By Taylor Smith 

Did you know that the Garden State is the fourth largest peach producer in the nation?

While peaches are always available at your local supermarket, nothing compares to a sun-ripened peach from a nearby farmstead. Peaches should ideally be picked after they become slightly softened on the branch. Once picked, a peach will not actually ripen further, it will just become less “fresh” as it continues to soften. Color is not always an expert indicator of when the fruit is best picked, as some varieties of peach have more red variations than others. In general, the deepness of the red coloring is a sign of ripeness. By contrast, any evidence of green skin means that the peach should be left on the branch.  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 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 

Located on the Jersey Shore, Long Branch is a happening place with close proximity to New York City, NJ Transit trains, and Northern New Jersey. New to the area is Wave Resort, an extension of the recently-built Pier Village, which has become a shopping and dining hub for day trippers. Located at 110 Ocean Avenue, Wave Resort is a hotel and upscale spa. Visitors can lounge on the pool deck and take in expansive views of the Atlantic. There is also a swim-up bar and an upscale Mediterranean-inspired restaurant known as 1000 Ocean.  more

By Taylor Smith 

The celebrated 2019 Spring Lake Irish Festival will take place on Saturday, June 15 from noon to 5 p.m. Affectionately dubbed the “Jersey Shore’s Irish Riviera” for its history of Irish culture and immigration, Spring Lake is the spot for this annual event featuring live music, dancing, food, children’s activities, and shopping. Traditions like the Irish Soda Bread Contest, beer and wine garden, and Irish step dancers are favorites. This year’s musical acts are The Snakes and Doubting Toms.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Crayola Experience, located at 30 Centre Square in Easton, Pa., is dedicated to fostering creativity in children (and adults) of all ages. Crayons, markers, and chalk in every hue can be used to create one-of-a-kind pieces of art. Coloring life-size pages and molding clay are also part of the interactive craft room experience.  more

By Taylor Smith 

On May 27, more than 500 professional and amateur cyclists will gather to compete in the 76th Annual Tour of Somerville at Davenport and Main streets in Somerville, N.J. Held rain or shine, the historic event is the oldest bike race in the country. Over 50 U.S. Cycling Hall of Fame inductees have participated in the race, along with Tour de France champion Greg LeMond.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Chatham Bagels at 260 Main Street in charming Chatham, N.J., has many things going for it. 

In terms of quality, area residents state that the bagel shop rivals the best bagels in New York City. The shop is known for its huge bagels and chewy, satisfying texture. All bagels are made fresh in-house daily, so there is never a question of whether or not you will be able to purchase a hot bagel early in the morning. The gluten-free bagels have also won over fans, with many people stopping at the shop from neighboring towns to get their favorite wheat-free bagel fix.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Many neighborhoods, one Middletown!

The sprawling township of Middletown borders the Monmouth County communities of Atlantic Highlands, Colts Neck Township, Fair Haven, Hazlet, Highlands, Holmdel, Keansburg, Red Bank, Rumson, Sea Bright and Tinton Falls. The Sandy Hook peninsula is also within Middletown Township, though it is not connected to the township by land, but can be accessed along Raritan Bay by boat.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Step back in time to Medieval Europe while remaining in Manhattan? Yes, it’s possible. Just plan a trip to The Met Cloisters in Washington Heights’ Fort Tryon Park. North of the Bronx, The Cloisters is perched on a very high overlooking the neighborhood of Inwood and offering sweeping views of New Jersey’s Palisades, specifically the cliffs of Fort Lee and Englewood.  more

By Taylor Smith 

The official opening of the Jersey Shore’s new luxury boutique hotel, Asbury Ocean Club, is slated for summer 2019. Set in fun-loving Asbury Park, the 54-key oceanfront property will offer impressive amenities including an ocean-view pool and deck; 24-hour concierge and a beach bellperson for each guest; floor-to-ceiling windows in the guest rooms, which also feature expansive terraces with views of the Atlantic Ocean; a pampering spa; and state-of-the-art Technogym-equipped fitness center.  more

Photo Credit: @smorgasburg

By Taylor Smith 

Spring is upon us, which means more sunshine, longer days, flowers blooming, and the desire to get out and explore! The North Jersey area offers a roster full of spring happenings, from foodie adventures to shopping opportunities and the celebration of nature. Here are a few to check out. Time to mark your calendar! more

By Taylor Smith 

Camps are not just for kids. For runners, a host of options are available across the country. Here are a few to check out…

Craftsbury Running Camps, Vermont 

https://www.craftsbury.com/running/running-camps/running-camps-home/

Based out of a cross-country ski center where Olympians train, Craftsbury Running Camps offers one workout few other camps do: biathlon practice. Daily running workouts are complemented by guided strength training, swimming, and mountain biking. 

Did all that running work up an appetite? The campus dining hall is committed to making sure 50 percent of its ingredients are local.  more

Green spaces to wander and roam during the warmer months

By Taylor Smith 

D&R Canal

Frenchtown along the Delaware River

The Delaware & Raritan Canal stretches more than 77 miles along the Delaware and Raritan Rivers.The park crosses Middlesex, Mercer, Burlington, Somerset, and Hunterdon counties within New Jersey. It is one of the state’s most popular avenues for kayaking, canoeing, running, walking, bicycling, and fishing. It is also a valuable wildlife corridor with recent bird surveys revealing more than 160 species of birds, almost 90 of which nest within its borders. The upper portion of the canal includes stops in charming Frenchtown, Stockton, and Lambertville, which are great weekend destinations for the arts, dining, and shopping.  more

By Taylor Smith

During decades of economic decline, Asbury Park was mostly known as the place where musical icon Bruce Springsteen got his start at The Stone Pony nightclub in the mid-1970s. However, since 2000, Asbury has seen a dramatic revitalization and influx of new residents from urban centers like New York City. In fact, modern-day Asbury has been affectionately dubbed “Brooklyn on the Beach” for its large population of artists, musicians, foodies, and creatives. Real estate projects, like the new Asbury Ocean Club, and new restaurants dominate the historic boardwalk, and day trippers flock to the seaside town year-round.

Over 39 bars, several blocks of art galleries, antique shops, restaurants (from traditional Italian to vegan), and an art house cinema lure visitors from the nearby NJ Transit depot. The tradition of live musical acts is still alive and well at venues like The Stone Pony, Wonder Bar, and the vintage bowling alley-music hall Asbury Lanes. Food trucks serving ceviche, empanadas, and Johnny’s Pork Roll gather north of the Convention Center at North Eats. The seasonal Market at Fifth Avenue features independent artisans and designers selling everything from woven leather jewelry to locally-made sunglasses.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Located in Northern New Jersey’s Morris County, Morristown has been called “the military capital of the American Revolution” for its strategic role in the war for independence from Great Britain. According to British records, the first permanent settlement of Morristown occurred in 1715.  more

Dennis Pike Photography

Say “I do” in style 

By Taylor Smith 

Tucked into the mountains of Sparta in Northwestern New Jersey, Rock Island Lake Club is a wedding venue to remember. With the potential to personalize nearly everything, this is not your traditional banquet facility. more

At only 2.4 square miles, the borough of Chatham, New Jersey, is highly walkable and suggestive of a less-hurried time

By Taylor Smith 

The quality of Chatham’s public school district, which serves both the borough and Chatham Township, both in Morris County, is frequently mentioned by new residents and real estate agents as a draw to the area.  more

By Taylor Smith

The Monmouth Museum (http://monmouthmuseum.org) in Lincroft, N.J., has announced that its board of trustees has appointed Donna R. Kessinger of Atlantic Highlands to be the Museum’s next executive director.

Kessinger comes to the Museum from ChaShaMa, International Center of Photography, and MoMA PS1, bringing with her a connection to the artist community that thrives along the New York and New Jersey corridor. She has a Bachelor of Fine Art from Kent State University, and a Masters in Arts Administration from the University of Kentucky. Kessinger has produced several independent curatorial projects in New York and New Jersey since 1999, including those at the Guggenheim Museum and the emerging artists residency programs and related exhibitions at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. more

Urban Conveniences in a Small-Town Setting 

By Taylor Smith 

Located in Northern New Jersey’s Union County, Westfield has earned increasing attention in recent years, not only for its convenient public transportation to Manhattan, but also as a place that many New York City transplants call home.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Looking for a holiday getaway? Makeup mogul Bobbi Brown and her husband, entrepreneur Steven Plofker, have opened a stately and fashionable 32-room inn in the New York City suburb of Montclair. A 35-minute train ride from Midtown Manhattan, The George is the perfect weekend destination for tri-state area residents. more

Ford Mansion, winter (Courtesy of MNHP)

Historical and Cultural Sites in Morristown and Morris County

by Laurie Pellichero | photos courtesy of the MCTB

Located about 25 miles west of New York City, Morris County and its county seat, Morristown, are home to many venues that helped shape American history and culture. Here are just a few to visit…

Morristown has been called the “Military Capital of the American Revolution” because of its strategic role in the war for independence from Great Britain. It hosted General George Washington and the Continental Army during two New Jersey winter encampments, in 1777 and 1779-80, when Washington plotted the colonies’ rebellion against England. According to Morristourism.org, during these two winters the army rested, repaired its artillery, and restocked its munitions. Local iron mines, furnaces, and forges fabricated guns and musket balls for the Army. The soldiers were drilled and the generals planned their spring campaigns. Historians feel that the Continental Army benefited greatly from its two winter stays in Morristown, where the safety of the surrounding mountains provided a haven from the British for the Army to strengthen itself. And it was rich in natural resources like water and forests, and came with a patriotic population that helped feed and provide clothing for the Army.

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Find Your Way Home to Cooperstown, New York 

By Taylor Smith | Photos Courtesy of Destination Marketing Corporation of Otsego County

Cooperstown is a village that lies in the central region of New York. It was founded by William Cooper alongside Otsego Lake, which serves as the source of the Susquehanna River. The name “Otsego” derives from a Mohawk or Oneida word meaning “place of rock,” referring to the large boulder near the lake’s outlet, known today as Council Rock.

Cooperstown is the perfect destination for nature enthusiasts, especially during the fall and winter months. With numerous indoor and outdoor attractions, visitors can spend their days exploring the great outdoors and their evenings cozied up inside a brewery.

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The Brick Academy 

By Taylor Smith 

Six impressive properties will be on view in Basking Ridge and Bernardsville for The Somerset Hills Holiday House Tour on Sunday, December 9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Brick Academy, an 1809 historic landmark, will serve as the hospitality center. The Brick Academy is a Federal-style architectural structure located in the center of Basking Ridge in Bernards Township. Since 1809, The Brick Academy has served as a boys’ private preparatory school, a public school, a meeting hall for different fraternal and benevolent organizations, and the Bernards Township municipal building. more

By Taylor Smith 

Feature image courtesy of: Elizabeth Anne Designs

Expecting the entire family this Thanksgiving and looking for a convenient and delicious solution to your conundrum? Dine out at anyone of these New Jersey restaurants and be delighted by the tastes, flavors, and atmosphere around you. The majority of the restaurants feature a pre-set price, and reservations are required. Many of the restaurants also specialize in locally grown flavors and influences (some distinctly Italian). So hurry — don’t delay in finalizing your plans for the big day! more

By Taylor Smith

Photos courtesy of The Rubin Museum of Art

Looking for a cultural day trip? Fall is a great time to visit The Rubin Museum of Art, located at 150 West 17th Street in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood. With an emphasis on cross-cultural connections, the Rubin showcases the art, ideas, and culture of the Himalayas, India, and neighboring regions. Special exhibitions celebrate art forms that range from ancient to contemporary.  more

View of New Brunswick across the Raritan River, Shutterstock.com. | By William Uhl

Nestled by the Raritan River in New Brunswick, Rutgers University is home to a diverse range of history and traditions. An intercollegiate rivalry with Princeton University, a real-life armored and mounted Scarlet Knight, and a romantic ritual connected to the legendary Passion Puddle are all classic traditions — and so is eating a Fat Sandwich, a sub roll packed with enough French fries, chicken fingers, and mozzarella sticks to earn the name. That mix of thoughtfulness and playfulness is everywhere in New Brunswick, and you can find plenty of both in just a day’s travel. more

The USGA Museum as seen at the USGA Headquarters, Golf House on Thursday April 13, 2006 in Far Hills, NJ. (Copyright USGA)

The USGA Museum and Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History

By Bill Alden | Photographs Courtesy of the USGA Museum

The famed architect John Russell Pope designed some of the iconic structures in Washington, D.C., including the Jefferson Memorial, the National Archives, and the West Building of the National Gallery of Art. more

Photos Courtesy of Butler’s of Far Hills, Inc. Photography by Laura Moss

Vacation homes are a boon to New Jersey’s economy and beyond

By Wendy Greenberg

Second homes represent a lifestyle change, an investment, and sometimes several years of exploring myriad locations. But often, the second home becomes as beloved as the first home, and many times the homeowners don’t want to go home. They ARE home.

As Spring Lake realtor Cindy Napp says, “Life is short. Buy the beach house.”  more