In the early 18th century, an immigrant from England, Peter Willcox, established a saw mill in a clearing on a bluff in the wilderness of what is now central New Jersey. The mill failed, but not the idea, and almost one hundred years later, in 1825, an entrepreneur from Boston, David Felt, decided to expand his business by opening a new mill where Willcox’s had once stood. Felt built an entire town to support his stationary manufacturing, erecting houses for his workers, a general store, a church, and a school. His employees and their families, numbering almost 200, lived in the town for about fifteen years until the factory closed. The land passed through various hands, but by 1870, it was abandoned, earning it the title “The Deserted Village.” A brief experiment at the end of the 19th century attempted to turn the abandoned spaces into a summer resort, but that endeavor also failed, and for over one hundred years, the remains of Feltville are gradually returning to the forests from which they emerged (via Wikipedia).
The Deserted Village of Feltville, now preserved by the Union County parks department, is a noted, if little-known, fascinating slice of history. On a hot Sunday morning in July, my wife and I decided to wake up early and travel a half hour to visit this historical oddity. What follows, then, is our adventure through the woods of the Watchung Reservation and the Deserted Village, an update on both my wife and my vehicles, and an interview with a high-mileage Honda driver.
The Deserted Village
And you get repairs! And you get repairs! And you…
A High Mileage Honda Interview
In a previous post, I had featured an interview with Justin, a courier with a 2003 Honda Accord coupe with over 600,000 miles (now at almost 673,000 miles). Justin and I met through a Honda Accord owners’ forum, and through that forum I also came in contact with Josh, another high mileage maven who owns a 2015 Honda Accord LX sedan with almost 400,000 miles! I reached out to Josh and asked if he would be willing to share his story and fortunately, he agreed:
When and where did you buy your car? I bought my 2015 Accord in September of 2018 from Bianci Honda in Erie, PA when it had only 78,000 miles on it.
What is your mileage at currently?She just rolled over to 386k miles on June 1st.
What do you do that puts so many miles on your vehicle?I work full-time as a courier driver. I put approximately 185k miles on it last year alone.
What’s the furthest you’ve had to drive for a delivery?
What’s been the biggest repair to date?The biggest repair was replacing the engine back in January after 339,400 miles. I misshifted it twice, hitting 2nd gear instead of 4th gear last summer on the highway. The first instance had the RPMs around 7500RPMs, and the second time, a few months later, had the RPMs close to 8000RPMs. Over time, the bottom end of the engine gave out. I truly believe that I would still be on the original engine had that not happened. I also replaced the clutch and flywheel during the engine swap. The clutch disc still had 50% life left after all of those miles. Outside of that, outside of normal maintenance, I just replaced the right-front axle seal May 30. Also, had to perform some minor repairs to the left front fender lining due to a raccoon hit around the same time. Those were the only out of ordinary repairs to date that I can recall. The car has been wonderful to me so far.
Is this the first high mileage car you’ve owned?I have owned a few. My first car that I bought while in the military was a 1993 Honda Accord 10th Anniversary Edition. That car went through hell with me, with it being in 4 accidents over the 7 years of ownership. It was still running strong when I sold her in 2008 at 343k miles. I have gotten a 2007 Honda Accord LX coupe up to 408,700 miles before the clutch went out the second time, along with the shift fork getting jammed in reverse, and then the car burning coolant.
What is the strangest thing you’ve seen on the road?I really don’t have a “strangest” thing during my travels. I can tell you that I have nearly hit a drunk driver head on when they were driving the wrong way on the interstate (scary), another drunk driver last year in NYC that could barely drive, two exotic cars wrecked and engulfed in flames (street racing?) in NYC, countless near misses with deer. It comes with the territory, I guess.
What’s your biggest pet peeve with other drivers?Left-lane campers, those who have no clue how to merge, and those who don’t have their headlights on at night (due to bright daytime running lights).
With all the time you spend on the road, what do you listen to for entertainment? Any good recommendations of things you’ve listened to lately?I listen mostly to music, local sports podcasts (Savran on sports), Pittsburgh sports (Steelers and Penguins) via streaming apps, and call friends from the US and Australia. I really don’t listen to much newer music. I’m mostly a music fan of the 70’s-00’s. My music collection, on shuffle, is definitely unique. From the Bee Gees to Bruno Mars, from Metallica to the Mamas and the Papas, I think that I have a good mix. No one with an affinity for music has ever complained yet.
A Fun Video
Before closing, I wanted to post, as the late Steve Jobs would have said, “just one more thing.” I have written before of Tyson Hugie, whose blog Drive to Five chronicles his road trip adventures. In addition to his well-known 1994 Acura Legend LS coupe that has over 573,000 miles on it, he has amassed a collection of 1990s Acuras, and has even converted his garage to look like an Acura dealership. In one of the best COVID-19 stay-at-home projects I have seen, he recently created a commercial for his “dealership.” If you want a laugh, check it out:
Despite being a lifelong resident of New Jersey, I am amazed at how I keep discovering new sights that I never knew existed. The Deserted Village of Feltville is among the strangest, most unique, and coolest spots I have seen in my home state. If you are in the central New Jersey area, I would definitely recommend stopping by – it’s a fun, and free, way to spend a morning or an afternoon and learn more about Garden State history.
My wife and I have another road trip planned in the coming weeks, so please stay tuned! In the meantime, thanks for coming along on another journey down the open road ahead.
14 thoughts on “Deserted.”
I never knew about Feltville. I love hearing about these little gems. And as for your Honda, I’ve always felt they’d last forever if well maintained.
Finding (relatively) unknown places like Feltville is really cool – once of my favorite parts of doing road trips! And I agree, your car should last a lot longer if you take care of small problems before they become big/catastrophic problems!
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This post is so entertaining! I enjoy all aspects of urban exploration, and it’s cool to see some of the Feltville structures still holding their own, despite the inevitable decay. Tons of history there – I wonder if there exist photos of what everything looked like when it was new. As for the Accord repairs – like you said, as long as keeping the coupe on the road requires less financial burden than a new car payment, just keep racking up those miles! Hope this gets you down the road for a long time yet. I really enjoyed the Q&A on the high mileage Accord, and I’ll be looking forward to an update when he hits 400,000 (and 500,000). Finally, thanks for posting the commercial video. I had some fun with that one 🙂
Glad you enjoyed the post! Feltville was awesome – definitely worth a return trip. And as for repairing the Accord – with new car payments around $350-400 a month, it’s easy to see value in keeping your current car on the road than buying something new. That said, if there ever comes a time when repairs are exceeding what I would be spending on a newer vehicle, I’d have to re-evaluate. For now, though? I plan to keep on driving the old beast. Josh told me that he’s probably going to roll 400k within the next week or so, so I’ll definitely include an update when he does! Thanks for reading.
I never heard of Feltville. Sounds like a place I would like to visit!
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Thanks for reading! I think this place would be right up your alley!
Really nice piece of local history there. Glad they’re doing something to preserve it. I appreciate history so much more as an adult. Thanks for sharing it.
I enjoyed reading your Q&A with Josh. I knew about him over-revving the engine, but this provided some more details.
I’ve really enjoyed Tyson’s content too. I try to keep up as best I can. Sometimes it takes me a few days to read, watch, or comment. I appreciate you guys.
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Glad you enjoyed it! I’ve had a blast doing the Q&A with you and Josh – it was cool to see what it takes to get a vehicle to high mileage, along with the experience of making a career from living on the road.
Thanks again for reading!!
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