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Train Through Time Rolls on Four Centuries in a Weekend

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Credits: Kean University Trolley by Kristen DeMatos.
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Bring the kids, bring a friend, because once again it’s that time to ride the rails into history.

On October 21 and 22, Union County celebrates Four Centuries In A Weekend, when historic sites and museums across the County open their doors to the public, free of charge.

Many of the sites are within walking distance of the train stations across the County, with some sites offering free shuttle service.

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Kean University will once again provide free trolley service from NJ Transit’s Union Station to Liberty Hall Museum. Meanwhile, Mountainside will provide a free shuttle that will make a loop from the Westfield train station to the Deserted Village, with stops at the Miller-Cory Museum, the Reeve House and Mountainside’s Deacon Hetfield House, before reaching the Deserted Village, where the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation sponsors a host of activities and tours for young and old alike.

“It’s a fun outing, with a train ride and a little history along the way,” said Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski. “Many of the towns’ historic sites are within walking distance of the stations,” she said, noting that the County has put together a list of all the sites along the County’s three train lines.

The list is available online at the Four Centuries website, ucnj.org/4C (scroll down to see “Visit Union County’s Historic Sites via Mass Transit” or go to ucnj.org/trainthrutime).

 “Some sites, like Fanwood, are right at the train station,” Kowalski said.  “Others have further walks but if it is a beautiful fall day, it may be just the day to enjoy a leisurely stroll.”

“Four Centuries is such a great event,” Kowalski added. “A train ride is just the icing on the cake and adds to the fun of learning about our area’s incredibly rich history.”

NJ Transit allows children to ride free on weekends. Monthly commuter passes are also valid. For those wishing to cycle from a train station, be sure to check with NJ Transit’s guidelines for bringing bikes aboard the trains.

Long before the Raritan Valley Line, there was the Central Railroad of New Jersey. From stations across Union County, from Plainfield to Elizabeth, it was possible to board a train to Chicago, or from Jersey City, to board a ferry to New York City. The CNJ is long gone, however some of the historic sites along the route remain, and you can ride the train to visit some of them.

For quick links to all transportation options countywide visit Union County ConneXions at ucnj.org/connect.

For more information and complete details on all Four Centuries in a Weekend events visit ucnj.org/parks-recreation/cultural-heritage-affairs or contact the Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs at 908-558-2550 (NJ Relay Users dial 711) or culturalinfo@ucnj.org.

The Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs is a division of the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation, which offers enriching public programs and activities all year. Visit online at ucnj.org/parks or call 908-527-4900.

For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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