By Taylor Smith 

Located in scenic Pottersville in Bedminster Township (60 minutes west of Manhattan), Purnell School is a progressive private all-girls boarding high school. It was founded in the summer of 1962 by Lytt Gould and his wife, Sis, who wanted to create a school in New Jersey that would “put the girls first.” Purnell’s founding Guidelines — Consideration of Others, Use of Common Sense, and Truthfulness in all Relations — are still upheld and honored today by current Head of School Anne M. Glass, Ed.M.  more

By Taylor Smith 

When considering health and “fitness,” many people look to the scale for answers and stop there. New research suggests that metabolic health is the true marker, not only for determining a healthy BMI (body mass index), but also for significantly lowering one’s risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and the onset of dementia. more

By Taylor Smith 

Trish Pepe Lauden and Diane Aemisegeo are two moms who wanted to be able to craft a fresh, natural, non-syrupy or sugary cocktail at home. Both admittedly enjoy the challenge of cooking locally and seasonally, and wanted this to be reflected in at-home drink offerings. Tired of having to frequent the same restaurants for a health-conscious cocktail, the two women created ROOT, which uses all-natural, organic ingredients to formulate the perfect cocktail (or mocktail) for your next neighborhood barbeque.  more

East Point Lighthouse

(And they make great day trips!)

By Wendy Greenberg

A gleaming white lighthouse, capped with red, towers over a strip of land at Sandy Hook, between Sandy Hook Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The lighthouse has been standing there since it was built in 1764.

“Think about that,” muses Carol Winkie, president of the New Jersey Lighthouse Society (NJLHS). “Sandy Hook Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse in the United States, was built before the United States was a country.” Sandy Hook is the lone survivor of the Eastern Seaboard Colonial lighthouses.

The lighthouses of New Jersey that stand today are beacons of maritime history. It is a quirky history, and a fascinating one. The “ABCs” (Absecon, Barnegat, and Cape May) were designed by George G. Meade, a hero of the Battle of Gettysburg. Finn’s Point Rear Range Lighthouse was built in Buffalo, N.Y., shipped by railroad, and pulled on wagons by mules to Supawana Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in 1877. The Tinicum Rear Range Lighthouse sits in a football practice field in Paulsboro.

And, sadly, the original 1868 Tucker’s Island Lighthouse, a white tower with red trim, went into the sea in 1927, and soon after the entire island, formerly a resort, was wiped out. A replica stands today. more

By Wendy Greenberg

A sure sign of summer is when tables and chairs are set outside at restaurants, frequently brightened by colorful umbrellas and accompanied by succulent summer menus. Whether you prefer an awning, an old-fashioned porch, or are a purist who shuns any barrier to the elements, now is the time to take advantage of the many alfresco options offered in the Northern New Jersey area.

One patron put it this way: “Why would I want to sit and eat in a place with artificial lighting, when I am in an office all day?” Area restaurateurs report that they field many requests for reservations at tables in the open air, even when clouds hang low.

“Alfresco dining creates a different energy and vibe,” says Chris Perez, general manager of Albariño in Shrewsbury. “It’s a more natural, rustic space in which to break bread.” more

New Jersey Coastal Fishing

By Taylor Smith

For a small, densely populated state, New Jersey provides a wealth of fresh water and salt water fishing opportunities. The Garden State is home to 93 freshwater species and more than 330 marine species.

Surf fishing at the Jersey Shore is the sport of catching fish while standing on the shoreline or wading into the surf. Surfcasting or beachcasting is done in saltwater and involves casting bait or a lure as far out as possible. The more general shore fishing can include casting from rock jetties, fishing piers, and sandy or rocky beaches. Many surfcasters time their activity to coincide with the nocturnal feeding habits of certain saltwater species, such as sharks.

Island Beach State Park is filled with knowledgeable and enthusiastic anglers. Located at Exit 82, the 10 miles of preserved barrier island is landscaped by naturally occurring sandbars. The majority of the park is open to the public. For a fee, visitors can even drive their SUV onto the beach. Anglers at Island Beach State Park commonly fish for bluefish, striped bass, and fluke. By beach or by boat, Shore Catch Guide Service (www.shorecatch.com) boat charters, beach guides, and offshore charters promise that they will to “bring the fish to you.” With a season that runs from early April through late fall, Shore Catch Guide Service can help you to plan your Atlantic fishing experience. According to its seasonal chart at www.shorecatch.com/season, “By mid-June, the outer beaches become thick with trophy migrating stripers while the back bays continue to produce stripers, large bluefish, and tide runner weakfish.” During the months of July and August, the waters surrounding Island Beach State Park are alive with bonito, skipjack tuna, false albacore, dolphin, sharks, and larger tuna varieties. To contact Shore Catch Guide Service, call (732) 528-1861. more

Winged burning bush, Euonymus alatus

The Impact of Invasive Species

By Taylor Smith

in·va·sive

Webster’s New World Dictionary defines “invasive” as “the onset or appearance of something harmful or troublesome, as a disease.”

A massive influx of invasive flora and fauna has negatively impacted huge swaths of our native ecosystem, disrupting plant, animal, and human function. In contrast, native plants help to sustain native wildlife like butterflies, birds, mammals, reptiles, beneficial insects, and other fauna.

The vision of Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space (FoHVOS) is to protect New Jersey’s natural lands with their native plants. Its focus is on eliminating threats posed by newly emerging invasive species before they become widespread pests. Created to do just that, the FoHVOS New Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team is currently working on a project to protect rare species throughout the municipality of Princeton. more

A plume of flame signals the liftoff of the Apollo 11 Saturn V space vehicle and astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins from Kennedy Space Center. (Photo by NASA)

Montclair’s Buzz Aldrin and the Apollo 11 Mission

By Donald H. Sanborn III

July 20 will mark the 50th anniversary of the day that Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Montclair, New Jersey, native Dr. Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. Despite the recent films First Man and Apollo 11; the character of Buzz Lightyear from Disney’s Toy Story series, named after Aldrin; and a commemorative coin launched by the U.S. Mint; some question the extent to which the milestone is remembered today.

“Knowledge of the moon landing has kind of receded into the past, and people are unaware that we were actually a very active space-faring nation back in the 1960s,” says William Murray, the planetarium technician for the New Jersey State Museum. The museum now presents “Many Inspired Steps,” a retrospective of the moon landing.

Jacob Brandt, a composer and lyricist who conceived the song cycle, 1969: The Second Man, remarks that “Aldrin was just as integral to that mission as Neil Armstrong. There were hundreds of thousands of people working to make the moon landing happen. But in our collective memory we think of Armstrong first, even though he stepped on the moon minutes before Aldrin did. We don’t often think of Aldrin.” more

Main building, Ellis Island

The Immigration Experience at Historic Ellis Island

by Taylor Smith | Photos courtesy of The National Park Service and Wikimedia Commons

More than 12 million immigrants passed through the U.S. immigration portal at New York’s Ellis Island between 1892 and 1954. These determined individuals — many of whom were escaping extreme poverty, famine, and persecution — often spent all of their savings on a single ticket, causing many families to become separated. Teenage children were left to cross the ocean alone, not knowing what was in store for them when they arrived in America, or whether they would every see their parents again.

This uncertainty did not dissipate after the ships sailed past the Statue of Liberty, a literal beacon of light, hope, and freedom to the arriving passengers. The inspection process at Ellis Island was another big hurdle to cross, and the health and confidence of the arriving immigrants — who often did not speak English and had eaten little and seldom bathed during their long journey — was not strong.

All arriving passengers were processed in the Registry Room where they were organized in pens similar to cattle or livestock. Public Health Service doctors poked and prodded as they asked the new arrivals to cough, stand up straight, and answer a few questions to assess their psychological state. Special attention was paid to individuals who appeared weak and off balance, struggling to carry their own luggage up the broad staircase to the Registry Room. Of primary concern were cholera, scalp and nail fungus, tuberculosis, epilepsy, trachoma, insanity, and other mental impairments. Trachoma, a contagious eye infection that can lead to blindness and death, was itself somewhat akin to a death sentence, sending afflicted patients back to their home country. During their examination, Ellis Island physicians used a hooked metal tool to literally flip a new arrival’s eyelid inside out. Excessive redness on the under-eyelid was taken as suspected trachoma. Cases of misdiagnosis were not uncommon.  more

Ellis Island Arrivals, Ellis Island mural detail, 1937. Photo courtesy of The Public Buildings Service, General Services Administration, Washington, DC.

By Stuart Mitchner

Mural painters love walls. In place of a symbolic denial of freedom, a barrier between two countries, they see an immense panorama of possibility, a space free but necessarily and beautifully finite. When muralist Edward Laning (1906-1981) looked at the 100-foot-long wall of the Aliens Dining Hall at Ellis Island, he was pondering his assigned subject, “The Role of the Immigrant in the Industrial Development of America.” He was happy to have the work. It was 1934, he was broke and months behind in his rent for a top-floor loft with skylights on East 17th Street. As he recalls in “Memoirs of a WPA Painter” in American Heritage (October 1970), doing justice to his subject meant “learning how railroads were built and saw mills were operated and coal was mined and steel was manufactured.” more

By Taylor Smith 

Colorectal cancer is a cancer that starts in the colon or the rectum. Cells in nearly all parts of the body can become cancerous, but most colorectal cancers start with growths on the inner lining of the colon or rectum, called polyps. Some types of polyps change into cancer over time and others never become cancerous. Neal Luppescu, MD, a gastroenterologist at Summit Medical Group explains, “There are numerous risk factors doctors have identified that affect your risk of developing colon cancer. The most important thing is to schedule a colonoscopy screening.” more

Photos Courtesy of Camp Rim Rock

By Taylor Smith 

My summer camp experiences as a child and teenager are some of my most vivid memories. Growing up in Princeton, I attended Rambling Pines Day Camp (https://www.ramblingpines.com) in Hopewell with my younger brother when I was 8 years old. I immediately enjoyed being able to spend all day outdoors, riding mountain bikes, playing tennis, and swimming, before taking the bus home — sweaty, contented, and freckled.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Jump, swing, fly, and tackle 18 obstacles and 3.1 miles of mud at MuckFest New Jersey in Somerset on Saturday, July 20 at 9 a.m. Presented locally by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, MuckFest New Jersey is a high-octane obstacle course from start to finish.  more

By Taylor Smith 

NJ Sharing Network is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the recovery and placement of donated organs and tissues for those in need of a life-saving transplant. According to its website, nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents are in need of a transplantation. The organization operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is staffed by a team of more than 150 highly-trained and dedicated advocates.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Pizza in New York City is a hotly-contested subject, as everyone has their favorite. However, a Roman-style import on the Upper East Side is winning over new fans for its airy, crispy, square pies. 

PQR (Pizza Quadrata Romana), at 1631 2nd Avenue, uses “high hydration and long fermentation” to create a chewy, delightful pie crust that is based on the pizza of Rome. The mastermind behind PQR is Angelo Iezzi, who also happens to be president of the Associazione Pizzerie Italiane. more

By Taylor Smith 

Summer is a time when kids can spend their days outside the confines of a classroom and instead participate in playdates, swimming adventures, travel, camp, and exploration. It provides a wonderful opportunity for children to grown cognitively and emotionally without the confines of a regimented schedule. However, it can also be a time when children are exposed to new germs, risks, and illnesses. Here are a few tips for ensuring a healthy and happy summer for your family.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Located south of Ocean City and just north of Stone Harbor and Avalon, Mike’s Seafood and Dock Restaurant has been a Jersey Shore staple in Sea Isle City since 1911.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Tucked away in West Cape May, Beach Plum Farm is a 62-acre working farm that produces over 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables, as well as chickens, eggs, and Berkshire hogs. Produce from Beach Plum Farms is used by a number of popular Cape May restaurants including Blue Pig Tavern, The Ebbitt Room, Louisa’s Cafe, the Boiler Room, and the Rusty Nail. The Farm is also home to a large market, farm kitchen, fine dining, and cottages. Visitors can easily spend an afternoon shopping, eating, and wandering the grounds, or even an entire weekend, to disconnect from the rushed pace of everyday life. Beach Plum also welcomes weddings and private events.  more

By Taylor Smith

Located in Northeastern Pennsylvania’s Wayne County, Lake Bryn Mawr Camp for Girls is a rural summer haven that prides itself on building “summer sisters” among girls ages 7 to 15.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Blue Morel Restaurant and Wine Bar, located at 2 Whippany Road in Morristown, offers New American cuisine, a sushi and raw bar, and more than 70 wines by the glass. The culinary farm-to-table experience is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with an extended breakfast on Sundays until 1 p.m. more

By Taylor Smith 

Grounded in the Wesleyan/Methodist tradition, Drew Theological School is a leading seminary in Madison, N.J., offering four unique master’s programs and two doctoral programs.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Brant Lake Camp, founded in 1916, is one of the oldest single-family owned camps in the United States. Situated in the Adirondack Mountains, 3.5 hours from New York City, Brant Lake serves as a summer “home away from home” for boys ages 7 to 15. With the motto of “Where sports are done right,” Brant’s facilities include 15 tennis courts, three baseball fields, two soccer fields, eight basketball courts, a roller hockey rink, two volleyball courts, a climbing wall, an archery range, a putting green, and a large multi-sport stadium.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Memorial Sloan Kettering, known for superior cancer care, has a new location. Memorial Sloan Kettering Bergen (MSK Bergen), at 225 Summit Avenue in Montvale, N.J., is situated an hour and 30 minutes from Princeton and less than 60 minutes from New York City. The Bergen County community borders six neighboring municipalities: Woodcliff Lake, Upper Saddle River, Park Ridge, and River Vale in Bergen County; and both Pearl River and Chestnut Ridge in Rockland County, N.Y. Montvale is easily accessed by the Garden State Parkway, along with the New York State Thruway.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Hoffman’s Ice Cream & Yogurt — with branches in Spring Lake Heights, Point Pleasant Beach, Little Silver, and Long Branch — seems to scream summer at the Shore. 

Beginning in 1955, Hoffman’s Ice Cream operated as one of the first Carvel Ice Cream stores in New Jersey. When the franchise expired in 1976, the owners changed the name to Hoffman’s and grew a reputation of their own. The store’s original location was, and still is, in Point Pleasant Beach. more

By Taylor Smith 

Governor Phil Murphy held a press conference at Newark Liberty International Airport on Monday, June 10 to reveal the 2019 inductees to the New Jersey Hall of Fame. Among this year’s class are Game of Thrones author and Bayonne native George R.R. Martin. Born in 1948, Martin’s father was a longshoreman. Now residing primarily in Santa Fe, N.M., Martin claims to still be a huge fan of the New York Jets, New York Giants, and New York Mets.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Slamwich Scratch Kitchen at 143 Main Street in Madison, N.J., was founded by Sam Freund and George Braun IV with the intent of perfecting the American craft of a handmade sandwich. Armed with the passion and understanding of what a delicatessen should be, the two founders pride themselves on making everything from scratch, including the cured pastrami, house bread, pickles, and condiments. The sandwiches are elevated enough, in terms of quality and taste profile, that Slamwich is actually a fantastic spot for a night out.  more

By Taylor Smith 

A comfy studio located at 580 Allen Road in Basking Ridge, Glow offers yoga and Pilates classes for all levels, plus special wall-suspension therapeutics.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Located at 33 Bridge Street in historic Frenchtown, Early Bird Espresso has grown into a beloved coffee stop, particularly among the cycling community. With long daily hours (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.), Early Bird is seemingly always open for a quick pick-me-up. Early Bird’s roaster, Counter Culture (a very chocolate-driven, nutty brew), is complemented by Trickling Springs Creamery, a premium organic and non-GMO dairy in Chambersburg, Pa. more

By Taylor Smith 

Summertime in New Jersey is cause for celebration, and the warmer temperatures and bucolic surroundings encourage many residents to venture outdoors. The Mercer and Hunterdon county areas are home to state parks, meadows, fields, untouched forests, and a vast trail system tracing the Delaware River. However, one thing to be conscious of is the plethora of ticks.  more