Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sad to Leave NJ

Of course you know that time flies when you're having fun.  We have left New Jersey and are on our way south to North Carolina.  But let's back up to all the good times we had in NJ!

My brother, Kirk, is a Moose Lodge member, and Gary wanted to join, so he sponsored us at the big BBQ picnic one Saturday.  Good timing on that one.  [I didn't even know my brother WAS a Moose].  So now we can take advantage of parking anywhere a lodge allows RV parking on their property across the country.  All for $45 a year! 

picnic spot
darn good food, too!
It rained hard at one point, but then the sun came out again and everyone steamed till we were cooked.  The kids didn't mind, they were all on the bouncy water slide having a ball.

We did some work on the Jeep, and decided not to paint Bella this time around, maybe next year. 

The Tinnicum Art Festival was happening again while we were visiting, and our dear friend and artist, RoZ had entered her 'seated mermaid', and won an honorable mention.  She took a dress dummy and placed glass mosaics it all over after preparing it with fiberglass, plaster and fabric.  I should have taken a closer picture of the mermaid, too.  Beautiful work. 

the art exhibit barn, with artist stalls all around, and a band
It was terribly hot and humid for New Jersey.  Last time we were here, it was over 100 several times, and this time it felt near 108 on some days.  So near the end of our visit, it started to cool just slightly, so we grabbed the opportunity to go bike riding on the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail path.  It runs for miles and miles, but we just did the bit between Milford and Bulls Run Island.  It was only about 5 miles, but the humidity wore us out in the end.  However, it was a beautiful, flat ride and we had a blast.
Gary ready to go!


wild raspberries - yum!

through the woods...

wildlife, kinda

and Gnome life

whoa, what's going on here?
We got our bikes back on the Jeep, and headed for home and a shower.  Soon after Gary noticed a bird flapping and squawking on the ground.  He took a look and noticed this black snake being chased by this catbird across our front yard.  It did the trick, he slithered away. 

When we visited the author, Pearl S. Buck's home last time in NJ, we stayed longer than we had planned because it was so interesting and beautiful.  So we missed the Moravian Pottery and Tile works.  This tile works was started in 1898 by Henry Chapman Mercer during the Arts and Crafts Movement in America.  The works are still producing tiles and mosaics today and it is one of three poured concrete buildings built by Mercer.  Three years ago, we visited the Mercer Museum about a mile away, and his home, Fontill on the pottery's property.

We talked with the artists in the museum, some of which have been there for 25 years!  They still use the original molds, local clay that is dredged from a nearby lake, and the slips and glaze formulas (to a safe degree).  The artists love what they're doing, although it can get very, very hot (like today) to very, very cold and drafty.  They were very informative and told us things that aren't in any brochure.

We walked over to Fonthill to take a tour of Mercer's home.  What a place!!  Built between 1908 and 1912, it had 44 rooms, over 200 windows, 18 fireplaces and 10 bathrooms.  It contains much built-in concrete furniture and is embellished with decorative tiles on every ceiling and wall and floor.  In some places there were six staircases from a hallway, and he designed all the rooms first, then had them put together to form the house like a puzzle.  The home also contains around 1,000 prints from Mercer's extensive collection, as well as over six thousand books, almost all of which were annotated by Mercer himself and kept in the exact locations by his housekeeper who was with him all his life, as Mercer never married.  If you get a chance to see it, do, it's really fabulous.  No photos were allowed in the house, unfortunately, but it is amazing.

My ancestors can be traced back to the 1640s.  And my maiden name is not very common.  Records and family trees have been kept all along, and each family has their roots begun in New Jersey.  Located in Basking Ridge and Millington our family has our most recent roots at a recently designated national historic site called the Kennedy-Martin-Stelle (me) Farmstead.  Begun in 1700, the farmhouse, barn and outbuildings have changed over the years, but the original house is now being used as the Farmstead Arts Center, where artists can use the rooms as their studios and hold classes.


I won't go into my family history, but when before my parents passed away, we went through all the old photos and papers.  Then we put them away.  My brother, Bob, has kept them all in his attic, and during our stay with him, I scanned as much as I could.  Hours and hours.  Probably because I had to read everything and put things together.  Anyway, I am glad that the house is being put to good use, and that we get to visit it. 

Our last day in NJ was spent in Middlesex at our niece, Jennifer and her husband, Keith's home for dinner.  Gabby entertained us rocking on her singing rocking horse, playing ball and squishing play doh while we ate delicious short ribs.  Cute beyond dispute!

Now we're on our way south to North Carolina and spending this evening at Dixie Caverns CG in Salem, VA.  The cicadas are going nuts.  We look forward to opening the windows again tonight, and enjoying COOL weather.  Funny, we had to go south to get cooler.  Go figure.

Anyhow, Life is Good with family.


  1. Safe travels. NC is back into the 80's this week after some blistering 90's. Looking forward to catching up with you 2!

  2. WOW, you sure pack a lot of stuff into your NJ vist!!

    Safe Travels and Happy Trails...