Experience living history at Allaire Village!
Near to the summer fun at the Jersey Shore, is a protected state park with more inside than you would expect! Allaire State Park encompasses over 3000 acres and offers trails for hiking and biking, campgrounds, and fishing. All are great family activities, but there’s something extra special about Allaire State Park!
Within the confines of the park is a living history museum – the buildings are from the 19th century Howell Iron Works and are open to the public. Interpretive guides staff the buildings to demonstrate what life was like when the Iron Works was active, and a visitor’s center tells the story of the area. With either free or low cost admission, Allaire Village should be on your New Jersey destination bucket list!
Bring a picnic lunch and use one of the many picnic tables to enjoy lunch. During our visit there was a food truck for concessions, and the bakery building in the Village sold drinks and snacks. Bring some money for the train ride (we’ll talk about that later), gift shop, and voluntary donations to keep the Village running.
After parking you’ll first find the visitor’s center, which will give you all the details about Howell Works, and the iron industry. The indoor center is staffed, and brochures and maps will be available to you inside. If you have older children be sure to grab a scavenger hunt sheet! There are displays and artifacts inside that will prepare you for your step back in time.
Not all buildings are open each day, but the day we visited there were 5 buildings to explore at Allaire Village. Each building has a volunteer in period clothing to educate you about what would happen inside.
What buildings are at Allaire Village?
Allaire Village is the remains of the company town and the factory buildings established for the Howell Iron Works. Plenty of structures still stand and walking around you’ll feel as if you could be in the 1800’s! When you visit you will see:
- Row House sites
- Foreman’s Cottage
- Blacksmith & Tin Shop
- Manager’s House
- General Store
- Carpenter Shop
- Carriage House
- Mansion & Dormitory
There are other structures to explore as well. You’re free to roam the grounds, and there’s plenty to look at beyond the open and manned buildings.
Inside the buildings, the interpreters and volunteers will give you a detailed look at life in the time which Howell Iron Works was thriving. Inside the Blacksmith & Tin Shop, a volunteer used a working forge to make iron hearts and more. Inside the Carpenter Shop we learned why the carpenter was the most important worker at the Iron Works (it has to do with his molds)! There’s a lot to see inside the buildings as well, so when the demonstrations are done, spend some time investigating the contents. We encountered many volunteers inside the Manager’s House, and they came outside with us to show us games of the time period. Kids in the 1850’s went to school, but on non school days and before and after school, they were expected to work in the Iron Works as well. There was certainly no summer vacation!
The General Store is now a unique gift shop with essentials and items you just can’t resist. Purchases benefit Allaire Village. The Bakery is a staffed snack shop where you can buy coffee or water, and fresh made cookies. Again, check the Visitor Center upon entry for hours of these locations. Tours are available as well.
The Village itself is not that large making walking difficult; if you have little ones a stroller would be advisable. Pathways are mostly gravel though some are paved. There are some wooden steps to enter trail areas. NO PHOTOGRAPHY is allowed inside the Visitor Center or the historic buildings.
Pine Creek Railroad/The New Jersey Museum of Transportation
Separate from Allaire Village but right next to the entrance is the steam train at the Pine Creek Railroad. For a separate fee you can take a 15 minute ride on the historic train. The train runs from 12-4 in the summer months, weekends in the fall, and for special events. It was a relaxing ride to end our day of stepping back in time!
If you visit Allaire Village:
Allaire Village is at 4263 Atlantic Avenue Farmingdale, 07727. It is located within Allaire State Park. Admission to the village is free, though Allaire State Park charges $5 for parking on weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Special events at the Village may charge an additional fee.
Click over for a listing of the upcoming events at Allaire Village.