a ‘new’ Jersey Girl   living life in the Highlands of New Jersey

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

The Weekend That Was

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On Friday night we went out to dinner at the Rogowski Farm. It's a local farm that has a farm to table supper club once a month. We've been twice in the past and it's always been good. Almost everything on your plate comes straight out of their fields, greenhouses, and bee hives. This particular dinner featured tomatoes, zucchini, radishes, pickled green beans and fresh honeycomb. 

The setting is rustic: one big (or two) communal tables set up in their farm store. The chairs surrounding the tables are mis-matched. I'm sure there are a few chairs that are identical to each other but it's hard to say. The back door is open with a view of the fields. 

The communal table is always interesting since you are sitting next to people you don't know. We've always had lively and interesting conversations here, and this night was no exception. We met a couple that basically live right down the road from us in Awosting, and we got along so well together that we exchanged personal information with them and hope to get together soon. We also met an interesting man who owns a restaurant in Hoboken and learned about a farm-to-table restaurant, Damon Baehrel near Albany, New York that is run only by one chef where the waiting list is four years for a reservation. Four Years! He does all the farming, cooking, etc. all by himself. Not sure if it's worth the wait or not but Rick has put us on the list. We shall see if we ever get there!

Saturday dawned rainy and wet. It rained all morning and it was so cool that we were able to take the dogs with us in the truck to the grocery. They were thrilled to be along for the ride. After lunch the skies cleared and it turned mostly sunny so we took advantage of the pool for a short while.

Sunday found us once again participating in the Del-Val Miata club's run. We couldn't resist since this one started very close to home and ended up at a popular old-fashioned burger joint, The Chatterbox.

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Some of the road were familiar, but others were new to us. The run took us through Harriman State Park, over and back up the hill to Warwick and then deep into the countryside between Warwick and Lafayette. There were lots of turns and at one point we lost the car in front of us and we took a wrong turn thanks to my bad navigation skills. (Everyone gets a printed copy of the run with all the turns and roads listed.) It only took us a few minutes to realize our goof and get back on track.

It's interesting to participate in one of these runs because it's not like just driving around by yourself. You need to be aware of the car in front of you and the car in back of you while watching the road. 

The day was beautiful: sunny and warm without being hot. Perfect tops-down weather!

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Our burger at the Chatterbox was excellent and we got to talk to a few other couples a little more in depth. I doubt we'll make a habit of going on so many runs, but once in a while it's fun. Right now they don't have any September runs planned and the next one is called Punkin Chunkin in mid-October.

All in all, a very satisfying weekend. This coming weekend we are planning on sticking around the house and we hope to get the canoe out on Green Turtle for the first time this year. (Note: the canoe spent the first part of the summer at Camp Andy getting a spa treatment--buffing out scratches on her bottom, getting a new coat of varnish.) We are looking forward to a laid-back weekend and hopefully get in some pool time too.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Eight Degrees

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Eight degrees? That's how much our pool dropped in temperature between last week and this week. 80 degrees feels a lot different than 88 does, but we still enjoyed hanging out and floating around the pool on Saturday. It was a pretty nice day weather-wise and both Rick and I got more sun than we intended to. 

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We ate lunch pool side: a refreshing and delicious ceviche with calamari, shrimp and scallops with tomatoes, red onion, red pepper, avocado and cilantro. Rick made the recipe up and I must say, I was impressed.

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Yesterday we met up with the Miata club once again for a short run. The weather was not the best however, and on our drive down to the meet-up point it poured. And poured. And then it poured some more.

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Have you ever been in a rag top convertible in the pouring rain? It's very loud. Rick and I had to raise our voices and practically yell at each other just to talk. Yikes. Thankfully the pouring rain stopped when we got to the meet-up point and it turned into a drizzle. Its was a tops-up kind of day I'm afraid. About ten cars showed up and a few people didn't come, and I can't say that I blame them. 

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Blairstown, NJ (the only town we drove through)

The drive was very pretty and mostly through hilly, densely wooded terrain.  The trees formed a tunnel over the road and it got very dark. It was a bit eerie with patches of fog hanging closely to the ground and in between the thick woods. It would have looked much different on a hot sunny day, but it had its own peculiar charm. 

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We finally braved the elements and about 3/4 of the way through the run we put our top down. We finished the run at Lake Mohawk and the rest of the club stayed for lunch, but Rick and I opted to just come home.

We plan on joining them next Sunday too, but after that there aren't any planned runs until October. We're enjoying the runs! It's a good way to see countryside we haven't seen before and meet new people at the same time. Next week we plan on staying for lunch (which will be at an old-fashioned drive-in) and getting to know the people better. Here's hoping for good weather!

 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Miata Mania: Buttzville, New Jersey to Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania

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On Sunday we did something that Rick has been wanting to do for a long time now and that is meet up with the Miata club for a drive, or a "run" as they call it. Most of the runs have been too far away with the southern New Jersey club, or the other club that we knew of in Pennsylvania was too far as well. When he heard of the Del-Val (Delaware Valley) club's run on Sunday and it was only a one and one-half hour drive for us to meet up with them we decided to go.

Our meet-up was at Hot Dog Johnny's in Buttzville, New Jersey close to the Pennsylvania border. It's a fairly famous old-fashioned hot dog stand, and goodness knows, New Jersey folks love their dogs. We sampled the dogs (mine was mustard and onions, Rick's was mustard and ketchup) with a side of fries and a delicious cold birch beer. We found the president of the Miata club and introduced ourselves, adding our name to the sign-up sheet. Miatas kept pouring in, filling the already full-to-bursting parking lot. Johnny's does a hopping business!

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We all gathered around for our driving instructions and a brief go-over of the run. It all seemed pretty well planned. The lead driver had a CB radio, as did a person mid-pack, and the person bringing up the rear would have a CB too so that we could all stay together, even if we got separated. Staying together seemed pretty unlikely to me since I counted 25 Miatas joining our little sports car parade.

We pulled out of the parking lot en masse as best we could with traffic conditions with Rick and I ending up fourth in the pack, then a little way down the road we all pulled off to let everyone catch up. Once we were all together, we were off!

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Our drive took us over winding little back roads. Through one-lane tunnels …

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and picturesque little towns …

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over the river … (Delaware)

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and through the woods …

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The drive along the Delaware River on the Pennsylvania side was just beautiful.

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We kept together pretty well and only got separated once at a stop light. Again, we all pulled over to wait. We got some strange looks from people driving by. Our mid-run stop was at an ice cream shop. We were quite the sight as we all pulled in next to each other, and still we didn't all fit side by side.

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The drive ended up at Childs Park near Dingmans Ferry where most people hiked a trail up to some waterfalls, but Rick and I headed home as it was getting pretty late in the afternoon and we still had the one and one-half hour drive home. 

All in all it was very well organized and a fun way to spend the day. The club is having another run this weekend about the same distance away, but it ends very close to where we live so we signed up for that one too. We get to see countryside we haven't seen before while finding new back roads to take, so what's not to like?

 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

From West Milford, NJ to Milford, PA

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On Sunday we took a drive in Mia to Milford, PA. Milford is a quaint little town right on the Delaware River. We took twisty-turny back roads the whole way there and it was a lovely drive even though the day was quite hot. I love that about where we live: you can take back roads to just about anywhere if you so choose to do so. 

We walked around a little, talking in the historic buildings and quaint shops but it was just too hot and stifling to do much. 

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We headed to lunch at the historic WaterWheel Cafe where it seemed everyone else in town was also eating there. We waited for about 15 minutes or so before we could be seated but I really didn't mind since we got to stand right in front of the air conditioning unit. Ahhh, cool bliss! Our little table was right by the window looking into the mill and we could see the wheel turning round and round. The food was good.

All in all, it was a beautiful drive and a great way to spend the day with a little convertible car.

Monday, April 01, 2013

The Weekend that Was

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I think Spring is finally on the way. As I type the little Carolina wren is singing away outside my window. I just adore those little birds and their sweet varied songs. I can see buds about to pop on the maple trees and the day lilies have broken ground. The daffodils have lots of flower buds coming. Soon it will all burst wide open and I'll be glad for that.

Our three-day weekend went pretty well. On Friday we did some errand running around. Some errands were successful (like our trip to DSW for new shoes) and others weren't as successful as I had hoped (Unique Photo for this new lens which was out of stock). As soon as I made the final decision to actually buy it and spend my reserved "Mom" money they run out due to a super new sale price. Next week!

We took the dogs for a walk, Rick took down the old cabana canopy frame in preparation for the new one and gave Mia a much needed bath.

We branched out for dinner and tried cooking skate for the first time and it was amazingly good. 

On Saturday we took Mia out for a spin. It was nice enough to have the top down once the day warmed up. We drove down to Branch Book Park in Bloomfield (a suburb of Newark) to check on the progress of the cherry trees, and also because I wanted to know the route so I could drive myself when the time comes. Last year this time the cherries were just about done, but this year they haven't even started yet. We saw a couple of trees that had popped, but most had not. I plan to spend a lot of time wandering around the park with my camera (and my new lens!) just taking in all the blossoms and getting some much needed cherry therapy or "cherrapy". Here's what they looked like last year.

When we got home Rick experimented with the new cook book I got him the other day. America's Test Kitchen's D.I.Y. cookbook: Can It, Cure It, Churn It, Brew It: 100+ Foolproof kitchen projects for the adventurous home cook. He made ketchup! It was very tasty and much better than the prepared stuff. Healthier too! It made the house smell so good.

 

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We used it on our homemade onion rings that accompanied our grilled steaks. Here are the rings before frying. Yum!

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Easter was spent doing much not of anything. The weather was cloudy and windy and by afternoon the rain had started in. We bathed Alex, who was sorely in need of a bath, and blew him dry dog-show style in the morning. We just stayed around the house and watched TV, read and I knit some (still working on Rick's slippers, almost done) and cooked our free Easter ham. We also had gratin dauphinois and roasted carrots, parsnips and onions as sides. Delicious! Now we'll be eating on ham for the rest of the week: in quiche, split pea soup and so on. We'll also be having Sloppy Joes this week and using Rick's ketchup in them to see how it works when used in a recipe. 

So that's it folks, the weekend that was. I think I covered most of the highlights. I hope however you spent your holiday weekend was equally as enjoyable as ours.

(Top Photo explanation: I was intrigued by capturing the play of light on the fencing around the pool late in the afternoon as we grilled our steaks. The wrought iron chair on the opposite side of the fence was casting a shadow.)

 

 

About

Welcome, I'm Lynne. My blog captures my experiences of living in the way-out suburbs of New Jersey through my words and through my photography. I hope that reading my blog will change your perception of my newly adopted state.

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