Posted by: Katie B | July 22, 2010

An inspirational escape – on Route 22.

For all you Jersey-ans, it’s true.  There is a hidden little oasis of nature and inspiration right in your backyard.  Right off of Route 22.  Yes, that Route 22.  And it’s called – brace yourselves – Echo Lake Park in Mountainside, NJ.   

I’m serious.  We all drive through it, speeding as a short cut from Mountain Ave to Springfield Ave to get to the garden center, or the vet, or the pediatrician.  But have you stopped recently?  Have you explored the wetlands preserve?  Have you gone on a pedal boat?   

It is actually pretty neat.   

Granted, when we were there, a large corporate b-b-q was taking place complete with loudspeakers and cat calls.  There was also the usual parade of muffler-challenged muscle cars.  But in between the shrieks of weekend entertainment, there were tranquil moments of peace in an unlikely location.    

Deer fence has been installed along every inch of the refurbished wetlands project.  The result:  a beautiful display of fauna, flourishing inside its protective barrier.  We saw green hummingbirds, blue butterflies, and red dragonflies.  We were teased by jumping fish and croaking bull frogs.  The tall rushes and elegant cattails whispered in the summer wind.  It was 90+ degrees outside, but along the lake it felt like spring.  Hmmm – I may be waxing poetic but can you tell – I was pleasantly surprised.   

Echo Lake


For $10, you can rent a pedal boat (which fits four) and observe the wildlife from “the inside”.  It was so nice to relax and have time to spy for treasures, instead of pointing to them out the bug-smeared window at 25mph.  And it was so reasonable!  Where else can you find an hour’s worth of entertainment at $2.50 per person?   

So what does this have to do with writing?  Well…they had these picnic tables, set under 80′ oak trees, along the banks of the cattail encrusted lake.  Grab your laptop and go.  Take a break, go on a boat trip, return to your spot.  Take a cooler of treats or visit the snack bar, and then return to your spot.  I’ll be there myself once school starts.  Be sure to wave as you drive by.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: