Local“, the latest WordPress Photo Challenge theme this week has inspired me to publish a series of posts on the many reasons why I love New Jersey, my adopted state.

First settled in 1660, New Jersey has a past rich in history. Because of its proximity to New York City and Philadelphia, more battles were fought in New Jersey than in any other state during the Revolutionary War. In 1787, New Jersey became the third state to ratify the U.S. Constitution and the first state to sign the Bill of Rights.

About a 10 minute drive from my home, there sits a huge oak tree right in the middle of the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church Cemetery. It is estimated to be 600 years old. Church historians say that George Washington and his troops “rested under the old oak in the cemetery” on several occasions. But sadly, the tree has seen its last days and it is scheduled to be removed early next year.

Established in 1717, the Presbyterian Church and cemetery stands in the center of a several crossroads. As I took pictures of the oak tree, I noticed the headstones within the cemetery. Many of the headstones date back to the 1700’s and early 1800’s. The cemetery is a resting place for many who fought during the Revolutionary War.  The current church building was built in the 1800’s.

Though a sad ending of an enduring life, I think of those countless lives this amazing tree has touched – generations and generations.


By Joyce Kilmer
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

The New York Times wrote about the oak tree this week.