Small Business Saturday – Jersey Style

While many people look forward to Black Friday for a good deal on a television set, I look forward to Small Business Saturday.

Small businesses are the driving force behind the nation’s economy. According to the Small Business Administration, in 2013, New Jersey small businesses employed over 1.7 people. More than 50 percent of those companies have more than 500 employees. Whenever possible, I work to support local businesses, and Small Business Saturday is a perfect time to get out and support businesses in your community.

Here are some great small businesses in New Jersey to check out:

Starting at the top of New Jersey in Sussex County, Peters Valley in Layton offers a number peters-valleyof wonderful hand-made goods, so not only are you supporting a small business, you are supporting the arts. There’s always something new to check out. Whenever I am up in Sussex County, I stop in to see what it new and rarely leave empty handed.

Moving down Sussex County, check out Whitewater Flies. If you have someone on your list that enjoys fly fishing and the outdoors, check out this great little fly shop. Greg and his team are incredibly helpful and can guide you to make the best picks possible.

Entering Morris County, I love going to downtown Denville. The main drag is almost completely small businesses. Faith and Begorra offers some great Irish and Catholic gifts, such as handmade sweaters and Irish jewelry. Kevin’s Fine Jewelry has beautiful jewelry in a variety of different price ranges. If you need a lunch break, head to Sergio’s for an Italian treat and then to Mara’s for some dessert.

If you have a book lover on your list, I recommend you check out the Old Book Shop in Morristown. They have a great selection of old and limited edition books as well as magazines and vintage post cards.

shop-chester-njAnother favorite small town in Morris County is Chester. The historic downtown retail district is lined with great shops filled with art, antiques, and more. I always enjoy walking around Chester Crafts, Collectibles & Antiques. There is always something unique and interesting and is a great place to find that special gift for someone on your list. Objects of Desire is another great shop full of handmade jewelry and a variety of accessories.

Growing up in Essex County, I used to love to go to Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair. One of my favorite stops was always The Inner Eye. This was always a unique place and you never knew what you were going to find. Just off Bloomfield Avenue on Church Street, you’ll find That Little Black Dress. There is always something unique available and it was voted a favorite New Jersey boutique.

Frenchtown1-smA great spot in Hunterdon County is Frenchtown. I wrote about a visit to Frenchtown during the summer. Of course my favorite spot is The Spinnery. If you have a yarn lover on your list, this is the place to go! If you have someone with a sweet tooth, check out Minette’s Candies. They have not only all the hard-to-find candy brands we grew up with, they have great stuff like truffles and chocolate covered pretzels.

At the tip of the state, you’ll find Cape May; a favorite spot of mine. Check out the Whale’s Tale and Splash for great unique gifts with a “down the shore” feel. If you want a sweet treat with a real Jersey feel, pick up a gift at James Candy Company. I’ve picked up Fralinger’s Original Salt Water for something different as a hostess gift when going to a party.

These are just a few of the different and wonderful small businesses you will find in New Jersey. I hope you will use Small Business Saturday as a good excuse to check out the great businesses that are in your area. What are your favorite businesses? Please add to the list in the comments section below.

Jersey Road Trip: Frenchtown

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know there are plenty of places I love in the Garden State. One of my favorite places to visit is Frenchtown.

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On the way to Frenchtown.

Yesterday I headed to Frenchtown for a yarn spinning class at The Spinnery. I’ve been spinning yarns for quite a while (I have a blog about fiber arts as well) and am always excited to learn a new skill. It is a lovely drive down from Morris County. There are horses and cows all along that section of Rt. 78 and once you are off the highway the scenery just gets better and better!

 

The Borough of Frenchtown was settled over 200 years ago. Known in the past as the village of “Sunbeam”, “Sherrod’s Ferry” and other names throughout the Revolutionary War, it finally came to be known locally as “Frenchtown” due to the French-speaking Swiss immigrant who settled here in the late 1700’s.  It is amazing that so much beauty can be held within the one square mile of the Borough.

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A section of the main street in Frenchtown.

I usually start out my day at The Spinnery attending a class or checking out all the wonderful fiber, spinning tools, and looms. There are plenty of great places to eat. Some of my favorites include the The Wildflower Cafe, The Bridge Cafe, and The National Hotel. There is a multitude of great shops along the main street. Everything from clothing, to a book shop, and plenty of places for something sweet! I always stop in Minette’s Candies and pick up something sweet for the ride home.

 

If you are looking for something to do outside, check out the park alongside Nishisakawick

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Nishisakawick Creek

 

Creek. You can enjoy lunch in the park or fishing in the creek. There is a wonderful walking and bicycle path along the Delaware River.

There are plenty of great events that take place throughout the year. The most popular by far is the celebration of Bastille Day on July 16th with plenty of great food and music.

I just love this small section of New Jersey. It possible, it would definitely be a place I would like to settle. I hope you have a chance to check out this little place of heaven in New Jersey.

 

Visiting Beneduce Vineyards

Beneduce Vineyards

Beneduce Vineyards, Pittstown, NJ.

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Beneduce Vineyards in Pittstown, New Jersey. This small family-owned winery produces several different wines – white varieties are Chardonnay, Riesling (my personal favorite) and Gewürztraminer. Plantings of red grapes include Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and an Austrian red named Blaufränkisch. Our group had the opportunity to try several reds and whites and I brought home a bottle of Riesling.

Each wine was explained to us – the type of grapes, the flavors, and the vineyard’s representative answer different questions about the process. We each shared out thoughts as to which ones we liked and why. It was great fun!

After the group left, a few of us stayed behind and enjoyed a bottle of red along with some bread sticks. We even had a visit from the winery mascot!

Just as I was leaving the sun was beginning to set. It was a beautiful
backdrop to the grapes on the vines.

Beneduce Vineyards at Sunset

Beneduce Vineyards at Sunset.

As usual, this gem of New Jersey is probably not known by the masses. New Jersey is home to many wineries. I hope you will take the time to plan a visit.

Memorial Day Events in New Jersey

MemorialDayMemorial Day – generally considered the unofficial kick-off to summer, many attend BBQs or head down the shore. Others look to buy a new car. Well, it is important to remember the real reason we can enjoy a long weekend – those who gave their lives for this great country.

I wanted to provide some opportunities to remember those brave men and women around New Jersey. I hope you will consider attending an event in your area.

MAHWAH
“Serving God & Country: A Memorial Day Salute to Our Heroes,” outdoor Mass hosted by Archdiocese of Newark, 11 a.m. Monday, Maryrest Cemetery and Mausoleum, 770 Darlington Ave. rcancem.org or (888) 489-9095.

BELLEVILLE (I used to participate in the Belleville events when I was in the high school marching band)
Veterans Memorial Day Services, 9 a.m. service Monday at Glendale Cemetery, followed by 9:30 a.m. wreath tossing at Rutgers Street Bridge, 10 a.m. service at Rutgers Street Church Cemetery, 10:30 a.m. service at Belleville Town Hall, and concluding with ceremony at Belleville Veterans Memorial. bellevillenj.org or (973) 450-3300.

GLEN RIDGE
Memorial Day Parade and Service, march beginning 11 a.m. Monday at Sherman Avenue and Baldwin Street and proceeding to the memorial in front of Ridgewood Avenue School for a traditional service followed by town picnic at the train station with food, amusements and live music; in event of rain, the service will be in the school auditorium. (973) 680-4710.

SOUTH ORANGE
Memorial Day Service, observance 10:30 a.m. Monday at Memorial Rock near the duck pond, 10:30 a.m. Monday, Meadowland Park, North Ridgewood Road and Mead Street. (973) 378-7754.

WOODBURY
In addition to its regular visits to Woodbury’s war memorials, American Legion Post 133 will, along with the city and county, host a candlelight vigil at 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 25, in honor of New Jersey’s POW/MIA troops in Vietnam.

The vigil will also include “missing man” and wreath ceremonies, as well as a ringing bell for the name of each missing soldier. It will take place outside the Woodbury American Legion, at 1018 Washington Ave.

GLASSBORO
The annual Memorial Day parade will begin at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Lehigh Road and University Boulevard, then proceed onto High Street toward borough hall.

The annual ceremony will follow the parade at the Veterans Memorial Monument, adjacent to the firehouse on High Street, at noon. New Jersey Gold Star Mothers President Judi Trapper, of Atco, will be the guest speaker.

BAYONNE
A Memorial Day service will take place on Sunday at 10:45 a.m. at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, 39 E. 22nd St. After the service, ceremonies will be held in front of the memorial at Stephen R. Gregg/Bayonne County Park.

Following a noon Mass at St. Henry Church, 645 Avenue C, all the veterans’ monuments on First Street will be decorated at 1:30 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption Roman Catholic Church, 91 West 23rd St., will hold a Mass to commemorate the deceased members of the Catholic War Veterans Post 1612 on Monday at 8 a.m.

The Bayonne Memorial Day parade will take place on Monday beginning with a ceremony at 10 a.m. at Fifth and Dodge streets. The parade will march up Broadway to 32nd Street. Immediately following, attendees will hold a commemoration at the American Legion Post, 683 Broadway.

WEEHAWKEN
The Weehawken Memorial Day parade on Monday will begin at Gregory and Highpoint avenues at 9:30 a.m. The parade will head through town and end at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, located between El Dorado and Hudson Place on Boulevard East, where a ceremony will take place at 11 a.m.

EWING
The Ewing Township Patriotic Committee will conduct its Memorial Day ceremony at Maj. Gen. Betor Veterans Memorial Park at 11 a.m. The program will be conducted by retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert Dutko, assisted by Lt. Col. Robert Schofield and Chief Warrant Officer Kenneth Langer. Ewing police Sgt. David LaBaw will play bagpipes along with the Ewing Township Police firing detail, color guards from the Veteran of Foreign Wars Post 7298, American Legion Post 314 and the New Jersey National Guard and a Dove release by Karen Cox. Pavers will be dedicated at the U.S. Air Force Memorial at the end of the ceremony.

MANALAPAN
Memorial Day Parade and Observances, march beginning 2 p.m. Monday at the Manalapan Municipal Complex and traveling down Route 522 (Tennent Avenue) to Englishtown, turning right on Main Street and ending at the American Legion Post 434, 11 Sanford St. (732) 446-9872.

BOONTON
Memorial Day Services, 11 a.m. Monday, Boonton Town Hall, Community Room, Washington Street. boonton.org or (973) 402-7387.

DENVILLE
Memorial Day Parade, marching 10 a.m. Monday from Menaugh Avenue and East Main Street to Denville Cemetery for services; in case of rain, services only will be held at 10 a.m. at town hall. thedenvillehub.com or (201) 736-2540.

BARNEGAT LIGHT
Memorial Day Ceremony, service featuring the Emerald Society Bagpipe Band, 6 p.m. Sunday, Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, Broadway off Long Beach Boulevard. stateparks.com/barnegat_lighthouse.html or (609) 494-2016.

LITTLE EGG HARBOR
Memorial Day Parade, beginning 10 a.m. Monday on Radio Road, followed by ceremonies at the Pulaski Monument. leht.com or (609) 296-7241, ext. 221.

TOMS RIVER
Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony, march 9:30 a.m. Monday hosted by American Legion Post 129, proceeding from Office Lounge south on Main Street, left on Washington Street and concluding with ceremony in front of town hall. tomsrivertownship.com or (732) 255-9250.

Hopatcong
Memorial Day Parade, beginning10 a.m. Saturday at borough hall, 111 River Styx Road, and ending at Veteran’s Park off Flora Avenue for ceremonies. hopatcong.org or (973) 770-1200.

Hackettstown
Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony, march beginning 9:30 a.m. Monday near post office on Washington Street and continuing to Grand Avenue and Main Street, ending at Union Cemetery on Mountain Avenue, with services by the American Legion at Union Cemetery and reception at the post home on Willow Grove Street. hackettstown.net or (908) 850-5004.

If there is an event in your area that is not listed, please add it in the comments section or my Facebook page. Thank you for remembering our vets who gave their all!

All About Frenchtown

I really enjoy going to Frenchtown. It is a lovely little area with plenty of history. The first time I went there I was picking up my spinning wheel at The Spinnery. Since then, I go back for a day trip whenever I can.

Frenchtown, NJ

The Delaware River alongside Frenchtown.

Frenchtown is located along the banks of the Delaware River in Hunterdon County, across from Bucks County, Pennsylvania and bordering Alexandria and Kingwood Townships, just south of Milford. In recent years, Frenchtown has become a cultural destination with many art galleries and specialty shops and restaurants in the small downtown area. I could spend all day wandering the quaint shops and sitting in one of the many small restaurants enjoy a cup of coffee and something sweet.

In 1757, three joint owners purchased of a tract of land from the West Jersey Land Society and began laying out streets and building lots at Calvin’s Ferry. The developing town was to be called “Alexandria” in honor of William Alexander, Lord Stirling, one of the three owners. In 1776, the three sold the settlement to Thomas Lowrey, a Flemington speculator. In 1794, Lowrey sold the tract to Paul Henri Mallet-Prevost, a Swiss fugitive from the French Revolution. He and other early settlers were French speaking, leading some to begin calling the place “Frenchtown.”

In September 2012, the borough’s downtown has been named a Great Place in New Jersey by the state chapter of the American Planning Association. There are wonderful events that take place throughout the year that are great ways to learn more about the area and experience all the great shops, galleries, and eateries. For example, every July they have a wonderful Bastille Day event that includes a wonderful collection of events and is surely not to be missed!

So if you are looking for a quaint little area along the Delaware for a Jersey adventure, make sure you check out Frenchtown!