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Newton(onian)

A mere hour from the concrete jungle that is New York City, beyond the Lincoln Tunnel, lies a land of verdant farms and bucolic landscapes! Who knew? Newton is a remnant of antebellum America and was officially incorporated by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 11, 1864. The arrival of the area’s first railroad in 1854 brought rapid commercial and residential growth. Construction of the Merriam Shoe Factory in 1873 introduced the modern factory system to Sussex County (where Newton lies) and inaugurated the town’s age of industry boom and sprawl.

Here’s a dandy little description of the town during the 19th century, found hereThe town lies upon the slope of a gentle hill, of mingled slate and limestone, at whose foot a spring sends forth the first waters of the Paulinskill, the chief river of the county … Some of the dwellings are very neat: the place has an air of business, and there is in fact a very considerable trade carried on with the surrounding country. In healthiness of situation, by the report of the inhabitants, it cannot be excelled. – Thomas Gordon, 1834.

 

With a population of less than 8,000 people, I am not sure so much has changed since those first days. I say this lovingly. Sometimes the ebb and flow of NYC is overwhelming, the sheer speed of evolution juxtaposed with the lack of wildlife can be trying. Sometimes, all I want to do is meander into the woods and lose myself in a leaf pile or examine the way stones skip on water. This is simply not possible in my urban existence. So, every now and then, my boyfriend and I get an invitation to escape the confines of the city and play at farm life. It was reinvigorating!

This past Sunday we travelled a mere 60 miles to Newton, New Jersey. Those 60 miles might as well be 100 years worth of construction and growth. The brick facades of Main Street and farm-stands lining the streets transported me to another era! The slight chill in the air and the foliage oscillating between red, yellow, brown and green all helped to make last weekend one of the most relaxing I have ever had  – a perfect autumnal experience!

Like my wooden name tag made with tree bark and a Sharpie? We all got to personalize our own! Please note, the table runners were burlap potato sacks!

Peter from Spirit Family Reunion made me with wonderful portrait while taking a break from playing!  He drew this in a mere 20 seconds!

The BBQ was complete with tomato bread salad, homegrown collared greens, roasted chicken, pulled pork, goat cheese beet salad, potato rolls and fried potatoes! We also played badminton, hula hoop, croquet and bean-bag toss. By the time we had finished drinking apple cider and pumpkin ale, we were all feeling pretty nicely warm and slightly buzzed. The band, Spirit Family Reunion, began to play their jug-handle, washboard, spoon-fed folk tunes on top of a grassy hill. Spirit Family Reunion plays homegrown American music that’s easy to stomp, clap, shake and holler with. As Paste Magazine writes, “Ever since they started singing together on the street corners, farmer’s markets and subway stations of New York City, their songs have rung-out in a pure and timeless way. When Spirit Family Reunion gather to sing, there is communion. Strangers and neighbors come to rejoice in the sound, and there is no divide between performer and spectator.” This magical afternoon was no exception.

Who needs a bucket of ice? 

Have you ever seen “hearty kiwis”? They are able to be grown in New Jersey! Surprise! 

Goodbye nature and time to head back to NYC! Do you ever take a “staycation” – a small weekend getaway that might as well be on another continent it feels so different? 

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My Week in Snapshots: 4/23/2012 – 4/29/2012

I am surprised I did not need to be rolled to this computer in order to write this post. But really, this week was basically dedicated to gustatory delights and rich cuisine! Here are a few photos taken straight from my iPhone so that you can see the calories through mine own eyes. At the start of the week I was visiting my new nephew Zachary Fionn (and helping to change diapers, feed babies, empty the dishes, and make food for the family) , and during the rest of the week I was back in NYC at my new JOB.

  1.  My sister’s kitchen is simple, clean, and a little rustic. The layered candles, rattan chairs, and mirrored sconces help to create an inviting space. However, my absolutely favorite piece is the Mason Jar Chandelier, found HERE. No longer are canning jars just for pickling!
  2. We had not one, but TWO dinner parties, this week in the Chelsea walkup. Apartment 9 was bustling with the smells of the kitchen, the laughter of friends, and a lot of wine. On Saturday night, our guests asked if they could bring dessert – OF COURSE WE SAID YES. Lydia and Marcia brought this phenomenally decorate caked purchased at The Riviera Bakehouse in Ardsley, NY. My savory tooth is usually much stronger than my sweet tooth, but the icing on this cake was perfectly done – not too overly sweet. How adorable is that chocolate bee buzzing on a flower petal?
  3. While bored one night I decided to paint my nails in an ombre palette of colors – baby blue, navy, and Prussian blue. Inspired by THIS.
  4. Michael and my good friend Joanna is leaving the auspices of NYC in order to make it big in LA! She is going to be a a famous comedy writer! She also blogs, interviews, and was the Photo Gallery Editor for the New York Daily News. She is generally snarky, loves puppies, and is television enthusiast.  This Saturday morning was her going-away brunch at Esperanto! This $11.95 prix fixe brunch comes with coffee, a mimosa, and an entree (above is the Huevos Rancheros). YOU CANNOT beat that. Straight from Jo’s twitter account, she writes – “The last brunch (where’s Jesus?)”:
  5. For your viewing pleasure, my Benjamin Moore Paint Chalk-wall, side by side. Number 5 is Friday’s Shabbat Dinner menu: Russet Potato Medley, Red Snapper in Moroccan Salt Rub with White Wine Sauce, and Mustard Seed and Panko Crusted Shrimp (how kosher). We also played CRANIUM until the wee hours of the morning.
  6. Number 6 is Saturday’s menu: Charcuterie, Garlic Bread, Lemon Ponzu Asparagus, and Chicken Puttanesca! This dinner actually beat the dinner from the night before, according to unanimous voting.
  7. I have an olive addiction. Recently I have tried to cure my own olives (with salt not lye) but have failed miserably. Anyone have any good recipes and suggestions? The green olives in the forefront are my favorite varietal, Cerignola, from Italy.  Did you know that all olives are technically green and only change color (to black or purple) because of sun exposure, nutrient richness, and maturation? If you scratch off the skin of ANY black olive, you will find some green hiding underneath. ALSO, never ever ever eat a freshly picked olive…blegh.
  8. I don’t think I have ever turned down the chance to eat Nutella on anything. The giant jar in this photo is $90 dollars and is filled with 11 lbs of Nutella. These photos are from Bar Suzette Creperie.  They even have TRUFFLE CREPES.
  9. My sister was craving some major comfort foods so I made a tuna, mac, cheese, peas, carrots, and breadcrumbs casserole! It tasted like a take on a Shepherd’s Pie. Don’t you love those bright cast iron pots? My favorite is Le Creuset Cookware.
  10. This carved wooden artwork was part kitsch, part tiki, and part Coney-Island. It had a goofy sense of humor that kept me amused. In the East Village, Esperanto is  decorated colorfully, with Latin-themed pictures, ornaments hanging from the ceiling, and a faux sheet metal shack with random cruise-ship doors. I wish I knew what artist made this hysterical wall ornament!
What did YOU do this week?