Monday, July 25, 2011

History and hiking by the spoonful in Boonton

You know the way it goes: when you get all sweaty just standing outside, you don't really want to do a lot of hiking or venturing. Thus, Ivan and I found ourselves sticking relatively close to home during the recent heat wave.

Driving around after breakfast, we found ourselves roaming through a less-developed area of Boonton, out by a small farm and environs. On Powerville Road, we came upon a small parking lot and trailhead for a county park Ivan hadn't been aware of, Kincaid Woods. We certainly weren't prepared to do a hike in 100 degree heat, we weren't going to pass up a chance to get a lay of the land. The kiosk held a map that showed that the trail that starts there eventually joins up with the trail system at Pyramid Mountain, meaning that if we were of a mind, we could venture back on up to Tripod Rock. That, however, would have to wait for another day.

We got back in the car, and it wasn't long before I noticed a set of ramshackle barns on the right side of the road. Ivan saw a county historical marker on the left, and we pulled over to read it.

Old house: okay. Kincaid homestead: makes sense. Spoon-worked plaster walls and folk art face? Wait! I know this place! I read about the spoon art face in Weird NJ several years ago, but I had no idea it was a county historical site. Perhaps the magazine had featured the 'devil face' before the township had gotten possession of the property.

The house is a nice little farmstead, painted white and clearly well-cared for. A look into the front windows revealed that there are some exhibits inside, but since the house was locked up, we didn't get much of a look. Just within the front door you can see the dark whorls of decorative spooned plaster on the wall, but the famed painted face wasn't within view. There was, however, a sign with a picture of the face, plus a request for visitors not to touch it. From what I understand, the whorled patterns were made by heating a large spoon over a flame until it's covered with soot, and then pressing it into unset plaster and moving the spoon in a circular motion.

All in all, the area is a good trip for another, more temperate day, and no doubt, we'll get to it. With both hiking and history on the agenda, it's a can't miss.

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