The Beachcomber Holiday Guide

Renovated Cedar Bridge Tavern Open for Tours During Reenactment

Nov 14, 2018

The Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation will hold the 16th annual reenactment of the 1782 skirmish at the Cedar Bridge Tavern on Sunday, Dec. 16, starting at 2 p.m. This recognizes perhaps the most famous of local Revolutionary War battles as the original pitted the infamous Loyalist John Bacon and his band of Pine Barrens robbers versus the patriot Burlington Militia.

Although one patriot was killed and four wounded, and four Loyalists were wounded including Bacon, there was no real winner of the skirmish that occurred on Dec. 23 while peace negotiations were taking place in Paris.

This is arguably the last documented land engagement of the American Revolution, and historians believe the skirmish happened near the existing tavern.

Between three and 15 re-enacters have been known to show up to re-create the battle and show off their military trappings, all depending on how many re-enactors are available on a Sunday. Black powder demonstrations are given, and a re-created military encampment is often available for inspection.

Over the years, the county has invited archeologists to the property to study where the original tavern stood. In 1743, a sawmill, tavern and small village had developed around the bridge across a branch of the Wading River. The historic tavern sits at an important crossroads: It was on the original stagecoach route from western New Jersey to the shore areas of Manahawkin, Tuckerton and Little Egg Harbor.

The tavern that is there today was built in 1816 with a kitchen addition built in 1830. The Ocean County freeholders have made restoration of the site an ongoing project, and by next year, they hope to add nearly 200 acres of preserved land to the site, including a former cranberry bog.

The rehabilitated Cedar Bridge Tavern will be open for tours.

The Ocean County Cultural and Heritage Commission provides vans from the Ocean County Recreation Department to shuttle folks to the site at 200 Old Halfway Rd. in Barnegat. This event is free. —P.J.

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