MIDDLETOWN – Middletown Township will be holding its second heritage walking tour of the Middletown Village Historic District at 10:00 am on Saturday, July 8 at the Middletown Arts Center, located at 36 Church Street. This follows an extremely successful walk that was held in June which included over 50 “tourists”.

To ensure the quality of the tour, this free event will now be limited to 16 people, and pre-registration is required at middletownnj.org/signup. If space permits, walk-ups will be accepted. A second tour may be added based on demand and would begin at 11:30 am.

“We’re thrilled about the community’s interest in Middletown’s rich history,” said Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger, an archeologist and long-time member of the township’s Landmarks Commission. “We encourage you to put on some comfortable shoes for this 2-mile trek and visit sites that are among the oldest permanent English and Dutch settlements in NJ.”

The Middletown Village Heritage Tour has been partially funded by the New Jersey Historic Trust through the Discover NJ History License Plate Heritage Tourism Grant Program. During the 45-minute tour, a colonial-garbed guide will take walkers along Kings Highway located in the heart of the Middletown Village Historic District. The village is among the oldest permanent English and Dutch settlements in New Jersey, with the first land being purchased by settlers in 1664 from Popomora, an Indian chief.

The historic district contains 99 properties, 12 of which have origins in the early 18th century. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The district includes Marlpit Hall, which has sections that date back to 1686; Old First Church, a Baptist congregation founded in 1688; the Hendrickson Cemetery, where the oldest stone dates back to 1798; and a circa-1825 blacksmith shop that is considered one of the oldest and best surviving shops in Monmouth County.

The walking tour is part of an ongoing effort to promote heritage tourism in Middletown Township. The township is more than 350 years old and is home to five historic districts, including Middletown Village. The 42-square-mile community also includes Sandy Hook where the nation’s oldest continually-lit lighthouse can be found.

The Middletown Village Historic District Tour will be available on the second Saturday of each month through September. Tourists are also encouraged to stop by the Middletown Farmers and Makers Market which will be held at Middletown Arts Center on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month through September. Join us on July 8 to check out the fresh produce, beautiful flowers and plants, handmade goods, and entertainment that will be offered. There is free parking at the Train Station lot across the street from the Arts Center.