SUN-SEEKING, Literal and Metaphorical

Is it November, –or is it THIS November–, that renders sun a memory?

What images, what journeys hold light so crucial to me, ever more essential, every day?

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Autumn Along the Stony Brook, 2016, November

 

Key birding buddy, Mary Wood, and I ‘hiked the day down,’ –mostly wordlessly, often birdlessly–, after the election.  November surprised us with remnant vividness.

Walk with us.  Climb with us.

 

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Birding Platform Over the Wetlands

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Map – Charles Rogers Refuge – off Alexander, near Princeton Canoe and Kayak Rentals

 

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Likely Birds – Red-wing Heaven in Springtime

 

We owe this lovely restoration to Winnie (Hughes) and Fred Spar, and Tom Poole.  I know Winnie through U.S. 1 Poets, and Fred and Tom through D&R Greenway Land Trust, where I work.

Finding these images on this gloomy day reminds that all that matters in my life is preservation, — of nature, of beauty, of wild spaces.

Oh, yes, and freedom.  For the wildlings and for us.

Winnie and Fred, in their fine new signs, give honor to legendary birder, quintessential birdwalk leader, Lou Beck, of Washington Crossing Audubon.

We all give credit to everyone who reaches out, through whatever non-profits, to save the wild while we can.  Thoreau was right, you know:  “In wildness is the preservation of the world.”

 

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Restored Wetlands — Note Return of the Cattails, and Purple Martin House and Gourds

 

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“September, we’ll remember…”

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Upside-Down is Better than Right-Side Up

 

 

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Finale, Rogers Refuge and the Stony Brook

 

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“From Both Sides Now”

 

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November Tapestry in the Stony Brook

Memories of this refuge especially include green herons.  Not this day, not this season — but often.  Sometimes, kayaking nearby, one spots green herons mincing along the banks of the (D&R, of course) canal, then lofting up into Refuge trees.

 

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Green Heron by Brenda Jones

 

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Spring Species, Rogers Refuge

 

Spring brings not only winged miracles. This refuge is yellow-flag and blue-flag Central in May.  Wild iris of the most vivid hues, The Rogers is worthy of a journey for ‘flags’ alone.

 

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Blue Flags from Versicolor on Interniet

 

Invasive species had driven out cattails essential to territorializing red-winged blackbirds.

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Male Redwinged Blackbird, Territorializing, by Brenda Jones

Seemingly inescapable phragmites, — bush-tailed grasses beloved of decorators–, are too frail to support the weight of males, ruffling scarlet epaulets, vocalizing welcome to females and banishment to rivals, in these woods and wetlands.

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Phragmites Height from Internet

Restoration, a key facet of preservation, is visible in the final scene of Mary’s and my November walk.

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Late Light in the Cattails

SEPTEMBER SONG — Autumnal Signs

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Autumn Mimics Christmas Along the D&R Canal

Is anyone else more impatient than usual for autumn crispness?  Do others feel as though that “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” will never arrive?  Might you be “making a list and checking it twice” of early proofs that there really is such a thing as fall?

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Autumn’s golden gifts brighten a dreary canal

I have begun my own Autumnal Chronicle.  Despite assiduous attention, however, this tally is pretty meager.  It is particularly challenging this year to differentiate between the season for which I am longing and the effects of drought.  Sycamores are turning.  But, these puzzle-trunked beauties require ‘wet feet’, almost as urgently as willows.  No New Jersey trees are receiving sufficient moisture in dire 2016. Shocked by dessication, sycamores began dropping huge loud leaves in August.

I’m seeking first wild spurts of scarlet and crimson: Virginia creeper, otherwise known as woodbine; and its usual neighbor, poison ivy act as restaurant signs for migrating birds.  These vines employ the most vivid hue the minute they’re ripe enough to nourish.  In nearly mid-September, both species remain relentlessly forest green.

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Autumnal Carnegie Lake

My fall list begins with the very loud, entirely too audible, crunching of crisp leaves under my car wheels along Fackler Road in Lawrenceville.

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Spill of Crisp Leaves — Carnegie Lake Dock

I was forced to acknowledge autumn as I passed the Lawrenceville Community Garden.  Every towering sunflower is bent and spent, like people who neglect osteoporosis.

Driving past Loews to reach Trader Joe’s, there was the first inescapable bank of mums.

As I carried TJ purchases back to my  car, however, I thrilled to an endless river of dark birds, coursing and coursing as though they fleeing an impending storm.

I realize that none of these examples contains the ecstatic outpouring I would expect from myself as the season turns.  And that NJWILDBEAUTY readers have come to expect from me.

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Sweet Gum Leaves in Autumn Finery

This year, the coming season is marred by the very serious illness of my 20[year-old great nephew, James Weitzel.  His heroism is striking.  But this shining young man; this consummate, initially intuitive musician (percussion especially); this person who’s touched the heart of everyone with whom he interacts in Springfield, Illinois, has been abruptly stricken in his prime.  Now James has a bald head, and not because it’s chic.  Now James has to relearn the very simple process of walking.  So my own heart and feet are not skipping.

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Delaware River Footbridge from Black Bass Inn in Autumn

Autumn meant new beginnings, for this foolish one who couldn’t wait for school.  I lived for first lavender smoke rising from chimneys, and especially from towering bonfires of leaves we’d raked all day..  And harvests were the heart of the matter.

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Trenton Farmers’ Market Bounty

I

Today, I’ve tried to fill a treasure chest of autumn memories.  Maybe it will lift NJWILDBEAUTY spirits, as well as my own.  Maybe you’ll even comment on favorite aspects of this laggard season for you.

 

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Trenton Farmers’ Market Apple Crop

Parties meant bobbing for apples and sipping new cider. Popcorn turning white and sometimes a little black in the long-handled black corn popper over coals in our family room fireplace.  New loves began at pep rallies and the subsequent Homecoming Ball.  Happiness swirled in on every fresh breeze.

Maybe, seeing these NJ fall views, you’ll get out on (preserved, of course) trails, and create new memories.

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D&R Greenway’s Cedar Ridge Preserve — Terrestrial Box Turtle Among the Leaves

Maybe it’s color for which I am longing.

Or is it that September and October represent constellations of change?

OLD LYME ARTQUEST PLANNED: AMERICA’S TONALISTS

Tonalism Will Howe Foote Florence Griswold House Old Lyme CT

FLORENCE GRISWOLD HOUSE by Tonalist WILL HOWE FOOTE

Recently, a poet friend passed the Ole Lyme (CT) exit on her way to Provincetown for their legendary writers’ workshop.  “I want to see the Florence Griswold Museum,” she said to herself, “… maybe, on the way back.”  But her Self corrected her Self: “NO, I want to see it with Carolyn!”  How Betty knew that I have longed to see this center of the Old Lyme Art Colony, –this boarding house of Miss Griswold, which housed some of America’s major tonalist, and later impressionist, artists–, who painted the very walls and doors and panels with Old Lyme scenes, I have no idea.  But she made inquiries, has rented us lodging through AirBNB, and she will even drive!

Moonglow Tonalist Image from Internet no artist credit

Tonalist Image, Moonglow, From Internet, No Attribution

My role, a favorite, is  research.  Tonalism, an exceptional delicate school of art, evolved in and around Old Lyme in this country.  A town of white steeples and picket fences, tousled gardens, and far-stretching meadows toward the sea–, one could say, if Tonalism hadn’t existed, Old Lyme would have had to invent it.  As I combed the Internet, I found myself transported from “mists and mellow fruitfulness”, from morning fogs and clouds tip-tilted by sunsets, to wifty views of Miss Florence’s home by my relative, Will Howe Foote.

Brent Cotton Nightfall on the Pond from Internet

Brent Cotton’s “Nightfall”

At D&R Greenway Land Trust, I am Curator of the Olivia Rainbow Gallery, among many other roles.  I realize, for the first time, that I am also Curator of the N:JWILDBEAUTY Gallery.

Marina with Misty Mt. from Internet no artist

Marina with Mountain from Internet, No Attribution

Think back to Monet’s “Impression, Soleil Levant”, from which the movement was named to which some Tonalists would evolve.  “Impression, Sun Rising” could be the name of this tonal masterpiece:

Tonalist Matthew Cutter Rising Sun from Internet

Tonalist Matthew Cutter’s “Rising Sun”

Betty and I, in the museums of Old Lyme, will be surrounded by the peace, tranquility and luminosity  we so often seek in nature.

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“The Blue Cup” by Tonalist Joseph de Camp

Tonalists were very effective with portraits.  Perhaps no one did a better job of winter scenes, at least in this country.  Sisley and Pissarro are no slouches when it comes to snow, of course, especially in and around Auvers-sur-Oise, northwest of Paris.  Our Tonalists made the most of the very American New England landscape.

John Henry Twachtman Winter Landscape with-Barn

John Henry Twachtman’s Winter

It is not yet clear to me whether this is the British attitude, or pure reality, that Tonalism all began with Whistler, (the legendary expatriate James Abbot MacNeill Whistler).  This theory could be the confection of critics of later centuries.  This attribution may be the confection of critics of subsequent centuries…

Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Chelsea 1871 by James Abbott McNeill Whistler 1834-1903

Nocturne: Blue and Silver – Chelsea 1871 James Abbott McNeill Whistler 1834-1903

Evergreen Framed Tonalist Image Internet no artist credit

Evergreen-Framed Tonalist Landscape, no attribution

Tonalism example from Internet unattributed

Early Tonalism – Unattributed under Tonalist Images

Tonalism example unattributed from Internet

Tonalism in the Garden, Unattributed

Tonalist modern Judy Friday February Sunrise

Tonalist Modern, Judy Friday, February Sunrise

Tonalist Will Howe Foote Verdant-cape

Tonalist and Relative – Will Howe Foote: “Verdant Cape”

Tonalism Orchard in Bloom from Internet no artist no title

Tonalist Orchard in Bloom, No Attribution

A group of determined friends and relations managed to save Miss Florence’s home, during the Great Depression, when debts would have forced her to leave.  This image, by my relative Will Howe Foote, may be the most famous of her home, which is now the Museum which draws us to Old Lyme.

Will Howe Foote Summers Night probably Miss Florence Griswold on porch of her home Old Lyme Ct

Tonalist Will Howe Foote, “Summer’s Night”, reputed to be Miss Florence Griswold on the porch of her home which sheltered these legendary artists

 

 

TO SALEM AND CUMBERLAND COUNTIES

Maurice River Meander

Maurice River Meander

I don’t know about the rest of my NJWILDBEAUTY readers, but this one has had to cancel far more nature excursions than she’s taken in recent months.

Wild Weeds in Wild March Wind, Absecon Bay, Atlantic City

Wild Weeds in Wild March Wind, Absecon Bay, Atlantic City — What Greeted or Prevented Me, Most of This Year

With any luck, I’ll be down in Salem and Cumberland Counties, on the Delaware Bayshore, searching for spring above all, and birds — eagles everywhere — all day Sunday.

American Bald Eagle by Brenda Jones

American Bald Eagle by Brenda Jones

I’ll gather a few more scenes from other journeys, other seasons, to the wild and watery reaches of Salem and Cumberland.  With any luck, I’ll have new ones for you soon…

Salem Sail

Salem Sail

Salem Oak, Salem Town, Salem County

Salem Oak, Salem Town, Salem County

Lenni Lenape Grinding Tool in Greenwich, Salem County

Lenni Lenape Grinding Tool in Greenwich, Salem County

Alloways Creek near Hancock's Bridge, where British Massacred Sleeping Colonists in Hancock House

Alloways Creek near Hancock’s Bridge, where British Massacred Sleeping Colonists in Hancock House

Proud List of Tea Burners in Greenwich -- Our Own  Tea Party -- Descendants Still Live in Town

Proud List of Tea Burners in Greenwich — Our Own Tea Party — Descendants Still Live in Town

Majestic Facade, Historic Hancock House on Alloway Creek

Majestic Facade, Historic Hancock House on Alloway Creek

Alloway Creek in Peacetime

Alloway Creek in Peacetime

Bivalve Egret Lineup

Bivalve Egret Lineup

Bivalve Venerable/Vulnerable Building

Bivalve Venerable/Vulnerable Building

Conshohocken Specialty

Conshohocken Specialty

You can see, when we’re in Salem and Cumberland, driving down every road that says “NO EXIT”, for all roads lead to the Bay, “we are not in Kansas any more…”

Bateman's Live Crabs

Bateman’s Live Crabs

Delaware Bay Truck Painting

Delaware Bay Truck Painting

The reason these austere and pristine beauties, this historic sites, may still be experienced, is that humans work very hard to preserve them.  As NJWILDBEAUTY readers know, I spend the major portion of my life furthering preservation of New Jersey land.  Believe it or not, thought the Delaware Bay is very far from us, we are working very hard to preserve its waterways, marshes, meadows, farmlands and, above all [for me, and especially for our winged brethren], bird habitat.

My Trenton Times Article on Beauties, Blessings of Prolonged Cold

Opinion: A long, cold winter reveals its beauty

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Red fox running across frozen Lake Carnegie in Princeton, February 2009 (Brenda Jones, photographer)

Times of Trenton guest opinion columnBy Times of Trenton guest opinion column
on February 24, 2015 at 8:00 AM, updated February 24, 2015 at 8:40 AM

By Carolyn Foote Edelmann

Friends and I have decided that an effective way to endure prolonged, serious cold is to begin a list of its benefits. Perhaps Times readers would like to try such a list and send in their suggestions.

I rejoice in the seamless cold because of new beauties that are revealed by its presence — everywhere, at all hours of the day and night. When skies are clear and gelid, starlight is blinding. The new moon and Venus have never looked more ravishing than while winking over endless snowfields on the outskirts of Pennington.

However, my No. 1 reason to be thankful is that sustained cold kills the microbes that cause mange in fox dens and, therefore, in foxes. This has been a serious problem at Island Beach State Park. Humans ignored multiple posted warnings not to feed the foxes. This practice teaches foxes to look to humans for food. It accustoms foxes to carbohydrates, when they are truly carnivores and require both the protein and the fat of their classic prey, mostly mice and voles. Human food lowers vulpine resistance to disease. If their dens are not sterilized by cold, the animals suffer enormously, losing their glorious fur and even their tails, and then they perish.

Prolonged cold alters the fate of foxes for the better. When it’s below freezing for several days, mange is banished from the foxes’ dens.

In addition, when Barnegat and Raritan Bays freeze, new, healthy foxes scamper across from the mainland, bringing vibrant strains to populations we have harmed by feeding what should never be tamed.

Being very much on the side of wild creatures, this long cold of ours makes me wonder if it might also help coyotes increase their territory. I live near the Pole Farm, in Lawrence. I have seen coyote scat there, right where it belongs, in the middle of trails. But I have yet to be blessed by an encounter with this four-legged wonder. Hiking the Pole Farm right now is like trying to navigate the rugged terrain of Italyy’s Carrara marble quarry, –that is, almost impossible.  I cannot answer my coyote question.

Cold bestows another blessing. If it weren’t for snowfall after snowfall, I would not know that a fox visits my dwelling. There are straight, determined paths of tiny rose-like paw prints, one after another, that lead right up to the shrubs below my study window. So long as snow persists, fox signatures remain, right here.

Working as I do with the D & R Greenway Land Trust, preservation of habitat and creatures is paramount in my life. It is easy to become discouraged about both in this over-peopled 21st century. These cold blessings lift my heart.

I’m not saying that catastrophic climate change, including the cold weather we have been enduring lately, is good. I am proposing that there are miracles revealed by cold and snow of which we never otherwise would have a clue.

Carolyn Foote Edelmann, a poet, naturalist and community relations associate for the D and R Greenway Land Trust, writes and photographs for NJWildBeauty nature blog (njwildbeauty.wordpress.com).

RARITAN RIVER TALK AT DandR GREENWAY Feb. 26 with Judy Auer Shaw, Ph.D.

Thursday, February 26th, everyone who loves the Raritan River and its exquisite and storied canal may hear Judy Auer Shaw, Ph.D., at D&R Greenway Land Trust, on the river’s history, industrial importance, aesthetic value, importance to our water supply, and current perils.  Dr. Shaw is a legend in her time, on many fronts.  Her current passion is this river, and her life is devoted to preserving and improving. it.

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Dr. Judy Shaw, The Raritan’s River-keeper

The presentation is from 6:30 to 8 p.m., with a light reception.  To register for this free evening of information and delight, please use rsvp@drgreenway.org.  Dr. Shaw’s book will be for sale and she will sign copies that night.

Cover, Judy Auer's new Book, "The Raritan River, Our Landscape, Our Legacy"

Cover, Judy Auer’s new Book, “The Raritan River, Our Landscape, Our Legacy”

The Delaware and Raritan Canal was created in the 1830’s to carry coal from Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley safely to New York (by Raritan Bay) and Philadelphia (via Delaware Bay.)  The pre-canal route meant rounding Cape May and daring dangerous shoals, en route to and past Sandy Hook.  At one time our canal carried more tonnage than the legendary Erie!

D&R Canal north of Mapleton Fishing Bridge by Carolyn Edelmann

D&R Canal north of Mapleton Fishing Bridge by Carolyn Edelmann

The Raritan River begins at the confluence of the North and South Branches of the Raritan.  All along that waterway, wildlife should be able to thrive.  Dr. Shaw is doing everything in her power to see to it that the River’s natural benefits to are region are restored and enhanced.

Great Blue Heron near Carnegie Lake Dam by Tasha O'Neill

Great Blue Heron near Carnegie Lake Dam by Tasha O’Neill

Beaver Lodge along D&R Canal Above Mapleton Fishing Bridge by Carolyn Edelmann

Beaver Lodge along D&R Canal Above Mapleton Fishing Bridge by Carolyn Edelmann

Snake Swims D&R Canal near Princeton

Snake Swims D&R Canal near Princeton

The North Branch of the Raritan is one of the most exquisite features of the state of New Jersey.  Up near Califon and Clinton, it ripples, clear as gin, over time-smoothed rocks, hiding and nourishing trout.

Ken Lockwood Gorge is astounding for hikers as well as trout fishermen.  My friend Tasha O’Neill is famous for realistic and abstract images of the Gorge.  To walk there is to move well beyond the 21st Century, in fact back to the time of the Lenni Lenapes/Algonquins who fished these shores long before we did.

Quintessential Trout Fisherman, Ken Lockwood Gorge, by Tasha O'Neill

Quintessential Trout Fisherman, Ken Lockwood Gorge, by Tasha O’Neill

Trout Fisherman Succeeds in Ken Lockwood Gorge, by Tasha O'Neill

Trout Fisherman Succeeds in Ken Lockwood Gorge, by Tasha O’Neill

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The sheer beauty and vibrancy of trout in the Raritan at its source – by Tasha O’Neill

Autumn Palette Ken Lockwood Gorge, Tasha O'Neill

My Ordinary Scene of Ken Lockwood in Autumn

Even if you have known the Raritan, as I did, –having lived above it in New Brunswick, you may find these images  hard to believe.  But they may explain, partially, why I’ve been in love with the Raritan since I met that river in 1964.  At the time, I knew nothing of the Raritan’s history, had never heard of Lenni Lenapes, and didn’t even realize that was a canal down there!

Autumn Spill along the Aqueduct of the D&R Canal at the Mapleton Bridge Near Princeton, by Carolyn Edelmann

Autumn Spill along the Aqueduct of the D&R Canal at the Mapleton Bridge Near Princeton, by Carolyn Edelmann

North Branch of the Raritan, Ken Lockwood Gorge, by Anne Zeman

North Branch of the Raritan, Ken Lockwood Gorge, by Anne Zeman

I walk the Gorge with many friends — the above is Anne Zeman’s dreamy view of the Raritan in all its pristine beauty.

North Branch of the Raritan, Ken Lockwood Gorge, by Tasha O'Neill

North Branch of the Raritan, Ken Lockwood Gorge, by Tasha O’Neill

We moved into the tall apartment (Colony House, first Buccleuch Park Towers) at Landing Lane Bridge in New Brunswick.  Our apartment wrapped around the corner, so we woke to the Raritan, and supped in its sunset.  The river was frequently mist-covered.  Sunrise would tint dawn’s mist pink, and sunset tended to fill the rivermist with coralline hues.  My daughters, toddlers, would wake from naps, rushing to see “The boys in the boats on the reevah.”

People who’d always lived in New Brunswick would stride into our apartment and say, “Well, Carolyn, it’s beautiful, but it’s not New Brunswick.”  I didn’t know enough then to tell them that the Raritan is far more important than New Brunswick!

Never would I have believed anyone who would insist that I’d be living near that river and its canal for most of the rest of my life.  That the Towpath would inspire, nourish, even heal me through almost overwhelming tragedies.  That a friend would teach me to kayak on the canal above Griggstown. That the Raritan River and its Canal create a feast for all seasons.

peaceful prow D&R canal tasha o neill

Peaceful Prow on D&R Canal near Princeton, by Tasha O’Neill

"In Just Spring" along the D&R Canal Towpath north of Princeton

“In Just Spring” along the D&R Canal Towpath north of Princeton

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Autumn Harvest, D&R Canal Style, near Princeton

Red Mill, Carnegie Lake by Tasha O'Neill

Red Mill, Carnegie Lake by Tasha O’Neill

SNOWBOUND — REMEMBERING THE MARSH, — A Winter Walk

Not all winters tie one to the house!.  Some draw you outside, inexorably, delightedly.

Here are some rare but typical scenes of what used to be the Hamilton/Trenton/Bordentown Marsh, now the Abbott Marshlands.

Come wander with me, no matter the weather.  Come relish New Jersey’s wild beauty.

Marsh Weeds in Spring Lake

Marsh Weeds in Spring Lake

The Lake was purportedly named by Indians because formed by an ever-renewing spring.

Marsh Frozen Spring Lake Winter 2014

Spring Lake Mostly Frozen — But Life Exists Herein

Marsh First Willows 2013

The Wonder of Willows, Marsh

Marsh, Where Muskrats Ramble

Where Muskrats Ramble, Near Spring Lake

NJWILDBEAUTY Readers know I have an enormous need to see either New Jersey’s wild creatures, or evidence of their presence, or both.

Beaver Lodge, Marsh -- in winter, beaver keep waters open for rare ducks

Beaver Lodge, Marsh — in winter, beaver keep waters open for rare ducks

Beaver Fppd

Beaver Food

Goose Trails, Spring Lake

Goose Trails, Spring Lake

Marsh Sandy Damage 2013

Eponymous Beech Tree, Damaged by Hurricane Sandy

Fallen Trunk Decorated with Fungus, Marsh

Fallen Trunk Decorated with Fungus, Marsh

Turkey Tail Fungus on Felled Trunk, Marsh

Turkey Tail Fungus on Felled Trunk, Marsh

This winter walk was taken with Town Topics writer par excellence, Linda Arntzenius.  Sometimes the iced trail was so narrow that only one boot at a time could make its way.  Hardly ever could we walk side-by-side, but what beauty was ours!

And such silence!  Sacred soundlessness — how very rare in the modern world.

Beavers' Midnight Snack

Beavers’ Midnight Snack

Where Turtles Lurk and Thrive

Where Turtles Lurk and Thrive

In season, one learns to seek tiny dark triangles in spring lake, triangles that move right along, for they are the heads of the lake’s majestic turtles.  Sometimes, also, in the lake, snakes swim.

In winter, walkers can follow the straight trails of foxes, out for a stroll or a hunt, and discover the wing marks of rising birds in fresh snow on downed trunks.

To get to the Marsh, take Route 1 South into Trenton to the South Broad Street exit.  Drive as directed round the arena, and turn left/south onto Broad Street.  After Lalor, which angles only on your right, look for a church with two steeples, followed by a red light at Sewell Avenue.  Turn right onto Sewell and go about five blocks until the road Ts at the Marsh itself.  Drive through the gate and park near the lake. Usually, you will be welcomed by stately swans in all seasons.

To learn the Marsh, check out http://www.marsh-friends.org.  Get onto their e-mail mailing list for hikes with Ornithologist Charlie Leck, Botanist Mary Leck, and Mercer County Naturalist, Jenn Rogers.  In all seasons, these merry experts will introduce you to the creatures who thrive in New Jersey because individuals and groups such as D&R Greenway preserved this freshwater tidal wetlands.