Among other things, the Independence Day holiday serves to spur awareness of our own Yankee Doodle history here on the Greater Red Bank Green — a timeline that predates the signing of the Declaration, as represented by National Historic Sites like Little Silver’s Parker Homestead (established in 1665), the Seabrook-Wilson House at the Bayshore (c. 1720), and the centuries-old structures of Shrewsbury’s “Four Corners.”
Then there’s Middletown Township; Monmouth County’s largest, most sprawling municipality — and among its oldest. Even many who reside there may not realize that at the heart of its nearly 60 square miles sits a walkable little village — and this Saturday morning, history buffs and the historically curious are invited to take a step back in time, one that begins mere minutes from station stop Red Bank and just a few paces from the North Jersey Coast Line platform.
The 10 a.m. constitutional sets sail from the lawn of the Middletown Arts Center, that onetime storage warehouse turned cultural resource and the setting for a Farmers and Makers Market going on at that time. From there, the guided walking tour of the Middletown Village Historic District heads east on Church Street (named for Christ Episcopal Church), continuing along Kings Highway with stops at the Old First Church (1688; the oldest Baptist church in NJ), Christ Episcopal Church (1745), Marlpit Hall (aka the Taylor-Butler House), and the onetime sites of various schoolhouses, blacksmith shops, general stores and, inns.
It’s an excursion of approximately two miles and 45 minutes, as well as a time-tripping trek that showcases some of the oldest permanent English settlements in what would become the state of New Jersey.
There’s no charge to participate (advance registration is recommended here via the township’s CommunityPass system), and additional information can be had by calling (732) 615-2260 or emailing the township’s Parks and Recreation department here.
Then take it back to the MAC for the 2017 schedule of free outdoor concerts, a slate that begins Tuesday, July 11, with a performance by an act TBA (check the town website calendar for updated details).