Tag Archives: Places

Yesterday – Much Less Eventful.

Yesterday – Much Less Eventful.

Hubby was working from home, so I left him to supervise the contractor dudes (they don’t need it, but sometimes they ask questions before they do something. And you need to make sure there are cold beverages in the cooler for them. . .)

I had done a bunch of research on Ong’s Hat, thinking at first that it would be a really cool Weird NJ trip. As it turns out, there’s nothing there, unless you hike several miles through tick land, and even then not much. So instead we drove down Ong’s Hat road just to say we’d been. Afterwards, we did the tour of the old Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly. It was small, but worth the admission, and it was interesting. We didn’t experience any supernatural activity, as I’d expected but as Audrey had hoped. (it made her feel creepy though, so that’s good for something.) Then off to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, lunch at the restaurant above Han Ah Reum in Cherry Hill (very yummy! We’ll go back, for certain!) and pot and plant perusal at McNaughton’s Nursery. I sure wish I could keep a palm of any kind alive. They had a bunch of really interesting varieties, but I can’t see spending that much money on something I’ll kill in record time.

I’ve explored different routes between Audubon and Toms River on these trips. I found that Route 38 beats Route 70 hands down, but it doesn’t exist east of Route 206. At that point, it becomes 530, and since I know it later connects to 70 near Lakehurst, I thought I’d give it a try. Eh. Not so good an alternative. It takes you through “business district” Pemberton, which is depressingly ramshackle, and at several points where you’re on the straight part of a T instersection, you need to turn to stay on 530, rather than go straight – and you find this out after you went straight. I’d have to say it wasn’t much of a timesaver, and it wasn’t more scenic, either. But you never know if you don’t try.

Got home, and WHOA! we have lovely seamless gutters the exact same color of the trim, with the downspouts positioned along the vertical trim, so nicely done that I didn’t even notice they were there. Woohoo! It brought my attention to the weeds growing between the street and the curb. They looked yucky, the weather was cool, and it was still light out, so I used two of my least favorite power tools, the weed whacker and then the leaf blower, to clean it up. Much nicer. I’ll break out the Round-Up as new ones emerge. After the dumpster and all the construction stuff is gone, it’ll be time for a second dose of weed and feed on the lawn, compost distribution, and regular watering again. Then pictures of our fab new look.

Grounds for Sculpture

Grounds for Sculpture

Yesterday we spent several hours with our dear friends wandering Grounds for Sculpture. We had made a couple of trips before to Storm King Mountain before, and it is quite lovely, but GfS is stunning. The art is all over, both out where you can see it, and hidden in unexpected places (so if you see a break in the foliage, you have to take a look!), and the gardens are incredible. Here are a couple of pics:
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No sculpture here, but it’s just so darn pretty.
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Water figured heavily in a lot of the work. This isn’t part of the water garden exhibit, but tucked away in the middle of a whole maze of works.
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Lots of the sculptures encompass the landscaping as well. There was a lot more in this exhibit, one of several that were 3D renderings of paintings. We all had some fun becoming part of the scenes!

Must go back again. . .must. . .go. . .back. . .we tired out before we got to see everything, and it was well worth the trip.

So Yesterday. . .

So Yesterday. . .

I drove up to Monmouth Feed Co. because they advertised a big sale on pond supplies, and it’s time to start thinking of covering the pond to keep falling leaves out, and giving the fish some protection for the winter. I also needed some more filter media, and just wanted to check the place out. I was very impressed with the prices and the knowledge of the people there, and ended up going with a Pond Palace instead of a heater for winterizing. The initial cost is higher than a floating heater, but it costs less to run, and had a few other advantages. It’s essentially a plastic shelter with fixed louvered sides for circulation of air and water, and a solid top, which I used for a couple of plants – the cattail, zebra grass, and parrot feather fit quite nicely. Around the outside, you snap in a bubbler hose, which connects via a tube to an outside air pump. This provides shelter for the fish from predators, not only because of the plastic top, but also because the bubbles make it harder for birds and such to see them. In addition, it aerates the pond, which helps keep the water cleaner, and provides water movement, which prevents mosquitos from laying eggs. Unlike water circulation, which is bad for fish in winter because it brings the cold surface water down to the bottom, it’s blowing air – keeping the surface from freezing without making the entire pond deadly cold. I’m looking at it and thinking that maybe I should have gotten a weaker pump, but it was a package. The little fish seem to be having a good time with it, though.

After getting all filthy climbing around in the pond, then washing up, then folding laundry and catching up with Project Runway, I’d gone way past the time I was supposed to start cooking dinner, so we drove up to Brick to check out Ikko, which was recommended to me as a good Japanese restaurant. Well, it was OK. I mean, the food was decent, but not up to the quality we’re used to.

Then hubby and I watched “Sin City”. . .it was JUST LIKE watching a moving graphic novel. A grisly graphic novel. With characters that get shot and stabbed and hit by cars, and never stop talking. I learned two things – a movie can be visually interesting, maybe even innovative, and still not really engage you, and second, if it’s not engaging you and you’ve played around enough with image editing, you start thinking “wow, they didn’t grayscale this, they just desaturated, I can tell by the greens and pinks in the highlights” instead of paying attention to the movie.

Dining

Dining

If you’re in the NY Metro area of NJ and want to find someplace to spend your money, here are a few of my personal favorite spots.

The kids are older, and mostly not too finicky about food, so they get to go with us to a lot of these places:

TERRAZZA RISTORANTE & BAR in Nutley, 507 Franklin Ave., (973) 661-4300. Very tasty food, Italian, but not a pizza and linguini place. I loved their gorgonzola ravioli with balsamic vinegar tomato sauce, and they have a salmon and steak that are house specialties that are wonderful.

And speaking of good Italian –I Fratelli Ristorante at 1099 Broad St. in Bloomfield is fabulous. (973) 338-4888. I had a stuffed portabello mushroom appetizer and I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. The calamari is cooked just right (harder than it sounds) and the eggplant rollatini is delightful, with the addition of golden raisins.

Another short trip for us is Bloomfield Steak and Seafood at 409 Franklin Ave. in Bloomfield, (973) 680-4500 is in one of our historic homes, and the atmosphere is nice and cozy. The food is American/Continental, tasty and well-presented.

Brookside Thai just opened on 378 Broad Street in Bloomfield, and the food is authentic and fabulous. They still have some kinks to work out in the speed of service department, so either plan a long, leisurely meal or order takeout. (973) 566-0057.

Our latest favorite for Indian food is Satish Palace at 397 Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair. (973) 746-4477. They have an extensive menu, and on Wednesday nights there’s a buffet. (We usually go out the back and across the street to Montclair Book Center to top off that night’s trip out.) Of course, if you’re looking for real Indian – the stuff they eat, not the stuff they serve to the general public, take the Iselin exit off the Garden State Parkway (127) and head over to Oak Tree Road. Restaurants, jewelry, groceries, clothes, bakeries, video stores, all for the Indian population of NJ.

We’re still looking for good local Chinese. We have tons of places, but since the management at our old favorite left, we haven’t been able to find anything to compare. If you have recommendations, e-mail me.

Fabric Stores

Fabric Stores

If you’re in the NY Metro area of NJ and want to find someplace to spend your money, here are a few of my personal favorite spots.

Up here in the Northeast corner of NJ, we really do have a lot of good stuff besides easy access to New York City. Of course, my favorite stores are fabric stores!

My favorite bargain spot, though, is Fabric Warehouse, with a location in Belleville off Main Ave, (973) 759-8080. (The Clifton location closed a while ago.) Sign up for their mailing list, and go nuts when they have sales.  Twice a year you get 50% off, and I come out of there with rayon challis for $1 a yard, cottons for 50 cents. . .and polar fleece for $5 a yard.  Can’t beat that.  

If you head on over to Hackensack, there’s New York Trims on 193 1/2 Main St.  (201) 342-2171.  It’s an old family business, and I don’t think they’ve ever thrown anything away.  You can get Guterman thread there, and nearly any kind of button (the nice ones in tubes, again) you could imagine.  There are all kinds of trims, new and old (I told you, they don’t throw stuff away) and beads and glues and beading needles.

We were very sad when we lost Fabricville on Watchung Avenue in Montclair, but now I’ve Got a Notion has moved into part of the old space, and it’s a great source for Guterman thread, all the zippers they always seem to be out of stock on in JoAnn’s, and JHB and Swingline buttons, and a growing selection of trims.  (973) 744-0079.  

And you can’t forget Acme Country Fabrics on 24 Newark-Pompton Turnpike, (973) 696-1784.  They’re our serious quilter’s store.  The fabrics are beautiful, and arranged by color.  Lots of quilting supplies, notions, and classes.  They also sell Bernina sewing machines and sergers.  Very nice folks!

A bit more South and West is Fabricland,  in North Plainfield, with loads of home dec fabrics and accessories, Bernina machines, and lessons.  Their other store is Nassau’s, in Paramus, and that’s all home decorating, and also design services.