Sunday, October 31, 2010

CROP Hunger Walk 2010... FInal Details

CROP Hunger Walk 2010 in Lincoln Park was great fun. As I announced in 2010 CROP Walk: Will You Join Us on 10/24?, it took place on October 24th which wound up being a magnificent and balmy [almost hot :-)] Sunday.

According to Mary Ellen O'Connor Shyne, this year's CROP Hunger Walk was a major success.  Here is the writeup from the Our Lady of the Magnificat church bulletin:

"This year's CROP Walk was a big success thanks to everyone who walked, sponsored walkers, made donations, and helped out with all of the details. Also, this year there was a great turnout of Kinnelon youth.

We raised over $2,200 which shows again how much OLM cares.

Thank you!"

I thought you might enjoy the trail map I created of the 2010 Lincoln Park CROP Hunger Walk complete with spooky Halloween photos...

CROP Hunger Walk 2010, Lincoln Park NJ

EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in New Jersey

Special thanks to Liz Holste who walked with Emma and me.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Kinnelon Fine Arts Silent Auction: Bids Nov 1 to 18, 2010

Friends of the Kinnelon Library
Starting Monday, November 1, 2010, the long-awaited Kinnelon Fine Arts Silent Auction bidding begins! It lasts until November 18th.  Don't miss it!

The Kinnelon Fine Arts Silent Auction takes place every other year at the Kinnelon Library - which means the last one took place in 2008 - and features the works of talented local artists who donate their works to benefit the Kinnelon Library.

This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Kinnelon Library and completely organized and brought to life by the Kinnelon Center for Lifelong Learning [CLL] and the Art Committee.

For the record, 90% of the artists who donate works for the Kinnelon Silent Auction actively participate in CLL oil painting and watercolor courses.

Here's how the Kinnelon Fine Arts Silent Auction works.

1. Review the artwork on display from November 1st through 18th at the Kinnelon Library during Library hours.

2. Place a bid on the artwork that inspires. Obtain a bidding instruction sheet and bid number from from the Library Circulation Desk or the Library Volunteer Office. Use the bid number to enter your bid.

3. Periodically monitor in case someone else has upped your ante. Rebid until 8pm on November 18th.

4. Be on pins and needles until the reception and auction results are announced on Thursday November 18th.

5. Return home victorious with your unique Kinnelon work[s] of art!

Now, it seems you don't have to be present to win. That's dangerous. Someone else might easily make your bid irrelevant....

Ron Leavesley tells me that over 60 paintings - oil, watercolors and sketches - will be on display starting Monday, November 1st.

Talk about a wonderful way to bring the Kinnelon community together to experience Kinnelon artwork and get to know our Kinnelon artists while benefiting our Library at the same time!

Will you let me know which works inspire you?

Happy Kinnelon Fine Arts Silent Auction Bidding!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Toilets! Unplugged! Not exactly like Eric Clapton Unplugged ...

Toilets Unplugged
We all do it!

Are you the Secret Toilet Plugger?


So you say!

In keeping with Christine's Bathroom Blogfest post earlier this week on Best Bathrooms in New Jersey, I am helping to make sure that we locally do not have the Worst Bathrooms in New Jersey ... and one particular issue is ... plugs.

Anyway, with the move to low flow and lower flow toilets comes a corresponding problem -- more plugged toilets.

We happen  to be blessed with low flow 1.6 gal. toilets in our house which go on strike if they don't like the way you look at them. Oh, it's true, it takes some toilet paper and, well, other stuff, but even after having learned over the years how to accommodate the commode, there are still plugs and jams, many of them mysteriously unclaimed by their author, not that we're blaming here, and which are only discovered after the fact.

A pleasure, to be sure.

We also happen to be blessed with among the least successful designs in low flow toilet history, according to our plumber, Jim at Barrett Plumbing in Bloomingdale, NJ, whom we highly recommend by the way, which is the Kohler Memoirs model, which we don't.  Be that as it may, we are in the unplugging toilets business with a frequency unmatched at our previous homes.

Just had to add this image! Is he happy or aggressive?

An unplugged toilet is a happy toilet.

Happily for us, if there is any happiness to be had, these plugs are fairly easy to clear with a plumber's helper or plunger, so although we are often busy unplugging, we are also quickly triumphant. We win.

But what if you don't, and you aren't.

In honor of Bathroom Blogfest, we have gathered together some advice from the heavy hitters or maybe, pro plungers out there.

What is that you say? You know how to unplug a toilet? Well, maybe you do ...  but this has been entertaining so far, hasn't it? And maybe you'll learn something ... no promises ...

Before you start you may want to don rubber gloves (I usually don't, but I might if it seemed like serious challenge); you might want to turn off the water before it leaps out of the bowl after you, and don't flush again -- you know why.

2 styles of plungers

According to a number of sources the number 1 method of unplugging a stopped up toilet is with a Plumber's Helper, 2 of which you can see in the photo above. The one on the right is preferred, since its design provides a better seal to the bowl and thus pushes more water against the clog to dislodge it.

Number 2 (no pun intended) is warm, soapy water in the bowl which provides lubrication, and then you plunge as per the paragraph above. Never use boiling water -- you might crack the bowl -- boy talk about going from bad to worse.

You can try a coat hanger, twisted to narrow it, with the sharp edge bent inward so as to avoid scratching the bowl and then pushed and/or pulled through the clog, and that's our #3.

Some recommend a mixture of bleach and powdered soap, the chemical reaction of which is said to break down the clog. #4.

For #5 we have, believe it or not, a liter or 2 of Coca Cola in the bowl and a 30 minute wait. No diet soda. Hey! It's better than drinking the stuff! Doesn't work on paper, just the other ...

Number 6 is the Snake -- hardware stores have them -- maybe you do, too! -- and you need to be careful and use it gently.

Then #7 is the Plumber himself, who will probably use #6, #1 and perhaps another above.

I have left out some possibilities which I didn't care for from online recommendations, but ...

You can check out WikiHow on the subject of unclogging toilets -- they are very thorough and even have a video!

Plus, if you know something we don't, let us know! I particularly like the Coke in the toilet solution -- I mean if I had Coke and a clog, I know what I'd do ... too cool.

OK, that's it.

Remember to be careful what you put in that thing!

What are you lookin' at???

Happy Bathroom Blogfest 2010!


Photo Credit:
1st cartoon c/o
toilet face photo c/o and photoshop, I think
plungers photo c/o many websites
young person at ease in the commode c/o -- I don't know where I got it

Monday, October 25, 2010

New Jersey's Best Bathrooms: Bathroom Blogfest 2010

New Jersey's Best Bathrooms: Bathroom Blogfest 2010
In honor of Bathroom Blogfest 2010, I'd like to share with you vital information about New Jersey's Best Bathrooms - and New York City, too, for good measure.

I've been involved in the Bathroom Blogfest since 2006 [here are wrapups for 2007 and 2008] to such a point that I am now the Chief Organizer and Inspiration Officer...  It's an annual event that takes place the last week in October and involves bloggers from around the world - more specifically from the U.S., Canada, the UK and India. Each of us will address bathrooms and this year's Mad Men inspired theme “Stuck in the 60s?” from the perspective our blog focuses on.  Hence my focus on New Jersey's Best Bathrooms and more specifically an article titled Inside Jersey's Best of NJ: The best public bathrooms by Greg Saitz.

[Here is the link to the official Bathroom Blogfest 2010 press release. This year 33 bloggers - including Ted and me - ranging in expertise from marketing, customer experience and service, public relations, library sciences, museums, home & interior design, life, to retail, flooring and healthcare IT/RTLS will call attention to improving the overall bathroom experience for end users via their 40 blogs.  Blogs and bloggers are listed below. Here, too, is a link to my article in UX Magazine titled UX, Bathrooms, and Mad Men.]

What I love about Greg's article is that he contacted me in November 2009 - as a result of - to ask me questions about New Jersey Bathrooms. In his email, he said: "In the past couple of months, I've been to restaurants/hotels/retail establishments/etc where it seems the bathrooms are an after thought or not thought part of the equation. I saw on your blog you've written about the importance of not neglecting the restrooms as part of the overall customer experience. Can you expand on that whole idea and what your experience has been in public places that have restrooms?"

I shared with him my post about my favorite NJ public bathroom of all time at the Garden State Mall courtesy of Charmin. Unfortunately, when he visited it, the magic was gone; it was back looking uninspired and "Stuck in the 60s".

However, Greg more than made up for this dud with 10 fascinating must-visit New Jersey public bathrooms, two of which are in our neck-of the-woods. Here is the list:

By the way, Greg makes an interesting observation in his article.  According to the American Restroom Association, New Jersey is one of two states "in the country following the National Standard Plumbing Code, rather than the more popular International Plumbing Code or Uniform Plumbing Code."  The implication: New Jersey restrooms aren't "always up to date." Fancy that!

Since New York City is just down the road from us, I thought I would share with you this New York Times article title Sunday in the Park, Feeling Nature's Call. The article refers to two indispensable resources: Sit or Squat with mobile options and Finally, it includes perspective from Harvey Molotch editor of Toilet: Public Restrooms and the Politics of Sharing (NYU Series in Social & Cultural Analysis). It also details some visit-worthy NYC park bathrooms.

I'd love to hear if you've visited any of the bathrooms listed in Greg Saitz' article on New Jersey's Best Bathrooms and how your experience compared. Same goes for the NYC Park facilities.

Meanwhile, for more on Bathroom Blogfest 2010 you can follow up on Twitter, like us on Facebook and visit

Here is the list of my fellow 2010 Bathroom Blogfesting Bloggers.

BloggerBlog NameBlog URL
Susan AbbottCustomer Experience CrossroadsCustomer Experience Crossroads
Paul AnaterKitchen and Residential Design
Shannon BilbyBig Bob's Outlet
Shannon BilbyCarpets N More Blog
Shannon BilbyDolphin Carpet Blog
Shannon BilbyFrom The Floors Up
Shannon BilbyMy Big Bob's Blog
Toby Bloomberg Diva Marketing
Laurence Borel Blog Till You Drop
Bill BuyokAvente Tile Talk Blog
Jeanne Byington The Importance of Earnest Service
Becky CarrollCustomers Rock!
Marianna Chapman Results Revolution
Katie Clark Practial Katie
Nora DePalma American Standard's Professor Toilet
Nora DePalma O'Reilly DePalma: The Blog
Leigh Durst LivePath Experience Architect Weblog
Valerie FritzThe AwarepointBlog
Iris GarrottChecking In and Checking Out
Tish GrierThe Constant Observer
Renee LeCroyYour Fifth Wall
Joseph MichelliDr. Joseph Michelli's
Veronika MillerModenus Blog
Arpi NalbandianTILE Magazine Editor BlogTILE Magazine Editor Blog
Maria PalmaPeople 2 People Service
Reshma Bachwani ParitoshThe Qualitative Research BlogThe Qualitative Research Blog
David PolinchockPolinchock's Ponderings
Victoria Redshaw & Shelley Pond Scarlet Opus Trends Blog
David ReichMy 2 Cents
Sandy Renshaw Around Des Moines
Sandy Renshaw Purple Wren
Bethany RichmondCarpet and Rug Institute Blog
Bruce SandersRIMtailing Blog
Steve TokarPlease Be Seated
Carolyn TownesBecoming a Woman of Purpose
Stephanie WeaverExperienceology
Christine B. WhittemoreFlooring The Consumer
Christine B. WhittemoreSimple Marketing Blog
Christine & Ted WhittemoreSmoke Rise & Kinnelon Blog
Christine B. WhittemoreThe Carpetology Blog
Linda WrightLindaLoo Build Business With Better Bathrooms

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Smoke Rise Tower Restoration

Several of you have inquired about the Smoke Rise Tower - most recently Jim Rohrer in Smoke Rise Memories. Last Sunday, Emma and I went to investigate - camera in hand.  We are here to confirm that the Tower is indeed surrounded with scaffolding as you can see from the photos and in the midst of restoration.

Coincidentally, the October 15, 2020 Smoke Rise Newsletter shared the following:

"Today the Tower belongs to us and once again is under construction.  The work on the Tower is to remedy the decaying concrete and metal work which has deteriorated over many years.  A new vertical staircase will replace the old structure.  Emergency Services antennae will be installed to service all First Responders and Smoke Rise Security."

The article nicely contrasts the current day restoration scaffolding with the scaffolding created when the Smoke Rise Tower was first being built in 1904 [see Tom Kline's post referenced below].

That then answers the question about the Tower.

By the way, Jim, I appreciate your mentioning it. We hadn't gone by the Smoke Rise Tower in a while so weren't aware that anything was going on.

Here are the photos we took from all angles of the Smoke Rise Tower.  We couldn't have picked a more picture-perfect afternoon to do so!

Smoke Rise Tower stonework with scaffolding

Marvelous scaffolding!

Notice Emma at the base.
What I particularly like about this photo of Emma is how it somewhat echoes the photo in Smoke Rise Tower with the young woman standing at the base.

Magnificent PuddingStone rock!
If you haven't already, definitely read Tom Kline's post about The Smoke Rise Tower on Kitty Ann Mountain.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Coping With Grief During The Holidays: Wayne Center for Emotional Health

Two Smoke Rise & Kinnelon neighbors - Randy Freeman, LCSW [Licensed Certified Social Worker] and Kathy Morelli, MS, LPC [Licensed Professional Counselor] - are holding a six-session group program at the Wayne Center for Emotional Health. It's titled "Coping with Grief During the Holidays: Facing Loss During the Season of “Joy” and starts Friday, November 5, 2010.

Randy and Kathy describe the program as follows:
A six session group program, Coping with Grief During the Holidays: Facing Loss During the Season of “Joy” will be starting on Friday, November 5, 2010 at 5:30 PM until 7 PM.
The program will be an interactive discussion group focusing on finding ways to survive the holidays during times of grief and loss. The holidays can often be difficult for people during this time. Others may not understand the intensity of their grief. If someone has a broken leg, people understand the limitations. But, often people cannot see another's broken heart and may not understand that person’s lack of desire to participate fully in holiday festivities.
For those who have a broken heart, just getting through the holidays can be very tough. This is a way to get through it with others who are experiencing similar difficulties and to find some understanding and tools to get by and cope with it all.

"Coping with Grief During the Holidays: Facing Loss During the Season of “Joy” takes place at the Wayne Center for Emotional Health located at 1581 Route 23 South in Wayne, New Jersey 07470 where Randy and Kathy have their offices.

The six-part session lasts from Fridays, November 5, 2010 – December 17, 2010 (no session November 26, Thanksgiving weekend) from 5:30 PM – 7 PM.

Cost: $10 for the first session, $100 for the additional five sessions payable at the first session.

Registration is required.  To register for the "Coping with Grief During the Holidays" program, contact either Randy or Kathy.  Their contact details are below.

I asked Kathy and Randy to share information about themselves.  I'll start with Randy - whom I know.

Randy, would you tell me about your background?

Randy Freeman, LCSW
I've been working as a psychotherapist for 20 years. I work with individuals, couples and groups.

I have extensive post-graduate school training working with families and couples using a family system approach. I also have training on a deeper level working from a psychoanalytic approach with individuals and couples.

I do a lot of work with groups and have a deep understanding of the group process as well.

How long have you lived in Smoke Rise?

I've been living in Smoke Rise for about three years this time around.

I also lived here for about 8 years when my oldest son was in high school and my younger son was in middle school... that was about 16 years ago.  I guess I must have liked it, because I came back with my husband Ken.

What do you like most about living in this area?

We love being in the woods, close to nature, but not too fond of meeting coyotes or bears.  The neighbors are the best...always have a warm and welcoming feeling in this community.

What's the best way to reach you?

To register for the program, contact me at 973-449-3948 or via email at  You can go to my website which provides more information about psychotherapy and my background.

Next, Kathy, whom I hope to meet in person soon!   Kathy, would you tell me about your background?

Kathy Morelli, MS, LPC
I specialize in the Emotions of Pregnancy and Birth and Couples Counseling. For thirteen years, I've worked with pregnant moms, helping them manage their feelings about pregnancy, birth, and postpartum depression, and their partner relationship. I take a family-centered focus, helping couples find their way as new parents and helping couples sort out feelings and practicalities about their relationship. My professional training and life experiences make me very familiar with the challenges women and their families face -- including how to stay true to yourself while being in relationship to others, in marriage, parenting and divorce situations.

I'm the author of BirthTouch®: Shiatsu & Acupressure Training for Birth Professionals, a stress reduction method for the childbearing year, which I teach twice a year. I've also developed Gentle Birthing Methods as an evidence-based way to manage emotions during pregnancy and birthing.

How long have you lived in Smoke Rise?

I've lived in Smoke Rise for nine years with my husband of 20 years and my16 year old son.

What do you like most about living in this area?

I love to hike and enjoy the beauty of the Eastern hardwood trees, especially in the fall, as well as the activities at the Smoke Rise beach.  Most of all, I love the wonderful, caring people I have met in Smoke Rise.
What's the best way to reach you?

To register for the program, contact me at 973-713-6412 or via email at You can visit my website which provides more information about marriage and family counseling as well as my background.

[By the way, Kathy is author of the blog Motherhood, Marriage and Mental Health!]

Thank you Kathy and Randy for sharing this information. What a great resource you've put together for those coping with grief during the Holidays.

Please don't hesitate to contact Kathy or Randy with questions about "Coping with Grief during the Holidays" or the Wayne Center for Emotional Health. Feel free to share this information with others you know.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Jen Singer at Kinnelon Library 10/20/10 7pm

Jen Singer at Kinnelon Library
You're in for a treat! Kinnelon's Jen Singer [whom you may remember from Meet Smoke Rise Mom Blogger & Author Jen Singer, Kiss Cancer Goodbye with Jen Singer and Kinnelon Neighbors in the News] will be at the Kinnelon Library on 10/20/10 at 7pm for a presentation and book signing.

Here is the press release she forwarded to me with more details:

Kinnelon Author To Help Put The "Me" Back in "Mommy"
The Smoke Rise Mother's Group Opens Special Event to the Public

 Author/blogger and Kinnelon's own Jen Singer will present "Putting the "Me" Back in Mommy" at the Smoke Rise Mother's Group meeting at the Kinnelon Library on October 20th at 7 p.m. Singer will also sign copies of her books, "The Stop Second-Guessing Yourself" guides to parenting and "You're a Good Mom (and Your Kids Aren't So Bad Either)." The meeting is open to the public.

"It's going to be one of those nights where moms get together to laugh, cry and wonder what the heck that stuff is on their sleeves. Peanut butter? Maybe," says Jen Singer. "Bring your friends and get ready to giggle til you start to wonder where the Ladies' Room is."

The author of five books, Singer is among the original mom bloggers, launching, a Forbes Best of the Web, in 2003. For two years, she wrote the "Good Grief: A Tale of Two Tweens" blog for She has appeared on numerous television and radio programs, including The Today Show, CBS The Early Show, The CBS Evening News and Good Day New York. She has served as a spokesperson for Pull-Ups, Coinstar, SC Johnson, Hershey/Kraft and Purina. A former Smoke Rise Mother's Group officer, Singer lives in Kinnelon with her husband the marathon runner and their two middle school-ages boys.

The event is free to anyone who would like to attend. Singer's books will be available at the event at a special Smoke Rise Mother's Group sale price of $12 each plus tax. Buy two or more at $10 per book plus tax.

Sounds like an amazing event guaranteed to turn you upside down and leave you with a new appreciation for life and parenthood.  Jen Singer's presentation takes place right here in Kinnelon at our Library, October 20, 2010, at 7pm! Will you be there?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Kinnelon Critter File: Coyotes

Kinnelon Critter File: Coyotes
Coyotes have been in the news lately, particularly in Kinnelon where a coyote attacked and killed a Smoke Rise resident's dog in early October 2010. [In Rye, NY, they attacked a young girl in June and in July.] Notices of caution have started circulating which indicates that it's time for a Kinnelon Critter File on Coyotes!

Coyotes are not unique to our area; they have successfully established themselves throughout the Unites States, including suburbia and even Central Park NYC.  A search on 'coyotes' will bring up web pages on Living With Coyotes in Massachusetts, Montgomery, AL, Southwest Desert USA and more.

[From New Jersey's Great Northwest Skylands, read Coyotes in New Jersey: The Life of Wiley.]

Per MassWildlife:

"Coyotes are the size of a medium-size dog, but with longer, thicker fur. Coyotes have a long, bushy, black-tipped tail that is usually carried pointing down. A coyote is typically 4-5 feet in length, from snout to tip of tail. Their snout is long and slender, and their ears are pointed and erect. The pelts of coyotes in Massachusetts range from grayish-black to blondes, light tan, dark tan, red or even all black. Females weigh an average of 33-40 lbs and males are slightly larger (average 34-47 lbs)."

"They can be active night or day, and sightings at dawn or dusk are common. They remain active all year-round and do not hibernate. Once a coyote has established itself into an area, it will actively maintain a territory that may vary in size from 2 to 30 square miles. One family of coyotes often encompasses one or more residential suburban areas or towns. Coyotes are highly territorial..."

They will eat carrion, but prefer fresh meat. They are valuable in controlling rats, squirrels, and woodchucks. In addition to small animals, they eat fruit and vegetables, pet food and GARBAGE!

[By the way, now I know what role T. Llama plays with the sheep at Four Corners: he guards them against coyotes... although probably not against bears.]

Interestingly, many of the recommendations for protecting oneself from coyotes are the same as for bears. Here is what NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife suggests on how to deal with coyotes:

  • Never feed a coyote. Deliberately feeding coyotes puts pets and other residents in the neighborhood at risk [this seems like a no brainer to me; then again some people try to feed bears].

  • Feeding pet cats and/or feral (wild) cats outdoors can attract coyotes. The coyotes feed on the pet food and also prey upon the cats.

  • Put garbage in tightly closed containers that cannot be tipped over.

  • Remove sources of water, especially in dry climates.

  • Bring pets in at night. Coyotes view cats and small dogs as food and larger dogs as competition [remember, coyotes and dogs are related and can breed].

  • Put away bird feeders at night to avoid attracting rodents and other coyote prey.

  • Provide secure enclosures for rabbits, poultry, and other farm animals.

  • Pick up fallen fruit and cover compost piles.

  • Although extremely rare, coyotes have been known to attack humans. Parents should monitor their children, even in familiar surroundings, such as backyards.

  • Install motion-sensitive lighting around the house.

  • Clear brush and dense weeds from around dwellings - this reduces protective cover for coyotes and makes the area less attractive to rodents and rabbits. Coyotes, as well as other predators, are attracted to areas where rodents are concentrated, such as in woodpiles.

  • If coyotes are present, make sure they know they're not welcome. Make loud noises, blast a canned air siren, throw rocks, or spray them with a garden hose.  Per MassWildlife: "Don't let coyotes intimidate you! Don't hesitate to scare or threaten coyotes with loud noises and bright lights. Don't hesitate to pick up small objects, such as a tennis ball, and throw them at the coyote. If a water hose is close at hand, spray the coyote with water in the face. Let the coyote know it is unwelcome in your area."

  • Finally, if you observe coyotes in the daytime that show no fear of humans or if a coyote attacks a person, immediately contact your local police and the Division of Fish and Wildlife at 908-735-8793; outside of normal business hours call the DEP Hotline at 877-WARN-DEP.

    The Smoke Rise Newsletter recently issued the following guidelines:

    Be aware of where your children are when outside. Never leave them unattended.

    Do not let your dog outside day or evening without supervision or on a leash. Small dogs are particularly vulnerable to predators, but a predator can attack a larger dog just as easily if circumstances allow. Invisible fencing does not stop an animal from coming onto your property. 

    Cats are very vulnerable to predators. Many cats have been reported missing in Smoke Rise alone this summer and coyotes are assumed to have been the reason. PLEASE do not let your cat outside. In addition to the chance of being bitten by any number of wild animals, your cat may expose your household to disease. 

    If you see a coyote, call the Kinnelon Police [and Smoke Rise Security if you live in Smoke Rise] stating date and time of day.

    Here are links to a few other coyote resources:

    Coyote FAQs from DesertUSA
    Wikipedia entry on Coyotes
    From the New York Times, Mysteries That Howl and Hunt

    If you know of other resources or recommendations for dealing with coyotes, please let me know or add them in the comments section.

    Be safe!

    Coyote Image courtesy of Coyotes in Montgomery.

    Saturday, October 16, 2010

    2010 CROP Walk: Will You Join Us on 10/24?

    2010 CROP Walk: Will You Join Us on 10/24?

    Will you join us Next Sunday, October 24, 2010 at 1:30pm for the 2010 CROP WALK?

    Emma and I are looking forward to next week's CROP WALK in Lincoln Park.  Will you join us?  It's a fun event and easy to walk for the whole family.  Plus, it's a chance to walk around mostly flat, sidewalked neighborhoods with friends and check out some pretty cool Halloween decorations.

    If you check out the post I wrote last year for the event, CROP Hunger Walk in Lincoln Park, NJ on 10/25/09, you'll see a map of the walk itinerary.

    The CROP Hunger walk was started in 1969. CROP Walk events are ecumenical, inter-faith, multi-cultural and all about local community, with 25% of the funds raised go to help hunger-fighting programs in local communities. "We walk because they walk" to find food and water.

    [Note: the water angle brings to mind Blog Action Day 2010 which took place Friday 10/15/10 and focused on water. Here is my post on the subject: Blog Action Day: Water and AOC3.]

    Here is a link to the document that Our Lady of the Magnificat has created about participating. Fill it out and return it to OLM Religious Education Office - which is open during the week from 9am to 3pm - by Wednesday, October 20, 2010.

    Or, simply show up at St. Joseph's Church Hall in Lincoln Park on 10/24/10.

    The form details that:
    • 2010 CROP Walk takes place: Sunday, October 24, 2010 at 1:30 P.M.
    • Arrive by 1pm so you can register at St. Joseph’s Church Hall in Lincoln Park on Comly Road.
    • The CROP walk, which is less than 2 miles, is sponsored by the Church World Service, an interfaith community organization that alleviates hunger at home and around the world. Contributions help this organization continue their services, such as providing resources for safe drinking water, purchasing field and garden seed for planting, and stocking food pantries. Twenty-five per cent of the contributions received at this walk go to local food pantries in our area.
    • You can help by walking, sponsoring a walker, or making a donation. Encourage others to participate, too!
    According to Mary Ellen O'Connor Shyne, a group from Kinnelon High School will be participating.

    Emma and I will be there and hope to see you, too, rain or shine! And, if you can't make it, you are most welcome to sponsor us :-).

    Here are a few photos from last year's CROP Walk to help you with your decision.

    CROP walkers have the streets of Lincoln Park to ourselves, including ambulance and police protection.
    You will witness some of the coolest Halloween decorations ever.

    Spooky - even in brilliant sunshine!

    Happy CROP Walk 2010!

    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    Smoke Rise Memories: Jim Rohrer

    722 Ridge Road, Smoke Rise
    In response to the Didja Know? The First Home in Smoke Rise, former Smoke Rise resident Jim Rohrer sent me an email with Smoke Rise memories. With his permission, I share it with you here.


    Was [the first home in Smoke Rise] just up from the beach entrance? (Timothy house?) Or was it the one further up the hill? (a cute stone Cape style?)

    I recently returned to Smoke Rise to visit and saw the scaffolding all around the Tower.  What's going on there? Looks like they intend to replace some of the granite squares that were pushed off.

    I remember climbing the Tower many times with friends Herb Fisher, Phil Kline, Russ Sacco and others. (We never pushed any of the stones off. That happened before we ever got up there.) This was probably around 1963 give or take a couple of years.

    As Herb Fisher mentioned before, climbing the Tower was quite adventurous (and DANGEROUS). We would lift one of us to the ledge of the lowest window and that person would pull himself up to the window and help the next one up. Once inside we would walk up the side railings going sideways. The stairs couldn't be trusted. They were rusted and most were missing. Once we got to the top we were always amazed at the view. The risk was worth the reward. We would stay up there for hours.

    Obviously we never mentioned any of this to our parents.

    I grew up at 722 Ridge Road. We were the first family to build and live on Ridge Road. My parents (Mildred & Harry Rohrer) started construction in 1955 and we moved in Oct. of 1956. ( Side note: the bus stop for all children who lived on Mountain Rd and Ridge Rd was all the way down the mountain at the intersection of Gravel Hill and Green Hill. The buses wouldn't go up the mountain. Especially in the winter.There was a big green wooden bus shelter there. Many other bus shelters were placed around various sites in Smoke Rise back then.)

    Hilltop Rd. was just a wagon road in the woods right next to our house. It was made by ore miners and loggers from earlier days. We used to hike and hunt back there and often found remnants of old mine sites (pits) and rusted equipment. These wagon roads would lead all the back to Charlottesburg and Split Rock Reservoirs.

    Those hikes are still very vivid in my memory. We would leave at sun up and return sometimes after dark.

    It was a sad day for us when the developers started the Hilltop Rd phase of Smoke Rise expansion.

    We were very fortunate to have been able to grow up in such a wonderful place in the 50s and 60s . My parents sold our home in 1969. Little did I know that I would return ten years later, buying one of the older homes in Smoke Rise (31 Green Hill - the Joseph Smith house built in 1951) and raising our three daughters there for 25 wonderful years. We have been gone for the past 7 years but Smoke Rise lives on in our memories and will forever.

    I will look for pictures and try to retrieve them from my older siblings.

    Most of my memories are about outdoor adventures, summer planned activities, group trips to the Shore, evening movies at the beach, camping at New Pond, and " Nude Rock", baseball at the field, BIG horse shows, swim meets, hockey games on Hoot Owl, sleigh riding down Brook Valley road (now Echo Valley). They actually closed the top half during the winter. I can go on and on and I will at a later date.

    Thanks for jogging my memory of days past in Smoke Rise. I really enjoy your blog.

    Jim Rohrer
    New Hampshire

    Thanks, Jim, for sharing these Smoke Rise memories. I look forward to more stories and photos from you and your brothers!

    NOTE: several readers have asked about the location of the first Smoke Rise Home. I am researching the matter and will report back [Tom - I need your help!]

    Saturday, October 9, 2010

    Smoke Rise Hiking Trails: The List!

    This post about Smoke Rise Hiking Trails is inspired by Ken Bitz' recent article in the Smoke Rise Newsletter listing Fall Hiking Trails.

    Based on Ken's list, I've created a master Smoke Rise Hiking Trails list which includes posts I've written detailing the specific hike, directions, photos, observations and trail map. I'll update it as hikes take place.

    [Note: I intend to do the same for the Morris County Park Commission hikes and hikes in Kinnelon outside Smoke Rise.]

    Please contact Ken Bitz at for questions, information, maps, and other guides relating to Smoke Rise.

    Smoke Rise Hiking Trails

    West Shore Trail – Approximately 1.3 miles. The trail goes along the west side of Lake Kinnelon. It is rated easy. The yellow blazed trail can be accessed across from 780 West Shore drive, or at the cul-de-sac at the end of West Shore drive

    See Lake Kinnelon Hike.

    Mountain Road Trail - Approximately 2 miles. This is an old woods road that has varying topography. It is rated easy. The Blue blazed trail can be accessed just after 814 West Shore Drive, or the parking area at the end of Beechwood.

    See The New Pond Trail.
    See Help Reopen New Pond Trail.
    See New Pond Trail Re-opened.

    Split Rock trail – Approximately 1 & ¾ miles. This trail is accessed 1 mile into the Mountain Road trail, and runs west to the Split Rock reservoir. It has varying topography and interesting brooks to cross, and brings you to the beautiful Split Rock reservoir.

    See Split Rock Reservoir Hike.

    Indian Cliffs trail – approximately 1 & ½ miles. This trail is accessed ½ mile into the Mountain trail and goes west to Indian Cliffs. An interesting ascent brings you to a beautiful overlook of Split rock reservoir. You can back track to mountain road trail or continue down a deep descent to the split rock reservoir, and return to mountain road through the split rock trail.

    See Indian Cliffs Trail Hike.
    See Indian Cliffs Hike - Gorgeous Bright Early Fall Day.

    Hemlock Trail – Approximately ¾ mile- This short trail that is the process of being rehabilitated, is accessed at the corner of Brush Hill road and Summit Terrace South. There is a large glacial erratic at the trail entrance. Many of the Hemlocks have died but the trail is still interesting and lets us be alone with nature right in our own neighborhood.

    See The Hemlock Trail in Smoke Rise.
    See The Full Hemlock Trail in Smoke Rise.

    Bear Mountain Trail- approximately 2 miles. This trail has been marked with pink ribbons, and will be blazed in the spring. The trail is accessed at the end of Smoke Rise road. It is a beautiful hike of moderate difficulty that gives scenic overviews of our community. Note: this trail is closed and not safe to hike from October 1 until February 1, due to hunter activity

    See Kinnelon's Bear Mountain Trail  - Part I

    Other Smoke Rise Hiking Trails

    The Old Birch Spring Trail in Smoke Rise

    Slightly longer hike:

    Don't forget to read Cornie Hubner's Didja Know? story titled Trails.

    Thursday, October 7, 2010

    Ramstein Open House and SR Fresh Hot Sauce this Saturday @ 2 PM

    Ramstein Beer Open House
    Here is reminder for this weekend’s Ramstein Beer Open House and Tour, this Saturday, Oct. 9. Directions are at the website.

    There will be 2 tour and tasting sessions, one at 2 PM, and another at 3:45 PM

    Available will be the Ramstein Blonde Hefe-WeizenRamstein Winter Wheat, and Ramstein Golden Lager.

    1 and 2 Liter Growlers will be in stock.

    And SR Fresh Hot Sauce will be there with the Fresh Cayenne-CherryHabanero Gold, and XXXXTra Hot Habanero Hot Sauce. Come try them!

    Also, we will have some Cayenne Blast and a small amount of Ripe Red Fresno-Jalapeno Hot Sauce. Sweet and Hot.

    You Hot Sauce people can check out the new SR Fresh Hot Sauce Website, where the sauces are explained and sold.

    As usual, there will be a tour and explanation of the brewing process by Greg Zaccardi, the owner. [See previous post about Ramstein Beer with videos for a primer.]

    See you there!

    Ted and Christine and Emma

    Sunday, October 3, 2010

    Kinnelon's Bear Mountain Trail - Part I

    View from Kinnelon' Bear Mountain
    Yes, Kinnelon does have its own Bear Mountain, located on the North side of East Gate Road and extending behind Borough Hall toward Silas Condict Park.  We had heard there were trails, but hadn't had a chance to explore until Ken Bitz, from the Smoke Rise Environmental Committee, shared the updated Smoke Rise Trails Map which included the Bear Mountain Trail!

    [Note: I will publish the updated Smoke Rise Trails Map in a separate post and include links to previous articles describing each hike in detail.]

    Here is the description of Bear Mountain Trail which has just recently been marked:

    Bear Mountain Trail - approximately 2 miles. This trail has been marked with pink ribbons, and will be blazed in the spring. The trail is accessed at the end of Smoke Rise Road. It is a beautiful hike of moderate difficulty that gives scenic overviews of our community. 

    Note: this trail is closed and not safe to hike from October 1 until February 1, due to hunter activity.

    Given the October 1 hunting warning, we talked our friends the Grays into joining us on October 26, 2010 to explore and document for you the Bear Mountain Trail in Kinnelon! Our group consisted of 4 adults and 3 children ranging in age from 5 to 10.

    Before setting off, I asked Ken for a few more details. Emma and I had driven by the end of Smoke Rise Road and had found no indication of a trail. We followed Ken's instructions, that once you reach the end of Smoke Rise Road, walk straight and follow the power lines [Note: the power line poles are gargantuan metal poles] that eventually connect to Spice Bush Road.

    On your left, after a rock outcropping, you'll notice 2 small foot bridges. Take the second bridge [the first one doesn't seem to go anywhere] and follow the pink ribbons.

    The pink-ribbon marked trail rises gently for quite a while with a few switchbacks.  We passed a number of other trails going off in other directions which are apparently unmarked [to be further explored]. All the while, our trail gained elevation until we left a pleasant trail of no great difficulty and found ourselves on a fairly difficult trail scrambling over rocks and through scrub and up some fairly steep sections.

    We finally reached a long granite ridge almost at the highest elevation after which we could find no further pink ribbons [per Ken, at that point, the trail will need to be blazed on the rocks].  The obvious trail does continue up the ridge rising as it goes until there is a fairly precipitous although perhaps possible descent with no ribbons in site or a further ascent with no clearly marked trail. At that point, we retraced our steps back along the pink-ribbon marked trail.

    Along the hike, we could hear sounds of a marching band from the Kinnelon High School. At the highest points, we saw the Smoke Rise riding fields and other mountains in the distance [Buck Mountain?]. Had the trees not been so leafy, we expect that we could have seen forever! [See picture above.]

    Here are details of our Bear Mountain trail which I started documenting at Long Meadow and Smoke Rise Road. For a number of reasons - not least of which is that I don't fully believe what trail tracker documented [we had to have gone farther than 1.4 miles] - we are eager to set out with Ken Bitz in the spring to fully understand this trail!  That will be Part II of Kinnelon's Bear Mountain Trail.

    Note: in terms of Kinnelon Critters, we noticed signs of dear and bear.

    Bear Mountain Kinnelon NJ

    EveryTrail - Find trail maps for California and beyond

    In the meantime, if you have any experience with trails along Bear Mountain in Kinnelon, would you let me know? We'd love to find a way to hike to Kinnelon's Borough Hall...

    On another note, if you can share perspective on the hunting scene in Kinnelon, I'd appreciate it. I hate having to wait until the Spring to go exploring.

    Ted &

    Saturday, October 2, 2010

    New Jersey Ski Resources on Facebook

    New Jersey Ski Resources on Facebook
    For those of you fantasizing about what it would have been like had the 7 1/4 inches of rain we received between Thursday and Friday been snow rather than rain, here are New Jersey ski related resources on Facebook that you might consider joining or liking.

    A special thanks to Liz Holste - who contributed New Jersey the Skiing State: History & Details -  for sharing them with me.  As I become aware of others, I'll be sure to update this page.

    By the way, Liz will be doing  book signings at Heino's Ski Shop on Columbus Day weekend (Saturday & Sunday) for the big Heino's ski swap/sale. Consider visiting and saying hello!

    New Jersey Ski Resources on Facebook

    New Jersey Ski Groups on Facebook

    ASRA Ski Racing Group
    Craigmeur Ski Club Group
    Belle Mountain Ski Resort Group
    Ski Mountain Pine Hill NJ Group
    Craigmeur Ski Area Remembered Group
    Playboy Club Great Gorge NJ Group
    Great Gorge New Jersey's Original Ski Resort Group
    Skiing in New Jersey? Group
    Ski Racers in the SCSHOF Group
    Holly Mountain Ski Area Group
    Mountain Creek Group
    Ski Racers of the Not So Recent Past Group
    Old School Hidden Valley Race Team Group
    Mount Peter Group
    Annie's Book Stop - Sussex, New Jersey, Group with focus on local authors
    The Old Barn Milk Bar 
    Hidden Valley Ski & Ride Group

    New Jersey Ski Related Facebook Fan Pages

    ASRA Fan Page
    High Life Ski Club Fan Page for mountain travel in North America Fan Page
    Snow Bowl Ski Area Fan Page
    Liftopia - Discount Lift Tickets Fan Page
    Belleayre Mountain Fan Page [Highmount, NY]
    Heino's Ski & Cycle Fan Page
    Campgaw Mountain Friend Page
    Ski Barn Fan Page 
    Vernon Valley Great Gorge SKI School 

    Campgaw Ski Area Friend Profile

    Kinnelon related: James Martello in Memoriam Fan Page

    And a ski link that you may find valuable:

    Added 10/3/10: Liz also recommends these other ski-related links and resources:
    •'s New Jersey Ski Area Guide with information on active and Ghost ski areas
    • Bill Jones' SnowEast Magazine is a really great resource for information about the ski / snowboard areas all over the east
    • If you are interested in joining one of New Jersey's ski / snowboard clubs, you can check them out at the New Jersey Ski Council which is having a season Kick Off Party on Friday night October 29th at the Hanover Marriott 7pm to midnight. FREE admission. Many NJ ski clubs will be there showing what they have to offer. Lots of resorts will be there with giveaways, raffles for lift tickets, etc.

    Happy cold-weather and skiing anticipation!
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