St. Paul's Abbey

Route 206, south of Newton, Andover Township, Sussex County, New Jersey

500 acres

Located west of Muckshaw Ponds Preserve and northwest of Kittatinny Valley State Park..

The abbey is located about 0.6 of a mile north of the intersection of Fredon Road (the road to Whittingham Wildlife Management Area dog training station) and Route 206.  Heading north one first sees the Christmas tree farm and then the signs for the abbey.  


before 1860  --  along Route 206, north of Springdale, a Mr. J. Price Hill built a brick home that today shows the elegance of the fine homes of the day.

This is a monastery owned by the Benedictine monks.  It was best known for its popular Christmas tree farm.

1860  --  the imposing structure was built on land that was a tenant farm of J. Price Hill. The tenant farmhouse foundation is part of the abbey structure.

In 1995 Don Eilenberger wrote that, while in college, he worked for four summers at the summer camp that the Abbey ran. He noted that the Abbey had sold the camp.  He visited the old camp and found it largely deserted , even though the old buildings were still standing. (

The Board of the Garden State Preservation Trust award $1.35 million to The Nature Conservancy to preserve 365 acres of farmland at St. Paul's Abbey.  The Abbey has recently been closed and sold.

The conservancy already owns two farms bordering the abbey and the addition would make a block of contiguous farmland..

Acquisition of the property would connect four lands in total: Muckshaw Ponds Preserve, St. Paul's Abbey, Sussex Swamp Preserve and Kittatinny Valley State Park. 

Source: Anthony S. Twyman, Star-Ledger, September 18, 2002, BOARD CLEARS $73 MILLION TO SAVE FARMS:


7/09/04.  Since I did not know if the land was public or still private I proceeded cautiously.  I drove past the abbey gift store (with signs in English and Korean).  A sign gave me a choice between the school or the abbey retreat.  I chose the school and kept heading straight.  Went past the school and saw the road became dirt, but continued into the woods.  So I followed it.  I went very slowly, getting out occasionally, writing down the names of the plants I could identify at a distance without much trouble. 

Turned left off the main road. The road took me to Stickle Pond which was beautiful with the color of the various plants.  I could see the planes of the Newton airfield on the other side of the pond. 

Returned to the main road, turned right and drove to a dead-end at a sports field near Stickle Pond Road. 

It seems that Koreans have some role in the present status of the abbey.  So I'm wondering if they would sell the land.

On the way out of the place, I noticed that The Nature Conservancy had a Skylands Office nearby (they actually rent from the abbey owners).  I stopped in to learn more about the St. Paul's Abbey.  But my biggest question was:  "A lot of your preserves do not get any publicity and certainly no address.  So what are the rules as regards these preserves?  Are they to be kept secretive or can I visit and write about them? "  I don't want to upset their plans if they have good reasons for keeping some areas out of the public eye. 

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
* = plant blooming on the date of the field trip, 7/09/04

Acer platanoides (Norway maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharinum (silver maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree-of-heaven)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya spp. (hickory)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Picea abies (Norway spruce)
Picea pungens var. glauca (blue spruce) planted
Pinus sylvatica (Scots pine)
Populus grandidentata (big-toothed aspen)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus rubra (white oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Salix sp. (willow)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Ulmus americana (American elm)

Shrubs and Sub-shrubs:
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood)
Cornus racemosa (gray dogwood)
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow honeysuckle)
Potentilla fruticosa (shrubby cinquefoil) *
Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rosa palustris (swamp rose) * lots
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Salix sp. (willow)
Sambucus canadensis (common elderberry) *
Spiraea alba var. latifolia (meadowsweet) *
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum)

Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Calystegia sepium (hedge bindweed)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)

Broad-leaved Herbs:
Achillea millefolium (yarrow) *
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) *
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)
Amphicarpaea bracteata (hog peanut)
Apocynum cannabinum (Indian hemp) *
Arabis glabra (tower mustard)
Arctium sp. (burdock)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed) *
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed) *
Barbarea vulgaris (common wintercress)
Boehmeria cylindrica (false nettle)
Chenopodium album (pigweed)
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (ox-eye daisy) *
Cichorium intybus (chicory) *
Cicuta bulbifera (bulb-bearing water hemlock) *
Circaea lutetiana (enchanter's nightshade) *
Cirsium arvense (Canada thistle) *
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace) *
Desmodium glutinosum (pointed-leaved tick trefoil) *
Dianthus armeria (Deptford pink) *
Erechtites hieraciifolia (pileweed)
Erigeron annuus (daisy fleabane) *
Eupatorium rugosum (white snakeroot) 
Fragaria sp. (strawberry)
Geum canadense (white avens) *
Impatiens sp. (jewelweed)
Lemna sp. (duckweed)
Leonurus cardiaca (motherwort) *
Lotus corniculatus (birdfoot trefoil) *
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife) *
Medicago lupulina (black medick) *
Melilotus alba (white sweet clover) *
Nymphaea odorata (fragrant white water lily) *
Osmorhiza sp. (Cicely)
Oxalis sp. (yellow wood sorrel) *
Pastinaca sativa (wild parsnip)
Peltandra virginica (arrow arum)
Penstemon digitalis (foxglove beardtongue) *
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed) *
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain) *
Plantago major (common plantain)
Podophyllum peltatum (mayapple)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose knotweed) *
Polygonum sp. (white knotweed) *
Pontederia cordata (pickerelweed) *
Prunella vulgaris (self-heal) *
Pycnanthemum tenuifolium (narrow-leaved mountain mint)
Ranunculus acris (tall buttercup) *
Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima (black-eyed Susan) *
Rumex crispus (curled dock)
Saponaria officinalis (bouncing bet) *
Satureja vulgaris (wild basil) *
Silene vulgaris (bladder campion) *
Smilacina racemosa (false Solomon's seal)
Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade) *
Solidago spp. (goldenrod)
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion) *
Thalictrum pubescens (tall meadowrue) *
Tragopogon sp. (goatsbeard) *
Trifolium repens (white clover) *
Typha latifolia (cattail)
Verbena urticifolia (white vervain) *

Bromus inermis (smooth brome grass)
Bromus sp. (brome grass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Leersia oryzoides (rice cut grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Phalaris arundinacea (canary reed grass)
Phleum pratense (timothy grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)

Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Carex laxiflora type (loose-flowered sedge type)
Carex stricta (tussock sedge)
Scirpus atrovirens (dark-green bulrush)
Scirpus validus (soft stem bulrush)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Thelypteris palustris (marsh fern)