Meet Wine Sommelier Terri A. Baldwin of The Bernards Inn

By Erika Moritz 

The Bernards Inn, located in Bernardsville, N.J., is often recognized and appreciated for its extensive collection of fine wines. The Inn’s wine director, Terri A. Baldwin, developed the collection thoughtfully, offering a range of tastes and flavor. Aside from being the Inn’s wine director, she is also a wine sommelier.

“I believe education is very crucial to understanding and fulfilling the true enjoyment of wine. My personal goal is to use my knowledge to be a trendsetter in the wine world,” said Baldwin. more

Create a sacred space within yourself

By Erika Moritz

Improving physical health, mental health, concentration, productivity, and creativity are all benefits of a meditative practice.

Before opening her meditation studio Sacred Space Living, located at 15 Broadway, Suite 204 in Cresskill, NJ, Tania Gold used meditation as part of her daily practice to keep herself grounded. As time passed, meditation began to take a more prominent role in her life and developed into a passion. As such, Gold decided to immerse herself in the study of meditation. Soon, she was signing up for retreats and workshops. These experiences led her to (in her words) “follow the signs” and realize her own mission. more

Photo Credit: Marco Catini

By Doug Wallack 

Special Olympics New Jersey (SONJ) held its annual summer games last month. June 9th, the night of the opening ceremonies, showed the Garden State summer at its finest; as the sun went down, temperatures hovered at a dry 70 degrees. Nearly 2,500 athletes of all ages had come to that weekend’s games, held on the campus of The College of New Jersey, to participate in seven sports: aquatics, track and field, bocce, powerlifting, softball, tennis, and gymnastics. For some, the New Jersey games would serve as a qualifying event for the Special Olympics USA Games — which will be held in Seattle next summer — but for all, the weekend was an opportunity to push themselves and build friendships. more

By Erika Moritz

Summertime is in full swing and that means it’s time to dine al fresco. A meal in the breezy evening air surrounded by a beautiful view and relaxing ambience is unbeatable and Monmouth County has an unlimited number of spots that provide just that. Here are ten places you must visit before summer ends. more

Winged Hornet of Samothrace, 2017, Mixed Media, by Gyuri Hollosy

“I dream inside the shapes I make”

“As a sculptor and installation artist, I could relate to the animals’ collecting of materials, selecting a site and planning the building process,” said Donna Payton, curator and artist of Animal Architects: Influences on Human Creativity on display now in the Main Gallery of the Monmouth Museum through September 3, 2017. Through-out the summer there will be workshops by the artists in the Meyer Art & Nature Area of the Museum. Dates, and times can be found on the Museum’s website: monmouthmuseum.orgmore

By Doug Wallack

I turned off Route 206 and wound my way southeast toward Chatsworth, in the heart of cranberry country. Within a few miles, the farmland—acre upon acre of wheat and corn—was swallowed up by thick forest. A few miles further, the maples, oaks, and sassafras trees that form so much of the state’s deciduous canopy yielded almost entirely to pitch pines and shortleaf pines. The road became an evergreen-lined alley stretching out into the flat distance, where heat waves shimmered above the asphalt — looking for all the world as though the Atlantic had crept some twenty miles inland of its usual home along the Jersey Shore. The drive continued this way for some time, punctuated by the the occasional bog, until I arrived — almost without warning — in the middle of Chatsworth. more

Companies now recognize the influence that developers have in product development, IT decision making, and strategic business outcomes. Developer Week NY invites all East Coast developers to acquire a landscape view of all the tools and technologies that supercharge development. more

The Seeing Eye, headquartered in Morristown, New Jersey, is changing people’s view of the world. 

By Sarah Emily Gilbert 

Photographs courtesy of The Seeing Eye

Meet Teddy, a five-year-old chocolate golden Labrador. Like most dogs, he loves to run around, greet people, play with fellow pooches, and chew on his bones, but Teddy is far from ordinary; he is a Seeing Eye dog. Teddy has been guiding his owner Jonathan Goodman since December 3, 2014, and in that role, he is more than man’s best friend, he’s his teammate. Each day, Goodman harnesses up Teddy and the handsome duo embarks on the world. While at work, Teddy displays his impressive skillset such as detecting potholes, finding elevators, and avoiding a car that’s run a stop sign. Simply put by Goodman, “Teddy is a rock star.” Indeed, Teddy is an extraordinary dog, but his rock star status didn’t happen overnight. His abilities are the result of round-the-clock training, dedication, and love that started the day he was born at The Seeing Eye breeding facility. Teddy and Goodman are one of over 16,000 partnerships between individuals and dogs formed since The Seeing Eye’s incorporation in 1929. more

Photography by Amoreena O’Bryon/Emma Willard School

EMMA WILLARD SCHOOL

Located on Mount Ida in Troy, N.Y., the Emma Willard School was founded in 1814 by Emma Hart Willard, who is remembered for her trailblazing efforts on behalf of women’s education.

In honoring its founder’s vision, the mission of Emma Willard School is to proudly foster in each young woman a love of learning, the habits of an intellectual life, and the character, moral strength, and qualities of leadership to serve and shape her world. more

“The best, most effective medicine my soul has yet partaken”

By Stuart Mitchner 

Sorting out his first impressions of Walt Whitman in a letter from November 1856, Henry David Thoreau admits feeling “much interested and provoked“: “Though peculiar and rough in his exterior,…he is essentially a gentleman. I am still somewhat in a quandary about him…He told us that he loved to ride up and down Broadway all day on an omnibus, sitting beside the driver, listening to the roar of the carts, and sometimes gesticulating and declaiming Homer at the top of his voice.” more

Royce Brook Golf Club in Hillsborough features two celebrated golf courses in the heart of Somerset County. An Audubon Sanctuary Course, the vistas range from wetlands to thick forests. Private lesson programs are available with The Royce Brook Academy. Lessons are suited to the individual needs of each player and are taught by PGA golf instructors. Membership at Royce Brook Golf Club includes seven-days-a-week access to the member-only West Course and semi-private East Course, use of a 24-acre practice facility, extensive member tournaments, special events, and much more.  more

The Vegetable Garden: The 1,000-foot-long garden terrace served as both a source of food and an experimental laboratory at Monticello.

The Founding Fathers Paved The Way For A Green America

By Ilene Dube

Gardening, it has been said, is one thing we can discuss while setting aside partisan politics—even when it involves the gardening practices of our nation’s political leaders. As garden historian Marta McDowell puts it, “Whether gardeners lean right or left, blue or red, we are united by a love of green-growing things and the land in which they grow.” more

Discover the “world in your backyard” at Essex County Turtle Back Zoo, which offers a look at more than 120 different species of native and exotic animals from five continents. 

Photos courtesy of Essex County 

Located in West Orange, N.J., Turtle Back Zoo is committed to providing an enriching recreational experience that fosters excellence in wildlife education and wildlife conservation, so that present and future generations are inspired to understand, appreciate, and protect the fragile interdependence of all living things.

The zoo features a wide variety of themed areas including African Adventure, Sea Turtle Recovery, Sea Lion Sound, Touch Tank, Amazing Asia, Penguin Coast, Big Cat Country, Wolf Woods, Reptile House and Wild New Jersey. more

Liberty State Park

By Wendy Plump 

On a recent train ride home from Boston, surrounded by people tapping at computers and staring into cell phones, as well as my own pile of devices, the meaning of serenity asserted itself. It wasn’t gained by answering emails or texts or squinting through news feeds, but by looking out the window at miles and miles of wild coastline and coves, a great gray ocean, and a marbled sky. Every seabird scratching in the sand or stand of evergreens leaning out of the wind served to remind me that this is what saves. more

By Sarah Emily Gilbert 

In the early 1800s, the southern banks of the Navesink River bustled with steamboats, sailboats, and commercial fishermen transporting shellfish and local crops to New York City. In 1908, the area was incorporated into the town of Red Bank, whose name is attributed to the clay found along its coast. Come 2017, you’ll still find sailors and fisherman along these red banks, but you’ll also find young professionals on their way to stand-up paddle yoga. Indeed, some of Red Bank’s 12,200 residents start their day floating on the Navesink River with Flow Paddle Yoga. Others grab a Rook Coffee before walking their dogs past the shops on Broad Street.  more

By Stuart Mitchner

When the weather was gloomy and the mood was right, I could see a Cézanne painting in our backyard. This minor miracle was due not to any mortal painter or landscaper but to the mighty forces that formed the Princeton Ridge, which we have been living on for thirty years. Thanks to some long-long-ago geological turbulence, the makers of the Ridge deposited an immense boulder smack in the middle of the yard, forming a focal point for painterly fantasies. Half a year ago an ash tree was growing out of a cleft in the boulder, creating an effect not unlike the tree-in-rock formation in the right foreground of Cézanne’s Rocks—Forest of Fontainebleau, of which Ernest Hemingway said, “This is what we try to do in writing, this and this, and the woods, and the rocks we have to climb over.” more

Tracy K. Smith, the Roger S. Berlind ’52 Princeton University Professor in the Humanities and a professor of creative writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts, has been named the 22nd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2017-18.

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced the appointment today. Ms. Smith will take up her duties in the fall, opening the Library of Congress’s annual literary season with a reading of her work at the Coolidge Auditorium. more

Check out some creative party venues for kids in the greater North Jersey area

“You’re invited!”

It’s the sentence that makes children shriek with excitement. Full of presents, treats, and entertainment, birthday parties are the height of childhood fun. But as parents keep upping the birthday party anti, the yearly celebration can leave families at a loss for new and creative ideas. Alas, the days of Pin the Tail on the Donkey and ice cream cake might be ending, but luckily, our area is filled with unique birthday venues to keep you up with the Joneses. From pirate parties to video game fetes, we outline party venues that will make all of your child’s birthday wishes come true. more

Simon the Illusionist dazzles the audience with his magic tricks. 

By Doug Wallack 

On Saturday, June 10, the Chatham Borough Department of Community Services will hold the annual Fishawack Festival in downtown Chatham. Inaugurated in 1971, the festival — which takes its name from the Lenni-Lenape term for the Passaic River — is a day-long celebration of the region’s culture and history. The festivities will include local art exhibits, live music and dance performances, a car and truck show, a petting zoo, a climbing wall, an exhibition on Lenni-Lenape history, and more. more

By James McPhillips/JayMcPhillips.com

Princeton Reunions is next week, so today we’re tipping our hat to Old Nassau.

 more

A modern locale steeped in history.

Known as one of the most prestigious towns in the country, Summit, New Jersey was first settled around 1710 as a region of small farms. With the 1837 addition of the Morris and Essex railroad line, the town became increasingly commercialized and by the late 1800s, it was considered the premiere weekend resort area for wealthy city-dwellers. Summit, aptly named for its location atop the Second Watching Mountain, quickly became known for its rural charm. Due to its close proximity to New York City, many families built summer estates in the town to enjoy the fresh air and natural landscape. more

Photo Credit: @adidasrunning

The pros weigh in on how to best prepare your body for bathing suit season.

By Sarah Emily Gilbert 

Want to hear a fact that’s equally horrifying as it is delightful? Bathing suit season is just around the corner. Summer is the time to let loose and relax, but when it comes to our bodies, most of us would like to tighten up. Ready or not, now is the time to get in shape for sundresses, shorts, and bikinis, but where to begin? Embarking on a pre-summer fitness routine can be a daunting task, so we called in the professionals for guidance. Here, some of the area’s leading names in health and fitness share their tips on how to best prepare your body for summertime. more

Surprise the college graduate in your life with something fabulous and functional. 

 more

Jana Mars is Making Some Waves with Her Stand Up Paddle Company, Aqua Vida

By Sarah Emily Gilbert

At the end of her emails, Jana Mars signs off with “make some waves.” It’s a fitting valediction for a woman whose career – and name are centered on water. more

Photo Credit: Audrey Blake Breheney

“The Parkslope of New Jersey”

By Sarah Emily Gilbert 

On the east side of the Watchung Mountains sits Montclair, New Jersey, an unhurried, charming town in Essex County that’s lined with thousand-year-old trees and architecturally significant homes. It boasts six historic districts and 43 locations on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Charles Shultz House, known as the Evergreens. A three-story Victorian mansion built by a respected New York architect in 1896, the home provides unobstructed views of the city skyline, marking the close connection between the suburb and New York City. Many Montclair residents commute to and from Penn Station for work, and with them come metropolitan influences. The small town is home to 39,000 people, seven train stations, two cinemas, a theatre, an art museum, and an endless array of cultural experiences. more