In the company of friends and family this past Sunday we enjoyed a beautiful autumn day visiting Ellis Island and Liberty Island, home to the Statue of Liberty. From our various homes in New Jersey and Pennsylvania we headed to Liberty State Park in Jersey City, one of the two boarding areas for ferries to the historic monuments. The other ferry site is across the Hudson River at Battery Park in lower Manhattan. Even before getting on the ferry, we were treated to history. The ticket office and ferry dock are located at the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal. The beautiful building dates back to 1889 and closed in 1967. It is part of the New Jersey Register of Historic Places.
With our group assembled and tickets in hand, we headed to a security screening and boarded the ferry. Within about ten to fifteen minutes we arrived at Ellis Island. It served as the nation’s main immigration inspection station from 1892 to 1954. The three-floor main building now houses a museum of immigration. I would recommend a minimum of two to three hours to adequately take in the exhibits. We unfortunately did not plan well enough and did not see all there was to see. A return visit will be in order 🙂
The main reason for our outing was to visit the Statue of Liberty, a quick ferry ride away from Ellis Island. She is a majestic sight holding her torch high. The statue’s official name is “Liberty Enlightening the World”. She is as beautiful and awe-inspiring today as I’m sure she was back in 1886 when she was the tallest statue in the world.
Visitors can choose to admire Lady Liberty from the outside only, or go inside and climb to the top of the pedestal (an elevator is available to this point) or go all the way up to her crown. We climbed all the way to the crown, around and around the hundreds of spiraling steps. There is no elevator service to the crown (only to the top of pedestal) and the staircase is tight and narrow. The interior is quite warm, running a good 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the outside air temperature…so plan accordingly if you’re not heat-tolerant! Ticket information is at the U.S. National Parks website.