Couple inspired by old Jersey folksong visits long-forgotten New Jersey locations
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been many New Jersey residents who have found creative ways to spend their time after so many events were canceled and traveling became difficult.
A Morris County couple took to the roads between April and December to bring a 36-year-old folk song about the Garden State to life.
“Cabin fever kind of hit the best of us around April 2021,” says Mike Salkewicz.
The couple used the 1985 song “Garden State Stomp” by folk singer Dave Van Ronk as their inspiration.
The lyrics of “Garden State Stomp” consist entirely of a long list of New Jersey towns and locations. Many of the names give the song an alliterative rhythm.
Salkewicz and Devin McEnteer say that the long-gone town of Caviar, New Jersey may have been their favorite stop on the tour.
“Some of the common ground is they are forgotten history in our state. And also, the Native American roots of a lot of the names, too, is really intriguing to us. So we started connecting things that way too,” says McEnteer.
The couple visited all 80 locations mentioned in the song, such as Plumsock, Wartendyke, Turkey Foot and Ongs Hat. They created a video tribute to their trek entitled “Garden State Stomp: A 2021 Travelogue” and posted it on YouTube so that others can make the same trip from home.
“It was more than just making the song come to life. It really, is if anything we've been trying to share it and get people to see it. Not for fame or glory, but to urge people to look outside your radius,” Salkewiczsays. “You know we're from the north and you think a shore day doesn't go any further than Seaside and everything to the south is the big question mark. Get out. Find the opposite corner and go.”