Montclairians can take a visit to fairy land
(ERIN ROLL/FILE PHOTO)
At the southern edge of the South Mountain Reservation in Millburn, fairies have taken over the woods, creating a little fairy village.
Over the past decade, teeny, tiny houses have cropped up in tree branches and tucked into roots along the white-blazed Rahway Trail near Glen Avenue and Lackawanna Place. The houses, located on “Lower Under-Cliff Lane, Fairy Heights and Rahway Rambles,” are furnished with twig, stone and moss accessories created with love and comfort.
“This half-mile trail has been inhabited by fairies. As you walk along the white-blazed path, look carefully and you will find where they have chosen to live. Fairies build their homes in tree hollows and roots, or from natural materials they find in their habitat, such as branches, stones or dried fungi,” according to the South Mountain Reservation Fairy Trail website.
For years, the trail’s creator and keeper’s identity remained a secret, making it seem that actual fairies had taken over the magical wood. In 2016, an article in The New York Times revealed that it was Therese Ojibway, a special education teacher.
This month, Ojibway announced on the Fairy Trail Facebook page that she was moving, but that she was leaving the trail in the hands of dedicated “Fairy Trail Makers and Keepers.”
“I am grateful to the volunteers who will be taking over the tender loving care for the beloved trail when I move on,” she wrote. “Following the unexpected death of my husband last November, I have decided to move to Michigan, where most of my extended family lives. I will miss my New Jersey community and all the friends I have made over the 30 years I have made it my home. But I am happy that the magical Fairy Trail will be my legacy and continue under the stewardship of the Makers and Keepers within the South Mountain Conservancy.”
Visitors are asked to stick to trails and not to touch the fairy houses, as they are delicate, and to not disturb any fairies that may be inside — and “leave no trace” when leaving the village.
Another favorite destination at the reservation is Hemlock Falls, located on the western edge of the reservation. Visitors can reach the falls by following the yellow-blazed Lenape Trail from the Tulip Springs parking area and heading south and east. A set of stone steps leads up the waterfall to a series of overlooks.