Sunday, June 27, 2010

Anne's Hair Spa: Great Haircuts for Kinnelon, Butler & Beyond!

Meet Anne Walsh, owner and operator of Anne's Hair Spa in Butler, NJ, where she has been since 2006.  She specializes in hair color, hair cuts and hair styling and also does make-up for weddings, proms and other special occasions.  She's the best hair stylist we know!

You can find her at:

11 Main Street, Butler
Tel. number: 973-492-0020.

Her location is right before the Pequannock River Bridge in Butler.

Anne has been cutting my hair since shortly after we moved to Kinnelon in 2004; I found out about her from my friend Karen David-Chilowicz from Wayne. I convinced Ted to trust her shortly after Anne opened her doors in Butler.  We both agree that there is no point in going anywhere else for hair cuts.  Anne is the most consistent and talented hair stylist we have met. Really!

I recently caught up with Anne and asked her a few questions.  

CB:  Anne, how long have you been a hair stylist?

AW: I've been styling hair for 22 years.  I got started while I was in High School when I attended vocational/trade school.

CB:  You have pictures in Anne's Hair Spa of you with famous TV people. What's that all about?

Anne's Hair Spa, 11 Main St. Butler, NJAW: I do the hair styling for on-air TV programs such as Maury Povich, UPN9 News, Fox 5, Regis and Kelly and many others.  I've even styled Queen Latifah's hair.

CB: What is most critical about on-air TV styling?  Is it high pressure?

AW:  Oh, yes!  It's very high pressure. Time is very limited and you have a lot of people's hair to style in a very short time frame.

CB:  What do you love most about Anne's Hair Spa?

AW: I love the flexibility of the business, the new faces and the hair styles to create!

CB: In addition to haircuts, hair styling, hair color and make-up, what else does Anne's Hair Spa offer?

AW:  We host and organize young girls' birthday parties, and offer monthly specials - including $10 off after 10 services.

CB: Thank you, Anne!

Next haircut, I suggest you give Anne's Hair Spa in Butler a call!

Note: this is NOT a sponsored endorsement. We are simply great fans of Anne and her haircuts, and we'd like other people to know about her.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Friends of the Kinnelon Library

Friends of the Kinnelon LibraryIn my last conversation with Ron Leavesley, we discussed Kinnelon's Center For Lifelong Learning.  In this post, we focus on the Friends of the Kinnelon Library of which Ron is the president.

CB: Ron, what are the Friends of the Kinnelon Library?

RL:  The Friends of the Kinnelon Library is an independent, non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to focusing public attention on the library to promote the use of its resources and services. Its sole purpose is fundraising for the Kinnelon Public Library.

We state our primary mission as being to develop the library as the educational, informational, and cultural center of the Kinnelon community and to raise funds for the exclusive benefit of the library.

CB: How did the Friends of the Kinnelon Library get started?

RL: It was 1979 when the charter for the Friends was approved by the IRS and the State. All of this came about thanks to the efforts of many dedicated library supporters. The result: 31 years of Friends activity and funding support.

However, even before the Friends were formally created the Arts & Crafts Festival (34 years) and the Book Sale (33 years) were well under way as fundraisers. Even the Kinnelon Service Directory has been provided annually, free of charge to all Kinnelon households since 1980.

[Book Sale and Festival Posters volunteers.]
Friends of the Kinnelon Library Book Sale and Festival Poster volunteers
CB: How are the Friends organized?

RL: The Friends are a totally independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is governed by a Board of Governors. The Friends file annual Federal and State reporting requirements and all assets are in Friends bank accounts.

To facilitate communications and cooperation we have supported and encouraged the Library Director and representative Trustees to be a party to the Board meetings even though they have no vote. In any case, we all have a real interest in fundraising, fulfilling our mission and doing the best for the library. We do quite well and have a common interest….our Library!

CB: What are some of the programs that the Friends sponsor?

RL: As I mentioned previously, the Book Sale, Arts & Crafts Festival and the Kinnelon Service Directory have a been our longest running fundraisers along with our membership mailings sent out twice a year to every Kinnelon household.

Other fundraisers, which by the way can change every year, are targeted to raising funds for the Library. For example, the Paver program initiated in 2001 has raised over $33,000 as well as covering the cost of the initial construction of the walkway. It is a matter of getting fundraisers that have a good return on investment. Other examples are the Barn Theater program, special trips, etc. In 2009 all these efforts generated over $57,000 and a contribution of 80%.

[Book Sale volunteers.]
Friends of the Kinnelon Library Book Sale volunteers
CB: What about volunteers?

RL: They are so important and we have over 200 of them who make significant contributions in so many different ways. To recognize their efforts each year we have a Volunteer Recognition Event for those who have served the Friends, CLL and the Library so well during the year. Recognition awards are also given out… some serious and many humorous. We all have fun plus great food. I have said…volunteers are our most important asset.

CB: What is the connection with the CLL?

RL: As mentioned before the Friends and CLL are completely separate organizations and with different mission statements… The Friends are fundraisers and CLL are the educators. However, the two organizations do a great job of working together. As President of both organizations my job is to see that we are all working together to avoid duplication of effort, support each other and provide the best return on our commitments of time and money. It is interesting that some individuals serve on both Boards and that is great. To top it off the Library Director and Trustees are all part of the process.

Friends of the Kinnelon Library Pavers Program
[Putting in the pavers.]

CB:  Carol Sventy mentioned that both the CLL and the Friends hold yearly brainstorming sessions? What's the purpose?

RL: We find that it's incredible valuable for each organizations to get together once a year to review what they have accomplished, key issues facing each orgainzations, ideas for the next year and plan for the future. We brainstorm and exchange ideas to keep our programs fresh and relevant both to the community and the Library. For example, in 2000 when the Kinnelon Library decided to expand, we came up with the Paver program to raise funds for the computers and other equipment needed in the start up of the expanded library. In 2001 the Friends contributed over $94,000 to the cause.

CB: How else do the Friends help the Kinnelon Library?

RL: We invest in the Library. Very simply we are fundraisers providing funding that enables the library to provide services and programs that could not be accomplished without the Friends as well as CLL. Since 2001 the Friends have contributed funding of over $450,000 thanks mainly to public support. CLL has added another $40,000.

All of this fundraising takes on added importance as Libraries in general could see reduced financial support by the state and local governments in a variety of ways in 2010 and beyond. [Note: see Ted's post New Jersey & Kinnelon Library Armageddon?]

CB: Ron, Kinnelon is truly lucky to have both the Friends of the Kinnelon Library and the CLL.  Everyone in the community benefits.

Thank you.

Would you like to become a Friend of the Kinnelon Library? Click on this link. You won't regret it!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Smoke Rise Days July 3 Hike: Will You Join Us?

Smoke Rise Days 2010 HikeSmoke Rise Days 2010 are fast approaching! I have important information to share with you... a Hike on Saturday, July 3rd.

That's right. We are referring to it as the New Pond Trail Hike.

Will you be there?

Here are the nitty gritty details.

Date: Saturday, July 3rd
Time: 9:00 am [please be on time]
Meeting Place: Beechwood Lane cul de sac

More specifically, walk or park at the end of Beechwood Lane [west of Red Oak Lane] and you will see the trail head - located between lots #20 and #21.

As described in The New Pond Trail, we will take Old Mountain Road trail South to New Pond.  From there we will take the newly reopened New Pond access to West Shore Drive, and then retrace our steps back to Beechwood Lane through the woods.

Approximate time for the hike: ~ 3 hours

[If you'd prefer a half hike, consider parking a car by the New Pond trail head on West Shore Drive.]

Given that it will be warm, I strongly encourage each hiker to have his/her own water.  If you have any allergies, please be prepared.

Children and dogs welcome.  Please note that Mountain Road has significant ups and downs.

Otherwise, wear light colored clothing and good hiking shoes, have a walking stick and bring a camera.

See you then!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Real Chicago Pizza in Kinnelon!

Ted's Chicago Style Pizza

Pizza! Pizza! Pizza! Specifically, Real Chicago Pizza! In Kinnelon no less!

Of course,you have to make it yourself...

Oh, I like all kinds of Pizza.

NY style, thin crust, fold-each-slice-in-half pizza.

Napoli style Margherita with only the most artisanal ingredients.

Yes. I like them all.

But, I have a special place in my heart for the real, original, Chicago style pizza that came out of the real original Pizzeria Uno and Due in Chicago in the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies, before all of the Uno’s Chicago Grill nonsense and fake Chicago style pizza in every mall. That stuff gives real Chicago Pizza a bad name.

They say Lou Malnati’s in Chicago is good, don’t know -- haven’t been there, but it could be, ‘cause Rudy Malnati, the father, was the original chef at Pizzeria Uno back in the day.

Anyway, I have tried to reproduce the crust and flavor for-it-seems-like-forever, with tasty and edible results, but NO SUCCESS, until NOW.

I have always known the crust is very short, that is, high in oil, and not much leavened, that is low in yeast, but I did run across a number of recipes on the ‘net which now bring me to within a hairsbreadth of the real thing, or, anyway, as real as several decades of distant memory will allow.

The real Chicago crust is somewhere between a pie crust and and a biscuit, I think, flaky, with a good crunch on the bottom, and little crumbly up from the bottom.

I am going to share this recipe with you all in the hopes that you will make it and I will get feedback! I do hope it is liked, but I would appreciate any suggestions from the Chicago-Pizza-Specific knowledgeable among you. If there are any!

The Crust:

Ted's real Chicago Pizza dough ball4 cups All Purpose flour
1/2  to 1 cup fine cornmeal
1-1/2 cups or a tiny bit more water at 95 to 100 DEG F
½ cup corn oil and 2 TBS olive oil
1 TSP salt (I like sea salt)
1/8 TSP active dry yeast, and no more
Note: This recipe makes enough dough for 2 pizzas

Bloom the yeast in the warm water for 10 minutes. We need the yeast not only for the little bit of leavening we get,but also for the flavor.

Also you may as well get the oven going at 400 deg F.

Using a stand mixer or a bread machine mix all of the ingredients until a fully mixed ball forms, and then stop. Do not knead the dough further – we do not want the gluten to develop tough, stretchy dough.

Store in a covered, olive oiled bowl for 4 hours to overnight at room temperature.

This recipe makes the appropriate amount of dough for 2 standard, 14” high-sided Chicago pizza pans. I used a non-stick Chicago metallic pan that I got from Amazon for 12 bucks. Worked very well. I remember the originals as being well-seasoned black steel.

Push out the dough ball with your hands into the pan, pressing it flat until the bottom is evenly covered as well as 1-1/4” to 1-1/2" up the sides.

Prick the dough with a fork across the bottom, since we are going to blind bake the dough for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F.

Put the crust in for 20 to 25  minutes, or until the thinnest crust on the bottom starts to turn a little bit golden.

The Cheese and Tomato and Sausage:

1-1/2 to 2 lbs low moisture whole milk or part skim, your choice, mozzarella, grated, or Fresh mozzarella 2-1/4 lbs, grated, see note below.
1 cup mild Provolone or Fontina cheese, grated.
2 cups good quality Reggiano Parmesan, grated.
8 oz Italian sausage gently cooked until barely done, and separated into smallish, ½” grains.
1 to 2 32 oz cans whole Plum or Roma tomatoes in juice; I like Tuttorosso brand.
2 TBS Italian Herbs crushed.
3 TBS olive oil
Optional (non-traditional, but tastes good): Add 1/2 chopped sweet onion to the tomatoes sauteed below.
Note: This topping list makes enough for 1 pizza
Note: I prefer fresh mozzarella's flavor to packaged pre-grated, but it is too wet. What I do is to slice and dry the fresh cheese and then nuke it with the other cheeses for a minute or 2 until it gives up its water, which I pour off, leaving sweet, fresh tasting cheese that is dry. Stir to mix. Then allow to cool on a big plate. When cool, dice into cubes. Do not overcook.

The sausage above is optional, too, of course, but we always got it with sausage, and that's the way I like it still.

Separate and drain the juice from the tomatoes, crush the whole tomatoes with your hand, drain the juice with the rest, and sauté the tomatoes at med. low heat in 3 TBS olive oil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add optional onion if desired. I do.

Add crushed Italian Herbs to the tomato juice and add to the pan with the whole tomatoes and continue to cook on low until sauce thickens. You can add a couple of cloves, of crushed garlic if you like, or more. Set aside.


Mix the cheeses together and add ½ to the pizza first, layering evenly over the dough, trying to leave no dough uncovered.

Sprinkle the sausage around.

Add the tomatoes and enough of the sauce in clumps around the pizza leaving about ½ the pizza uncovered by tomato.

Assembled: Ted's real Chicago PizzaCover with the rest of the cheese.

Lower the heat to 350 DEG F. and cook the pizza in the middle of the oven for aprox. 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese has begun to bubble and turn a bit golden.

Remove. Let sit for 5 minutes.

I then slide mine out onto a serving platter.

You can please yourself!

Slice and eat!

OK, let me know what you think.


Emma likes Ted's real Chicago Pizza!

PS: I remember in my senior year of high school, having just gotten my driver's license, as had our friends, driving into Chicago as a group on a Friday or Saturday night, to the near North Side where Uno was located,

Trying to find a place to park, going down the steps into a lower than sidewalk (basement) location,

Smelling that indescribable combination of cheese, cooked dough, sausage and tomato, garlic, and olive oil,

Trying to get the waitress to serve us beer by ordering it very casually (1 time out of 5 or so it happened if she was very distracted -- Uno was a busy place),

Our delight if we succeeded in getting the beer,

Her scorn if we failed,

Waiting for the almost hour from ordering, because that's what it takes to cook, as we were reminded every time we ordered,

Trying not to eat the bread, breadsticks, or salad, or anything else that would take up room meant for the Pizza,

Watching every pie that went by hoping it was ours,

Eating ourselves silly,

Walking the meal off afterwards,

Going home, full and happy.

PPS: This recipe has been updated on 11/11/10 from its original posting. Ongoing process, you know.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Blasting in Early Smoke Rise

Blasting invoice, Smoke Rise Company Inc.Herb Fisher has been sharing delicious details with us about the early days of Smoke Rise. Have you read his blog post The Early Days of Smoke Rise? It's definitely worth a read. This time, he shares more details about blasting.

Along with the copy of the 1988 Suburban Trends article, Herb recently faxed over a preposterous $11 bill from the Smoke Rise Company Inc. for "blasting rock - cell excavation" dated December 31, 1954. Can you imagine?  The reverse side of the bill featured a map of Smoke Rise with directions on how to reach Smoke Rise from New York, and Newark and the Oranges. It specified a "members' entrance" [aka the North Gate] and a "service entrance" [aka the East Gate].

[By the way, in those days, Routes 80 and 287 didn't exist. From the George Washington Bridge, you would take Route 46 all the way to 23. Interestingly, the current route from the Lincoln Tunnel remains the same: Routes 3 to 46 to 23.]

In his message to me, Herb included several photos [see below] of construction on his parents' property during those very early days of Smoke Rise.

His comments offer more perspective about blasting and construction:

"Obviously, the foundation pictures are 628 Mountain Road where the minor blasting occurred.

The thunderous blasts and a slight earth tremor occurred frequently back in the late 50 and 60s as more and more houses were being built and roads constructed.

I mentioned Walt Uzinowitz (sp) in my blog post. If I remember correctly, he had a regular 'ole truck with cases of dynamite, blasting caps, plungers, miles of wire, jack hammers, stout drill bits, super-size air compressor, and long rubber air hoses. Often he would have a second flatbed type truck, with a backhoe/bulldozer and large woven two ton thick cable mats. He would lay the mats over the blasting site, if houses were in the area. They would help prevent large pieces of granite from flying a 100 yards or more. Sometimes even the mats flew up 10 or 15 feet. He just drove around with no issues at all.

If they still blast today I can not imagine the regulations and permits and placards on the truck, all the training and regulated by all the OSHA and EPA and ICC and Bureau of Mines bureaucrats. If all those folks were around back then, the $11.00 job would cost $111.00. Can't imagine because of the government how much it costs in 2010. And I doubt a seven year old kiddo today could "push the plunger".

Herb Fisher Sr. and Jr., 628 Mountain Road, Smoke Rise, NJ
Herb with his Dad at 628 Mountain Road.
Smoke Rise excavation
The recently blasted and excavated foundation.
628 Mountain Road in progress
Admiring progress on the house!

Thanks, Herb, for this wonderful glimpse of life and blasting in the very early days of Smoke Rise.

Do you have memories and stories you'd like to share?  Let me know.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Kinnelon's Center For Lifelong Learning - CLL

Are you familiar with Kinnelon's Center for Lifelong Learning, also known as CLL? Sponsored by the Kinnelon Public Library, it is an all volunteer run organization that provides daytime educational opportunities and "adventures in learning" for adults of all ages.

I met recently with Ron Leavesley, president of CLL and the Friends of the Kinnelon Library, and Carol Sventy, CLL Registrar and vice president of the Friends of the Kinnelon Library, to learn more.

CB: Ron, how did Kinnelon's Center for Lifelong Learning get started?  

RL:  It all started in the Fall of 1993 when a small group of Kinnelon residents got together with the Kinnelon Library director and decided to fill a need.  The group believed that many men and women might welcome the opportunity for intellectual stimulation and the chance to enhance their knowledge in many subjects of their choice. Given how passionate many of our residents are about specific subjects, we realized that those who are authorities in their fields could teach classes, and those with an interest could become instructors and those lacking in specific knowledge would just want the opportunity to learn.  The end result was four courses attended by 16 students in the first semester and that is how it all began!

Ron LeavesleyCB: When did you join the organization? 

RL: I got involved in 1994 and became president in 1995. My initial involvement in 1994 was to take a painting course and it went from there.

CB: How has the program evolved over the years?

RL:We have seen record registrations every year: with over 700 students in 2009 and that total will likely be exceeded.  Over 8,000 students have realized adventures in learning since we began.  Each year, we offer two full semesters of 10 weeks each featuring 14-16 courses plus we are supported by over 50 volunteer instructors.  To top it off, we attract students not just from Kinnelon but from over 30 communities. There's nothing else like it in the neighboring communities. All of this has been very rewarding.

CB:  What makes CLL's offerings so unique?

RL:  We have basic courses that repeat each semester - for example, "Week in Review - Domestic & World Issues" discussing current events - and new courses based on student input - for example, "Women of Courage", a course on New Jersey and the American Revolution, a four semester course about the Civil War and a class favorite "Tell Me Something I Don't Know".

We offer 3 art classes - oil, water color and sculpture - with over 100 students actively involved each semester.  Every February, we hold the Annual CLL Artist Exhibit featuring the creativity of our great CLL students.

CLL goes way beyond the classroom… We now have CLL Performing Arts programs, the CLL “Lectures At The Library” Series, and do outreach with the Kinnelon High School such as the KHS Annual Art Exhibit. 

These are the yearly CLL scheduled events.
  • January: The Performing Arts Talent Show
  • February: Spring Semester begins [February through May], Performing Arts Presentation [In 2010, this was Brazilian Flute & Guitar], Annual CLL Art Exhibit
  • April: The CLL Volunteer Recognition Event
  • May: Performing Arts Event [In 2010, this was the Westerhoff Concert]
  • July: Performing Arts Event [Coming up in 2010: Shakespeare]
  • September: Fall Semester begins [September through November]
  • November: CLL Silent Art Auction to benefit the Friends of the Kinnelon Library.
CB: You mentioned that CLL benefits the Kinnelon Library?

RL:  Yes. The CLL donates materials from courses to the Kinnelon Library.  For example, the 2 year Civil War course I mentioned resulted in donating over 40 videos about events and individuals.  Furthermore, thanks to course fees and other income, approximately $10,000 has been donated annually over the past five years to the Kinnelon Library. Those funds help to fund media acquisitions for adults, teens and children and complement the Friends of the Kinnelon Library funding program.

CB: How is CLL organized?

RL:  CLL has its own Board of Governors, is self funding and everyone is a volunteer.

CB: Ron, how do interested students participate in Kinnelon's CLL program? Are there any pre-requisites?

RL:  We welcome adults of all ages and no special educational background is required.  We encourage active involvement in class discussion.  The CLL membership fee of $30 allows you to attend as many courses as you wish each semester. Some courses have class size limits and some courses require additional book or material fees.

Course brochures are mailed to all Kinnelon households as well as to non-Kinnelon students on our mailing list. You can also obtain a course brochure from the Kinnelon Library or review the courses offered and download a registration form by visiting CLL on the library web site Information on the CLL fall semester will be available and on the web-site after August 1.

CB: Thank you, Ron!

By the way, you may have noticed this magnificent painting in the Kinnelon Library second floor meeting room [if you haven't, you MUST go see it!].  It is the work of the CLL.

A Kinnelon PanoramaRon shared the following about it:

A Kinnelon Panorama
The fun and rewards of group creativity

Inspired by the CLL oil painting class, the artists initiated a group painting of Kinnelon and its many points of interest. The oil painters did a great job and had fun going it. Over 20 oil painters joined in with each artist painting a different part of the mural. 

It took almost two semesters to complete. Now displayed prominently in the Library's main meeting room it represents an interesting look at Kinnelon and a real adventure in learning thanks to instructors Amy Leonard, Allen Nelson and Linda Farmer.

What you may not know is that Ron salvaged the framed blank 2 x 7.5 feet canvas and that the artists of the CLL gave it a new and truly memorable life as A Kinnelon Panorama!

Simply inspiring! Thank you, CLL!

Next, I'll update you on what I learned from Ron about the Friends of the Kinnelon Library.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

3 Smoke Rise Beach Rules Worth Respecting

Smoke Rise Beach RulesIt's officially beach season around Kinnelon and I'm reminded [after a day spent at the beach] that I've wanted to post about Beach Rules. Although I'll specifically address Smoke Rise Beach Rules, I'm willing to bet that my comments are just as relevant to other Kinnelon lake beaches such as Fayson Lakes, Lake Reality, Lake Rickabear...

By the way, the Beach Guidelines in their entirety with 11 individual points and two pages of detailed rules are published every year in the Smoke Rise Summer Recreation Booklet. It doesn't hurt to read them once a year.

In this post, I intend to specifically focus on 3 rules and why I personally believe that these rules are worth respecting.  I am not writing in any official capacity other than as a resident, a beach-goer, and a parent.

These are the three beach rules I'd like to explore - and rant about - in more detail.

+ Eating and drinking are prohibited on the sand...
+ Glass containers are prohibited at the beach...
+ Guests must be accompanied by the Smoke Rise resident they are visiting...

Eating and drinking on the Smoke Rise Beach

This is my biggest pet peeve. Eating and drinking on the beach are prohibited and yet I see beach goers doing it. Why? Even pools have this rule. We're fortunate at Smoke Rise Beach that a solution - the grassy picnic area - is within just a few feet of the beach. So why not encourage kids and visitors to respect the rule and consume food/drink on the grass?

At a lakeside beach, though, the rule matters even more than at a pool because of animals - as in Kinnelon Critter File animals. Animals are attracted to food.  Food on the beach in the sand means animals - geese, bear, raccoons, etc. - come check things out and make their own mess.

Personally, I don't like having to dodge goose grease to get to the water's edge. And I certainly don't like stepping on sand-covered fruit pieces or french-fries, or stabbing my foot on a plastic fork - which I have done. Do you?

Glass containers on the Smoke Rise Beach

When you think of all of the cool plastic containers available, why would anyone make use of glass ones? Forget wine glasses or champagne flutes, use plastic! Use plastic water bottles, plastic goblets, etc. And, unless you are drinking water, stay on the grass with your consumables.

I have personally witnessed and heard of injuries incurred from walking on broken glass in the sand.  It's not pleasant.  We're all better off with the glassware banished.

Beach guests must be accompanied by Smoke Rise resident

As a kid, I wasn't allowed to casually visit a community pool without being invited in and accompanied by a member.  Same goes for the Smoke Rise Beach.

Interestingly, this is the first year I remember hearing the Beach staff remind us to have guests sign in at the Beach office.

Ok. Enough with the rant. Let me know what you think about Smoke Rise Beach rules.

And, then, go enjoy the kayaks, canoes and paddle boats and life around the lake.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Smoke Rise Retired Men's Club Dines at 94th Bomb Group Restaurant

Smoke Rise Retired Men's Club at 94th Bomb Group RestaurantWere you aware of the Smoke Rise Retired Men's Club? Herb O. Fisher Jr., who contributed The Early Days of Smoke Rise, forwarded me a copy of the following article detailing the club's outing to the 94th Bomb Group restaurant at the Essex County Airport.

"Members dine military-style"

Suburban Trends
March 6, 1988

Kinnelon -- The weekly luncheon group of retired executives of Smoke Rise went military recently at the 94th Bomb Group military theme restaurant, at the Essex County Airport in Fairfield, formerly Caldwell Wright Airport.

The group ate in the Mess Hall at the restaurant, which is decorated throughout with memorabilia and pictures of the pilots and support personnel of that famous 94th Bomb Group of World War II.

Major Hal Kowal of Smoke Rise flew 25 missions as a pilot with the 94th Bomb Group and assisted in the dedication ceremonies of the facility on Dec. 16, 1985.

The Smoke Rise executives have met for many years at the North Gate each Thursday at 12:30pm.

At these meetings, the member with a birthday closest to the meeting day must buy a round of drinks for the occasion. At this recent meeting, John Zimmer and Herb Fisher celebrated their big days.

Each of these World War-type restaurants, located in 25 major airports around the country, is a $2 million French Farm house. They are typical of the type of legendary surroundings Capt. Eddie Rickenbacher and the pilots of that era departed from for aerial combat.

David Tallichet, president of Specialty Restaurants Corporation, Anaheim, Calif., is in the process of re-dedicating most of the 94th Aero Squadron facilities by honoring and recognizing World War II fighter and bomber groups.

Smoke Rise Men's Club in Suburban Trends
Herb Fisher, a member of the Smoke Rise group, is assistant to Tallichet and is handling the promotion and press for him in the rededication ceremonies of these restaurants around the country.

Tallichet operates an additional 50 restaurants with such names as The Castaways, Rusty Pelican, Baby Dows Matchless Mines and the Shanghai Reds, one of which is located on the Hudson River in Weehawken.

All retired men of Smoke Rise are welcome to meet and join the group every Thursday at 12:30pm at the North Gate.  There are no dues and no requirements.

Photo Caption:
The Retiring Type -- Members of the Smoke Rise Retirement Men's Club pose for a photo after a luncheon at the 94th Bomb Group Restaurant recently.  Standing left to right in the back row are Bill Luthy, Phil Richtenscheidt, Henry Lange, John LaPlante, Bill Schaefer and Herman Knuppel.  Front row left to right are Herb Fisher, Bob Gaiser, John Zimmer, Les Gill, John Sperger, Henry Knuppel, Fred Seebinger and Charlie Dangelmajer.  Missing from photo is Merrill Little.

Merrill Little Photo.

After reading the article, I asked Herb a question.

CB:  Herb, what is the connection between French farm houses and airplanes? What is the significance?

HOF:  This is my understanding of the connection between French farm houses and airports/airplanes. The 94th Aero Squadron was actually formed somewhere here in Texas back in 1916 or so. Very beginnings of an Air Force. The 94th was shipped over to France in maybe 1917 to help the French fight the Germans in the air/WWI.

You might have heard the name Eddie Rickenbacker. He was one of several Aces from the USA to serve in France. Instead of using airports which were easily spotted targets from the air, airstrips were actually mowed fields on the French countryside. Airplanes could be parked under trees, or hidden in barnes or covered with hay. Much more difficult to spot. So, farm houses were commandeered as headquarters, bunkhouses, brothels, "watering holes/gin mills" and Operations Centers. I suspect several of the nicer ones would remind you of the original Smoke Rise Inn.

Have you ever been to the 94th at Essex County Airport? Is it still there? Back in the late 40s and 50s that airport was called Caldwell Wright. It was home for the Curtiss Wright propellor division. Curtiss props were on many military and commercial aircraft. My dad did numerous test flights with various types of propellors over a period of four or 5 years at that airport....but that's another story.

Thank you, Herb! 

Have you been to the 94th Bomb Group Restaurant at Essex County Airport?

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