Tucked into the northernmost corner of Hunterdon County, Lebanon Township’s longstanding rural heritage can be witnessed on a drive through its 32-square mile borders. Bucolic landscapes include an abundance of wide open spaces, conservation land, parks and working farms. The township’s terrain is characterized by acres of forests, rivers, streams, gorges and mountain ranges.
With approximately 6,500 residents, the township borders both Warren and Morris Counties, offering access to a network of local and interstate highways. Surrounding towns include Washington Township, Long Valley, Clinton, Readington, Califon and Annandale.
The first record of Lebanon Township appears in 1731, and it was incorporated as one of New Jersey’s first 104 townships in 1798. Back in the 1700s and 1800s, small hamlets had names like Woodglen, Anthony, Red Mill and Bunnvale. Bunnvale was named for a prominent area land holder named Bunn, and Bunnvale Road is named in his honor. Hoffman’s Crossing Road traversing the South Branch of the Raritan River was named for the local family who ran a basket factory. Today, the Woodglen General Store is a reminder of a simpler time. A sign outside the store was placed by the Hunterdon County Cultural Heritage Commission, recognizing it as one of the few remaining general stores from the mid-1800s.
Popular communitywide events include the annual 4th of July parade down Main Street, Sunday in the Park Car Show at Lebanon Memorial Park each fall, and Day in the Park celebration every September. The township’s Recreation Commission sponsors a summer day camp for school age children at the YMCA Camp Bernie on Turkey Top Road, an annual Easter egg hunt and a visit with Santa.
The Bunnvale Library at 7 Bunnvale Road is located in a former one-room schoolhouse built in 1915. The adult collection is located upstairs, while the lower level contains books for children and youths. Proud of its history, the library retains the schoolhouse’s original school bell, punched tin ceiling and maple floors.
The Lebanon Township Athletic Association was founded in 1980 by parents of local children from Lebanon Township, Califon and the surrounding communities. What began with 150 children in a soccer program has grown steadily over the years. The association currently includes about 1,000 participants in the soccer, basketball, T-Ball, softball and baseball programs.
Public school students attend the Valley View School from kindergarten to grade four, moving on to the Woodglen School for grades five through eight. Although both schools are located in Lebanon, they have a Califon mailing address. Upper level students go to Voorhees High School in Lebanon, which also takes students from Califon, Glen Gardner, Hampton, High Bridge and Tewksbury. The school is part of the North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District.
Lebanon Township has a number of private preschools, and there are numerous private elementary and high schools located throughout Hunterdon, Morris and Warren Counties.
Route 31 runs through the township, providing access to Interstates 78, 22 and 287. Local bus service is provided by New Jersey Transit, with New Jersey Transit train service on the Raritan Valley Line located at Cherry and Central Avenues, a half-mile mile south of Route 22. The weekday trip from Lebanon to Penn Station in midtown Manhattan takes about 135 minutes, a bit less for those headed to Hoboken or Newark.
Lebanon Township is approximately 60 miles west of New York City, and about 45 miles from Newark Liberty International Airport. Lehigh Valley International Airport in Allentown, Pennsylvania is about 40 miles from the township.
Round Valley Recreation Area at 1220 Lebanon-Stanton Road has trails for mountain biking, hiking and horseback riding as well as camping facilities. Its 3,654 acres are also perfect for winter sports like cross country skiing, sledding and ice fishing. The pristine Round Valley Reservoir permits swimming on a lifeguard-protected beach, fishing in its waters stocked with lake trout, and even scuba diving. Measuring over 2,000 acres, the reservoir is about 180 feet deep, making it the deepest lake in the state.
Township of Lebanon Museum is located at 57 Musconetcong River Road. The museum is housed in what was once the New Hampton School. New exhibits and events can be found on the museum’s calendar, and admission is free. A sampling of programs has included a talk about the poetic language of old grave stones, an exhibit of needlework by a 100-year old resident and a Crafts for Kids class.
The Columbia Trail is well-suited to hikers, bikers and cross country skiers since its flat surface is a former train line. The seven-mile Hunterdon County portion of the trail runs from High Bridge to the Morris County line. It can be accessed from several points in Lebanon Township.
Miquin Woods is a former Boy Scout Camp located on Newport Road in Lebanon Township. Known as Camp Watchung when it was created in 1928, the camp closed in 1981. In 2003, Hunterdon County acquired the 302-acre property for recreational use.
Memorial Park on Bunnvale Road across from Woodglen School serves as a community centerpiece for this expansive township. All the development and improvements in the park have been donated and include a playground, regulation softball field with an electronic scoreboard, a walking path, pavilion, volleyball and horseshoe pits, basketball courts, a rest room and concession facility. The park’s 9/11 Memorial honors township resident Richard Cudina; it contains the largest piece of steel recovered from the World Trade Center site.
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