shrewsbury (07702)
127 Kings Highway, Middletown (07748)