When I was in Brooklyn last month, I was able to spend some time in a friend’s garden.
We are not big occasion people. We don’t buy xmas gifts, we don’t go on dates, we don’t dress up. But one thing that we have celebrated for the last six years is our wedding anniversary. We always try to take a little trip around this time and this year, we headed back to an old favorite: Cape May, New Jersey.
We took a leisurely time to drive down to Cape May and stopped at a few thrift shops we enjoy along the way. We arrived just in time for the sunset. They are usually quite spectacular in this town.
The night was easy and we took advantage of a warm room and a strong shower. In the morning we ate at the hotel restaurant before heading out into the snowy landscape.
The Victorian homes and square are particularly striking in the snow.
We always like to take a look at the sunken concrete ship at the end of the state.
One of my favorite places in our city by the sea is the Asbury Park Post office. Built in 1912 and in continual use, it’s a very lovely old building tucked into a quickly modernizing city. Functional and beautiful, the PO sits close to the train station, police, and administrative building on Main Street, Route 71. It has a grand sweeping exterior but inside is full of beautiful small details.
Below is a pic from the early twenties when the post office was first built. in the thirties is was renovated and a back extension was put on.
I’m not sure when the above photos were taken but the modern PO looks just about exactly the same, now. That tree on the south east corner of the property is still standing and shading people waiting to cross Main Street instead of a hedge row, there are roses around the perimeter. I found these photos here.
Although not a luxurious stop in a fast growing beach town, this gorgeous link to the past is well worth a visit!!
We recently headed to one of our favorite small towns, Allentown NJ, and finally got to stop in at a Moth Coffeehouse. I’ve been wanting to try it for a long time but somehow always visit the town when the cafe is closed. I was not disappointed. I love that this coffee shop is in a hundreds year old building and that it offers a lot of healthy and vegan options.
The whole cafe and aesthetic is lovely. They have plenty of low waste options, to stay cups and plates. It’s cozy and if I lived closer, I could easily see myself becoming a regular.
What’s your favorite coffee shop?
Last month we took an impromptu trip to one of our favorite places, Cape May NJ. We left pretty late as it was a last minute decision to go, but it was a ridiculously gorgeous day and once there, we went right to the beach! It’s about an hour and a half drive so it was really relaxing to swim and lay out.
Congress Hall is a favorite of ours when we stay in the area, but it’s also great to pop in and see how it’s decorated or for a bathroom break.
We walked around town and popped into a few shops, but then made our way down to Sunset Beach. We love the weird gem shop there and that there is a sunken ship still visible. We even got to see a flag ceremony with muscat salute! It’s also known for it’s sunsets, of course.
On our way back into town we stopped at the Animal Outreach Of Cape May. It was too late for it to be open, but we got to see a few kitties.
On the way back north, we stopped at Big Wave Burritos. It was pretty tasty! I was happy to try a few local spots this trip that we hadn’t before. Earlier in the day we also got a nice coffee at Out There Coffee.
I’m so glad that we live so close to Cape May now and it makes for easy day trips to one of our favorite places! One day in this town is plenty to see and do a lot and I highly suggest a visit if you are close by.
Do you have a near by getaway that you love to revisit again and again.
On the main street (but not Main Street) of our town, tucked in a lot, beyond a fence, besides an ice cream shop, it the gARTen. Truth be told, I don't know too much about it but I think it's an amazing thing to have in one's town!! I'm not sure who is behind this amazing open air junk art gallery display but I salute them!
This garden isn't open all the time, I don't know the hours, but that almost makes it more magical. You'll be walking along and see that it's open and pop in as an unexpected treat! The garden is always different, pieces added, pieces missing, and constantly in a state of entropy. At night, it's illuminated by blacklight!
I love that someone (or several someone) is creating these objects and I love that they are made from trash that might otherwise end up in the landfill or even worse in the ocean and on the beach, just a few blocks away.
The other day my husband mentioned that he read that this art project was in danger so we decided to head over and check it out. Hopefully it won't be for the last time.
This art project reminds me a lot of my childhood and early education. Being homeschooled and then going to an alternative education school, we were always making the most of the supplies we had and making things out of "junk".
We are so lucky to have a an art space like this in our town. These unique spaces should thrive in young cities like ours. We should work to preserve them!
Do you have a unique place like this in your town or city?
In late May and early June I had the opportunity to visit Cleveland. I had never been there before, except briefly passing through. I had a few days to wondering around and I loved the city!
I stayed in Downtown Cleveland and spent time walking around, seeing some landmarks, and going to the aquarium. One of the things that struck me most about the city was the amazing architecture and how many old buildings were repurposed into something new. Many were also used for their original purpose and still going strong, like the West Side Market, a bustling food hall full of shops and restaurants. Or small local spots that seemed straight from the 40s.
Here are some of my photos from Cleveland, OH.
I have so much more to show of Cleveland! Look for a Part Two of my trip! Do any of my readers come from or live in Cleveland? What are your favorite places?
This is our third year going to the Whitesbog Blueberry Festival and it's one of our favorite June events!! This year was much cooler and cloudy than previous years. It was really nice to do some exploring, eating and observing when it wasn't a million degrees.
We also saw this amazing dog!! How cute and tough is he?
I love to visit and revisit the places we love around NJ. It's so great to see an area in all different weather. Where are your favorite places to visit in your state?
Last week we had some time to explore NJ and headed to the Morris Museum in Morristown, NJ. I had never been to Morristown before and it was not at all what I expected. The area has a lot of beautiful landmarks, including churches and Fort Nonsense (a revolutionary war historic site). But mostly the town has a lot of financial businesses, a million banks, and a lot of big name brand stores.
The Morris Museum is located outside the main part of town and boasts a large collection of working automata. This was the main reason we went and worth the price of admission. They have daily shows at 2pm, which we unfortunately did not know before going and missed.
The Morris Museum is also well known for it's large collection of gems, many of which were found in NJ.
I always really love to see a big collection of gems together and this was a really great gallery.
I was really glad to visit this museum, and I would definitely recommend it! We will be back soon to see an exhibit on kinetic art. Ans of course to revisit the gem room!
What are your favorite galleries to visit in museums?
While we were in Philly at the beginning of the month, we discovered that our hotel was right near the Fabric Workshop and Museum. Before we visited, I had never heard of this little museum and didn't know their mission. Here's how they describe themselves:
The Fabric Workshop and Museum was founded in 1977 with a visionary purpose: to stimulate experimentation among leading contemporary artists and to share the process of creating works of art with the public. Providing studio facilities, equipment, and expert technicians, FWM originally invited artists to experiment with fabric, and later with a wide range of innovative materials and media.
The exhibit that was at the museum when we went was a sort of retrospective of many of the artists that had come to the Fabric Workshop. Process and Practice: 40 Years of Experimentation showcases many of the artist's work as well as their notes, sketches, scraps, prototypes, etc... that they generated while working on the major project. We didn't know what artists there would be or what to expect, but it was really lovely to see the process and production of notable artists like Kiki Smith (next three pictures).
There were a ton of recognizable artists, and many that I had never heard of. I really enjoyed the way the museum was laid out and the way each artist and their work was displayed. Being primarily a textile museum, there were lots of clothing, a quilt, some stuffed toys, some embroidery, and other fabric works. But there were also works of paper, film, and projection.
The Fabric Workshop and Museum is right in the heart of center city, one block from the Reading Terminal Market. The entry fee is only $5 suggested donation. This museum and exhibit is a great way to see some more obscure pieces of your favorite modern artists, or to introduce people to modern art and textile arts. I love how accessible this museum is and I would highly recommend checking it out!
Has anyone else visited this museum? What is your favorite suggest donation museum near you?
For our fifth wedding anniversary we weren't sure what we wanted to do, if anything. I have been trying be mindful about marking events that are important to me where my family is concerned. It's easy for me to just let an event or special day pass with little fanfare.
After much hemming and hawing, we decided to spend one night in Philadelphia. We haven't visited for several years and not since we moved to NJ. Philly is only about an hour and twenty minutes from Asbury Park! We left a bit late in the day and made a stop at one of our favorite vintage toy shops in Allentown, NJ.
We only spent about 24 hours in the city and plenty of that was sleeping, but we got to walk around china town, eat ramen, dim sum, pastries, have a cocktail in the hotel bar, see a cool museum, smash some pennies, see some historical sites, and walk around some more!
I didn't get to explore any zero waste resources on this trip but I'm excited to do more research next time!
Philadelphia has so many interesting pockets and neighborhoods and it's really easy to see a lot in a short time. We will definitely be going back for day trips and easy overnights. Especially concidering how easy it is to drive there for our house!
Please leave your Philly recommendations in the comments!
Last week The American Museum of Natural History in NYC closed the doors of the Hall of Gems for several years while they refurbish and redecorate it. We decided we needed to see this magical place one more time.
One of the greatest things about this space is that it is dark, cramped, and narrow. It always seemed a bizarre choice and something they will change in the new hall. But it was part of what made the experience so otherworldly.
One of the reasons they are renovating the hall is to accommodate this massive amethyst!
We were totally happy to get to see all these beauties one more time, to touch meteorites and huge quartz. Before we went, I thought there was no way I would like the new design and would be unhappy. But after our trip, I can't wait to see what the new hall will look like!
Ever since we moved a few years ago, I'd been hearing about From the Garden. The good word is out on this local fruit farm and apiary.
We finally visited when we met up with my family for their Spring Fling. We got to walk the grounds which were just blooming in late April. We saw some of the bees on the grounds but they have hives all over Monmouth County. We also enjoyed the little market set up for the Spring Fling. We ate our share of pastries and tried local jams, and of course bought honey!
I'm not sure what From the Garden is like when there isn't an event going on there, but I intend to find out.
From The Garden
353 Fairfield Rd Freehold NJ 07728
- Look out for events and special days!
- Family owned and operated.
- First visit April 2017
Since moving to New Jersey in 2015, I've enjoyed exploring the state and do so the most when tourists are not around. Living in a seasonal tourist hot spot is fun, but I love the Off Season! Over the last few years I've made a few posts on the blog about places that I've seen, noted, liked or loved. Now you can find them all by checking out the Off Season link.
A friend told me I had to visit The French Market in Rumson, NJ, bc it was right up my alley. She was right! I visited the last weekend in April and have been back 3 times since then!
Mostly The French Market is a little cafe with fresh bread, pastries, take out prepared food, coffee, and a ton of sandwiches, wraps, quiches, etc.. but it also sells gift items, plants, and very pretty, if not practical, planting supplies.
I love the interior which is all black and white and brown with lots of live plants. But I especially love the back room which is a modified, winterized greenhouse and so adorable. The food is simple, fresh and tasty!
The French Market
114 E River Rd, Rumson, NJ 07760
- Open until 7pm on weekdays
- Owned by 3 designers/friends.
- Opened it's doors in July 2015.
- Sadly only has a Facebook page (which I won't bother to force upon you) instead of a proper website. But it does have an Instagram.
- First visit April 2017
In December, we visited The Bernina Sewing Center in Matawan, NJ. This store has all the Berninas and everything Bernina. Seriously, I've never seen so many Berninas.
Obviously they specialize in Bernina sewing machines. They sell, repair, instruct and advise on the machines. They have sewing classes, lessons for the various machines, and vast knowledge of quilt making, machine embroidery and appliqué and more. They do not have much fabric, it's more of a service shop, but they have every accessory you can think of for the brand. This is a Bernina only retailer.
Run by a husband and wife team, who recently took over this 20 year plus establishment, this is a fun and friendly quilting environment, especially if you love Bernina. Definitely worth a visit if you're in the area.
Bernina Sewing Center
443 Hwy 34
Matawan, NJ 07747
Motto: "Enter as Strangers... Leave as Friends".