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.

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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. 

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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: Pratima Skincare

Elevate your self-care routine with these lovingly made soaps. 

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What started as a centuries old tea in Japan is becoming America’s latest food trend

By Sarah Emily Gilbert 

“Matcha, matcha man…” So maybe that’s not how the song goes, but with seemingly the entire food industry “going green,” the new lyrics seem appropriate. A tea that has been integral to Japanese culture for hundreds of years is having a major moment in the United States. Why? In short, because it’s colorful and healthy, and in the age of rainbow bagels and diet fads, what more could Americans ask for? more

Photo Credit: @sperry

Fresh and athletic, the slip-on sneaker is the must-have shoe for summer. 

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Meet NJ-Based Cheese Sommelier, Nadine Ryan of Common Lot Restaurant

By Sarah Emily Gilbert 

When it comes to selecting cheese, I have two options: extra cheese or extra, extra cheese. As sophisticated as my process sounds, it’s evident that my affinity for cheese clouds my decision-making skills. Fortunately, there are individuals whose job is to guide people like me through the over 650 varieties of cheese, and Nadine Ryan is one of them. 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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Photo Credit: @wisteriaredbank

Find the perfect gift for Mother’s Day!

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Photo Credit © Kent Mason

By Taylor Smith

Established just last year, Bobcat Alley in northwest New Jersey is seeking to provide a stable home for the state’s last remaining wild cats. Once nearly extinct in the state, they are still endangered due to fragmentation and habitat loss. Today, the majority of New Jersey’s bobcat population relies on habitats in Warren and Sussex counties. more

Jeffrey Le Benger, MD, FACS

Chairman and CEO, Summit Medical Group

summitmedicalgroup.com

Tell us about the history of Summit Medical Group:

After serving in World War I, group founders William H. Lawrence, MD, and Maynard G. Bensley, MD, returned home to the United States to practice medicine during an era of significant technological and medical advances. It was against this backdrop that Lawrence and Bensley founded the Diagnostic Group of Summit in October 1929. more

Crocheted Wall Street bull, pic by Olek, NYC, 2010.

By Sarah Emily Gilbert 

Leather, move over.

Furs and leathers are surrounded by controversy for their use of animal skins. They represent the exotic, the risqué, and the fierce. Yarn, on the other hand, comes from goat farms and often suggests homespun domesticity and grandmothers. However, the typically unsexy material is undergoing a revival. Thanks to women who are using the medium in unconventional ways, yarn is becoming a means of personal expression. more

Lisa Moran of Bilancia Designs reminds us that first impressions are everything.

By Sarah Emily Gilbert 

Lisa Moran has mastered the art of a first impression. Through her northern New Jersey event design company, Bilancia Designs, she creates visually impactful decorative pieces that shape a celebration. In addition to crafting topiaries made of jewels or favor boxes adorned with seashells, Moran designs wedding invitations for “the oh so different bride.”  more

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

By Stuart Mitchner

Home design begins the first time we draw the face of a house. For me, this was a clumsy but legible two-story square with windows where the eyes would be and a door for the mouth, a rooftop for hair or headpiece, and a chimney for Santa. more

By Wendy Plump

It turns out that surfers and philosophers have a lot in common. To be any good at what they do, they have to be hard-core realists. Good surf or bad, decent people or vile, the approach is the same: if you don’t want to be mullered, then deal effectively with conditions as you find them. As both a surfer and a philosopher, this is practically Peter Singer’s calling card. more

By Donald H. Sanborn III

For most Broadway musicals, the “composer” creates only the songs, usually providing vocal lines with piano accompaniment. Other musicians, including an orchestrator, prepare the score for performance. The orchestrator adjusts a composition “to fit…whatever orchestral combination has been selected,” Broadway orchestrator Don Walker writes in his autobiography. In the 1940s, Webster’s Dictionary came out with a second meaning for orchestrate: “to arrange or combine so as to achieve a maximum effect.” 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