Friday, July 31, 2009

Kinnelon Public Paths and Private Property

Public Footpath originally uploaded by Extra Medium.
Public FootpathThis photo titled Public Footpath explains that in the UK "...everywhere you go, there are these public footpaths. And for whatever reason, there's always people walking along them. I never see a beginning or end to them. But what's random is that they go on private property..." It had me thinking about areas around Kinnelon where public access comes up against private property.

Take Silas Condict Park with its magnificent and elegant historic Casino building. Definitely a public space. And, yet, not completely since a caretaker lives on the premises.

The first time I realized that a person - rather a family - had a private property in a public space, I remember thinking how marvelous to be in such a bucolic setting, yet also how awkward to be constantly on guard for the unexpected: someone peering into a bedroom or taking a child's toy or ringing the doorbell for more information.

You might say that it comes with the territory. But, still. The co-existence of private within public creates tension.

That certainly holds true in communities like Fayson Lakes or Smoke Rise or along the Kakeout Reservoir trail where common spaces abut private properties, which sometimes aren't clearly defined as private.

I share here stories -- such as Cornie Hubner's -- that bring up visions of spaces that once were private and now aren't, or of ones that were common and now aren't. They may also take us places where we physically shouldn't go unless invited.

We have to be respectful. We can't assume that because something historic looks uninhabited or public, that it is, that we can just wander into buildings and help ourselves to what's around. The only way that the concept of a 'public footpath' through private property [or of common and private] can work is by not venturing from the public path.

In Smoke Rise, one example is the Talbot House on Talbot Drive. It is private property, yet, we are given to understand, visited by uninvited people, some of whom will even go up to the house to satisfy their curiosity.

It's really the same as if people came up to our home and peered through our windows.

We wouldn't like it.

So, although we will continue to write about the many places of historic interest among which we live, we will certainly remember that it does not mean they are all open to the public and, in fact, some are not.

Know before you go!

Christine & Ted

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Smoke Rise Village Inn Restaurant -- Good Dining and a Nice Place to Eat for all of Kinnelon

Smoke Rise Village InnThere is a shortage of decent places to eat in the Kinnelon area, it's sad to say, but one very pleasant place with good atmosphere (think hometown tavern for the bar area, and something fancier for the dining room), is The Smoke Rise Village Inn Restaurant, which is open to anyone, and not just for Smoke Rise residents.

I'm not saying I like it for any other reason but that I really do like it -- Chef George offers a variety of interesting and fairly inexpensive food, with fixed price daily specials during the week. It's fun to go there and we find it casual and very relaxing.

Part of a pretty collection of buildings from the outside, including the old Kinney stable and barn where the restaurant itself is found, The Inn has good parking, and will do takeout -- check out the menus and details on the link above.

Smoke Rise Village Inn Gate
I am especially fond of the Sesame Tuna Salad -- the tuna is seared on the outside and served with a ponzu vinaigrette -- really good. And I like the Bistro Steak Salad -- a shell steak over greens with a bacon vinaigrette, also very good. And I have tried and like many of the other appetizers, salads, and entrees and enjoyed them, too.

It's is a very kid friendly place with room for them to run around and the staff is affectionate and tolerant.

They are not open on Monday and Tuesday. The could use a better beer selection, although it's not terrible. They do have Bass Ale, which I like -- they could have our very own excellent local Ramstein Beer produced down in Butler by my friend Greg Zaccardi's High Point Brewery, but ... they do not. Sigh. All those wonderful German style wheat beers and lagers ...

But, other than that, The Inn is a good place to go for those of us in the Kinnelon area when we do not feel like cooking, or we just want a relaxing local night out with friends.

Check it out.
~ Ted

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Lake Aeroflex or New Wawayanda: The Deepest Natural NJ Lake and Very Cool!

Lake AeroflexDo you know that the deepest Natural lake in NJ, at over 110 ft deep, is pristine Lake Aeroflex (or New Wawayanda) just on the other side of Lake Hopatcong?

We visited with friends there recently and were very impressed with the coolness of the water and the lakeshore temperature as well, and the unspoiled beauty of this natural lake so close by.

I could clearly see the toes of people treading water, and imagined I could see the bottom at 10 ft or so. Clear water!

The bottom drops off fairly steeply as you might imagine from the hilly shoreline, the product of a big glacial scooping of the valley in which the lake lies, and the shore is unspoiled with only a small number of summer homes and cabins at the north end the lake, which is itself now owned by the NJ State Park system, and which provides boat ramp access at the south end.

Kittatinny Valley State Park surrounds most of the lake and has facilities and parking on the southeast shore of the lake along which (on the western shore) there are some very nice hiking trails. Visit the Kittatinny Valley State Park of New Jersey website which also has a link to photos.

Clearly underfished judging from the number of sunfish and bass to be seen from the dock on which we spent the afternoon, the state stocks the lake with brown trout and landlocked salmon, since it is so cold and deep -- the lake has a 40 ft average depth, and at 119 acres is about the same size in area as Lake Kinnelon which I'm guessing has an average depth of about 6 ft or less.

The state only permits electric/trolling motors on the lake, but that shouldn't be a problem for fishermen or sightseers.

The day we were there I saw 2 boats on the lake and I think because it is so close to Hopatcong it just does not get the traffic.

Good for us.

It took us 40 minutes to get there from Kinnelon and was worth the trip.

~ Ted

PS:Most maps show this lake as Lake Aeroflex after the old Aeroflex Corporation which owned it and the surrounding land for a time in the middle of the last century, but according to some NJ State Park documents it is now officially New Wawayanda Lake. Also check out History of Andover Township, NJ.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Campout at the Smoke Rise Beach 2009

The girls and their tentOnce again, pure adventure and magic! We're just back from a Girls Night Out at the Smoke Rise Beach 2009 Family Campout and had a blast. [Here is a link to my writeup from last year's event.]

Perfect weather, clear skies, 55 degrees sleeping temperature [possibly less at times given the breeze and proximity to the water] and plenty of activity for the kids, including movie and ghost story that eerily came to life.

It has something to do with it being the third Saturday in July. That's what seems to bring the Purple Bishop out. We heard screams on the water, saw a purple cloaked head in the Guard House, and temporarily lost sight of a lifeguard or two. Luckily, they returned...

Here are some views of the campsite to share with you.

The excitement ended last night at about midnight. But, by 5:45am my daughter and her friend were up. They decided to check out what was left of the bonfire and hung out with the five lifeguards there.

After a munchkin or two and some cold pizza leftover from the previous night's dinner, they were off to the playground. We all cleared the beach by 7am or so.

I include a few photos of the campsite. And, given that I've finally gotten TwitPic working on miPhone, here are two I uploaded to Twitter: the beach pre-campsite and Lisa & Arnel Contreras by their tent.

Smoke Rise Beach campout 1

Smoke Rise Beach campout 2
Smoke Rise Beach campout 3

Yes, it was a busy night. I found the night sounds fascinating and the sky, absolutely riddled with stars. It made me wish I knew my constellations better. No swans.

Reminder for next time: find something soft to sleep on. Sand is hard and the sleeping bag not soft enough!

And, any suggestions on how to keep ravens quiet? They sure know how to make a racket very early in the morning...

Once again, thank you to the Smoke Rise Beach lifeguards for another memorable evening.

I'm off to bed. VERY tired after my adventures!

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Friday, July 17, 2009

The Old Birch Spring Trail

NIGHTThere's a magical trail you might consider taking the next time you visit the Smoke Rise beach: the Old Birch Spring Trail. We discovered it thanks to Tom Kline on Sunday, July 5th.

This 1/2 mile long trail was never a fully marked trail. However, at both the starting and end points, it features delicious finds that offer a glimpse into the world of Francis S. Kinney.

The Birch Spring Trail starts at the north end of the beach. You know, Cove Lane, the road that goes behind the parking lot and goes toward the boat racks and docks? Walk a bit along that road - not too far - and you'll notice on your left hand side [the beach is on your right] a large granite flat-topped erratic.

Look closely, and you'll notice something in the middle.

NIGHT - closeupDo you see it in the picture?

Incised there in the middle in a rectangular frame is the word NIGHT.

Intriguing, no?

If you have seen Tom's slide presentation about Smoke Rise and the Kinney Estate, you may remember that he mentions statues. Kinney had many statues placed around his property in unexpected locations, at unusual vantage points. They contributed to the uniqueness of Kinnelon [how Kinney referred to his estate at the time].

Birch Spring 1This here, then, harkens back to those days! This massive erratic is where a statue called NIGHT was placed. Be sure to look at the flat top. Can't you just imagine the statue? What do you think it looked like?

Once you have discovered NIGHT, turn around. Now, head back toward the beach, cut through the parking lot and walk along East Shore Drive, past The Crossway.

Just past the big red house, heading north, keep an eye out on the left for what looks like a culvert for drainage from under the road.

I'm sure all of us have driven past this spot many times oblivious to the presence of this artifact of old Kinnelon.

If you look carefully, you'll see that there is no culvert, just the BIRCH SPRING itself, carefully walled on three sides, and welling up from within. The spring then drains into the lake.

Take the steps on the right side of the spring [step with care as they are covered with leaves and other debris] - see photo below - and you can admire the stone marker with the words BIRCH SPRING and the date 1894.

Birch Spring 2

Magical, don't you think?

I'm wondering whether BIRCH SPRING wasn't a perfect place for a quick drink of spring water on a hot summer day.

I can certainly imagine the walk being a perfect early morning jaunt, just to stretch the legs. Perhaps it was part of a longer walk or ride?
Birch Spring steps
According to Tom, when this trail was part of the official Smoke Rise trails [pre mid-70s approximately], residents would walk along the lake shore rather than on the road as we did. If you look carefully through the woods as you travel down the road, it does indeed look like a path once existed and perhaps still does in certain areas since the eye can still discern long cleared stretches among the trees.

If you've taken this trail before, what memories do you have?

Have you come across other signs of Kinney's Kinnelon?

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Kinnelon Library Summer Reading Social Kickoff!

Kinnelon Summer Reading Calendar 2009The 2009 Summer Reading Season has begun. It's official as of June 30th, 2009 when the Kinnelon Library held the yearly Ice Cream Social Summer Reading Kickoff! The Social was a blast - despite torrential rains - and we are off and reading - kids, teens and adults.

This is my daughter's and my third year participating and hats off to the program organizers!

Yes, it would had been nice for the event to have taken place outside as originally planned. However, the second floor of the Library worked really well; the crowds were enthusiastic, the ice cream [vanilla and cotton candy, I think?] from the Ice Cream Station in Pompton Lakes, NJ a major hit, and the entertainment, fantastic!

Kinnelon Ice Cream SocialThat's right, the entertainment.

For the first time, the Library invited local teen bands to perform at the Social. The two performing bands were Triphobia and Zone Zero, which opened for Triphobia. [Definitely check out Triphobia on MySpace to experience their music if you missed them at the Social.] Be sure, too, to view the photos from the event available on the Kinnelon Library Teen Blog.

Triphobia band members include:

- David Bellman on guitar
- Kevin Yapaola, vocals
- Conner Clement on bass
- Dan Elstein on guitar
- Chris Flannery on drums

Triphobia performing at Kinnelon LibraryZone Zero band members include:

- Garrison Groeshke, vocals
- Francis Caserta on bass
- Eric Stanton, lead guitar
- Adam Polick, guitar
- Sal Corollo on drums

Really cool!

Per Galina Adair, the event was a huge success, attracting many teens to hear the bands play and encouraging 135 children to sign up for the Summer Reading Program. And, if all of the kids exerted pressure on their parents to sign up [as my daughter did on me], I expect that a good number of adults signed up, too.

Parents and kids, the Summer Reading Calendar is available online [see Calendar PDF available here with activities for adults, teens and kids] in case you didn't get the copy that came in the really useful Kinnelon Summer Reading bag.

Note the Thursday evening [from 6pm to 7pm] scavenger hunts. They are really fun. We attended the first on July 9th and I learned valuable information about the Kinnelon Children's Library.

Other useful piece of information:

The Children's Library is sending out a frequent email blast to update you on what's happening for kids in the library on specific dates. There's a lot going on in July [see calendar above] and these reminders are helpful. If you didn't sign up at the Social and want to be included, call the library at (973) 838-1321 and ask for Children's. [The Library also has a Twitter account you should follow.]

[Or, let me know and I will get the information over to the right person.]

Now, let's get back to that summer reading!

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Friday, July 10, 2009

The Smoke Rise & Kinnelon Blog Turns 1!

One Year Old Birthday Cake originally uploaded by Loveys Confections.
Happy 1st Birthday!Today marks the one year anniversary of the birth of The Smoke Rise & Kinnelon Blog!

In the past year, we have created 85 blogposts which have attracted 5,959 visitors who have viewed 9,629 pages [7,755 of those being unique page views].

These are the top stories - an eclectic mix, to say the least - with the most sensational being The Kinnelon Critter File: Mountain Lion or Large Bobcat?

Corrado's Market In Wayne, NJ
A Smoke Rise Ghost Story: The Tale of The Purple Bishop
Split Rock Reservoir Trail Hike
Lake Kinnelon Hike
St. Hubert's Chapel Visit

We have many more gems to share with you...

Thank you to John Connelly, Sunita Narma and the Kinnelon Children's Library for contributing wonderful stories, details and interviews to the blog.

Thanks, too, for the emails, comments and offline discussions.

As we head into year two, I encourage you to tell others about the blog. Suggest that they subscribe. And, if there's some aspect of Smoke Rise and Kinnelon that you'd like to share with others, please consider doing so here.

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Swim For A Cure - July 5, 2009

Thank you, Sunita Narma, aka Flower Car Lady, for sharing the following post about the upcoming Swim For A Cure taking place this Sunday, July 5, 2009. Will you be there?


Smoke Rise Days” is the official name for the 4th of July weekend long celebrations down at the Smoke Rise beach in Kinnelon. It is a weekend full of BBQs, fireworks, arts and crafts for the kids, and a time for all the neighbors to gather and celebrate our Independence Day. One special activity being held a during Smoke Rise days is the Swim For A Cure fundraiser.

Smoke Rise resident Katy Schrope has once again organized what has now become an annual event. The “Swim for A Cure” fundraiser to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society will be held on Sunday July 5th from 9 am-12 noon. You don’t need to be a great swimmer to participate. There are kickboards and you can swim laps one at a time or any time during the 3 hour timeframe. The event will be held in the swim lanes at the beach. Kids, adults -- all are welcome. Breakfast is generously donated once again by Marcia Lafayette of Coldwell Banker Real Estate.

Pledge forms are available at the beach as of June 1st. Donations can be made per swimmer lap or in one flat amount. Checks can be made out to “The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society”.

I am not a great swimmer but I plan on being there and will try to overcome my fear of water and do my part to help find a cure. There is also a fishing contest the same day that starts at 8:30 am and a sandcastle building contest for the kids at noon. It’s a perfect way to spend the day at the beach with something to keep everyone in the family entertained. End the day with tours of St. Hubert's Chapel in Smoke Rise led by Tom Kline.

Hope to see you all at the beach during Smoke Rise days. Happy Independence Day to all.

-Flower Car Lady - Have a happy and colorful day!


Thank you, Sunita!

From The Smoke Rise Club Newsletter's July 1, 2009 issue:

"Swim for a Cure: "Get Wet" For A Good Cause

The Fourth Annual Swim for a Cure to benefit The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is scheduled for Sunday, July 5 from 9am to 12noon. Please come down to the beach and give your all for a worthy cause! Pick up a pledge form on the bulletin board by the snack shack. Sponsors can pledge you per lap or make a lump sum donation. You just have to swim laps [as many as you want] during the 9-12 time slot on July 5th. Let's honor those who have fought or are currently fighting the battle against cancer. Join us down at the Smoke Rise Beach for a great day of swimming and giving! Please contact Katy Schrope if you have any questions. Thank you for participating!

I wish you, your friends and families all a very safe and happy July 4th holiday celebration not only in Kinnelon, but anywhere 'Where The Smoke Rises.'

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Charlotteburg Reservoir Hike - July 3, 2009

From Smoke Rise Days 2009 you may have noticed that a hike is planned for 11am on Friday July 3, 2009. More specifically, a Charlotteburg Reservoir hike.

I spoke today with Marcia Lafayette, Smoke Rise Days Coordinator, who confirmed a few details with me.

Jane Johnson is leading the hike. An experienced hiker, I'm looking forward to hearing about the hikes she has taken in the area.

The hike will last approximately one hour and will follow Winnebago Road, along the Charlotteburg Reservoir, north to the dam and back.

We've never gone that far north! This Google map below gives you an idea of the path we will follow.

View Larger Map

If you plan on participating, please arrive promptly before 11:00 AM at the 744 Ridge Road cul-de-sac.

Children and pets welcome.

NOTE: the Winnebago Road may be muddy given the recent downpours. So, be prepared.

I look forward to seeing you there!

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