Category Archives: MywalkinManhattan at the Halloween Holidays

Day Two Hundred and Fifty-One: Halloween in Hasbrouck Heights and Salem, NJ and the Hudson River Valley October 1-31st, 2022

I do not think my feet touched the ground the entire month of October. Halloween night was spent in classes doing presentations and starting a new class on the Metaverse at NYU. It was not too awful as it rained during the parade for about an hour and was not the usual clear sunny (and usually warm) day that it had been in the past. Even though my partner at the parade, Mark Schuyler, said it was fun, the rain would be a bit of a deterrent.

The Village Merchant windows

The end of September lead to the crazy days of October as I settled into my classes at NYU and continued to get more assignments than I could keep up with. Between the three classes that I was taking at NYU and the three classes at Bergen Community College that I was teaching, my hands were so full that I never stopped running around. Everyone just kept adding more and more and I just had to keep up.

The Village Merchant windows at Halloween

The weather was surprising warm through early November this year which made the walk from Port Authority to campus a real pleasure. This is how I knew that Halloween was on its way. Here and there amongst the great little stores in the neighborhood, the window displays were full of pumpkins, witches, ghosts and ghouls and things that go bump in the night.

The Salvation Army windows around the corner from NYU

Many of the merchants in the neighborhood really decorated their windows and it made it fun to exploring the side streets.

The Theater around the corner from NYU

As I walked through Washington Square Park, I thought back to the Haunted New York Ghost Tour that I took with the Cornell Club the year before and passed some of the sites in the neighborhood that we visited on the tour especially the “Hanging Tree” at the edge of the park.

The “Hanging Tree” in Washington Square Park where they used to hang prisoners until Society moved to the neighborhood and asked them to stop.

The Haunted Gotham Ghost Tour of 2021:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/19628

I also remembered that Washington Square Park was a giant cemetery with a park on top of it. I am not too sure if people in the neighborhood or my fellow NYU classmates know all of this. Every once in a while when they have to fix the pipes near the edge of the park, they hit the tombs where bodies now rest. It is kind of eerie to know that people are buried under where people now play music, dance and protest. Just hope we don’t wake them up (Hee Hee).

Downtown Hasbrouck Heights decorated for Halloween in 2022

In early October, people really get into Halloween in a major way in Hasbrouck Heights and I start noticing that people are decorating their houses more for the holiday. By the end of the month, the Men’s Association starts to run around town judging houses for our annual contest. Some people started decorating early.

The beginnings of Halloween in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ

The beginnings of Fall in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ

Looks like the competition will be fierce this year

My neighbors even put their evil scarecrow “Giggles” outside to scare the passersby on Route 46 East. I swear this thing has a mind of its own.

“Giggles the Scarecrow” at Route 46 East in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ

The story of “Giggles the Scarecrow” on MywalkinManhattan.com Day One Hundred and Eighty-One:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/15868

As the temperature stayed warm and the trees stayed green, I could see the windows in Downtown Hasbrouck Heights start to change as the Annual Halloween Children’s Painting Contest for the elementary schools began. This goes on for about a week and sometimes the paintings stay up until Christmas time as people don’t realize that they are still on the windows. Some of these kids are really creative and do a nice job.

The Hasbrouck Heights Halloween WIndow Painting Contest

The merchants in our downtown like in the Village start to get creative with the window displays and this is why on the Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association we added a Merchant winner this year to our Halloween House Decorating Contest. So many of the merchants do such a terrific job of getting into the spirit of the holiday. Halloween is a big business now.

Heights Flower Shoppe was our winner this year and this picture does not give the display justice

Spindler’s Bake Shop decorated inside and out to be the Runner Up

Residents of Hasbrouck Heights for Halloween last year went all out decorating their houses for the holidays. This year it seemed a bit more subdued as the economy, the elections and just the general environment seemed a bit testy, people held back a bit but some residents went all out and by the end of the month we started the Second Annual Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association House Decorating Contest with a new Merchant Category. Halloween then really kicked off.

I knew that Halloween was coming when I saw the kids on the Boulevard painting away at the Merchants windows in Downtown Hasbrouck Heights the first week of October. The funny part is that I sometimes see these paintings through Christmas.

The kids do such a great job though and they are so creative. Here is a sampling up and down the Boulevard that I saw when I was judging businesses for Halloween. This is just a sampling of some of the paintings that the children of Hasbrouck Heights in 2022:

Ist Place

Some of the paintings on the Boulevard with the winner

Paintings on the Boulevard

Paintings on the Boulevard

Paintings on the Boulevard

Paintings on the Boulevard

Paintings on the Boulevard

Paintings on the Boulevard

Paintings on the Boulevard

Paintings on the Boulevard

The contest is really popular every year and there are winners at every level

With classes in full swing and projects that I had to work on it made it tough to have free time to visit a lot of places that I had done in the past, so I concentrated on new experiences and trying to revisit the places I had when I had a free moment. It took a lot of planning, but I was able to get to upstate New York and down to Southern New Jersey again. In simple terms, between classes and work, I never stopped running around for the entire month of October. I did a lot of driving this month.

First I had to spend my birthday in class making a major presentation in my ‘Business Models’ class and my ‘Travel Trends’ class. That was nerve wracking enough but I got an “A” on both so I was really happy. I did the project on Wheelchair tourism in NYC and the challenges that a person could face when visiting Manhattan in a wheelchair.

The in the evening, I was in my Business Models class explaining the use of the “Garbage Box”, a mythical product that I created to contain all the street garbage from leaking on the sidewalk and making the sidewalk a bit more attractive by packaging the garbage. That earned me another “A”.

The “Garbage Box” prototype that when after class I really used it and packed garbage inside and left it at the curb. See how much nicer the garbage looks now?

Between those two classes and work on my two classes getting papers graded and getting quizzes done, I was burnt out. When I got home from my Thursday night class in Lyndhurst, I went to Heights Bar & Grill in Hasbrouck Heights for a drink and a snack. Happy Birthday finally to me!

My birthday dinner (two weeks late) at Heights Bar & Grill. The Cosmos and Pizza were amazing

My TripAdvisor Review on Heights Bar & Grill:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46497-d4734828-Reviews-The_Heights_Bar_and_Grill-Hasbrouck_Heights_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

When I finally got those projects over and done with for school, I went Upstate to the Hudson River Valley for the Sheep & Wool Festival at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds on October 16th to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather and to walk around the fairgrounds.

I don’t think the festival anticipated that many people that day

It ended up being almost 75 degrees that day but felt warmer. The fairgrounds were packed the entire afternoon. Not quite during the Dutchess County Fair but the food vendors were out in full force and that made me happy. There were not as many as during the fair and that led to a lot of long lines. This is the reason why I decided to walk around for a bit.

The large crowds at the food concessions at the Sheep & Wool Festival

Please enjoy my blog on the visiting the Sheep & Wool Festival Day One Hundred & Forty Nine:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/10723

I made my way to the animal pens and the Arts & Crafts sellers. You could see that everyone was getting ready for the Christmas holiday season. There were all sorts of items for stocking stuffers and people had all sorts of beautiful handcrafted ornaments and Santas. I love visiting my favorite woodcarving artists where I get my mother’s Santas every year.

Because of the warm weather, I don’t think the festival figured on the number of people

The guys were all there and all three of them showed me what they had to offer this Christmas. Since I never carry cash around (a mugger would hate me) and they never take credit cards, its makes it easy to make a selection. I have to buy the cheapest most creative one each year.

The wood carvers are so talented. I buy my Santas from these three men every year

I could not decide so I told the guys I would do what I usually did, see what was left over when I got back and make a decision then. I think they get a kick out of that philosophy of mine. I walked around the rest of the building to see what was there but I have a tough time spending $10.00 on a bar of soap or $20.00 on a bottle of honey. I do have limits on what I will spend money on.

The crowds on a warm October afternoon at the Sheep & Wool Festival

I walked around the rest of the buildings looking at the arts & crafts, a lot of yarn and crocheted articles at the booths and the homemade food stuffs. There was a lot to choose from. As I left the buildings with all the homemade articles, I passed displays for Halloween and could not even think about Christmas at this point (it’s always there at Halloween anyway) and remembered which holiday was coming up.

I loved this ‘Disco’ Ghost display in the main buildings

When I got to the animal pens that are usually filled with animals at the top of the hill were filled with more vendors. There were all different types of things to buy from ceramics to homemade flowers to honey and other wonderful gourmet foods to handmade cosmetic products. There really was something for everyone here.

I saw one of my favorite Children’s Arts & Crafts artist’s at the fair, Susannah White and I see her work every year. She creates the most wonderful dolls, fairy houses and masks. Everything is done by hand and her prices are very fair for the craftsmanship and attention to detail that each piece has to it.

I love the creativity and attention to detail this merchant has in her work

Artist Susannah White of Carapace Farm Pupperty

https://www.etsy.com/shop/carapacefarmpuppetry

https://www.facebook.com/susannah.white.12/

These are some of her finger puppets and masks that she create for ‘children’ but I see plenty of adults buying them too. I have to think about getting one of these in the future. They are ‘art’.

Another one of my favorite ‘children’s artists’ was there also displaying her puppets and sculpture as well. Artist Bonnie Hall creates these fantastic 3-D beasts of the imagination. They are so unusual and cute.

Bonny’s Beasts at the Sheep & Wool Festival

https://www.bonnysbeasts.com/

I walked the rest of the booths but nothing stood out as these few did. I always look forward to seeing these vendors and what they have come up with in terms of new merchandise.

I then visited the animal pens and made it in time to see the sheep being sheared and groomed. There are some people from the City that looked amused by all of this with a look in their eyes like, “it’s this quaint” when the very clothes they are wearing were created with a process that begins like this.

Some of the groomers explained how they do this and the process behind the step by step process it takes to shear an animal. Also, the difference in the wool from one part of the body to another and the difference in feel of it. I as a retailer thought this was fascinating. It is almost the same as when you skin an animal for its pelt. What is the difference between long hair fur and short hair fur.

The sheep looked they did not mind all the attention either making it a show of itself. They were probably used to all the attention at these shows after all these years.

I loved walking along the pens and looking at all the sheep and lambs staring back at me as well. I think they are amused by all of this as much as we are. These animals must be so used to human contact that they are jaded by it. Still it makes for an interesting interaction.

Ruppert’s stall at the fair

http://www.ruppertscorriedales.com/index.html

I walked around the fairgrounds to the rest of the pens and there was a combination of sheep and lambs. There were displays of the animals and the groomers were showing everyone how to care for them.

After I toured all the pens and barns with arts and crafts, I toured the small museums on the fairgrounds. I toured the Century Museum Village, which is a permanent museum on the property which shows life in rural New York State between 1880-1930. There was also the Schoolhouse Museum and Train Station Museum right up the hill from it. These give a look into Dutchess Counties past and compares how much has changed to today.

The Century Museum Village on the Dutchess County Fairgrounds

The inside of the museum and the counties rural past

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com on the Century Museum Village:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/9609

By the end of the afternoon, the lines had gone down for food but not by much. I still had to wait in line at Janek’s for a Cheeseburger for a half hour. The lines only went down about an hour before the Sheep & Wool Festival closed for the day.

Janek’s makes the BEST burgers ever!

My favorite lunch at the fair is Janek’s ‘Piggyback Burger’, which is a freshly made burger topped with Cheddar Cheese, pulled pork, cured ham and topped with barbecue sauce and homemade pickles. Biting into it is like biting into a piece of heaven. The burger does not need any salt or pepper and make sure to get it with the side of their homemade pierogis with sour cream. I only eat this twice a year, once at the Dutchess County Fair and once at the Sheep & Wool Festival and I am satisfied for the rest of the year.

“The Piggyback Burger” with the side of homemade pierogis

As I relaxed and enjoyed my lunch, I could see that the sun was starting to move around, and the day was starting to get darker out. I had not realized that I spent the entire day at the fair. Time really went by fast especially as I had never seen crowds like this at the fair before. Having such warm weather made a big difference in the crowds. I think the food vendors will rethink this last year since there were a lot less then for the Dutchess County Fair.

As I left the fair that afternoon, I passed the St. James Episcopal Church in Hyde Park who were holding the Historic Graveyard Tours that evening. I did not have a reservation but stopped in to see if I could tour the graveyard that evening. I had planned on coming up the next week but since I was here, I figured why not try now (Thank God I did because it rained the next weekend). I stopped at the church first in the afternoon just in case I could not make the tour. No one was around but I took a quick tour of the cemetery before I left for the Sheep & Wool Festival.

The sign outside the church

The St. James Episcopal Church of Hyde Park at 4526 Albany Post Road

https://dioceseny.org/venue/st-james-church-hyde-park-2/

I walked down the path marked for that evening’s Cemetery Walk and got to see the graves and crypts before it got dark. In the start of the fall, the cemetery was very picturesque on a sunny afternoon. There was almost an elegance to the cemetery with its detailed tombstones and colorful foliage. It looked like a quiet and elegant resting place for these residents of Hyde Park. There are a lot of famous names buried here.

St. James Church before you enter the cemetery

The start of the Cemetery Walk during the day

Walking through the cemetery during the day is interesting

A walk through the cemetery at St. James

Following the path of the Cemetery Walk during the day

The Livingston Mausoleum at the St. James Cemetery

Sara Delano Roosevelt (the President’s Mother) gravesite at St. James Cemetery

Walking through the tombstones at St. James along the Cemetery Walk path

The graves at the St. James Cemetery

It is an interesting tour. Before I got to the fair, I had stopped by the church to talk to someone about the tour, but no one was around so I just walked the path on my own and took pictures during the day so it least if I could not go on the tour, I had seen the cemetery. It was really interesting. The tour guide took us on a lantern tour on a marked path of the 200-year-old graveyard and we got to meet characters who were buried there portrayed by local actors (who I never know how they do it. They have to sit in a dark cemetery until the next tour comes through).

inside the St. James Episcopal Church before the Cemetery Walk

We met in the church first and did a quick orientation on what to expect and then the tour guide took us on the tour. It was very interesting, and the actors did a good job with each character. We met the following characters:

Captain Isaac Russell, a Revolutionary War Soldier who fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill and was present at the surrender of General Burgoyne on October 17th, 1777.

Anna Roosevelt Halstead, the daughter of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. She had served in President Kennedy’s Citizens Advisory Council on the Status of Women, and she also served as the Vice-Chairman of the President’s Commission for the Observance of Human Rights.

Susan Cowman Carter, an early St. James Choir Director and organist.

Christopher Hughes III, a 19th century Hyde Park farmer

Adelaide Roddy, a pioneering early 20th century female Theologian who died on her honeymoon of spinal meningitis.

Arthur (Rube) DeGroff, Hyde Park’s very own Professional Baseball Player who had played with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1905. He played one game in 1906 and then was sent back to the minors.

The tour was very interesting, and each actor did a good job telling their story. The tour guide was right though, you had to stay on the path, or you would trip over a tombstone (as I almost did). I have to say one thing in that I was glad there were so many people on the tour and that the next tour after ours was full as well. Once you passed the lit areas, this cemetery was really gloomy and dark. Even the church looked a little creepy from a distance. Maybe that was the effect that they were going for on the tour. After the tour was over, I headed home.

School got even busier, so I had to pace myself with the activities and I managed to finish all my homework as well as get the students quizzes graded and the papers finished before I left for South Jersey the next weekend. The weather was going to be nice, and I decided to head back down to Salem, NJ again to finish touring some of the historical sites for my blogs and to go on the Salem Haunted Tour of the Downtown business district.

The Salem NJ Walking Ghost Tour in 2023

Before the walking tour there would be a concert “Tunes from the Crypt” at St. John’s Episcopal Church with musician Erik Meyer.

I had seen this tour advertised for many years, but it was tough to go on it from such a distance away. Since the weekend would be open, I hopped in the car on a Friday night and made another reservation at the Inn at Salem Country Club for the night. I was glad that Yvonne, the owner had the room open.

I got down early enough on Friday afternoon to take pictures at the Salem Oak Cemetery, the Salem Historical Society and at various points of interest in Salem’s Historical Downtown.

The historic Salem Oak Cemetery where many of the founders of Salem are buried and was home to the oldest Oak Tree in the State until it fell in 2019.

The Salem Oak Cemetery on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/7707

The Salem Historical Society is always interesting to visit

The Salem Historical Society in VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/1742

The Salem Fire Museum is never open

The Salem Fire Museum on VisitingaMuseum.com:

Downtown Salem has the most beautiful and historical residential district

I snapped pictures all the over the downtown area and managed to get all the pictures that I missed over the summer when I came down to do my blog on the Historic sites of Southern New Jersey (see blog below):

My blog on the Historical Sites of Southern New Jersey: Day Two Hundred and Forty:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/24348

Before I took the tour and after I settled into the hotel, I had a quick dinner at Bravo Pizza at 179 West Boardway in Downtown Salem. I must have been attracting attention with all my picture taking in Downtown Salem. Since Salem is not the safest town, some gangbanger looking guys came in while I was eating my meatball hero to check me out. I just stared back, and they disappeared out the back door. I swear everyone thinks I am a Fed.

Bravo Pizza & Pasta at 179 West Broadway is really good and the prices are fair

https://www.bravospizzasalem.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46799-d4514081-Reviews-Bravo_Pizza_and_Pasta-Salem_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

The meatball subs are really good here

I was able to get settled into the Inn before the tour and took a lot of pictures of the church’s cemetery before the Haunted Walk and then got to the church in time for the organist started a special Halloween concert. This was taking place before the walking tour. The weather surprisingly cooperated, and it was a warm October weekend.

The Inn at Salem Country Club at 91 Country Club Road (Now called the Salem River Inn)

https://salemriverinn.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g46799-d12378333-Reviews-Salem_River_Inn-Salem_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

Once I had eaten and was settled in, it was time to visit the downtown before the concert. Halloween weekend in recent years has gotten much warmer. The night of the concert and the walking tour was not different. It must have been in the mid 60’s the night of the tour.

I was one of the first ones at St. John’s Episcopal Church that evening so I got a prime parking spot right in front of the church and since there were no signs that I could not park there, it was nice that I did not have to move far.

St. John’s Episcopal

http://www.stjohnssalemnj.org/

https://www.facebook.com/StJohnsSalemNJ/

The historic marker of the St. John’s Church

The inside of the church was beautiful with all the historic stained glass windows and wooden pews. I was walking around admiring the church before the concert. What I love about these hundred year old churches is that they have a classic look to them. There is such a history to them. I admired the stained glass windows which were beautiful.

The inside of St. John’s Church

The stained glass windows at the church

The stained glass windows at the church

The church was very impressive. Most of these were Tiffany windows

Still these churches are so old that they have an intriguing look to them with an air of mystery. The interiors look like they belong in a independent horror film.

Even the church had a mysterious look to it at night

Musician Erik Meyer performed a series of classical horror film melodies on the church organ. What I thought was funny was the priest for St. John’s Church did the introduction and made a comment to a packed church full of people of all ages in the pews this was the most amount of people he had seen in the church in a long time.

Musician Erik Meyer dressed as Count Dracula next to the organ

After the concert was over, I talked with Erik Meyer about the irony of performing Halloween music in a church. He said many churches while their thoughts on Halloween are mixed have embraced this type of fundraiser to bring people back to the churches and raise money for them at the same time. He also told me that he had been performing these concerts at churches all over the state for the same reason. They have become very popular.

After the concert was over, the whole group of us at the church headed over to the antique store where we would be starting the Haunted Historical Walking Tour of Downtown Salem. The tour took us from the store to the Salem Historical Society and back. I guess the rest of the Downtown at night was not the safest (I experienced that).

The start of the Ghost Tour

I have to admit the Historic Market Street neighborhood while very pretty and elegant with all the Federalist homes during the day is very pretty, at night it does look pretty spooky.

Downtown Salem Market Street Historic District at night

People did decorate in Downtown Salem, NJ

This townhouse really got into the spirit of Halloween

More detail on the house

Our first stop on the tour was visiting a small Dutch house that was a recreation of old homes that used to be part of the community. The home had been rebuilt in honor of visiting dignitaries visiting from Europe. The house was now a popular tourist site. While we were inside we got to peek inside and see the furnishings and a live fire in the fireplace.

The small Dutch House on the walking tour

I went back the next day and it did not seem that creepy

A Salem resident shares a ghostly tale of his home since moving here

Creepy tales at the Salem Historical Society courtyard

The Society courtyard is less creepy and very beautiful during the day with the fall foliage

Tales at the St. John’s cemetery

The St. John’s Cemetery is a very interesting place to visit during the day. The foliage in Salem, NJ was at its peak right before Halloween and the end of the October and I got to tour the graves of the people that the narrator was talking about during the day. It was an interesting story of how this resident treated his first wife in death and treatment of the second wife when she died. People are still people.

The entrance to St. John’s Cemetery

During the day, walking around this historic cemetery is very interesting. Many of the founding members of the Salem community are buried here and you can find the family cemetery plots among the paths. I would take the time to visit and walk around this interesting piece of the past.

The the tale of the Second wife that you see above during the day. The husband and second wife are in the elevated crypts and the first wife has a slab on top of here. As the narrator said this is what he thought of her in the end.

Colonial Robert Johnson and his second wife, Julia in the elevated crypts

The St. John’s Cemetery during the day

The St. John’s Cemetery

The St. John’s Cemetery family plots

The famous people buried in the cemetery-The Sinnickson Family plot-One of the founding families of Salem, NJ

After we left the church, we joined this friendly witch who told us the story about a spirit that haunts houses. To confuse them, you have to leave a bowl of rice at the doorway so that you confuse the spirit as it tries to count the grains of rice and then gets frustrated and leaves. I had never heard this story before but I did get a small bag of rice as a gift that I keep in my travel bag now.

Tales of spirits and the use of rice to keep them away

A Ghoul with a New York accent tells the tales

We ended the tour at the Salem Creek with tales of ghostly fisherman but you could not see anything at night so I took this the next morning. I almost tripped on the hill leaving this little park.

After the tour was over, we went back to the antique store to have hot cider and homemade cookies. I thought this was a very nice touch to a wonderful evening. There were a few more tours going on after I was finished so I got to walk around the antique store and then around the downtown and look at all the buildings at night. On a warm October evening, I found this tour to not just be relaxing but fascinating as well to learn the history of the town. When I got back to the Inn, I slept so soundly that night.

When I woke up on Saturday morning, it was a beautiful sunny day, and I watched the phases of the sun come up over the field from my bedroom window. I swear the location of this Inn is amazing and has the most spectacular views.

The Inn at Salem Country Club sunrise:

Sunrise from my room

Sunrise from my room

Sunrise from my room

Sunrise from my room

Sunrise from my room

The sunrise from my room in its final phase and it was an amazing warm day.

What I like about the Inn at Salem Country Club is its location on Delaware Bay. In the warmer months, people use the beaches outside the Inn for swimming and recreation. Its location on the Delaware Bay is pretty spectacular and I never really noticed when I visited in the summer. I was so busy running around Southern New Jersey and I had gotten there late and left early the last time. On this trip, I had more time in the morning to walk around the grounds before I went to visit the remaining museums on my list (most of them were closed anyway as they were only open on certain weekends).

The grounds of the Salem Country Club Inn in late October

The grounds of the Inn were very beautiful on this warm Saturday morning in late October. The leaves were still changing colors and the weather was warm. I had my breakfast on the enclosed terrace (it was too cool to eat outside in the morning) and just watched the boats and birds pass by. It was such a wonderful morning to just relax and watch time go by.

The beach at the Inn at Salem Country Club

The lawn of the Inn of Salem Country Club

The beach at the Inn at Salem Country Club

After a relaxing night’s sleep, Yvonne ordered breakfast for me again from the Salem Diamond Diner just past the downtown. Over French Toast and sausage and fresh fruit, I watch the beauty of the Delaware Bay from the open room on the first floor. It was too cool to eat on the deck but another five degrees and I would have been out there. The views are just amazing when it is sunny.

My reviews of breakfast sent to me at the Inn from the Diamond Grill in Salem:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46799-d24137933-Reviews-Diamond_Grill-Salem_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

The rest of the day after I checked out I spent revisiting or trying to visit historical sites that I have missed on my Father’s Day weekend trip here. Most were so small that they were not even on the listing that I had from the summer. Almost all of them were either closed for the season at that point or would be open sometime in November and I was not racing down to South Jersey for a two hour visit to a historical site. This just makes another trip to the area justified in the Spring.

I had already visited the Salem Historical Society, the Salem Oak Cemetery and tried to visit the Salem Fire Museum so I ventured back to some of the places I seen over the summer. I also wanted to visit some of the smaller Historical societies I had a list of from the last trip. Most of them were closed for the season.

Some of the places that I visited were:

The Hancock House at 3 Front Street in Hancock’s Bridge:

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46491-d14113448-Reviews-Hancock_House-Hancocks_Bridge_New_Jersey.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/7658

The Quinton’s Bridge at Alloway Creek at Route 49:

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46799-d24137890-Reviews-Quinton_s_Bridge_At_Alloways_Creek-Salem_New_Jersey.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/7716

The ones that were closed were:

The Lower Alloways Creek Historical Society at 735 Smick Road:

My review on TripAdvisor:

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/8882

The Alloway Township History Museum at 49 Greenwich Street:

My review on TripAdvisor:

My review on VisitingaMuseum:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/8873

I had to cross the county after visiting a these obscure sites to get to the Church Landing Farm at Pennsville Historical Society at 86 Church Landing Road. Thank God it was still open at 3:00pm. It was a real treat:

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46726-d24140695-Reviews-Church_Landing_Farmhouse-Pennsville_New_Jersey.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/7734

I was able to tour the Hancock House again while they were having a little Halloween festival and take pictures of the house. I also got to tour the Church Landing Farmhouse and visit all the little out buildings with all the displays. It was fun to finally see with more time to spend. Though it was just an overnight trip, I felt like I was gone for a week. I was so refreshed from the trip. It was time to go home and get some work done.

The Halloween Festival at the Hancock House on Halloween weekend

The days before Halloween, we were in the final judging of the Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association Halloween House Decorating Contest so when I got home from Salem, NJ, I had to present the awards to the winners and their families. Later the next week, I presented the awards to the merchants in town who were not opened on Sunday. It was a long but very productive morning and afternoon as the winners and runners-up were thrilled by their awards.

My blog on the Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association Halloween House Decorating Contest Day Two Hundred and Fifty on MywalkinManhattan.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/26589

It was a series of long drives around town, late nights looking at spooky lights, figures of fright and things that go bump in the night but the members of the Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association Halloween Decorating Contest made a decision who had the best decorated house and downtown business in Hasbrouck Heights.

Decorations at 85 Woodside Avenue

Like last year the decision was tough but we chose 85 Woodside Avenue, the home of Matt and Lisa Fiduccia, last year’s runners up. The house was decorated to the hilt with ghosts, ghouls and figures that frightened the passersby. “We learned more from last year,” Matt Fiduccia said when they found out they won this year’s contest. “We added more to it.”

85 Woodside Avenue in Hasbrouck Heights Halloween 2022-Winner

The zombies and ghouls of 85 Woodside Avenue

The committee liked the theme of the property, the organization of the props and decorations of the doorway and the lighting of the house the night before Halloween which really showcased their creativity. The family was really excited about winning this year and the whole Fiduccia family joined Chairman Justin Watrel and Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association President Steve Palladino for the presentation of the plaque and official sign from the organization declaring them winner. It was an award well deserved.

Chairman Justin Watrel with the Fiduccia family at 85 Woodside Avenue

Winners Matt and Lisa Fiduccia with their children and the official sign from the Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association

It was a tough decision to make this year as last year’s winner, Scott Vicario and runners up last year Frank and Mary Rose Blunda also created wonderful displays that would dazzle and delight trick or treaters the next night for Halloween.

253 Henry Street-The Runner-up this year

This is the second year Scott Vicario created a moving cemetery and ghoul fest all over his front lawn starting with a possessed woman climbing a tree outside the property and a variety of ghouls and zombies climbing popping and walking around the yard. “I keep finding new things to add to the display,” Scott told the committee when he was presented his award. “I look for professionally made displays.” Mr. Vicario who lives at 253 Henry Street said he “has more planned for next year” to win the award back.

Last year’s winner, Scott Vicario, was runner up this year

Some of the decorations were truly frightening

Ghosts and ghouls at 253 Henry Street

Scott Varicario in front of 253 Henry Street

253 Henry Street was full of zombies and ghosts

The other runners up last year, Frank and Mary Rose Blunda, keep creating frightening but friendly displays that dazzle their Halloween visitors. Trick or Treaters keep coming back for the displays of vampires and pumpkin headed beasts.

510 Henry Street

“We really love Halloween and we do this for the kids,” Frank Blunda said. “The families get such a kick out of visiting our house every year.” The Blunda’s love that families take a special trip to see their home.

The Ghosts, Ghouls and Pumpkin Heads of 510 Henry Street

Mary Rose and Frank Blunda of 510 Henry Street were runners-up again this year

Chairman Justin Watrel with Mary Rose and Frank Blunda at 510 Henry Street

The House Decorating Committee added a Merchant Division this year and we were dazzled by Heights Flower Shoppe, who always displays their holiday merchandise so nicely. Ray Vorisek, the owner of Heights Flower Shoppe was very thankful to the committee for the award. “We always like decorating the store to the hilt for the holidays.

Heights Flower Shoppe at 209 Boulevard in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ

People come from all over to visit us.” Both inside and outside, the store was full of all sorts of merchandise to decorate the house and for creative Halloween parties. Ghosts and witches flowed all over the store.

The decorations of the windows at Heights Flower Shoppe

https://www.heightsflowershoppe.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

My review on LittleShoponMainStreet@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/littleshoponmainstreet.wordpress.com/130

With winner and owner, Ray Virosek

Chairman Justin Watrel with owner Ray Viroske outside the store with the official Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association sign

The Runner-up was Spindler’s Bakery, owned by Bob and Ginny Spindler, whose family business has been in Hasbrouck Heights for over fifty years.

Spindler’s Bake Shop at 247 Boulevard was this year’s runner up

https://spindlersbuttercookies-com.3dcartstores.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46497-d12898321-Reviews-Spindler_s_Bake_Shop-Hasbrouck_Heights_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

My review on LittleShoponMainStreet@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/littleshoponmainstreet.wordpress.com/1190

“We have a creative team that works together here,” Mrs. Spindler said as she accepted her framed award. “It is a team effort that got the store ready for the holiday.” Spindler’s Bakery not only decorated the windows with pumpkins and bears ready for Trick or Treating but the store had all sorts of delicious looking decorated pastries and cookies, perfect for any Halloween Party.

The inside of Spindler’s Bake Shop with decorations and Halloween treats

Chairman Justin Watrel with runner-up winner, Ginny Spindler and her co-worker

We also wanted to mention the Honorary mentions, whose decorated home made the first and second round cut of the contest and we wish you luck next year. These are 110 Central Avenue, 458 Jefferson Avenue, 415 Madison Avenue, 115 Ottawa Avenue and 310 Bell Avenue. Good luck and have a wonderful and safe holiday season from the Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association.

Honorary Mention on Ottawa Avenue

Another Honorary Mention on Ottawa Avenue

Halloween Night was a bust for me. I had to start my first night of my Tourism Innovation Class, which concentrated on the Metaverse that evening and for the first time in six years I did not work on the Halloween Parade. It was a real bummer and I know Mark was really disappointed that I could not make it that evening. It rained during part of the parade so that at least made me feel a bit better.

When I left class that evening, it was also about 9:30pm and since we were meeting in the Uptown campus on West 42nd Street, I did not notice any part of the parade except for a few people heading back to New Jersey through the Port Authority. It was a cold and rather gloomy night because of the quick shower we had earlier. Not much of a holiday but at least I was able to celebrate in different ways in different parts of the month.

‘Aristocrats’ Justin Watrel (Beekman family) and Marc Schuyler (Schuyler family) at the Halloween Parade gate 2019.

Before Halloween was over I managed to sneak up to Croton on the Hudson to the Van Cortlandt Manor to see the Annual “Pumpkin Blaze” (see the blog attached):

Visiting the Pumpkin Blaze Day Two Hundred and Six:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/19970

The weather was really mild that night and I got tickets for the 8:00pm walk. Being later in the season, it was not as busy as it would be before Halloween. Still I could walk the show at my own pace and enjoy the displays. If you have never been there, I highly suggest it.

The entrance to the “Pumpkin Blaze”

The displays keep changing every year and it is fun to see all the new creative ideas that they come up with for the evening. It was the perfect way to finish the Halloween festivities. Now here comes Christmas!

The Headless Horseman riding through

The pumpkins with their evil stare!

Happy Halloween!

Boo!

The Century Museum and Collectors Association Dutchess County Fairgrounds 6636 Route 9 Rhinebeck, NY 12572

Don’t miss this permanent museum exhibition at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds.

The Century Museum Village at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds

The museum at its entrance.

Visiting a Museum: The Unique, Unusual, Obscure and Historical

The Century Museum and Collectors Association Dutchess County Fairgrounds 6636 Route 9 Rhinebeck, NY 12572

(845) 876-4000

https://centurymuseum.wixsite.com/home

Dutchess Fair Features

Open: When the fairgrounds are open Spring, Summer and Fall for events

Admission: Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

The Century Museum Village inside the Dutchess County Fairgrounds

When the Dutchess County Fairgrounds are open for the season for big events in the Spring, Summer and Fall, the fairgrounds open their historical museums that are located on the property. These include the School House Museum and the Train Station Museum and the when the volunteers are there the Dutchess County Volunteer Firemen’s Museum. The main museum is the Century Museum Village, a look at rural life in Dutchess County at the turn of the last century.

The Schoolhouse Museum in the Century Museum Village

The Train Station Museum at the Century Museum Village

The Century Museum Village gives an interesting…

View original post 876 more words

Abracadabra NYC 19 West 21st Street New York, NY 10010

For things that go bump in the night, Abracadabra is the place for you!

The front of the store comes to life with all sorts of things that go bump in the night.

Little Shop on Main Street

Abracadabra NYC

19 West 21st Street

New York, NY 10010

(212) 627-5194

https://abracadabranyc.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AbracadabraNYC

Open: Sunday 1:00pm-7:00pm/Monday-Saturday 11:00am-7:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d15010693-Reviews-Abracadabra_NYC-New_York_City_New_York.html

Abracadabra at 19 West 21st Stree

Abracadabra right before Halloween is an experience into itself

Ghosts and Ghouls greet you when you enter the store

Abracadabra is one of those stores that just stands out when you walk in. Every day is Halloween when you walk in the door and everything is there to shock and amaze you. It is a interesting blend of theater, imagination and creativity that makes the store come to life. Even the staff walk around in masks and costumes showing off the merchandise. Many I am sure are actors and artists using their own sense of style to show the costumes off.

Abracadabra is no ordinary store

There is no lack of interesting costumes to try on or accessories to match them…

View original post 430 more words

Hyde Park Historical Society 4389 Albany Post Road Hyde Park, NY 12538

Don’t miss this gem of a museum in Downtown Hyde Park, NY that takes pride in the local community and its history.

The Hyde Park Historical Society in Hyde Park, NY

Visiting a Museum: The Unique, Unusual, Obscure and Historical

Hyde Park Historical Society

4389 Albany Post Road

Hyde Park, NY 12538

(845) 229-2559

https://hydeparkhistoricalsociety1821.org/

https://www.hydeparkny.us/669/Hyde-Park-Historical-Society

Open: Sunday 11:00am-3:00pm/Monday-Friday Closed/Saturday 10:00am-3:00pm

Fee: Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60801-d3426818-Reviews-Hyde_Park_Historical_Society_Museum-Hyde_Park_New_York.html

The Hyde Park Historical Society at 4389 Albany Post Road

The Hyde Park Historical Society is going through a type of rebirth as it has reopened with a fresh approach towards not just the history of Hyde Park, NY but the area in general and life here over the last two hundred years. The society is taking a new direction and revamping their efforts on the displays and on the history and activities of the museum. The museum is housed in what was once the Hyde Park, NY Fire Department building.

The museum is broken down into sections by displays. When you enter the museum there is an display of bicycles and recreation items that would have been used over the years…

View original post 741 more words

Day Two Hundred and Fifty-The Second Annual Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association Halloween House Decorating Contest October 30th, 2022

Haunted Hasbrouck Heights returns with the Second Annual Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association Halloween Decorated House Contest 2022

It was a series of long drives around town, late nights looking at spooky lights, figures of fright and things that go bump in the night but the members of the Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association Halloween Decorating Contest made a decision who had the best decorated house and downtown business in Hasbrouck Heights.

Decorations at 85 Woodside Avenue

Like last year the decision was tough but we chose 85 Woodside Avenue, the home of Matt and Lisa Fiduccia, last year’s runners up. The house was decorated to the hilt with ghosts, ghouls and figures that frightened the passersby. “We learned more from last year,” Matt Fiduccia said when they found out they won this year’s contest. “We added more to it.”

85 Woodside Avenue in Hasbrouck Heights Halloween 2022-Winner

The zombies and ghouls of 85 Woodside Avenue

The committee liked the theme of the property, the organization of the props and decorations of the doorway and the lighting of the house the night before Halloween which really showcased their creativity. The family was really excited about winning this year and the whole Fiduccia family joined Chairman Justin Watrel and Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association President Steve Palladino for the presentation of the plaque and official sign from the organization declaring them winner. It was an award well deserved.

Chairman Justin Watrel with the Fiduccia family at 85 Woodside Avenue

Winners Matt and Lisa Fiduccia with their children and the official sign from the Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association

It was a tough decision to make this year as last year’s winner, Scott Vicario and runners up last year Frank and Mary Rose Blunda also created wonderful displays that would dazzle and delight trick or treaters the next night for Halloween.

253 Henry Street-The Runner-up this year

This is the second year Scott Vicario created a moving cemetery and ghoul fest all over his front lawn starting with a possessed woman climbing a tree outside the property and a variety of ghouls and zombies climbing popping and walking around the yard. “I keep finding new things to add to the display,” Scott told the committee when he was presented his award. “I look for professionally made displays.” Mr. Vicario who lives at 253 Henry Street said he “has more planned for next year” to win the award back.

Last year’s winner, Scott Vicario, was runner up this year

Some of the decorations were truly frightening

Ghosts and ghouls at 253 Henry Street

Scott Varicario in front of 253 Henry Street

253 Henry Street was full of zombies and ghosts

The other runners up last year, Frank and Mary Rose Blunda, keep creating frightening but friendly displays that dazzle their Halloween visitors. Trick or Treaters keep coming back for the displays of vampires and pumpkin headed beasts.

510 Henry Street

“We really love Halloween and we do this for the kids,” Frank Blunda said. “The families get such a kick out of visiting our house every year.” The Blunda’s love that families take a special trip to see their home.

The Ghosts, Ghouls and Pumpkin Heads of 510 Henry Street

Mary Rose and Frank Blunda of 510 Henry Street were runners-up again this year

Chairman Justin Watrel with Mary Rose and Frank Blunda at 510 Henry Street

The House Decorating Committee added a Merchant Division this year and we were dazzled by Heights Flower Shoppe, who always displays their holiday merchandise so nicely. Ray Vorisek, the owner of Heights Flower Shoppe was very thankful to the committee for the award. “We always like decorating the store to the hilt for the holidays.

Heights Flower Shoppe at 209 Boulevard in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ

People come from all over to visit us.” Both inside and outside, the store was full of all sorts of merchandise to decorate the house and for creative Halloween parties. Ghosts and witches flowed all over the store.

The decorations of the windows at Heights Flower Shoppe

With winner and owner, Ray Virosek

Chairman Justin Watrel with owner Ray Viroske outside the store with the official Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association sign

The Runner-up was Spindler’s Bakery, owned by Bob and Ginny Spindler, whose family business has been in Hasbrouck Heights for over fifty years.

Spindler’s Bake Shop at 247 Boulevard was this year’s runner up

“We have a creative team that works together here,” Mrs. Spindler said as she accepted her framed award. “It is a team effort that got the store ready for the holiday.” Spindler’s Bakery not only decorated the windows with pumpkins and bears ready for Trick or Treating but the store had all sorts of delicious looking decorated pastries and cookies, perfect for any Halloween Party.

The inside of Spindler’s Bake Shop with decorations and Halloween treats

Chairman Justin Watrel with runner-up winner, Ginny Spindler and her co-worker

We also wanted to mention the Honorary mentions, whose decorated home made the first and second round cut of the contest and we wish you luck next year. These are 110 Central Avenue, 458 Jefferson Avenue, 415 Madison Avenue, 115 Ottawa Avenue and 310 Bell Avenue. Good luck and have a wonderful and safe holiday season from the Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association.

Honorary Mentions:

110 Central Avenue

458 Jefferson Avenue

458 Jefferson Avenue

115 Ottawa Avenue

115 Ottawa Avenue

310 Bell Avenue

310 Bell Avenue

415 Madison Avenue

We will see everyone when Santa arrives when we start Christmas Tree sales the day after Thanksgiving. We sell out fast!

The link to the article on Tapinto:

https://www.tapinto.net/towns/hasbrouck-heights-slash-wood-ridge-slash-teterboro/sections/in-the-community/articles/the-hasbrouck-heights-men-s-association-s-halloween-decorating-contest-returns-for-2022

Day Two Hundred and Forty Exploring Southern New Jersey in Cumberland and Salem Counties-A Local Journey: Visiting historical sites and parks on Father’s Day Weekend June 18th-19th, 2022 (Again on September 24th and 25th, and October 28th, 2022)

The one thing I refuse to do on Father’s Day is to spend the day at the cemetery. I know that is some people’s idea of honoring one’s family members but it is not mine. I went on Friday and paid my respects to my father (whom this blog is dedicated to) and spent time remembering some of the good times we had in past. I dropped some cut flowers from our gardens (some of which he planted) and said a small prayer. Then I left.

My idea of honoring my father and spending Father’s Day with him is to do something that we would have shared together. We were always running around somewhere and exploring something new and doing something fun. That is how I wanted to honor him. By being active and giving him a toast at Sunday dinner.

I had gotten a pamphlet on the historical sites of Salem, Cumberland and Cape May Counties last summer when I was visiting Cape May County and the Jersey Shore for the NJ Firemen’s Convention that is every September (See blogs on Trips to Cape May for the NJ Firemen’s Convention and for the Christmas Holidays-the other historical sites are noted there):

The Chalfonte Hotel at 301 Howard Street in Cape May, NJ

https://www.chalfonte.com/

Many historical sites visited in Cape May County are mentioned here:

Day Two Hundred and Eleven: Christmas in the Blink of an Eye:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/20283

Day One Hundred and Forty-Four: Revisiting Cape May and Narrowsburg, NY:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/10049

Day One Hundred and Twenty: Visiting the Chalfonte and Cape May:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/7804

Day One Hundred: Christmas in Cape May, Rehoboth Beach and Rhinebeck, NY:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/7142

I thought what might be a nice trip is to explore the southern part of New Jersey and spend some time learning about the history of this part of the state. There were so many sites to visit and they spread from Pennsville, NJ in Salem County to Cape May in Cape May County. There would be too much to try to see in two days plus I wanted to take a trip to see Woodstown, NJ, a small town that had an interesting looking historical downtown when I visited it two or three years ago.

I had seen almost all the sites in Cape May County (The Cape May Firemen’s Museum, the Cape May Historical Society/Colonial House, the Cape May Lighthouse, the Cape May Zoo, Cold Spring Village, WWII Tower, Sunset Beach, The Emil Physick Estate and the Wildwood Aviation Museum) with the exception of a few smaller places and figured that I could see them during my time at this year’s NJ Firemen’s Convention after the meetings were over at 1:00pm.

So I planned the remainder of those for September. There were a few small historical societies with very limited hours that I just could not drive to with enough time. This covers a lot of area and the roads are mostly one or two lane highways in this part of the state.

Trying to find a hotel room for one night during the college graduation season was trying at best. Most of the chain hotels like Holiday Inn, Hampton Inn and Fairfield Inn by the Turnpike which I expected to choose from had gotten horrible reviews online as dated and dirty so those were out. There were no Airbnb rooms anywhere in south Jersey and the only two B & B’s in the immediate area were both booked for the weekend.

I was ready to give up until I Googled small hotels in South New Jersey and I found The Inn at Salem Country Club at 91 Country Club Road, a small inn that was just south of Downtown Salem, which was my starting point for the tour that weekend. I called the innkeeper, Yvonne that afternoon and was surprised that the room that I wanted, The Meadow Room, was open for Saturday night and was listed as $125.00 a night. I immediately booked the room and planned the trip.

The one catch was they were hosting a graduation party at the inn and could I check in on Friday morning. That was perfect for me as I wanted to start my trip visiting Woodstown, NJ and walk around the downtown. So, finishing all my projects at home, off I went at 7:00am in the morning for my trip to South Jersey.

I had decided to get off the New Jersey Turnpike earlier and head down the local Route 45 and take it down to Woodstown and drive through farm country. It was such a spectacular sunny and clear morning that I decided to make a few stops along the way with enough time to check in.

My first stop was at Rosie’s Farm Market Stand at 317 Swedesboro Road in Mullica Hill, NJ. This small farm stand has everything you need for the perfect picnic or to bring to someone’s home for a party. There are all sorts of fruits, vegetables and snacks and beverages to choose from. It has that classic “Jersey Market” look even though it is now surrounded by development.

Rosie’s Farm Market at 317 Swedesboro Road

https://www.rosiesfarmmarket.com/

https://www.facebook.com/rosiesfarmmarket/

After I walked around Rosie’s looking for something I could not find in our own farmstands in Bergen County (same items), I headed down the road, turned the corner and headed south down Route 45. I drove through the cute little town of Mullica Hill. I did not have time to stop and explore the town but noted to come back this way so that I could walk around the downtown.

Then I continued the drive down Route 45 on my way to Woodstown and then onto Salem. Route 45 is one of the most picturesque roads that I had been on with its rolling farms and lush landscapes. Things were just beginning to grow, and you could see the fields of corn and plants with an occasional winery popping up here and there. It shows that crops are changing in New Jersey farmland. With all the TV and movies, you see about New Jersey, this is the part of the state that they never show. You can forget sometimes how rural the state really an hour from my house.

I reached Downtown Woodstown, NJ by 9:00am and stopped to look around. I had driven through Woodstown when I went to visit mom after the Firemen’s Convention and thought it a unique and interesting little town with all the Victorian architecture. I walked around the downtown businesses and walked around the neighborhood admiring the care families have renovated these old homes.

Downtown Woodstown, NJ in the Fall

https://historicwoodstown.org/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodstown,_New_Jersey

I walked through some of the businesses that opened early like the flower shop and independent bookstore. The owners were super friendly, and they were explaining their businesses to me. I thought that was very nice of them. Most of the restaurants with the exception of the diner were closed. It was nice to see all the beautiful homes and cultural sites so close to the downtown.

On the edge of Downtown Woodstown, I saw the Pilesgrove-Woodstown Historical Society that sits on the very edge of the business district. It was closed when I visited in June and September when I visited the area both times but in September is opened up on the promised Saturday and I toured the house with Trudy, who was one of the board members of the historical society and she gave me a personal almost two hour tour of the home.

The Samuel Dickeson House

The Mission of the Pilesgrove-Woodstown Historical Society:

To preserve and advance interest in and awareness of the history and heritage of the Borough of Woodstown and Pilesgrove Township by properly procuring, preserving and maintaining the art, artifacts and documents that relate to the cultural, archaeological, civil, literary, genealogical and ecclesiastical history of the local community. We welcome researchers and provide them with any available material.

On the site is the 1840’s one room schoolhouse that was moved from Eldridge’s Hill in the 1970’s and is open for touring during museum hours. The organization hosts quarterly presentations and participates with the Candlelight Tour on the first Friday of December.

Touring the house is a wonderful experience and I got an excellent tour from a member of the Board of Directors who took me on a full tour of the house and grounds. She explained that the volunteers take a lot of pride in the home, the displays and the artifacts and antiques that make up the décor of the house. The tour starts in the Library which is to the right of the entrance. This is where people can research their families and the towns’ histories. The house was originally owned by the Dickerson family and had changed hands many times over the years.

The Library:

This display has the portrait of John Fenwick and the family tree

The Library:

The Library:

The collection of books and manuscripts is held in the library of the home. Patrons can do their research on their family trees and on the local towns here.

The Living Room:

The Living Room:

The Living Room:

The Living Room:

In June when I visited, I planned on coming back later that weekend, so my next stop was downtown Salem. Again you go from a downtown area to farmland again and it is so scenic along the highway with the large fields and watching cows’ feed. Here and there you see new construction but for the most part the area has not changed much since my initial visit six years ago.

The funny part of Downtown Salem is that it just jumps out at you when you cross the bridge. It goes from farmland to the small city of Salem. When you drive it, you start to see all the beautiful historical homes and architecture that reflex the city’s past. Most of the homes are either Victorian or Federalist in design but as you drive past City Hall and the government buildings, you see how run down the city really is now.

The last time I had been here was about four years ago on my way to see my mother and it is still rundown. If Salem was located in Bergen County, you could not touch these homes or any of these buildings for under a million dollars. People all over town assured me that this was not true here.

Downtown Salem, NJ by the Salem County Historical Society is the nicest section of the Downtown

I could not believe that the town still looked this bad when I drove through it to get to the inn which was located by the Delaware Bay. When you drove through the south side of the downtown, the further you got away from the downtown core, the better the neighborhoods got until you hit farmland and marshes closer to the bay. Off a very obscure road I found the Inn at the Salem Country Club at 91 Salem Country Club Road.

The Inn at the Salem Country Club at 91 Salem Country Club Road

The view from my room in the Fall

https://salemcountryclubnj.com/

I have to say that I was impressed by the entire stay at the Inn from the check in to the check out. My host, Yvonne, could not have been more welcoming and friendly and made the early morning check in easy. I got the key, got my luggage into the room, let her know that I would return after the party planned that evening was over and went on my way for the afternoon. It would an afternoon of a lot of running around. The one piece of advice she gave me was NOT to eat in Downtown Salem. She recommended either Pennsville or Woodstown for dinner that evening. I would discover later that evening what she was talking about.

The view from the porch of the hotel at breakfast time

After settling everything in at the Inn, I headed back up to Downtown Salem to my first three sites that I wanted to visit on the historical listing, The Friends Burial Ground and the Oak Trees, The Salem County Historical Society and the Salem Fire Museum plus I wanted to walk around the downtown area to see any progress in gentrification (there was none).

What surprised me was the Internet was wrong about all the hours and days. All the sites were supposed to be open by 9:00am and they were all open that day. The Salem Fire Museum which I had looked forward to seeing was not open that day, the Burial Ground’s gate was locked but I was able to walk in on the side of the cemetery and the Salem Historical Society did not open until noon. At this point it was 10:30am.

The Salem Fire Museum never seems to be open

Since the cemetery I could access by the side of an old house, I was able to spend the first part of the morning walking amongst the historic tombstone and graves of the ‘first families” of Salem, NJ. As I walked amongst the headstones of each row, I began to recognize the names of the families with the names of homes in the area and streets I had just traveled down in Salem.

Friends Burial Ground at West Broadway in Downtown Salem

https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/1997710/salem-friends-burial-ground

The family names of Reeves, Thompson, Abbotts, Wister, Bacon, Griscom, Waddington, Sickler, Lippencott, Goodwin, Bullock, Woodnutt and Bassett were arranged by family plots and neatly buried in rows. Many families were buried by generation so that you could the transition from father to son and mother to daughter. It was sad to see so many children who passed before their parents.

The Salem Oak Cemetery in the Fall

The old Oak Tree that once dominated this cemetery fell in 2019 and all that was left of it was a stump where it once stood. Smaller offshoots of the tree that are now about 200 years old still line parts of the cemetery and hold their own natural elegance in its place.

The Salem Oak before it fell

I finished walking through the cemetery and walking through this part of the downtown (Downtown Salem is so impressive but totally falling apart), I still had an hour before the other museums opened. Having not eaten since 6:00am that morning, I needed another breakfast.

The family tombstones at the Salem Oak Cemetery

I stopped in the Salem Oak Diner at 113 West Broadway is a small diner across the street from the cemetery. I thought it looked a little dumpy from the outside, but it is the traditional diner experience when you go inside with the loud waitresses and the big menu.

The menu was reasonable, and the waitress was really nice. I ordered the French Toast and Scrambled eggs which was delicious. The eggs were scrambled in clarified butter and had that rich flavor to them. They gave me three big slices of French Toast which was loaded with Cinnamon and caramelized perfectly and served with plenty of butter and syrup. God, it hit the spot and I devoured the whole thing. I think the waitress was impressed on how fast I ate it.

The Salem Oak Diner at 113 West Broadway

https://www.restaurantji.com/nj/salem/salem-oak-diner-/

After breakfast was over, I worked off the second breakfast walking this part of downtown. It was really quiet in the downtown area, and I could see why. There were no stores or other restaurants either open or there. So many store fronts in this downtown are empty which is so sad because not only is it a county seat but such a beautiful downtown.

My next stop was the Salem Fire Museum at 166 East Broadway, but it was still closed. I found out later that the museum was only open once a month on the first Saturday of the month. I confirmed this when I went to the Salem County Historical Society down the road, and they called for me. I guess for the next time.

Salem Fire Museum at 166 East Broadway

https://www.facebook.com/SalemFireMuseum/

My next stop when it opened at noon was the Salem County Historical Society at 83 Market Street which I had visited a few years before. This is such a wonderful historical society and one of the best I have ever seen. Their displays are so well put together and such interesting exhibitions. When I had visited it the first time, I have about a half hour to run around. I had plenty of time to visit on this trip.

The Salem County Historical Society at 83 Market Street

https://www.salemcountyhistoricalsociety.com/

https://www.facebook.com/salemco.history

The Society is housed in two connecting homes with an interesting core of the house that was originally built in the early 1700’s. The Society has two floors of displays and an extensive library that people use in search of town and family history (See reviews on TripAdvisor and VisitingaMuseum.com).

The dress Sarah Hancock Sinnickson wore to George Washington’s Inaugural Ball

What I found impressive about the Society is the extensive number of important artifacts that the museum houses. I took a highlights tour with one of the members and he really pointed out some interesting items to look at in the collection that was on display.

They have an impressive collection of Revolutionary War items including belt and shoe buckles and a ring with a lock of George Washington’s hair. They were several artifacts from the locally prominent Hancock family including the dress that Sarah Hancock Sinnickson wore to the ball of George Washington’s inauguration.

There was an exhibition of local ice cream companies including an early Bassett family display of the family that still runs their ice cream company out of Philadelphia.

Salem Historical Society Ice Cream display

There was an early cylinder phonograph of Edison’s that still had all the cylinders.

Edison Cylinder Phonograph was an interesting addition to the museum

Upstairs there was an interesting clock display where I learned the meaning of why the Roman numerals were created for the clocks the way they were (they wanted the four to be IIII instead of IV because it looked symmetrical).

“The Keeping Room” at the Salem County Historical Society

Downstairs I toured “The Keeping Room” which was the original section of the house from the early 1700’s. This is where all the cooking and work was done for the house as it was not just the heat source for the home but the light as well during the darkest months of winter. When I had been there at Christmas a few years earlier, this was decorated for the holidays with a tree and garland.

I am just impressed with the work that the Society did during the lockdown to make this such an interesting museum. They really put a lot of effort into the displays and explanations of the artifacts.

The Revolutionary War artifact room

For Halloween 2022, I returned to Salem for the Salem Historical Society’s Annual “Haunted Halloween Walk”. The ‘Annual Salem Walking Ghost Tour’ which tours the historic homes of the Salem Historic District and the church cemeteries of the downtown.

At each stop, we got to hear tales of the haunted houses of the district and the owners in the afterlife still are involved in their current owners lives.

We started the night with a concert at St. John’s Episcopal Church with organist Erik Meyer, who played music that we relate to Halloween.

St. John’s Episcopal Church on Market Street the day of the concert.

The concert highlights:

Traditional spooky music associated with Halloween

The “Tunes from the Crypt” concert was right before the walking tour.

The concert featured five musical numbers that are classic to all horror films. The music being played is what you might hear in a popular horror film or something to do with Halloween. It seemed a little strange to be in a church but the organist told us that a lot of churches are using this for a fundraiser.

Erik Meyer who was the organist at the concert before the walk

He dressed like a vampire which I thought was strange for a church. These concerts have brought people back to these churches and even the priest said that he had not seen crowds like this on Sundays. The church was packed that evening.

The inside of the St. John’s Episcopal Church for the concert

The beautiful stained glass windows the night of the concert

After the concert, we walked down the antique store where the tour started. We stopped at various parts of the historic district to tales of woes, travels and ghosts still haunting the homes they loved so much.

One of the decorated porches on the Haunted Walking Tour

The Historic District of Market Street

A resident of the house talking about his haunted home the night of the walking tour

No walking tour is complete with a trip to the cemetery

The cemetery during the day

The cemetery looks less creepy during the day

The walking tour really was interesting and residents talked about their experiences in their homes that they say are haunted. The tour was about an hour but is really worth the trip. It was interesting to see how Salem, NJ developed over the years. The tour takes place before Halloween every year and tickets do sell out fast. This was one of the highlights of the Halloween season.

In the summer of 2022, after I visited the three sites in town, I went down Route 49 to my next stop driving through the outskirts of Salem, the city. I could not believe how run down the homes were in the neighborhoods. Such beautiful Victorian and Federalist homes just rotting away. The whole city looks so sad.

Just when you think you have seen everything, you cross this one road, and you are out in the farming community again. Then its rows and rows of fields and farmhouses. Talk about extremes.

Just after the turnoff to the Hancock House Museum that I was going to visit next, I stopped at the historical site of the old Quinton’s Bridge. The bridge had held an important place in transportation of goods for the area and into Philadelphia. The patriots had to hold this bridge to cut off supplies to the British. As small as the creek is today, you did not have the modern transportation of today back in the late 1700’s so controlling this bridge was important. We lost many people, but we held the bridge (See review on TripAdvisor and VisitingaMuseum.com).

Quinton’s Bridge at Alloway Creek on Route 49

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Quinton%27s_Bridge

The Quinton Creek today

https://www.revolutionarywarnewjersey.com/new_jersey_revolutionary_war_sites/towns/quinton_nj_revolutionary_war_sites.htm

Today it is just a modern bridge in an isolated place in the middle of nowhere. There is a small town just south of the bridge, but you have to use your imagination back to a time when this was the only road in the area and the major hub of transportation in a vibrant farming community.

Video on the Battle of Quinton’s Bridge

I doubled back down a few country roads and visited the Hancock House at 3 Front Street in the small community of Hancocks Bridge. The town consists of a few roads of small turn of the century homes and surprisingly no businesses in what was once downtown.

The Hancock House used to sit on the busiest road in the area as it made its way through towns like Greenwich and Bridgeton. I assume before Route 49 was built; this was the only way to travel through this area as part of the home was a tavern for travelers.

The tavern part of the house faces the road and the home itself is across the street from the old Hancock Bridge. This once vibrant home and farm was an important part of the Revolutionary War history as the family played a big role in business and politics in the area.

The house itself needs a lot of work. The State of New Jersey runs the park and it needs a good painting and plastering. It also needs someone to come in and work with the decor and displays. There are some rooms that have period pieces and the furniture matches what would have been in the house but some of the rooms are barely furnished.

There are no family heirlooms in the house and the tour could have been a little more interesting as the state tour guide could not answer my questions. When another couple came in to take the tour, I took a guidebook and walked the grounds myself. I learned more about the family this way.

The Hancock House at 3 Front Street in Hancocks Bridge, NJ

https://nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/historic/hancockhouse.html

The Hancock estate in the Fall of 2022

https://nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/historic/hancockhouse.html

I walked the grounds of the house and could see why this road was so important. Like any other area of the state, when a new highway is built, the old one and what was located on it become part of the past.

Halloween events at the Hancock House in October 2022

Outside the tourists and the people that live in the town, I am sure that no one ventures here. There was not even a restaurant in the area to eat at in town.

The Halloween Pumpkin Patch at the Hancock House at Halloween

After visiting the Hancock House, I took the small country backroads that were once a major part of transportation in the area down to Greenwich, NJ, a small town south to visit their treasure trove of historical sites and homes. There were a lot of twists and turns down these quiet roads before you get to Greenwich, a town of an interesting mix of historical homes.

The Nicolas Gibbon House at 960 Greate Street

https://www.co.cumberland.nj.us/gibbonhouse

Nicholas Gibbon House

I took my chances to see if the Nicholas Gibbon House would be open and I lucked out in that it had just reopened for tours that month (See reviews on TripAdvisor and VisitingaMuseum.com). There was just myself and the tour guide, so I got a personalized tour of this statuesque home. Not only did Nicolas Gibbon and his wife live here but after them members of the Wood family moved in and were the family that founded the WaWa chain of stores.

Nicholas Gibbon moved to the area in 1730 when he inherited some 300 acres of land in the area and built his house here. According to the tour guide, he stayed until 1760 when he was trying to get a church built here and the local Quakers discouraged it. He and his wife moved from the area and the Wood family moved in and stayed in the house until the 1920’s.

Each room in the home is beautifully decorated with period pieces including portraits of Nicolas Gibbon’s nephew and his wife and silver from the Hershey family. The downstairs kitchen with the hearth and cooking materials was very interesting. Upstairs there is a “Everything Room” with clothing, hats, shoes, Civil War weapons and quilts. I took my time to tour the house and then the grounds before the home closed for the day. I was next off to the Greenwich Tea Burning Monument down the road.

Greenwich Tea Burning Monument at Ye Greate Street and Market Lane

https://www.co.cumberland.nj.us/greenwich-tea-burning

The Greenwich Tea Burning Monument was fascinating in that I never knew this existed or even happened. About a year after the Boston Tea Party, a small handful of citizens, including a future Governor of New Jersey from Greenwich burned a shipment of tea that was being stored in the town. I had come to find out that there were five instances of this radicalism on the East Coast.

The dignified sculpture was dedicated in 1908 in honor of this heroic act before the start of the Revolutionary War. I took my time to study what happened and never realized what New Jersey’s role was in trade before the war. I opened the small gate and paid my respects to these brave men who risked a lot to protest the “Tea Tax”.

Just down the road from the monument is the Museum of Prehistory at 1461 Bridgeton Road, which I had a small amount of time to visit before it closed for the evening. This little museum was a real surprise because it was not even on my list of places to visit.

Museum of Prehistory at 1461 Bridgeton Road

Click to access prehistorical.pdf

I just made it to the Museum of Prehistorical History after visiting the Nicolas Gibbon House. This small but unique museum is housed in one big room of the building and each section has a different artifact featured.

The was an extensive display of Lenape and Native American artifacts in one case line showing off the collection of arrowheads, spear tips and fishing and stone cooking equipment. There was a collection of fossils of fish, bone and plants and a selection of pottery. There were even fossils of dinosaur eggs.

The gentleman working there that day let me stay extra before closing and was a student studying paleontology, so he was able to give me an explanation on the specimens. From what he was telling me that the museum was looking for more space and may be moving in the future.

The Old Presbyterian Church and Cemetery at 54 West Avenue South in Bridgeton, NJ

Broad Street Presbyterian Church

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Broad_Street_Presbyterian_Church_and_Cemetery

Visiting the Old Presbyterian Church and Cemetery was an interesting experience. Trying to get from Greenwich to Bridgeton should have been a straight run but there were no names on the signs, and you just had to figure it out. I found the right road and it led me right to the cemetery.

The Presbyterian Church is only used now for special occasions and events but is an elegant building that sits on top of a bluff overlooking the downtown area. During the daylight hours you are allowed to roam around the cemetery looking at the gravesites (See my reviews on TripAdvisor and VisitingaMuseum.com). So many famous politicians, war heroes, founding fathers of the City of Bridgeton and entrepreneurs at the turn of the last century are buried here.

What I found interesting about the cemetery was the family plots with the generations of people buried next to one another and their stories. It was sad when the parents buried their children and then died a few years later. Trying to figure the narrative of these families can be heartbreaking.

The really sad part of such a historic cemetery is that it is so overgrown. I was walking through in some parts a foot of weeds. I know that taking care of a cemetery this size must be hard, but I would think there would be more care of the dead considering this is a destination for historians.

When I finished touring the church grounds, I took a tour of the Bridgeton Historical Downtown. It was such a waste to see a bunch of old buildings falling apart and most of the businesses closed or small run-down businesses located in them. A block away was a more modern downtown with newer buildings. The shopping district caters to the very large Hispanic population that lives here and is great if you are looking for provisions for a picnic.

After I left Bridgeton, it was almost 6:00pm and I headed back up Route 49 to head back to Salem. I was trying to figure out where to go for dinner and taking the advice of the Inn, I planned on heading back up Route 45 to Woodstown to find a place.

On the ride back up the highway, I passed Hudock’s Frozen Custard stand and saw all the people outside enjoying hot dogs and ice cream and I had to stop. It was so classic Jersey that I had to see what it was all about and trust me, it is worth the stop. Their food is delicious and extremely reasonable.

Hudock’s Custard Stand at 544 Salem Quinton Road

https://www.facebook.com/Hudocks-Custard-Stand-155824314452996/

I just wanted a snack to tide me over as I was traveling around and had no lunch. So, I ordered a foot long hot dog and a Coke. Trust me, when they said foot long, they meant it. The hot dog was really big, split down the middle and grilled and they topped it with mustard and relish. It was out of this world and just what I needed after a long day.

At Hudock’s Custard Stand, a foot long hot dog is A FOOT LONG!

I took my hot dog and Coke and sat outside with all the families enjoying their meals and just sat and watched the field sway by and enjoyed the sunshine. Talk about a perfect early evening treat. The hot dog was perfectly grilled and crisp when I bit into it.

When I went back again in September, the weather was just as nice, and I stopped again for lunch on my way to Pennsville to visit Church Landing Farm. This time I had a hamburger and French Fries with a Coke ($8.55). That hit the spot after a long day of driving. The burger was cooked fresh for me, and the fries just came out of the fryer and still sizzled. I just sat at one of the picnic benches and relaxed under the shade of a tree.

Relaxing and eating your lunch under the trees on the picnic tables at Hudock’s is wonderful!

It was nice watching the few cars drive by and admiring the farm that surrounded the hot dog stand. The restaurant is the perfect outdoor restaurant to just relax and watch the world go by. It takes you back to a time when you just stopped, ate and enjoyed the view.

The views of the farm across the street

Later that afternoon, I stopped back at the Custard stand they have and had two scoops of their homemade Peach Ice Cream. For $3.85, I thought that was very fair. You got two very large scoops of ice cream in a paper cup made with homemade peaches that were still in season. Yum! Hurry quick because Hudock’s closes the first week of October for the season.

The ice cream stand part of Hudock’s is a real treat. Don’t miss their homemade ice creams!

It was nice to just relax and watch the other people having such a nice time talking and eating. For a moment I felt like it was 1975 again and I was a teenager. This is how nostalgic the place makes you feel. When you see a free showing of “Jaws” coming soon I felt like I was stepping back in time. It was nice to just sit for an hour and just relax.

I agreed with the Innkeeper when I got back into Salem a little after 7:00pm. It was still sunny and bright but the crowds outside both the only Chinese take-out place and pizzeria in downtown Salem looked pretty shady so off I went back up Route 45 to Woodstown and decided on Papa Luigi’s at 39 North Main Street for dinner.

I was surprised on how both the restaurant and the downtown were so quiet that night. I know it was Father’s Day weekend, but it was not like a major holiday, and I would have thought people would have been out and about.

Papa Luigi’s at 39 North Main Street in Woodstown, NJ

https://www.papaluigispizzeria.com/

https://www.facebook.com/PapaLuigisWoodstown/

I was the only one eating at the restaurant that evening and the waitress could not have been nicer. It was the two of us and the delivery person and one other person outside the two cooks that evening. I ordered a Cheesesteak with Cheese Wiz and one of the best I have had outside of Philly. They really loaded in the meat for me, and the Wiz is the best way of topping it. I just sat there reviewing my notes of the day and planning the next morning starting with my first lighthouse visit.

Papa Luigi’s makes an excellent cheesesteak with Wiz

As I was driving back from Woodstown to Salem at 8:30pm, the sun started to go down and I wanted to see it before it totally set on the Delaware Bay. What was breathtaking was as I drove down Route 45, I could see the sun starting its descent over the fields of corn and wheat and the sunshine against the farmhouses. I made it back into Salem and then driving south to the bay area, I got the last glimpses of the sun as the party was cleaning up.

I stood on the lawn of the Inn watching the last of the sun peek under the horizon of the Delaware and the dazzling colors that it made. The sun fully set around 9:00pm (God, I love the Summer Solstice time) and watched as the stars started to come out. What a view! With all the craziness in the world and all the radical strife, this is what should get people to think about how Mother Nature can still surprise us with her magic.

The dazzling Delaware Bay view from the Inn’s lawn

I did not stay up too long after that driving so much during the day and slept soundly all night. I could not believe it the next morning when I had slept over eight hours which I never do. I was showered, shaved and up and adman by 9:00am and got packed and ready for breakfast. That was another wonderful part of the stay.

After I was packed up, I stopped downstairs for breakfast. Since there are no cooking facilities on the property and events are catered, they ordered in breakfast for me from the Diamond Grill at 534 Salem Quinton Road, a diner located down the highway from Salem. The order came in pretty quickly and I ate on the patio of the Inn overlooking the bay. Since there were only three rooms at the Inn and everyone else was gone, I had the patio to myself that morning.

I just had a simple breakfast of pancakes and fresh fruit with some orange juice (Yvonne lets you order what you wish off the menu provided in your room the night before) and had the table set up for me on the corner of the patio. The food was delicious, and the pancakes were large and had that nice, malted flavor.

While I ate, I got to watch the boats pass by and birds sway over the bay. I did not leave until the check-out time of 11:00am because it was so relaxing to enjoy breakfast and not have to rush anywhere.

My first stop the second morning was a trip down both Route 49 to Route 41 for my first stop, The East Point Lighthouse in Heislerville, NJ at the edge of Cumberland County. The lighthouse was located on the westernmost part of the natural preserve on the shoreline. Getting to it took a lot of twists and turns down the road but at the end of the road it offered the most amazing views of the ocean.

The East Point Lighthouse at 10 Lighthouse Road

http://eastpointlight.com/

https://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=372

This little lighthouse is one of the best I have seen in a long time. There is so much care put into this historical site. When I parked at the end of the street, I noticed on all sides of the lighthouse were barriers protecting it on all sides from the advancing bay.

After you buy your tickets at the Gift Shop, you walk along the dunes that protect the lighthouse that are nicely landscaped with sea grass, tiger lily’s and black-eyed Susan’s. The gardens are really beautiful at the beginning of the summer. It is a short walk to the lighthouse from here.

The lighthouse itself is nicely furnished with period furniture and antiques and each room reflects what the family’s role was in the lighthouse function. There was a lighthouse keepers office, a complete kitchen with pot belly stove and a living room on the first floor

The second floor is the bedrooms where you can see where the family slept, and the children conducted themselves with their own social life. The rooms contained a lot of period furniture and clothing, and the children’s bedroom was loaded with all sorts of toys from different eras. There was even a handmade dollhouse with homemade furniture that decorated it and a picture of the man who made it.

In real life, no child would have this many toys in this era, but the tour guide explained to me that after they finished renovating the lighthouse, they put out the word for donations for furnishings for the lighthouse. They were over-whelmed with donations. People must have been downsizing their family heirlooms.

Each room in the lighthouse was nicely decorated and reflected the times. On the top floors were the functions of the lighthouse and an explanation of how the lighting worked. This is still a functioning lighthouse so educational to see how it worked and how it functioned today. The tour guides are really good at explaining how everything worked.

After the tour of the lighthouse and walking the grounds (See my reviews on TripAdvisor and VisitingaMuseum.com), I left as the site was getting busier and headed up the highway to Mauricetown (pronounced “Morristown” like its northern counterpart) and headed up to visit the Mauricetown Historical Society.

The Mauricetown Historical Society like many of the spots on the historical listing is only open for a few hours twice a month so you have to plan your trip here accordingly. Make sure to take the hour-long tour as they cover not just the history of the house but how it was furnished, decorated and the story of the people who lived here. It really makes the house come to life.

What is interesting about the town and the neighborhood is that it was an old fishing, shipping and trade village and all the homes on this side of town that faced the Maurice River were the Ship Captain’s so the homes are bigger and more elaborate than the ones further in town. Still after driving through the town, it is a picturesque and quaint looking town with rows of historical homes and colorful landscaping.

The Mauricetown Historical Society at 1229 Front Street

http://mauricetownhistoricalsociety.org/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/History-Museum/Mauricetown-Historical-Society-178475328895206/

The tour of the Mauricetown Historical Society was very informative on the life of a sea captain and his family and the history of Mauricetown and its business functions for the area. This town was a big shipping area during and after the Revolutionary War and its location made it perfect for restocking and ship building. Sea Captains made their fortunes here and their homes reflected that affluence. This was the home of Captain Edward Compton.

When you enter the Mauricetown Historical Society, you are greeted into the parlor area of the home and a display of military items including uniforms, weapons, and equipment used for battle. They even had one of the earliest artifacts with a pair of sharpshooter glasses that had just been developed.

The Military display at the Mauricetown Historical Society

The living room had been redecorated to reflex the time after the Revolutionary War and its changes at the start of the Victorian era. Early wallpaper had been found underneath the paneling that had been placed on top and new one had been recreated to match the original. Period furnishings and instruments decorated the room.

The upstairs had bedrooms that were decorated to reflex the Victorian era with heavy furniture and a collection of quilts. Their collection of quilts was really interesting in that they had one they displayed with the names of the sea captains and their family members. Genealogists used the quilt so that families could trace their ancestors back to that time. They also had another quilt of all things found in nature.

There was a display to Captain Bacon, a local resident and his wife, Carolyn and their life together in town. There was another display of pictures of the town through the years and how it developed. There was a display of period clothing from the Victorian era to the 1920’s. I could see that even though it was a bit more formal, times have not changed that much.

They displayed the Oyster and Fishing Industry, and they had all sorts of equipment on display including the rakes and even had the bridge key for the old Maurice River Bridge to show how they turned the bridge to let the boats through. The last display was a wonderful collection of children’s toys and dolls (all of these homes have big displays of toys) and you could tell by the quality how lucky some of these children were because these playthings were not cheap even then.

In the backyard was a cookhouse that was kept separate from the house that was built in the 1880’s. A modern kitchen was not added until the 1940’s. Also in the backyard is the Abraham and Anna Hoy House, a small house that was considered an example of the average person’s home in the early 1800’s. Over the years it has been added to but the Society brought it back to its original early 1800’s design. You can see where the cooking facility was located and the loft sleeping space above it for the children of the house who used it in the cold months of the year.

The tour gave a very detailed explanation of life at that period and the tour guide gave a wonderful description of the time and life in the house. After the tour, I took time to explore the grounds around the house and of the surrounding neighborhood to admire the other old homes. It is an interesting town to explore.

On the first day of my trip in September, I stopped at the Dennisville Township Historical Society Old School House at 681 Petersburg Road in the town of Woodbine, NJ. This small one room schoolhouse is packed with all sorts of artifacts.

The Dennisville Township Historical Society Old School House at 681 Petersburg Road

http://www.dennismuseumfriends.org/

https://www.facebook.com/people/Friends-of-dennis-township-old-school-house-museum/100066513017935/

There are displays on businesses that used to be in the area such as the Mason Basket Company, who used to make all the baskets for apples and peaches for the local farms, the local shingle factory that prided itself on making the shingles for Congress Hall in Philadelphia and the local cranberry blogs.

There are pictures of the historic Methodist Camp that was located here, a display on local Veterans and their artifacts, pictures of home management on the farm and in rural New Jersey, an antique pipe organ and pictures of the local renovation of the Ludlam family cemetery. There is a little bit of this and a little bit of that displayed at the museum and well organized in this former one room schoolhouse. The docents were also really nice.

The Museum of Cape May County at 504 North Route 9

https://www.facebook.com/Museumofcmc/

The Museum of Cape May County changed their hours the week before and now it is only open on Wednesday and Friday afternoon, so I had to plan to visit it another time when I was in the area. I was a little bummed because it had nice grounds that I took a moment to walk. That is when I went back to the Cape May Zoo (see above) which was a madhouse that afternoon on a beautiful sunny day.

On my way back up Route 41, I debated stopping in Millville but there was no time if I wanted to get back to Pennsville to see the Church Landing Farm. I had tried twice to stop in to see the Potters Taven in Bridgeton but then double checked the guide and found out that it is only open on Sundays in July from 1:00pm-4:00pm so I will not be visiting it this summer, so I continued from Downtown Bridgeton to Pennsville.

Potters Taven at 49-51 West Broad Street in Bridgeton, NJ

https://www.co.cumberland.nj.us/potterstavern

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potter%27s_Tavern

Between the traffic and the distance and not being able to find the cross street, I did not get to the Pennsville Township Historical Society until ten minutes to 4:00pm and no one would answer the door. I knocked on both with four cars outside hoping that I would catch someone to give me a tour of the home but to no avail. I was able to see inside at some of the antique furnishings but that was it.

I was able to walk the grounds of the farm and it was spectacular. You really have to see the views of Delaware Bay and the fantastic views. The grounds have all the separate buildings on it that were closed as well but at least I got to view everything. For the next trip.

The Pennsville Township Historical Society-Church Landing Farm at 86 Church Landing Road

https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=516724785104596

When I visited in September, I made it a priority to visit the museum and arranged my Sunday schedule so that the Church Landing Farm was my last stop on the way home. After lunch at Hudock’s, I made my way up Route 49 to the museum. What was nice was I was the only visitor at the time, so it was just me and the two docents touring the house and grounds.

What an interesting tour of the house and of the displays in the sheds that are on the property. The farmhouse was built by the Garrison family between 1840-1845 and was the home of lawyer and gentleman farmer, Donald Garrison. The house was lived in by generations of Garrisons until 1973 when the last living member of the family, Anna Locuson died. At this point, the house was in disarray.

In 1991, with the help of Atlantic City Electric, the Pennsville Township Historical Society was formed and has maintained the house since. The artifacts in the house are all donations and are of the period that the family lived in the house over the years with the exception of family portraits on the first floor. The upper floors are displays of a children’s room and the room of an adult. They also have a nice research library on town and family history.

On the grounds there is a series of sheds with different themes and displays to see. As they unlock each shed, they show you the magic of their artifacts. There is one shed with a Floating Fishing Cabin, one with artifacts from the fire and police departments and the military, another of high school memorabilia, another is a wash house and my favorite, one of the Pennsville Beach Park, a former amusement park that was located in the current park until 1969. It has all sorts of signs, rides and former parts of rides and attractions. These sheds were the highlight of the trip. Everything is so well maintained and displayed on the property.

I also walked the grounds again and admired the view of the Delaware Bay and the Delaware Memorial Bridge. It must have been something before all these things were built and it just had a view of the bay.

I needed to stop for a quick snack, and I noticed that on this Father’s Day Sunday not much was opened around the area. I came across Four Seasons Doughnuts, an old-fashioned doughnut shop on Route 49 and stopped in. I got the most delicious sugar topped jelly doughnut ($1.50) and devoured it quickly. The doughnut selection that time of the day was not as big, but it was enough to tide me over until dinner. I was ready to see my last site of the day.

Four Seasons Doughnuts at 275 North Broadway in Pennsville, NJ

https://www.facebook.com/fourseasonsdonuts/

In September, I doubled back to Hudock’s to the custard stand for ice cream. It was only fifteen minutes away from the site. I ordered some homemade peach ice cream and just relaxed on the picnic tables again. It was such a beautiful day, and I did not want to leave that spot. Looking at the farms was just so nice (see prices and pictures above).

Hudock’s for ice cream is so nostalgic

I got to Fort Mott State Park by 5:00pm and it was still bright and sunny outside. I love these long summer days when it is light out until 9:00pm. By the time I got to the Finn’s Point Lighthouse, the Visitors Center was closed but it looked like it had not been open. The stairs were overgrown, the sign on the door was dated 2019 and the fence around the lighthouse had a lock that looked rusty. So, I only got to admire it from a distance. It really is an interesting lighthouse as it slender and further away from the water than the other lighthouses that I had seen before. I read that you cannot walk in if it is too cold outside or too hot. I traveled further into the park.

Finn’s Point Lighthouse at Fort Mott and Lighthouse Road

https://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=374

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finns_Point_Range_Light

Fort Mott State Park was a real treat. I never knew this place even existed. I had never heard of the fort before today. Fort Mott State Park is interesting in that it was designed after the Civil War facing the State of Delaware across the bay and was designed to protect Delaware Bay. Most of the construction happened after 1897 and gun emplacements were located the below concrete and earthen embankment.

There is also a fire tower, guard house, former warehouses and battery’s protecting the fort. By the end of WWI, the fort was considered obsolete and by 1943 was decommissioned. The State of New Jersey bought the land in 1947 and by 1951 it was opened as a park.

I was able to tour through the gun embankments and climb the stairs to see where the guns were once based on. The views were amazing of the bay, and it was a clear shot if boats tried to come into the bay. I passed the fire tower that was closed for tours that day and I visited what was the Ordnance Warehouse which is now the gift shop and a small museum of artifacts from the old fort. This includes equipment, pictures and photos of when the fort was in service. This part of the park should not be missed as it is fascinating to see how the fort was run and its role during the war.

The best part of the park is to just stroll along the long grass lawn that leads to the views of the Delaware Bay. The views are spectacular and on a sunny day, it is just a please to look out at the bay and enjoy the views. There are also nice picnic grounds that were full of families enjoying the early evening of Father’s Day. I spent time here relaxing before my long trip home soaking up the sunshine.

Fort Mott State Park at 454 Fort Mott Road

https://www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/parks/fortmottstatepark.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Mott_(New_Jersey)

After my trip to Fort Mott State Park, since the sun was still high in the sky and it would not get dark until almost 9:00pm, I decided to double back through Salem, go back up to Woodstown to have dinner and see the farmland one last time before leaving the area. It is such a scenic trip home and I wanted to see all of it one more time before leaving the area.

I stopped in Woodstown and walked around the downtown one last time. A lot was closed on Sunday, and I was surprised that more restaurants were not open. I decided on a quick slice of pizza at Gus’s Pizzeria at 14 Main Street. It was okay but I would not make a special trip to go there. There are other places to eat.

My last stop of the trip back up was stopping in Millica Hill, the quaint little town I first encountered when I got off Swedesboro Road to go down Route 45. I stopped and looked at all the old buildings and restaurants that they had. Most everything was closed for the day and only one restaurant was open and there was only one couple there. They also had a Historical Society in the downtown area that I noted for my next trip to the area.

As I finally got to the New Jersey Turnpike, the sun was setting in the distance. As I said before, it is so nice to have these long days to drive and explore. It was an eye-opening trip and I saw so many interesting places and got a better grasp of our state’s history and its place in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.

I was an interesting and relaxing weekend and the best way to spend Father’s Day. It was a trip that my dad would have enjoyed.

Happy Father’s Day to everyone!

Places to Stay:

The Inn at the Salem Country Club

91 Salem Country Club Road

Salem, NJ 08079

(609) 402-8190

https://salemcountryclubnj.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g46799-d12378333-Reviews-The_Inn_at_Salem_Country_Club-Salem_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

Places to Visit:

Rosie’s Farm Market

317 Swedesboro Road

Millica Hill, NJ 08062

(856) 223-9252

https://www.rosiesfarmmarket.com/

https://www.facebook.com/rosiesfarmmarket/

Open: Sunday-Saturday 8:00am-6:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46655-d5217872-Reviews-Rosie_s_Farm_Market-Mullica_Hill_New_Jersey.html

Salem Oak/Friends Burial Ground

112 West Broadway (Route 49)

Salem, NJ 08079

(859) 935-3381

https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/1997710/salem-friends-burial-ground

Open: Sunday-Saturday Dawn to Dusk

Admission: Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g46799-d24137617-r844157468-Salem_Oak_friends_Burial_Cemetery-Salem_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMusuem.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/7707

Salem County Historical Society

83 Market Street

Salem, NJ  08079

(856) 935-5004

http://www.salemcountyhistoricalsociety.com

info@salemcountyhistoricalsociety.com

https://www.salemcountyhistoricalsociety.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Salem-County-Historical-Society-127149567413641/

Open: Sunday-Monday Closed/Tuesday-Saturday 12:00pm-4:00pm

Admission: Donation Suggested

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46799-d13368307-Reviews-Salem_County_Historical_Society-Salem_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/1742

Salem Fire Museum

166 East Broadway

Salem, NJ 08079

(856) 935-0354

https://www.facebook.com/SalemFireMuseum/

https://visitsalemcountynj.com/places-to-see/museums-and-historical-sites/

Open: Sunday (First Sunday Only of the Month) 9:00am-4:00pm/Monday-Saturday Closed

Admission: See website

My review on TripAdvisor:

My review on VisitingaMuseum:

Quinton’s Bridge at Alloways Creek

Route 49 at Quinton-Alloway Road

Salem, NJ 08079

No Phone Number

https://www.revolutionarywarnewjersey.com/new_jersey_revolutionary_war_sites/towns/quinton_nj_revolutionary_war_sites.htm

https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=88443

Open: Sunday-Saturday 24 hours

Admission: None

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g46799-d24137890-r844180359-Quinton_s_Bridge_At_Alloways_Creek-Salem_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/7716

Hancock House State Historic Site

3 Front Street

Hancocks Bridge, NJ 08038

(856) 935-4373

https://nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/historic/hancockhouse.html

https://www.facebook.com/FOHHNJ/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hancock_House_(Lower_Alloways_Creek_Township,_New_Jersey)

Open: Sunday 1:00pm-4:00pm/Monday-Tuesday Closed/Wednesday-Saturday 10:00am-12:00pm/1:00pm-4:00pm

Admission: Free but donation suggested

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46491-d14113448-Reviews-Hancock_House-Hancocks_Bridge_New_Jersey.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/7658

The Nicolas Gibbon House

960 Great Street

Greenwich, NJ 08323

(856) 455-4055

Nicholas Gibbon House

http://www.co.cumberland.nj.us/gibbonhouse

Open: Sunday 1:00pm-4:00pm/Monday Closed/Tuesday 1:00pm-4:00pm/Wednesday-Saturday Closed

Admission: Free but a donation suggested

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g46477-d24137202-r844109193-The_Gibbon_House-Greenwich_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/7685

Alan E. Carman Museum of Prehistory

1461 Bridgeton Road

Greenwich, NJ 08323

(856) 455-8141

Click to access prehistorical.pdf

Admission: Free

Open: Sunday 12:00pm-4:00pm/Monday-Friday Closed/Saturday 12:00pm-4:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g46477-d24137081-r844512521-Alan_E_Carman_Museum_Of_Prehistory-Greenwich_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/7668

The Greenwich Tea Burning Monument

Ye Greate Street and Market Lane

Greenwich, NJ 08323

http://www.co.cumberland.nj.us/greenwich-tea-burning

Open: 24 Hours/Outdoor Monument

Admission: Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g46477-d24137215-r844112153-The_Greenwich_Tea_Burning_Monument-Greenwich_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/7689

Old Broad Street Presbyterian Church & Cemetery

54 West Avenue

South Bridgeton, NJ 08302

Check website

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Broad_Street_Presbyterian_Church_and_Cemetery

Broad Street Presbyterian Church

Admission: Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g46324-d24140698-r844174571-Old_Broad_Street_Presbyterian_Church_Cemetery-Bridgeton_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/7751

East Point Lighthouse

11 Lighthouse Road

Heislerville, NJ 08324

(856) 785-0349

http://eastpointlight.com/

https://www.facebook.com/eastpointlight/

Open: Sunday 1:00pm-4:00pm/Monday-Friday Closed/Saturday 1:00pm-4:00pm/Please check the website for seasonal dates

Admission: $8.00

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46502-d12629019-Reviews-East_Point_Lighthouse-Heislerville_New_Jersey.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/7696

Mauricetown Historical Society

1229 Front Street

Mauricetown, NJ 08329

(859) 785-0457

http://mauricetownhistoricalsociety.org/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/History-Museum/Mauricetown-Historical-Society-178475328895206/

Open: The first and third Sunday’s of each month/Check their website 1:00pm-4:00pm

Admission: Free but donation suggested. See website

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g46606-d24137792-r844173042-Mauricetown_Historical_Society-Mauricetown_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/7744

Potters Tavern at 49-51 West Broad Street

Bridgeton, NJ 08302

(856) 455-8580

https://www.co.cumberland.nj.us/potterstavern

Open: Sundays (In July Only) 1:00pm-4:00pm/Monday-Saturday Closed

Admission: See website

My review on TripAdvisor:

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

Church Landing Farm at Pennsville Township Historical Society

86 Church Landing Road

Pennsville, NJ 08070

(856) 678-4453

http://www.pvhistory.com/museum.htm

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/History-Museum/Pennsville-Township-Historical-Society-291880372272/

Open: Sunday 1:00pm-3:00pm/ Monday-Tuesday Closed/Wednesday 1:00pm-3:00pm/Thursday-Saturday Closed

Admission: Donation suggested/check website

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g46726-d24140695-r844169560-Church_Landing_Farmhouse-Pennsville_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/7734

Finns Point Lighthouse

Fort Mott & Lighthouse Roads

Pennsville, NJ 08070

(856) 935-3218

https://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=374

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finns_Point_Range_Light

Hours: Sunday-Saturday (Open with Fort Mott State Park-Lighthouse Currently closed, check the website of the park)

Admission: Free when open

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46726-d14113446-Reviews-Finns_Point_Rear_Range_Light-Pennsville_New_Jersey.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/7727

Fort Mott State Park

454 Fort Mott Road

Pennsville, NJ 08070

(856) 935-3218

https://www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/parks/fortmottstatepark.html

https://www.facebook.com/FortMott

Open: Sunday-Saturday 8:00am-7:30pm/Please see their website for seasonal hours

Admission: Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46726-d6775079-Reviews-Fort_Mott_State_Park-Pennsville_New_Jersey.html

My review on VisitingaMusum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/7702

Dennis Township Old School House/Dennisville Historical Society

681 Petersburg Road

Woodbine, NJ 08270

(609) 681-1899

https://www.facebook.com/people/Friends-of-dennis-township-old-school-house-museum/100066513017935/

http://www.dennismuseumfriends.org/

Open: Every other Sunday of the Month from 9:00am-1:00pm (Seasonal-see their website)

My review on TripAdvisor:

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/8758

The Museum of Cape May County

504 US 9

Cape May Court House, NJ 08210

(609) 465-3535

https://www.cmcmuseum.org/

https://www.facebook.com/Museumofcmc/

Hours: Seasonal Hours Sunday-Monday Closed/Tuesday-Saturday 10:00am, 12:00pm and 2:00pm.

Admission:

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46342-d286393-Reviews-The_Museum_of_Cape_May_County-Cape_May_Court_House_Middle_Township_Cape_May_County_.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/8766

Pinesgrove-Woodstown Historical Society

42 North Main Street

Woodstown, NJ. 08098

(856) 769-1886

https://www.facebook.com/people/Pilesgrove-Woodstown-Historical-Society-Museum/100057781264630/?ref=py_c

Open: Sunday-Friday Closed/Saturday 10:00am-1:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

Places to Eat:

Salem Oak Diner

113 West Broadway

Salem, NJ 08079

(856) 935-1305

https://www.restaurantji.com/nj/salem/salem-oak-diner-/

Open: Sunday-Saturday 6:00am-8:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46799-d5492724-Reviews-Salem_Oak_Diner-Salem_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

Hudock’s Frozen Custard Stand

544 Salem Quinton Road

Salem, NJ 08079

(856) 935-5224

https://www.facebook.com/Hudocks-Custard-Stand-155824314452996/

Open: Sunday-Saturday 10:00am-10:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g46799-d5555493-r843947185-Hudock_s_Frozen_Custard_Stand-Salem_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

Papa Luigi’s

39 North Main Street

Woodstown, NJ 08098

((856) 769-4455

https://www.papaluigispizzeria.com/

Open: Sunday Closed/Monday-Saturday 10:00am-8:30pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46943-d421272-Reviews-Papa_Luigi_s_Incorporated-Woodstown_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

Diamond Grill

534 Salem Quinton Road

Salem, NJ 08079

(856) 279-2375

https://www.facebook.com/DiamondGrillNJ/

Open: Sunday-Saturday 7:00am-8:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46799-d24137933-Reviews-Diamond_Grill-Salem_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

Four Season’s Doughnuts

275 North Broadway

Pennsville, NJ 08070

(856) 678-3800

https://www.facebook.com/fourseasonsdonuts/

Open: Sunday-6:00am-6:00pm/Monday-Friday 5:15am-6:30pm/Saturday 6:00am-6:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46726-d3903174-Reviews-Four_Seasons_Donuts-Pennsville_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

Gus’s Pizzeria

14 South Main Street

Woodstown, NJ 08098

(856) 769-0888

https://www.facebook.com/woodstownguss/

Open: Sunday-Thursday 11:00am-9:00pm/Friday-Saturday 11:00am-10:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46943-d11890666-Reviews-Gus_s_Pizzeria-Woodstown_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

Shane Confectionery 110 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19106

Don’t miss this elegant and traditional candy shop in Old Town Philadelphia.

Shane Confectionery is one of a kind!

Little Shop on Main Street

Shane Confectionery

110 Market Street

Philadelphia, PA 19106

(215) 992-1048

https://www.facebook.com/ShaneConfectionery/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60795-d3296425-Reviews-Shane_Confectionery-Philadelphia_Pennsylvania.html

Shane Confectionery at 110 Market Street in Philadelphia

What can I say about this little chocolate/candy store in the heart of Old Town Philadelphia? It is so charming and welcoming and a step back into time when buying candy was a luxury treat. The store looks like a jewelry store for candies with a wide aisle, wrought iron glass cases and overhanging lights that gas jets once lit the store (now electric). Still the store looks like something from the turn of the last century.

The interior of Shane Confectionery has not change since the turn of the last century

They were preparing for the Halloween holidays when I visited in the early Fall but I was looking at all the interesting handmade candies, made inhouse. All the trays of chocolate filled candies…

View original post 1,070 more words

Day Two Hundred and Four: Halloween Returns Part I: The Gotham City Ghost Tour/Michigan vs Michigan State Game October 30th, 2021

I can’t believe its Halloween!

I could not believe how fast the summer went. After I threw my back out, I was out of commission for three months and I was finally able to get started again by early September. Then we started classes at the College where I work and that has me running as well. It is nice to be busy.

Halloween was not as busy as it has been in the past because we are still dealing with COVID requirements. Some programs that I attended in the past were either cut or had limited space. Also with classes going on and in the midst of Midterms and quizzes for both classes my time was limited this year with the running around. I just did not want to push it. Still I got to do some new things this year.

Halloween weekend start at Blondies on the Upper West Side at 212 West 79th Street for the much anticipated Michigan-Michigan State football game. This has been much hyped because both of our teams were 7-0 and no matter how we play or what we do, Michigan State is always ranked lower than Michigan. It is just a fact. Until we beat them, for a SECOND YEAR, like we did this year!

Blondies at 212 West 79th Street

https://blondiessportsny.com/

Blondies is such a great place to watch the game. We have the whole back room for Spartan nation and the place was packed with everyone dressed in Green and White. I had gotten up to the bar just as Michigan scored the first touchdown so it was a touch glum but things got right back to cheery as we got the ball back. By the time I settled in it was 10-0 but things livened up again when we scored our first touch down.

By the time I left at half time, we were ahead 14-13 and my best friend kept calling me while I was on a walking tour of New York City filling me in on the updates. I had to keep breaking away from the tour to take the updates and I could see that was frustrating the tour guide out of the corner of my eye.

Michigan State versus Michigan

I took the “Gotham Ghost Tour of Lower Manhattan” on the day before Halloween and we really lucked out with the weather. It kept going from gloomy to sunny for the whole afternoon, so it added a little spookiness to the tour. We started our tour of Haunted Lower Manhattan on Second Avenue and 10th Street right across the street from St. Marks Church.

We started our tour at the side of St. Mark’s Church at 131 East 10th Street. The church has an interesting history starting with being the Chapel of Peter Stuyvesant

St. Mark’s Church at 131 East 10th Street

https://stmarksbowery.org/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Mark%27s_Church_in-the-Bowery

https://nyghosts.com/st-marks-church-in-the-bowery/

Our first part of the ghost tour was stopping at St. Mark’s Church at 131 East 10th Street. There was a mini-carnival going on in the cemetery portion of the grounds so it took away from the spookiness of the place. That and they made us wear masks outdoors.

The tour guide told us the story of the former Sexton of the Church was in the church alone one night and heard strange sounds coming from the lower floors. When he went to investigate, he found nothing. He then said that strange sounds started again like a scrapping on the floor. It was here that he confronted the ghost of Peter Stuyvesant, the Dutch Director General of New Amsterdam.

He ran out of the church and then mysteriously, the bell in the tower of the church started to ring on its own. No one else was in the church at the time. When they went to investigate, they found that the rope had been cut or separated and there was no way someone could have rung the bell.

When they investigated the crypt of ‘Pegleg Peter’ as he was called, legend has it they found the piece of rope in the crypt. The Sexton never returned to the church after that. When I asked when this was, the guide told us about the early 1800’s. I asked has anyone seen the ghost since. The answer was no but people still feel things in the building. I though it strange that a ghost would only appear once in the church.

Still, we visited the tomb of Peter Stuyvesant, who is buried in the wall of the church that once served has his chapel on the Stuyvesant estate, which this area of the City was part of at that time. The grave was hidden by a table and scaffolding but we managed to see it. It did look mysterious located at the bottom of the church foundation.

Peter Stuyvesant, Dutch Director General of New Amsterdam

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Stuyvesant

Peter Stuyvesant’s Tomb which was once part of his estate chapel

We walked around the grounds and saw other family crypts around the property that were not covered with tables. Some were family members of the extended Stuyvesant family (those who married into it like most Colonial families of wealth did) and other prominent families of the church like the Fish’s, Winthrop’s and the Tompkins, whose names are known throughout the City and New York State.

Our next stop was the Hamilton-Fish House at 21 Stuyvesant Street, where members of both the descendants Stuyvesant and Fish families lived.

21 Stuyvesant Street-The home of Hamilton Fish

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamilton_Fish_House

The Hamilton Fish is a brick Federal style house was built by Peter Stuyvesant, the great-grandson of Petrus Stuyvesant, the Dutch Governor of New Amsterdam, in 1804. It was a wedding present to his daughter, Elizabeth and his son in law, Nicholas Fish and their future son, Hamilton Fish, the former Governor, Senator of New York State and Secretary of State under the President Grant administration. The house was built on land that had been in the family since the 17th century (Wiki). This union united two famous and influential families and the house stayed in the family until the beginning of the 20th century.

Senator Hamilton Fish

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamilton_Fish

Our next stop on the tour was of Astor Place a few blocks away. We visited the outside of the Astor Building at 418 Lafayette Place, Colonnade Row.

418 Lafayette Place-Colonnade Row today

Colonnade Row was built in the 1830’s by contractor Seth Geer as nine private homes on land owned by John Jacob Astor. The architects on the job were Alexander Jackson Davis, Ithiel Town and James Dakin. The building was originally called ‘Lagrange’ or La Grange Terrace after the estate of the Marquis de Layfayette, a hero of the American Revolution (Wiki).

Some of the famous tenants of these homes were John Jacob Astor III, Julia Gardiner, the former first lady and socialite, Cornelius Vanderbilt and Washington Irving. Today they are a mixed-use building and in need of repair (Wiki).

418 Lafayette Place when it was built in the 1830’s

Its relation to haunted happenings was it was claimed that one of the construction workers who was renovating the property said that a ghostly hand came out of one the fireplaces during the renovation of the building. Since then, things have been quiet. Personally, I thought the guy must have been working too hard.

The next stop was across the street at the Astor Library at 425 Lafayette Street.

The Astor Library at 425 Lafayette Street

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astor_Library

The Astor Library with extensions

The Astor Library was a collaboration effort between John Jacob Astor and New England educator Joseph Cogswell. The library was built to be a research library where the books did not circulate. The library opened in 1854 to the public and in 1895 it was consolidated with the Lenox Library and the Tilden Foundation to become the New York Public Library (Wiki).

John Jacob Astor

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Jacob_Astor

The library was designed by architect Alexander Saeltzer who designed it in the Rundbogenstil style. The cornerstone was laid in 1850 and the building was finished in 1853. The library opened in January of 1854 and had later extensions to it (Wiki).

The ghost story of the library comes from Joseph Cogswell himself. In April of 1860, Mr. Cogswell was working late in the library when he walked down to the Research area of the library and spotted the ghost of a local physician who had died recently. Upon approaching the ghost and confronting it, the ghost simply disappeared. This happened for three more nights and each night the ghost would disappear. On the third night, the ghost disappeared again and has not been seen since. He also claimed to see the ghosts of Washington Irving and insurance executive Austin Sands (mrsdaffodildigresses.com/thegothiclibrary.com). Needless to say, they gave Mr. Cogswell some time off.

The “Library Ghost” from the movie “Ghostbusters”

The famous “Library Ghost” scene from the film “Ghostbusters”

After we left the Astor Library, we made our way across Broadway to the New York University campus, where we visited the Brown Building at 23 Washington Place, home to the famous “Triangle Shirtwaist Fire” of 1911. The building is located between 23 Washington Place and Greene Street.

23 Washington Place-The Brown Building

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_Building_(Manhattan)

The Brown Building is now part of the New York University campus containing the Chemistry Department. When it was built between 1900-01, the iron and steel building was designed by architect John Woolley in the neo-Renaissance style. It was named at that time the Asch Building after its owner, Joseph J. Asch. The building was known for their fireproof rooms which is why many garment makers liked the building including the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, which occupied the top three floors of the building (Wiki).

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory employed many young immigrant women at the factory with terrible wages and almost slave conditions. On March 25th, 1911, the fire started from one of the clothing bins where layers of fabric were stacked and spread quickly through the factory. Between the thick smoke, non-visual rooms and the locked stairwell doors, people died from smoke inhalation, being crushed trying to leave or throwing themselves from the windows. This led to creation of the Ladies Garment Union (Wiki).

The Triangle Shirt Waist Factory Fire in 1911

https://www.history.com/topics/early-20th-century-us/triangle-shirtwaist-fire

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangle_Shirtwaist_Factory_fire

According to the tour guide, there have been no sightings of ghosts here but it was a horrific site of tragedy. The site of young women either throwing themselves from the top floors of the buildings or burning to death in the stairwells is hard enough to imagine.

We continued down the block to Washington Square Park, one of the most active parks in Manhattan.

Washington Square Park in Washington Square

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/washington-square-park

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Square_Park

Washington Square Park was its usual active self when we walked into the park for the tour. People were planning a protest in the park on one side, they were sunning themselves in another, some were walking their dogs and others were playing frisbee. Kids were running around and older residents of the neighborhood were sitting on the benches talking to one another.

It was pretty shocking to me to discover that right under us was a massive cemetery. From 1797 until 1825, the area was New York City’s Potter’s Field. Many of the people being indigent or died during the Yellow Fever panic that hit the City. There is an estimated 20,000 people buried below the park.

There are also several church vaults that had been found of churches that when they were repairing the water lines in the area. There are still more vaults below the park as well as tombstones and mass graves. The park became Washington Square Park in the 1850’s. Still as repairs still place around the park, remains are still found.

One of the Church vaults with the mass graves

https://www.nypl.org/blog/2011/03/10/grim-origins-washington-square-park

We then walked past the Washington Arch, one of the most iconic symbols of New York City and used in countless movies and photoshoots. Even the arch has a dark history due to its designer, Stamford White.

The Washington Square Arch in Washington Square Park

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Square_Arch

The Washington Square Arch was designed by architect Stamford White in 1891 for the Centennial Celebration of President George Washington’s 1789 inauguration as President of the United States of America (Wiki).

Architect Stanford White

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_White

https://avenuemagazine.com/stanford-white-murder-notorious-new-yorker/

It seemed that the married Stanford White had a sexual appetite for young women, many of them being underaged. He had had an affair with actress Evelyn Nesbitt about five years prior to her marriage to Henry Thaw. Mr. Thaw killed Stanford White after a performance claiming that ‘he ruined his wife” in June 1906.

When we reached the other end of the park, we passed a very unassuming but huge Elm Tree at the edge of Washington Square Park. It was known as the “Hangman’s Elm” and is thought to be over 300 years old. The tour guide even called it “The Blood Elm”. It was used for executions by the local Newgate State Prison until the local prominent residents protested. The executions were moved to another location.

The ‘Hangman’s Elm’ in Washington Square Park

https://www.nycgovparks.org/facilities/great-trees?id=33

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hangman%27s_Elm

As we left the park and its sinister past (I never knew any of the this in all the times I have spent in this park), we passed the Jefferson Market Library at 425 Sixth Avenue. This beautiful turn of the century library was once the ‘Jefferson Market Courtyard” and this is where the Stanford White trail was held. The building was built in 1833 by architect Fredrick Clarke Withers of the firm of Vaux and Withers in the High Victorian Gothic style (Wiki). On Halloween night, it is used as the place where the giant spider puppet descents each Halloween Night before the Halloween Parade starts.

Some visitors claim to see the spirits of females roaming the gardens and some standing on the balcony of the clocktower. All I ever see when I pass it is nothing but the spider puppet that one time (The Gothic Library).

The Jefferson Market Library at 425 Sixth Avenue on Halloween Night

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_Market_Library

The Jefferson Library Historic Plaques:

Our last stop on the tour was in Waverly Place at the home of Edgar Allen Poe. It seems that Mr. Poe lived in many sections of the City and funny enough ended up in Camden, NJ. The home was at 116 Waverly Place and was supposed to be one of the places that the author had written “The Raven”. Reading an article in the NY Post said that this is a shaky assumption.

137 Waverly Place-rumored to be one of the homes of Edgar Allen Poe

https://nypost.com/2017/03/29/everything-you-know-about-the-village-is-wrong/

https://streeteasy.com/building/137-waverly-place-new_york

https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/137-Waverly-Pl_New-York_NY_10014_M95516-07159

A tour of the house and the neighborhood (if you can afford it)

After we passed the house (I swear as an author he must have moved around a lot when he was writing “The Raven” because that book must have been written in at least four places), this ended the tour. It was a lot of walking but I learned much about the history of the City especially in this neighborhood.

When I finished the tour, the game was over and we WON! I could not believe that especially since we were the underdogs going in and no one ever expects to win that game anyway. It will be a fun year and now wait until the basketball season. Kris was really excited but I could tell that her son, who is a big Michigan fan, was not. Go Green Go White!!

We Won 37-34 so the bragging rights are ours for the year!

The Michigan State versus University of Michigan Game 2021 highlights:

The Celebration in East Lansing, MI begins:

The Battle of the Bands at halftime for a “Bootackular” sound:

After the long day of touring, I walked back to the East Village for dinner. I took a chance to see if I could eat at San Marzano at 117 Second Avenue. This tiny Italian restaurant in the East Village is one of the most reasonable restaurants in the City in the way of quality of food and service. There are no dishes over $9.00. This is the reason why the restaurant is always packed and try to get in for dinner on a Friday or Saturday night.

San Marzano at 117 Second Avenue

https://www.sanmarzanonyc.com/

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/2551

I was lucky enough to get there at a time right before the dinner rush. I was able to snag a two top table right next to the window just as the restaurant had quieted down. The food and the service are so good here.

I was so tired from all the running around that day that I kept dinner on the lighter side. I had a mixed Green Salad ($7.00), that was so fresh and crisp with a light dressing. The lettuce was so crisp and the tomatoes actually tasted like a tomato for this time of year. The portion sizes here are just right.

For dinner, I had the Paradelle with Meatballs (I eyed the Meatball appetizer on the menu but knew I could not eat both), which was also delicious. The Paradelle is made fresh in the restaurant and could tell by the quality of the pasta. The sauce was rich with the flavor of the pork and veal in the meatballs. Talk about the perfect dinner on a cool early Halloween night.

The Paradelle here is excellent with Meatballs or Bolognese Sauce

The service could have not been nicer and the guy who waited on me could see how much I enjoyed my meal. He even tried to sell me dessert but I was so tired from the walk around the City I did not want to push it.

After dinner, I walked around the East Village and took the subway back uptown. While I was taking the subway uptown, I saw two Wolverine Alumni from University of Michigan come on the subway. Boy, did they avoid me! When they tried to sneak past me at the 42nd Street exit, I just said politely “Better luck next year!”. They just walked out with their heads down.

What an interesting way to spend Halloween weekend.

Boo!

Watch this! It scared the hell out of me! The short “Hello?”

Places to Eat:

Blondies Sports Bar

212 West 79th Street

New York, NY 10024

(212) 362-3311

https://blondiessportsny.com/

Open: Sunday-Tuesday 11:30am-12:00am/Wednesday 11:30am-1:00am/Thursday 11:30am-2:00am/Friday & Saturday 11:30am-3:00am

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d522509-Reviews-Blondies_Sports_Bar-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

San Marzano

117 Second Avenue

New York, NY 10003

(212) 777-3600

https://www.sanmarzanonyc.com/

Open: Sunday-Thursday 11:00am-11:00pm/Friday & Saturday 11:00am-12:00am

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d7028366-Reviews-San_Marzano-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/2551

Places to Visit:

This list was so extensive that I put all the address and links to other sites at the top.

Day Two Hundred and Six-Visiting the Light Shows “Lightscape” in Brooklyn and “The Jack O’Lantern Blaze” in Croton-on-the-Hudson for the Holidays November 20th-21st, 2021 (and again on November 5th and January 7th, 2022)

With the holidays now in full swing, I decided to usher out the Halloween holidays with its haunted houses and cemetery walks and usher in the Christmas holiday season with cheerful music and almost too much holiday decorating and shopping which gets more rushed earlier and earlier after midnight on Halloween. It gets to be over-whelming!

After a holiday of house decorating contests, visiting local farms to take pictures for my retail blog and the Halloween Parade in the City, the Midnight hour hit on Halloween night and I swear there was Christmas. I was even at one merchant’s store on Halloween morning and he was changing his Halloween window display to Christmas on the morning of the downtown merchants ‘Trick or Treating’ event. When I asked him why, he said, “This is the nature of the business right now.”

My weekend morning meant setting up for the Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association Christmas Tree sale on Jefferson and Terrace in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ. This annual rite is our biggest fundraising of the year and has become part of a tradition in many families as the whole family will come to the site even with baby carriages and dogs to buy a tree so that everyone gets a choice. It is nice to see the same faces every year and now I even hear from people that I sold them a tree when they were kids and now, they are buying one for their apartment in the City (thanks for making me feel ‘old’ everyone).

Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association Christmas tree set up

Day One Hundred & Twenty-Six: Christmas Tree Sales:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/15853

We got there at 8:00am in the morning, cleaning the site of leaves and branches and setting up the Christmas shed and all the tree stands. We worked until noon and then finished with a pizza lunch as a group. Christmas trees will be arriving next Friday and then it’s off to the races in selling 400 trees, a new record for us.

I went home and then it was off to the City to watch the end of the Michigan State versus Ohio State football game. What a bloodbath! They walked all over us. By the time I made it up to Blondies, the bar on the Upper West Side that the Alumni meet at everyone was gone but a small handful of people who are the hangers on to the end. The final score was 56-7 and it was a disaster with many of our players hurt. So much for the playoffs.

Blondie’s Sports Bar at 212 West 79th Street

https://blondiessportsny.com/

The Michigan State versus Ohio State Blood Bath:

Since I got to the bar with only two minutes left in the game and getting there just in time to see Ohio State score again, I left after the game ended. There were not that many people left in the bar at that point and only two Ohio State alumni were in the bar singing their fight song. I was off to Brooklyn to go to the “Lightscape” show at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the “Andy Warhol” show at the Brooklyn Museum. Getting to Brooklyn was a labor in love as all the subways were rerouted for maintenance.

“Lightscape” is a new event at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

https://www.bbg.org/lightscape

I had to change subways twice before I finally got the Number 2 into Brooklyn. Then it was a quick run to the Brooklyn Museum. Once I got to the museum, it was no problem getting in once I passed the COVID protocols.

I went to see the “Andy Warhol: Revelation” which was combination of his later works, his movies and his personal life both in Pittsburgh and in New York.

I never realized first how religious he was in his personal life and how it affected his art later on. Also, I knew that he had a close relationship with his mother and she lived with him but never knew she had assisted him with his art and how talented she was as an artist.

Andy Warhol and his mother in portrait in the “Andy Warhol: Revelation” exhibition

https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/andy_warhol

The exhibition featured some of his paintings from his “Last Supper” collection which he painted before he passed away. These interesting large pastel paintings again showed his religious side and portrayed Di Vinci’s “Last Supper” in a more exaggerated form. He kept the context but added color.

Warhol’s “Last Supper”

I finished my tour of the exhibition by watching part of “Chelsea Girls” one of his most famous films (I still have to admit I do not understand the movie and I watch it at the Museum of Modern Art for a couple of hours) and still did not get the point of the film. I have sat through a retrospect of his films and I have to admit, you really need to think about what he is saying because it can be challenging.

A clip from “Chelsea Girls”

After I left the Warhol exhibition, I walked around the American Galleries and then went down to see the rest of the museum. Several floors either were not open or you had to pay for the ‘Dior’ exhibition. I never remember the Brooklyn Museum charging people to see special exhibitions but I suspect COVID has changed it. Still, it was nice to see the Warhol exhibition before it opened to the public.

I got to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden right on time at 7:00pm to start the “Lightscape” tour of the garden. It was amazing!

Highlights from the “Lightscape”:

Lightscape 2021

This video gives just a short glimpse into what “Lightscape” showcased in the Gardens

https://www.bbg.org/lightscape

Lightscape 2022:

The Map of ‘Lightscape” in 2023:

It was an hour long walk in the gardens following a path around the perimeter of the Gardens starting at the new Washington Street entrance. What an amazing way to walk the Gardens at night. The lightshow really showcased the beauty of the gardens and its layout.

The colored lights by the Japanese Gardens

Visitors were guided on a path around the gardens that was cordoned off and then lit with colorful lights and music. Here and there props were added to open spots in the gardens for an experience of lights and sounds.

“Shunkashuto” in the Japanese Gardens

When you entered the Gardens, you were greeted by light jazz museum to colorful yellow and purple lights adorning the trees. As a group of us rounded the corner into the Japanese Gardens, we were greeted by a lightshow of multiple lights and spotlights enhancing both the garden’s trees and pond. It really lit up the water.

“Shunkashuto” in the Japanese Gardens

As you exited the Japanese Gardens, more lights lit the pathway to the Greenhouses and pools where interesting water sculptures that looked like floating Locusts lined the pools and kept lighting up to appear to be a flower opening.

The restaurants and cafes in this section of the Gardens were open that night but the lines were tremendous and the menu limited plus it was so cool out that I did not want to eat a meal outside but many people did not have a problem with this. The tables at the Yellow Magnolia Restaurant were packed with people eating.

The Magnolia Tree garden lit for the Lightscape event

I proceeded through the Gardens past light features of what looked like surrealist flowers lit in all sorts of colors with the sounds of Christmas jazz in the background. The flowers changed colors as the music played and I took my time to watch the flowers change from vibrant color to another.

These floral sculptures sway to light Christmas Jazz music (2021)

As I walked through of the Gardens, I walked past more trees that had been lit in green, purple and yellow showcasing trees that just a few months ago had been surrounded by crocuses, daffodils and tulips in all their beauty as Spring moved into Summer. In 2023, the ‘Hanabi’ sculpture, just off Daffodil Hill, was playing Christmas song as the lights and movements swayed around.

‘Hanabi’ sculpture in January 2023

‘Hanabi’ sculpture in January 2023

‘Hanabi’ sculpture in January 2023

‘Hanabi’ sculpture in January 2023

I felt like “Alice in Wonderland” walking under these stars

Just past the ‘Hanabi’ sculpture with the music still playing in the background, the brightly lit “Windseeds” were glowing in the distance. They looked like seeds that you would blow off a dandelion after it has dried out. These brightly lit stars lit the way to the Lilly Ponds.

Artist Norman Mooney created “Windseeds”

The “Windseeds”

The ‘Windseeds’

When I got to the Lily Ponds, the “Night Lilly” sculptures were out and did not light up even though the music was playing. The restaurant was pretty busy with people ordering hot drinks and sandwiches and pretzels. It was a cool night so I was a little thrown when people were eating outside.

When I left the restaurant and the Lily Ponds, I passed ‘A Magic of the Season’, a musically review sculpture that twisted and turned with the lights. It played the most wonderful seasonal music and its complexity changed with the colors.

‘A Magical Season’ in full color

From “A Magical Season” still playing in the distance, I could see and hear the song that made the “Light like Water” play and with each verse in the song, the pyramid changed colors and designs. I was so fascinated by it and by the song that sounded so post-COVID about recovery that I stayed three times to hear it all the way through and watch the colors. It was mesmerizing.

‘Light Like Water’ by artist Masha Tsimring

The glass pyramid “Light Like Water” at one of its various points of light and color in the song

The pyramid kept changing colors

They pyramid halfway through the song

Further down the path at the southernmost part of the park were the “Nightbirds” who soared across the trees in that part of the part near where the Herb and Rock Gardens were located.

‘Nightbirds’ were colorful as they soared above the gardens

Heading back towards the Main Lawn was the sculpture “What if?” as if it was questioning why we were in the gardens and what was our purpose.

“What if?” lights the way by the Rock Garden

On the way back and passing the Main Lawn where the water features are located was the interesting large flowers of the sculptures of “Bloom”. These colorful flowers were set to the background of trees that kept changing colors and were a blaze of brillant colors.

The beauty of “Bloom”

‘Bloom’ changing colors

The surrounding trees kept changing colors around “Bloom” adding to its complexity.

Next to ‘Bloom’, the ‘Neon Tree’ dazzling everyone with a variety of lights that showed the context of the tree it decorated. I wish the artist had done more than one tree as it would have made an interesting forest.

The ‘Neon Tree’

‘Neon Tree’ up close

Passing the ‘Neon Tree’, there was a shot of lights and music that created a outdoor ‘Disco’ dance floor in the middle of the path. “Dancing Lights” would have been fun if the weather had been warmer and people could have boogied on down. It got colder by eight o’clock and the lights were in full swing. At least we could enjoy them by walking through them.

“Paloma” was a series of birds that were placed all over the trees and looked like a pigeon attack from the distance. These well-light birds covered the branches of the trees on my way to the ‘Winter Cathedral’, which was the signature work of art of the this walking exhibition.

‘Paloma’ from the ‘Neon Tree’ path and its approach

‘Paloma’ from up close

The ‘Winter Cathedral’ from a distance

Entering the “Winter Cathedral”

Walking through the “Winter Cathedral” is amazing

The top of the lights of the “Winter Cathedral”

The “Ghosts” once you leave the “Winter Cathedral”

“The Ghosts” of birds on the sidewalks

The path led to the Cherry Tree lawn where the best part of the light show took place. A light show awash with colors and sounds as the entire section of the lawn was lit and twinkled of lights and Christmas music and light jazz as all the trees and lawns created a spectacular display that entertained everyone who stopped. I was so taken by the display that I stayed for three entire shows of lights and sounds.

The “Fire Garden” in the Rose Garden Fountain

The “Neon Waves” in the Cherry Blossom lawn

We exited up the hill that overlooked the Cherry Blossom Lawn so that you could see the lightshow again from another perspective. It was even more interesting as you walked up the sidewalks that line the hill and could sit in the benches watching the show from above the lawn. Amazing!

The “Neon Waves” in the Cherry Blossom lawn

The “Neon Waves” in the Cherry Blossom lawn

The “Neon Waves” in the Cherry Blossom lawn

The “World of Color” is between the Cherry Trees

The “Aurora” at the end of the walk through the Brooklyn Botanical Garden

The “Aurora” was the end of the show and the lights overlooked the Cherry Blossom lawn and with all the Cherry Trees lit to capacity, the whole show had two different perspectives from both sides of the lawn and as you walked down the promenade.

This video of the Gardens by Caty Exterior really captures the show (I credit the blogger on this amazing video):

The video on the walk through the gardens

I exited the Gardens from the original entrance on Eastern Parkway and like everyone else who was leaving that evening, totally mesmerized by the light show we had just experienced. I was glad that I had seen the show early as the reporters and bloggers who I had probably been touring with had seen the show as well and everyone reported on it the next week. Online reviews were extremely enthusiastic.

After the show was over in 2021, I walked down Washington Avenue to find a place to have a snack. I came across Gino’s Cucina Brick Oven Pizzeria at 723 Washington Avenue. for a slice of pizza. The pizza was excellent with such a crisp crust and bottom and the sauce really tasted of fresh tomatoes. The only problem with the restaurant was that there was no place to eat inside and I ended up eating at one of the small tables outside and it had gotten cold as the evening progressed. It was nice to eat outside but my pizza got cold fast.

Gino’s Cucina Brick Oven Pizzeria at 723 Washington Place

https://www.ginoscucinabrickoven.com/

The pizza at Gino’s Cucino was delicious

After my snack, I took another walk around the neighborhood to see the lights of the Brooklyn Museum and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in the distance. It really had been a wonderful evening and I was glad that I experienced the light show and the art opening before they reached the general public and tickets then became hard to get. Not even a week after I visited both shows, they had been heavily reviewed in all the New York City papers so try to get tickets now.

In 2022, it was really getting cold out and I needed some chicken soup and I remembered North Dumpling and King Dumpling in Chinatown and wanted to stop in Chinatown for a quick snack. Thank God I chose North Dumpling first because as I walked back through Chinatown, King Dumpling had closed for the evening.

China North Dumpling at 27A Essex Street in Chinatown

http://www.china-north-dumpling.com/

I had to walk down many dark streets to the get to the restaurant which is on the other side of Chinatown. I ended up ordering the Steamed Wonton Noodle Soup ($6.95) and an order of Spring Rolls ($3.00). With a Coke the whole thing came to $11.00. That was my type of meal and talk about the soup warming you up.

The Spring Rolls at China North Dumping

The Steamed Wonton Noodle Soup I highly recommend at China North Dumpling in Chinatown

It was a nice end to a wonderful evening and even though it got cold, it was fun walking around Chinatown again. What really scared me is how rapidly the neighborhood is changing. It is getting very ‘hipster’. I am not sure if people are noticing.

The next evening, I drove up to Croton-on-the-Hudson for the last night of the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze at the Van Cortlandt Manor. I have been to the show for many years and I even renewed my membership again to see the show one more time. This was the last night of the show before it closed for the season. Seeing a Christmas light show the night before made this visit rather strange as Halloween was over three weeks earlier. Still, it was an amazing walk through the grounds and the best part was there were no crowds!

I started the evening with dinner with my favorite restaurant right near the Van Cortlandt Manor, Dong Happy Gardens at 440 South Riverside Avenue. This wonderful Chinese restaurant is tucked into the Shoprite Mall next to the supermarket. The three times I have eaten here the food has been excellent (See review on TripAdvisor.com) and the service very friendly. The rules have been relaxed at the restaurant so you can eat in the booths now.

Dong Happy Garden at 440 South Riverside Avenue

https://www.restaurantji.com/ny/croton-on-hudson/dong-happy-garden-/

I had the Chicken and String beans with a side of Pork Fried Rice and an Egg Roll and everything was excellent. They served me a large portion of Chicken with freshly cooked string beans in a soy and Hunan sauce with had a nice hot and tangy flavor to it. The egg roll was filled with lots of chopped roast pork and cabbage and was perfectly fried. The combination plate was a nice sized dinner portion and warmed me up on a cool night.

The Chicken and Broccoli is excellent here

With the Christmas holidays in full swing, the festivities of Halloween are long behind us and since I chose the last night of the show at the last entry time of 8:00pm I pretty much had the walk all to myself. There must have been about fifty other people walking through the same time as myself and I could take extra time to look at the displays and enjoy the music.

The Van Cortlandt Manor is memorizing with the site of hundreds of lit pumpkins

Being so close to Thanksgiving, the newest pumpkins that had been carved were in the shape of turkeys and horns of plenty.

Welcome to the Blaze in 2022

Pumpkins with their own ideas in 2022

You were still greeted by the mysterious faces of Halloween but the last week of the event was themed to the upcoming holiday.

The “Tappan Scream Bridge” leads you into the displays

The show had not changed much since I had visited in late November last year. I entered through the Tappan Scream Bridge and saw all the carved pumpkins of fish swimming. I then passed the Ferris wheel of mysteries animals as they made their way around a circle.

The Headless Horseman Bridge was another bridge of wonder at the entrance of the grounds

Walking through the tunnel of lights is a fantastic sight

I made my way through the display passing the Headless Horseman Bridge and the Museum of Modern Art display which I thought was one of the most original parts of the show three years ago.

The Art Show:

Their version of Van Gogh’s “The Scream”

Their version of Di Vinci’s “The Mona Lisa”

Their version of Andy Warhol’s “Soup Cans”

Keith Haring in a pumpkin

Alexander Calder in 2022

I continued my walk through the display looking that the Ghost Circus Train that lead the way through the next part of the display showcasing all the circus animals that followed.

The Ghost Circus Train ablaze with animals

Once past the Ghost Circus Train I walked past the Ferris Wheel of Animals going round and round as it played an eerie tiny music. The animals grinned as they went through the cycle over and over again.

This ghostly Ferris Wheel shocks and memorizes

The path led past the Ferry House that once greeted guests on the Old Albany Post Road.

The Pumpkin Blacksmith in 2022

Then led to a series of Zodiac signs. I search for Libra and found it right in the middle of the display showing the balance that our sign represents.

The Pumpkin sign of Libra

The paths lead past creatures from the deep and the past as our crowd of visitors was greeted by the Lock Ness Monster and a series of dinosaurs that guarded the path on the way to the Van Cortlandt Manor House.

The Loch Ness Monster guards the paths to the deep

The dinosaurs roared and nodded as you walked past them showing their strength of character and lore.

The dinosaurs led the path to the next part of the display

As I got closer to the main house, there was a big display of the skyline of Manhattan with a display of the New York City skyline starting with the statue of Liberty and the Lower Manhattan skyline. I thought that was very creative.

The Statue of Liberty was very impressive as well was the skyline

I finally reached the Van Corlandt Manor lit to the hilt with colorful lights and a dazzling light show that was continuous. Before you entered the front of the manor, you are greeted by a mysterious clock that chimed and churned as it greeted you.

This grandfather clock chimes it way through the tour of the Van Cortlandt Manor

The manor house, which closes in September for the set up of the Blaze, was lit with a entertaining Light Show and music that greeted guests with a sinister undertone and greeting welcoming in the Halloween season. You have to wait to see the show twice not to miss anything.

Van Cortlandt Manor in all its dazzling glory for the Halloween holiday

Before leaving the last part of the Blaze, there is a well lit path of ghosts and ghouls and things that go bump in the night as you pass the Van Cortlandt cemetery and things from the past that guard them. There are all sorts of creatively carved pumpkins all over the lawn in front of the manor.

The Van Cortlandt Cemetery is on display as you exit the family home

Ghosts and Ghouls and things that go bump in the night

Paying respects to the Van Cortlandt Family patriot Steven Van Cortlandt

Pay respects to Catherine Van Wyck and Pierre Van Cortlandt

Pay respects to Pierre Van Cortlandt

The Flower garden on the way out.

The Ghouls as you exit the Pumpkin Blaze

Exiting the Blaze, you will see all sorts of carved pumpkins and the rest of the Blaze in the distance. It will be another year to until the Blaze comes again but what a way to see it on its last glorious night. This is something you should not miss when coming to the Hudson River Valley during the Halloween season.

Me on the night of the Blaze. It was rather warm for this time of the year.

Happy Halloween and Merry Christmas!

Places to eat:

Blondies Sports Bar

212 West 79th Street

New York, NY 10024

(212) 362-3311

https://blondiessportsny.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Sports-Bar/Blondies-Sports-NYC-358153694062/

Open: Sunday12:00am-11:00pm/Monday-Wednesday 6:00pm-11:00pm/Friday 12:00pm-11:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d522509-Reviews-Blondies_Sports_Bar-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Dong Happy Garden

440 South Riverside Avenue

Croton-on-the-Hudson, NY 10520

(914) 271-7888

https://www.restaurantji.com/ny/croton-on-hudson/dong-happy-garden-/

Open: Sunday 12:00pm-9:00pm/Monday Closed/Tuesday-Saturday 11:00am-10:0pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g47560-d4616434-r819621756-Dong_Happy_Garden-Croton_on_Hudson_New_York.html?m=19905

Gino Cucino Brick Oven Pizza

790 Washington Avenue

Brooklyn, NY 11238

(718) 857-7100

https://www.ginoscucina.com/

Open: Sunday-Saturday 11:00am-9:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60827-d4275575-r819624674-Gino_s_Pizzeria-Brooklyn_New_York.html?m=19905

China North Dumpling

27A Essex Street

New York, NY 10002

(646) 421-8823

http://www.china-north-dumpling.com/

Open: Sunday-Saturday 9:00am-10:30pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d7608410-Reviews-China_North_Dumpling-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/2981

Places to Visit:

Brooklyn Museum

200 Eastern Parkway

Brooklyn, NY 11238

(718) 638-5000

https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/

Open: Sunday 11:00am-6:00pm/Monday and Tuesday Closed/Wednesday and Thursday 11:00am-6:00pm/Friday and Saturday 11:00am-8:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60827-d110213-r819625252-Brooklyn_Museum-Brooklyn_New_York.html?m=19905

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

990 Washington Avenue

Brooklyn, NY 11225

(718) 623-7200

https://www.bbg.org/

Open: Sunday 10:00am-3:30pm/Monday Closed/Tuesday-Saturday 10:00am-3:30pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60827-d103900-r819623657-Brooklyn_Botanic_Garden-Brooklyn_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/2785

Van Cortlandt Manor

525 South Riverside Avenue

Croton-on-the-Hudson, NY 10520

(914) 336-6900

Open: Please visit the website for dates that it is open seasonally

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g47560-d116391-r819622828-Van_Cortlandt_Manor-Croton_on_Hudson_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/3677

Old Hook Farm 650 Old Hook Road Emerson, NJ 07630

Old Hook Farm

650 Old Hook Road

Emerson, NJ 07630

(201) 265-4835

http://www.oldhookfarm.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Farm/Old-Hook-Farm-254262633465/

Open: Sunday 10:00am-4:00pm/Monday Closed/Tuesday-Saturday 10:00am-4:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g46418-d23048831-r815902376-Old_Hook_Farm-Emerson_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

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Old Hook Farm Farmhouse Homestead at 650 Old Hook Road



One of the nice things about Bergen County, NJ is the small farms that remain in the area showcasing our Counties agricultural past. There are only about six left and located mostly up in the upper parts of Bergen County where the bulk of the farms were located up until the 1980’s. Land prices and development have made some disappear and with others a lack of an heir to continue the tradition on going forward.



The entrance to Old Hook Farm

The Old Hook Farm is a throwback to a combination of the old-fashioned General Store and Farm Stand that used to dot small towns in Bergen County. The outside of the store has a greenhouse full of decorative plants for both the house and for the gardens. In the Holiday months, the greenhouse is filled with hot house flowers for the holidays and outside there are Christmas trees, wreaths and other holiday decorations for sale. When it snows, it looks like a picture out of Currier & Ives.

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The flowers and decorative products of the greenhouse

During the Fall months, the farm was ablaze with colors in the background while the front of the greenhouse was filled with gourds, pumpkins and corns of different colors. There were all sorts of Halloween related merchandise for decorating the inside and outside of the house.

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Blogger Justin Watrel in front of the Fall display of products at Old Hook Farm

The inside of the Farmers Market has all sorts of fresh produce with seasonal fruits and vegetables, freshly baked pies, cakes and scones and loaves of bread from a local vendor.