Tag Archives: Warren Watrel

Hudock’s Custard Stand 544 Salem Quinton Road Salem, NJ 08079

For a step back in time to a slower time and relaxing during the summer, Hudock’s Custard Stand is for you.

Going to Hudock’s is a step back in time to long warm summers and enjoying nature that surrounds us.

The hamburgers and fries are amazing! Especially when dining outside on the picnic tables.

Dining on a Shoestring in the New York City area

Hudock’s Custard Stand

544 Salem Quinton Road

Salem, NJ 08079

(856) 935-5224

https://www.facebook.com/people/Hudocks-Custard-Stand/100064101820444/

https://www.menupix.com/menudirectory/menu.php?id=3000080

Open: (Seasonal) Sunday-Saturday 10:00am-10:00pm (will close in October)

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

I love this classic little Jersey food stand! Talk about character!

The one thing about Hudock’s Custard Stand is that it is a piece of New Jersey nostalgia to a time when things were just a little slower and when you visit, they still are. When people come here to dine, there is not a cellphone in site and people sit in the chairs or at the picnic tables and just talk to one another. Or admire the beautiful views of the surrounding farms. On a warm sunny day, there is nothing like a cup of ice cream or a footlong hot dog to make you forget your troubles.

Where you order food at Hudock’s

Hudock’s keeps things simple and friendly when you…

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Dennis Township Old School House Museum 681 Petersburg Road Woodbine, NJ 08270

Don’t miss this charming little museum in Woodbine, NJ with its look into a small farming community over the last 300 years.

The Dennis Township Old School House Museum at 681 Petersburg Road in downtown Woodbine, NJ

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

Dennis Township Old School House Museum

681 Petersburg Road

Woodbine, NJ 08270

(609) 861-1899

http://www.dennismuseumfriends.org/

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

Open: Every First and Third Saturday of the Month (Please check with the website on weather conditions)

Admission: Free but donations accepted

My review on TripAdvisor:

I have been wanting this charming little museum for several months. This is one of the featured historical museums in Southern New Jersey. The museum is representing the local farming and manufacturing industries as well as life in a farming community at the turn of the last century.

The museum was started in 1994 in a partnership with the town of Woodbine, NJ and houses the history of Dennis Township. It is an all-volunteer museum, and the docents were really helpful describing all the displays that surround this small former schoolhouse. Their Friends of the Dennis Township Museum group does a nice job walking you around the museum…

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My Life as a Fireman: The Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association: August Meeting & Barbecue August 21st. 2022

It was a wonderful day for a barbecue and the members of the NJ State Firemen’s Home had a wonderful time.

The members of the Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association at the NJ State Firemen’s Home.

The Bergen County Firemen's Home Association

The Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association sponsors two barbecues at the NJ State Firemen’s Home in July and August

It was a spectacular day for a barbecue!

After having to cancel our June Barbecue because of bad weather (there was a rain storm all day on our date in June), we lucked out on our first barbecue on July 10th, when we had the most spectacular sunny and warm day with no humidity. It was the same for our second barbecue on August 21st. Clear sunny skies and low 80-degree weather had the residents of the NJ State Firemen’s Home coming out in droves to enjoy good music and delicious food.

The August barbecue was especially special. The crowd included a large contingent from the Maywood Fire Department to help celebrate the 99th birthday of Maywood’s own George Steger, a guest at the firemen’s home…

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Day Two Hundred and Forty-Six Exploring City Island in the Bronx-A Local Journey August 13th, 2022

I went to City Island in search of a witch.

City Island in New York City

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_Island,_Bronx

https://www.nycgo.com/boroughs-neighborhoods/the-bronx/city-island/

This was the first time I had been to City Island since 2008 when I visited the island for research for my third book “Dinner at Midnight” in which one of the main characters is a witch that moves to City Island. I had walked every street on the island trying to get a feel for what it might be like to live on the island and what the character may experience. There is a very important scene in the book where her boss comes to the island to search for her and notes to close proximity to Hart Island, New York City’s ‘Potters Field’.

He comes searching for the truth about his unusual employee and finds out too much. I will just leave this as a spoiler as I have not finished the last chapter of the book yet. You can read the first book in my New York City trilogy, “Firehouse 101” that is available at IUniverse.com and Google Books.

My first book in the New York Trilogy “Firehouse 101”

On top of research for my book, “Dinner at Midnight”, I wanted to visit the City Island Nautical Museum for my blog, “VisitingaMuseum.com” as I had not been to the museum since I visited the island again in 2008. That was when I stayed at La Refuge, an inn that is now a private home. To add to the creepiness of the storyline, is that when I stayed at the inn for two nights, the first night in the first room there was no problem.

The former “La Refuge Inn” is now a private home and I think is haunted

When for some reason the second night they made me move to a back room, I could not sleep all night. I kept thinking that someone was in the room with me, and I finally had to sleep with the lights on. I never stayed or came back to the inn before it closed a few years later. I never felt that way before staying in an inn or B & B, and I have stayed in a lot of old houses.

Before I visited the museum, I had to stop for something to eat. I had a very early breakfast wanting to get to City Island early so I got hungry again. I was surprised that the pizzeria around the corner from the museum was closed and the diner near the museum was closing soon as well. I found the Sea Breeze Deli at 325 City Island Avenue just down the road from the museum and stopped there.

The Sea Breeze Deli at 325 City Island Avenue

I felt like I had walked into time warp as the place looked like it was from the 1970’s. Even thought it was a bit dated inside, I ordered a Bacon, Egg and Cheese on a roll ($4.00) and it was terrific (See review on TripAdvisor) and hit the spot where I was ready for a long day of exploring.

The Bacon, Egg and Cheese on a roll is terrific at Sea Breeze Deli

https://www.facebook.com/seabreezedelicorp/

The City Island Nautical Museum located at 190 Fordham Street, had not changed much from that visit. The museum is located on a quiet, residential street just off the main strip of City Island Avenue. It is located in what was the old PS 17, the island’s elementary school. Loaded with information but a bit jumbled with historic artifacts all over the place. Still, it is a great little museum.

The City Island Nautical Museum at 190 Fordham Street

https://www.cityislandmuseum.org/

Each room in the museum has a different theme to it with more information lining the hallways (See my review on VisitingaMuseum.com). The Community Room toward the back of the museum shows the history of the City Island starting with the Native Americans and the Dutch and how the settlement grew. Lining the walls were signs and memorabilia from businesses that once dotted the island and a little about their history. There are all sorts of ads and items once carried by the merchants.

The Schoolroom had the history of PS 75 and PS 175 which were the public schools located on the island as well as St. Mary’s, the recently closed Catholic school. It had old class photos, pictures of the school at various times and a complete schoolroom set up. The rooms that dealt with Ship Building and the Nautical past were the most interesting.

City Island has a rich history in ship building, sail making and fishing it is reflected in the collection of materials in the museum and its archives. The museum really details the growth and history of the boating industry on the island and its importance in the local economy. What I found interesting was the rich history of the creation of the sailing ships for the America’s Cup tournament and how all the winning boats up until the 1980’s were built on the island and the one that lost the cup for us against Australia was the first one not built on the island.

The Nautical Room at the City Island Maritime Museum

Even Ted Turner’s boat “Courageous” was built on the island. There was a picture of the reunion of the boat winning twice at the museum with the crew’s signatures (The tour guide even said how he ‘freaked out’ members of the New York Yacht Club who did not consider him one of their own). All the sailing vessels lined the walls of the hallway of the museum.

Each room of the museum was dedicated to a different theme. When I toured the Community Room in the back of the museum, it held the records of a lot of old businesses of City Island with pictures and items that were once part of the businesses. There was a small FDNY display, a small WWII display about local residents who fought in the war, wedding garments, maps of the island and a small display of arrowheads.

In the School Room, the concentration was on PS 17, which the museum is now housed in and its history with all the classroom group shot pictures, graduation pictures and a small classroom set up. There were more records and event items of the current PS 175, which is the K-8 school that the residents attend. There were also records and pictures of St. Mary, Star of the Sea School, the former Catholic school that used to be on the island as well.

The Nautical Room needed an overall as there was too much going on in the room with pictures all over the walls, equipment for navigation and for fishing and records of the ship building companies that used to dot the island. There were boats in various shapes and sizes on display and the companies that built them like Wood Yacht, Nevins Yacht and Minneford Yacht. There was also the history of shipbuilding and sail making on the island. The tour guide told me there were no more ship builders on the island, but one sail maker left.

The Library where all the research is done on the island and on the families and businesses that were once here was dominated by yachting pictures and nautical photography. It held all the City Island records and even the ship building plans.

The museum has a lot to see but it needs to be a bit more organized to really showcase the collections properly. Still, it is one of the best museums I have seen with a nautical history theme. The best part is that you can see the whole museum in about an hour and this leaves you time to tour the island and see how the museum better explains why the island is the way it is right now.

After I left the museum, I decided to tour the whole island and started with a tour down Fordham Street which lead me to the new apartment complex and their little walled park. It went in a spiral pattern and then I turned myself around back to the street and stood and admired the views. You get the most spectacular views on the Long Island Sound and the mysterious Hart Island from here.

I then took a tour of King Street and passed the beautiful but eerie Pelham Cemetery. It just sat in front of the beautiful backdrop of the bay still giving you a look of longing. I wanted to walk through it but the cemetery was locked and there was no trespassing signs all over the place. I just admired it from the gate looking for family names.

The Pelham Cemetery on King Street in City Island

https://www.pelhamcemetery.org/

https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/65607/pelham-cemetery

As I walked up both King and Minnieford Streets, I admired the hodge-podge of architecture of the homes on the island. There are rows of bungalows and elegant Victorians with their large porches and shade trees again with the bay in the background in some cases.

As I rounded up Terrace Street and got to the northern tip of the island, I saw the house that I used in the book as the home of the mysterious and sinister Serena Platt, the spell bounder in my novel. I set her apartment in this house and thought it had the right mood as a place that would be here home. I saw a couple of kids playing basketball on the property and did not want to stay too long to stare at it.

As I walked back down King and Minnieford Streets, I saw another Victorian home with a dark colored paint job that might fit the mood of her home as well. I had not noticed this house when I was walking around the island years earlier on a scouting trip. With its dark tones and wrap around porch, it looked like something you would find in New England or Salem, MA.

As I made my way down Cross Street back to City Island Avenue, I wanted to walk the whole street to see what stores and restaurants were there from I visited last. Most of the seafood restaurants were still there but the smaller antique and clothing stores were now gone. Many of the little unique stores had long since closed someone told me at a store I visited. Between the economy and the pandemic, they had taken their toll on business owners.

That may have been with the traditional businesses but not with the restaurants. As I walked down City Island Avenue from north to south, it seemed that every restaurant was getting a crowd especially as I walked further down the road.

Sammy’s Fish Box at 41 City Island Avenue seemed to dominate the street with its various outlets. They have really grown even more since I on the island the last time. They must have had four different buildings. I could not remember if I had eaten there the last time I visited. At the tip of the island are Johnny’s Reef and Tony’s Pier, two extremely popular seafood restaurants that I do remember eating at then I visited years ago.

When I walked into Tony’s Pier at 1 City Island Avenue, the parking lot was jammed with cars and the line was about 50 deep with customers. I was like ‘no way’ with this wait. It was too long, and everyone was getting antsy in the line. It was going by really slow.

Then I walked over to Johnny’s Reef at 2 City Island Avenue which I had dinner at the first night I visited the last time I came to City Island and the prices had gone up, but the portion sizes were still huge. The fried shrimp platters had not changed one bit. The only problem was the place was just as busy as across the street. It was really mobbed on this sunny warm night.

The sight of people eating all that fried food really turned me off, so I decided to try a restaurant that had been reviewed on my Dining Around club. They said the Fella’s Bar and Grill was where locals ate and socialized, so I decided to try it. It was closer to the middle point of the island near Bridge Park closer to the northern tip of the island. I was very impressed.

Fella’s Bar & Grill at 522 City Island Avenue

https://www.facebook.com/FellasBarandGrill

The bartender greeted me very warmly and gave me a lot of recommendations for dinner. She mentioned the Chicken Quesadilla and how terrific of it and that the burgers were really good. Then she mentioned how good the pulled pork was and that she had just tasted it. She sold me on that.

The Pulled Pork sandwich with a side of French Fries was excellent. The pork was perfectly cooked, and the sauce was a combination of honey, chilis and tomato for a rich barbecue taste. It was served on a chewy bun with a side of fries that were just out of the fryer (I needed some fried foods), and they were hot and crisp that snapped when you bit into them. I ordered an icy Coke, and it was the perfect meal after a long walk around the island (See my review on TripAdvisor).

While I was eating, I got to talk with the bartender about what was going on the island and about the over-whelming crowds of the restaurants on the southern part of the island. She just laughed and told me that they were really popular with people who lived off the island. I told her I could not understand this as the food was so good here. Then I just watched the game on TV.

The Pulled Pork Sandwich and Fries was fantastic

After I finished my meal, I was walking up City Island Avenue and noticed the large number of cars entering the island over the bridge probably coming for dinner. I walked past the busy Sea Shore Restaurant at 591 City Island Avenue and saw the cars pile into their parking lot and people coming and going. Just past that was the calm of Bridge Park-Catherine Scott Promenade at 549 City Island Avenue. Talk about views of the bay!

The sun was just starting to set so there was a beautiful glow to the Long Island Sound, and you could see all the boats sailing by and people waterskiing around the harbor. In the distance, you could see the skyline of lower Manhattan. It has the most dazzling effect of seeing New York from this standpoint. It was like visiting Cape May and crossing the bridge to a small New England fishing village. City Island is the same way escaping to a beach community with a rich shipping and fishing history and showcasing its nautical past.

Bridge Park at 549 City Island Avenue on the northern tip of City Island

I had come to the island to search for a witch and why she chose to live here and found my answers in the beautiful homes, wonderful parks and spectacular views of the bay. City Island is unique New York neighborhood where you do not realize that you are still in New York City.

*Be on the lookout for “Dinner at Midnight” when it gets published in the future.

Places to Visit:

City Island, the Bronx

https://www.nycgo.com/boroughs-neighborhoods/the-bronx/city-island

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_Island,_Bronx

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47369-d109881-Reviews-City_Island-Bronx_New_York.html

City Island Nautical Museum/City Island Historical Society

190 Fordham Street

City Island, NY 10464

(718) 885-0008

https://www.cityislandmuseum.org/

https://www.facebook.com/City-Island-Nautical-Museum-120813594596346/

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47475-d109882-Reviews-City_Island_Nautical_Museum-City_Island_Bronx_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/8460

Bridge Park Catherine Scott Promenade

549 City Island Avenue

New York, NY 10464

https://cityislandchamber.org/listings/city-island/bridge-park-catherine-scott-promenade/

Open: Sunday 6:30am-10:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

Places to Eat:

Sea Breeze Deli

325 City Island Avenue

Bronx, NY 10464

(718) 885-1263

https://www.facebook.com/seabreezedelicorp/

Open: Sunday-Saturday 6:00am-7:30pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g47369-d24884426-Reviews-Sea_Breeze_Deli-Bronx_New_York.html?m=19905

Fella’s Bar & Grill

522 City Island Avenue

Bronx, NY 10464

(718) 885-9898

https://www.facebook.com/FellasBarandGrill

Open: Sunday-Saturday 2:00pm-3:00am

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47369-d5842308-Reviews-Fella_s_Bar_Grill-Bronx_New_York.html

Pane Pasta 58 West 8th Street New York, NY 10011

Don’t miss the delicious pizzas and pastries at Pane Pasta. Just walking in and looking at the cases will make you hungry.

Pane Pasta at 58 West 8th Street

Little Shop on Main Street

Pane Pasta

58 West 8th Street

New York, NY 10011

(646) 891-0006

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d20021095-Reviews-Pane_Pasta-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Pane Pasta at 58 West 8th Street

I found this wonderful combination bakery and gourmet shop when walking home from school one afternoon and exploring Greenwich Village. All the delicious pizzas and pastries in the window lured me in.

I had just eaten my lunch, so I was not that hungry and just wanted a snack. I saw the small doughnuts in the windows called Bombolones, which are yeast doughnuts filled with chocolate or vanilla cream fillings and then rolled in granulated sugar. The small one is $2.15 and the large one was $5.00. Don’t let the price deter you as it is a sweet and filling little dessert. The fresh vanilla cream played beautifully off the sweet dough and sugary topping. Each bite was wonderful, and it was…

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Lucky Wang NYC 82 7th Avenue New York, NY 10011

There are a lot of wonderful gift items and a place to stock your child’s closet with quality clothing.

Lucky Wang at 82 7th Avenue (Lucky Wang website)

Little Shop on Main Street

Lucky Wang NYC

82 Seventh Avenue

New York, NY 10011

(212) 229-2900

https://www.luckywang.com/

https://www.facebook.com/luckywang88

My review on TripAdvisor:

Lucky Wang at 82 Seventh Avenue (Lucky Wang website)

I saw this unusual, patterned dress in the window of Lucky Wang, a delightful children’s store in Greenwich Village and I had to stop in and see it up close. This little dress is just one of the many beautiful and unique pieces of clothing that the store carries. Many of the clothing items have such vibrant colors and patterns.

I love walking around the store and wishing I was still a kid getting to pick out my own clothes for school. This is such a special little shop that dresses children so beautifully and prepares them for their first day at school or for a special holiday. There are so many interesting items to choose from the various tables and shelves.

Along…

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The Donut Pub 203 West 14th Street New York, NY 10011

Don’t miss the delicious treats at The Donut Pub. Their Maple Bacon Donut is mind-blowing!

The Donut Pub at 203 West 14th Street

Little Shop on Main Street

Donut Pub

203 West 14th Street

New York, NY 10011

(646) 398-7007

Open: Sunday-Saturday 24 hours

https://www.donutpub.com/

https://www.restaurantji.com/ny/new-york/the-donut-pub-/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d4052101-Reviews-The_Donut_Pub-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

The Donut Pub at 203 West 14th Street

The colorful and mouthwatering selection of donuts is what lured me into this popular and very special dessert shop in Greenwich Village. Just one look in the window wanted to make me walk inside.

The unique logo

Walking into The Donut Pub is like walking into the donut version of “Willy Wonka’s”. There are just so many choices and all those delicious donuts scream “Buy me”! I have only been in The Donut Pub a few times, but I am hooked already. Just looking in the window makes me hungry.

The first time I passed the shop I was just taking a look at what was on display to see what they carried and this delicious and mouthwatering large…

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Blackwell House 500 Main Street New York, NY 10044

Don’t miss a tour of Roosevelt Island! The Tram ride is a lot of fun.

Take time to tour the whole island and see what it has to offer!

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

Blackwell House

500 Main Street

New York, NY 10044

(212) 832-4540

https://rioc.ny.gov/176/Blackwell-House

Open: Sunday 11:00am-2:00pm/3:00pm-5:00pm/Monday-Tuesday Closed/Wednesday-Saturday 11:00am-2:00pm/3:00pm-5:00pm

Free: Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

The Blackwell House on 500 Main Street on Roosevelt Island

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

The Blackwell House on Roosevelt Island finally opened for tours after a major renovation of the house. When I had visited Roosevelt Island the last time in 2017, the house was corded off and was not open for touring. It had looked like it was falling apart from the inside out.

The home has now gone through a major renovation. The grounds outside were beautifully landscaped and gave the house a very warm and welcoming entrance to the property. In the middle of the summer, the flowers and trees were all in bloom and it was a nice view from the street. The house is conveniently located in the middle of the island, so…

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Happy Star Bakery 160 East Broadway New York, NY 10002

Don’t miss the delicious baked goods at Happy Star Bakery.

Happy Star Bakery at 160 East Broadway in Chinatown Manhattan.

Don’t miss their delicious Baked Pork Buns

Dining on a Shoestring in the New York City area

Happy Star Bakery

160 East Broadway

New York, NY 10002

(212) 608-8899

https://zmenu.com/happy-star-bakery-corp-new-york-online-menu/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d24887287-Reviews-Happy_Star_Bakery-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Happy Bakery at 160 East Broadway

There are a lot of standout bakeries in Chinatown Manhattan that offer a nice selection of baked goods and hot foods at a very reasonable price and Happy Star bakery is one of them. Not only do they have a nice selection of breakfast foods in the morning catering to the large crowd that works around here but an excellent selection of Chinese pastries, buns and twists that are available all day. What is also nice is that the nothing is over $5.00 and you can have a nice meal for under $10.00.

What is also nice about the bakery is that it is right across the street from Seward Park so that after you get your order, you can walk across the park and eat…

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First Reformed Dutch Church of Fishkill 1153 Main Street Fishkill, NY 12524

Don’t miss this interesting tour of the church and its cemetery in the start of Downtown Fishkill, NY.

The First Reformed Dutch Church of Fishkill, NY

Don’t miss touring their historic cemetery.

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

First Reformed Dutch Church of Fishkill

1153 Main Street

Fishkill, NY 12524

(845) 896-4546

Open: Church Services are on Sundays at 10:00am

https://www.facebook.com/FirstReformedChurchofFishkill/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47724-d263921-Reviews-First_Reformed_Church_of_Fishkill-Fishkill_New_York.html

After visiting three historical homes in the Fishkill area covering the towns of Hopewell Junction and Wappingers Falls, my last stop of the day was the First Dutch Reformed Church of Fishkill, NY. The church was closed at this point with services being on Sunday’s only starting at 10:00am. I was able to tour around the church admiring its architecture, looking over the DuBois House which is also owned by the church and exploring the cemetery.

The cemetery was the most interesting being the final resting place of many of the ‘first families’ of the area, including family plots of the Van Wyck and Brinckerhoff families, who also intermarried with each other. There were sections dedicated just to the families…

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