By Wendy Plump 

Photography Courtesy of Nomadic Expeditions

In a dramatic re-interpretation of the notion “If you build it, they will come,” New Jersey resident and contractor Jalsa Urubshurow built a base for his adventure expedition company in Mongolia. He chose the South Gobi Province on the edge of the Gobi Desert—where the Altai Mountains rim the horizon—and put up forty Ger, the traditional felt yurts of Mongolia’s indigenous nomadic tribes. He designed the main lodge in the style of an ancient temple. He quarried local stone and installed local staffers – herders, guides, cooks – because he wanted authenticity in a world greatly in need of it, and, if truth be told, because he demanded the most breathtaking gateway for those visiting his beloved Mongolia, the home of his Kalmyk ancestors. more

Gingerbread Wonderland and Craft Show, Frelinghuysen Arboretum

Jack Frost is in the air, and the “most wonderful time of the year” is about to begin…

Mark your calendar for these festive New Jersey events that celebrate the season:

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By William Uhl

The Millburn/Short Hills area may be best known for the Mall at Short Hills, and for good reason—it’s just as much a mall as it is a monument to prosperity. Pearl-white hallways are lined end-to-end-to-end with an endless assortment of stores and restaurants. Prada, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton are minutes away from J.Crew, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Gap. Food shops like Godiva, Teavana, and Forty Carrots and specialty stores like Tesla, Brookstone, and Bose pepper the halls with vibrant displays. When shopping turns tiring, attractions like the in-house photographic art gallery YellowKorner and the restaurant Legal Sea Foods provide a relaxing rest. Overnight guests even have a selection of nearby luxury hotels at which to stay. more

Red Mill Museum Village

By William Uhl 

A symbol of early American industry, Clinton’s iconic Red Mill still sits aside the Raritan River. Since its construction two centuries ago, the mill’s sleepy water wheel has worked with cloth, minerals, food, and electricity. Now, the mill is home to an array of galleries. Some house historical reproductions, some display pieces from international artists, and others hold fragments of local Clinton history. more

Blairsden, Women’s Association of Morristown Medical Center—Mansion in May Designer Showhouse 2014. Photography courtesy of Turpin Real Estate, Inc

By Ilene Dube

In the decades following the Civil War, the United States experienced a period of tremendous economic growth. The railroad industry, mining, and finance gave new wealth to those who built them. Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Mellon, J.P Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Henry Flagler, and others—the robber barons—built the core of the American industrial economy, as well as the nonprofit sector through their generous philanthropy, on the backs of the working class. more

Photo Credit: Wightman Farms in Morristown, NJ (www.wightmanfarms.com)

Friday, September 29

Pick-your-own apples at Hillview Farms in Gilette, producing 53-acres of locally grown goodness for almost 150 years. Also featuring locally-grown natural raw honey in the Farm Store.

Transport yourself to the Pacific Northwest by visiting the “Sea Lion Sound Exhibit” at the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange. The exhibit has views from underwater in a lower level area, at water level under a “sea-side” dock structure and above water at the beach area (ongoing). more

Photo Credit: Asbury Park Distilling Co.

Craft Distilleries are Booming in New Jersey 

By Laurie Pellichero

From Jersey City to Cape May, craft distilleries have been quickly popping up and producing local spirits throughout the state. While craft beers and breweries have grown quite ubiquitous in New Jersey, it’s been in just the past few years that these small batch distilleries, which now number 16 and counting, have been able to produce and promote their wares.

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The eastbound main span will soon connect to the Westchester approach. (Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor)

By Ilene Dube

The Brooklyn Bridge, an engineering marvel of its era, is considered a work of art, one that has inspired other artists from Georgia O’Keeffe to Red Grooms. As the replacement for New York’s Tappan Zee Bridge nears completion,
observers can see that it, too, is soaring with beauty and grace.
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All About Downtown Street Fair, Jersey City

The leaves will soon be falling, the air is crisp…it’s time for fall festivals!

By Laurie Pellichero

Mark your calendar for these upcoming New Jersey events:

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Museum of Early Trades & Crafts 

By William Uhl 

Since the founding of the American colonies, Chatham and Madison have been key historic locations from the Revolutionary War. Chatham was even named after a member of British Parliament who advocated for colonist rights, while the later-formed Madison was named after founding father, Constitution writer, and fourth president James Madison. Since then, Madison and Chatham have stayed connected to their roots both in the arts and soul. more

Be transported to another era. 

By Erika Moritz 

The Olde Mill Inn, located in Basking Ridge, N.J., is a preferred choice among other Central New Jersey hotels. Although the Inn is now known for its unique spaces for weddings and events, its beautifully landscaped gardens, and modern guest amenities, it also played a role in New Jersey history. more

Photo Credit: @bestfieldnj

Friday, August 4

9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Art Exhibit Hidden Under the Sea by Poramit Thantapalit at the Bergen County Administration Building in Hackensack, NJ.

8 p.m.: West Side Story presented by The Performing Arts School at bergenPAC in Englewood, NJ.

8:30 to 11 p.m.: Summer Movies in the Park presents the Lego Batman Movie at the Van Saun Country Park in Paramus, NJ. 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: @crystalspringsresort

From cruises to 5Ks, Urban Agenda outlines a myriad of events in New Jersey to celebrate Mom.

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Alnwick Hall – The Abbey 355 Madison Avenue, Morristown NJ

Be A Part Of New Jersey’s Gilded Society At Mansion In May 2017

By Sarah Emily Gilbert

This spring, Alnwick Hall in Morristown, New Jersey will come alive for The Women’s Association for Morristown Medical Center’s (WAMMC) 18th Mansion in May Designer Showhouse and Gardens. more

1943 portrait of Beatrix Farrand. Courtesy of the Beatrix Farrand Society. Portrait by The Gledhills Portraits, Santa Barbara, CA.

By Wendy Plump

It is possible to be cowed by Beatrix Farrand even now, over 100 years since her first landscape commission at Princeton University and half a century since her death. There is much to be thankful for in the sylvan, living landscape she put in place to give an austere campus a greener aspect.  more

It all began in Hoboken

By Doug Wallack

In October of 1845—though historians will disagree on precisely when—the first game of baseball under the modern rules took place on the Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey. The New York Base Ball Club (later known as the Knickerbockers) faced off against the Brooklyn Club, and beat them handily. It was there that the 90-foot distance between bases was established—a rule that was to be practically as fundamental to the sport as gravity itself. Today, those particular bases are long gone, as are the Elysian Fields themselves—swallowed up by the urban landscape, with only a bronze plaque to mark where they once were. more

First Place Winner: Kim Palumbo of Princeton, NJ. The photo is titled, “Sailor Sky” and was shot in Asbury Park.

Urban Agenda reveals the second, third, and fourth place winners for our latest photo contest.

Photographers around our area captured the Garden State for our photo contest themed, “My New Jersey in Spring.” To all those who submitted photos, thank you for supporting Urban Agenda, and more importantly, thank you for getting us psyched for spring! more

Get your glam on at this evening of pampering, food, and entertainment

Calling all ladies! Downtown Somerville is rolling out the red carpet for an evening of entertainment, pampering, shopping and dining at its second annual “Girls’ Night Out” event on Thursday, May 11 from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. more

Liberty State Park by @b_brophy

By Sarah Emily Gilbert

There’s no questioning New Jersey’s commitment to environmental preservation and conservation. In 2016, we were ranked the tenth greenest state based on factors such as eco-friendly behavior and climate change contributions.[1] We are currently fifth in the nation in solar power installations, and we’re home to over 50 state parks.[2] Forests cover 45% of our 2.1 million acres of land, of which 790,000 acres are farmland, and we’re the second biggest producers of blueberries in the country.[3] I guess it’s no wonder why we’re dubbed the Garden State. more

Photo Credit: @asburparkboardwalk

Get ready for a sun-fueled summer at the Jersey Shore with these fun and stylish products. 

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