Old Mine Road
This is the Old Mine Road, its origins and the mines shrouded in the mysteries of time. Silver. The blacktop begins to break up and soon I'm driving a bare dirt road next to the river, then through rhododendron thickets where the hillside closes in, and by the occasional planted fields of the flood plain.
Van Campen's stone inn. His buddy John Adams would stop for the night on his way to Philadelphia for the Continental Congress, the backwoods road an avoidance of British patrols closer to New York. Still the road is older than that, much older, 350 years another roadside marker claims. Now right down beside the river you ride, your rubber tires directly upon the dusty path of creaking cartwheels.
The road rises to maintain its foothold. The Delaware View House, high above the river, looks over to the Poconos of Pennsylvania. It's deserted but for a snackbar on weekends. Ghosts of sojourning rusticators. A sideroad continues, climbing still, past old cellar holes, again to the top of Kittatinny Ridge.
I invited my brother here from Vermont one Columbus Day weekend when he wished to avoid the leaf peeping hordes at home. Hardly anyone here. A tall cliff provides a view east over the valley of the Paulins Kill. The color tones are rich and subtle with all the variety of fall oaks, not brilliant, but barely, on the horizon, you can see the towers of New York City. And on the way back down we did pass another car. Vermont plates. No kidding.
Further along the mine road passes by a village. A church, mill, store, and simply styled homes line the one main street. Mostly they're vacant but for a smith, a woodworker, and other volunteer re-enactors who occupy a few for the day in a time capsule of the nineteenth century. The hamlet had been emptied by eminent domain in the 1970's in anticipation of flooding by a proposed Tock's Island dam, but eventually the plan was abandoned in the face of heavy opposition. The Millbrook Village Society took over. More structures were moved to the village for preservation. Missing pieces were reconstructed. But nearby hemlock glens are all infected with woolly adelgid now, their cool darkness as a haven for rhodo and human on hot summer days in doubt. The Delaware remains free to the sea.

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