Public Info

Colonial Era ‘Texting’ Returns to the Deserted Village, Sunday, Dec. 18


Union County, NJ — A letter to Santa written in ink with a quill pen?  An entry to an 18th century diary about life in the Watchung Mountains?

Wherever their imagination takes them, youngsters are invited to stop into the Church/General Store at the Deserted Village this weekend and experience how messages were sent long before the smartphone.

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Department of Parks and Recreation invite youngsters and their parents to visit the Deserted Village of Feltville in the Watchung Reservation and experience what it was like to ‘text’ in Colonial America. The event will take place this Sunday, December 18, from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm.

Children will be able to write with a quill pen and ink on parchment paper to experience what it was like writing a letter in Colonial times. The popular activity makes its return just in time for children to write letters to Santa Claus or anyone else they wish to communicate with while sitting at writing desks in the Church/General Store.

“When this activity was first introduced, it was an immediate hit with the children,” said Union County Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski. “It’s an opportunity for the kids to have fun while learning how people kept in touch with one another in the past.”

A Parks Department staffer will be on hand to guide the children in their writing, and to suggest what they might write about if they had been alive in the 1700’s when the western end of what is now Union County was just being settled.

The Deserted Village of Feltville is located within the 2,142-acre Watchung Reservation on Cataract Hallow Road in Berkeley Heights.

The Visitor Center in the Church/General Store is open most Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from Noon-5:00 pm. For GPS, use the location 2 Cataract Hollow Road, Berkeley Heights, NJ.

For more information on the Desert Village of Feltville, you can visit

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

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