Sunday, March 27, 2011

5th Annual Kinnelon Eco-Fair: April 9, 2011

5th Annual Kinnelon Eco-Fair: April 9, 2011
Mark your calendars for the 5th Annual Kinnelon Eco-Fair taking place on Saturday, April 9, 2011 from noon to 4pm at the Pearl R. Miller School in Kinnelon.

Here's my account of the 4th Annual Kinnelon Conserves Earth Day Fair. It was a big success and tremendously entertaining. You can't go wrong by participating.

As the flyer for the 2011 Kinnelon Eco-Fair describes:

A Day of Environmental Action, Education and Fun for All Ages!  Bring a Shopping Bag!


Dozens of Green Exhibitors and Services, Some Old, Some New!  Bring The Children

Other highlights include face painting, games, crafts, films, demonstrations, plant a pot and LULU...

You can recycle and fill up.

Plan on bringing unwanted electronics. Principia's Recycling Truck will be stationed in front of Pearl R. Miller ready to accept your old stuff. PUR2o will refill your reusable bottle with high quality water; they will test a sample of your own home water, too. You might win a Rain Barrel, too!

Free refreshments and delicious snacks available made by Kinnelon's own bakers!

Donations of $3.00 per family are cheerfully accepted.  Students and children are free.

For information, call 973-838-8576 or visit KinnelonConserves.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

"The Place" - Smoke Rise 1965

John Connelly shares with us an intense story from 1965 in Smoke Rise. It's a beautiful story about a nearly forgotten time in the familiar place of Smoke Rise. However, it refers to politics and death and may be considered too unpleasant to read.

Proceed at your own risk.

“At the cost of your youngest child its gates will be lifted.” 
Joshua 6:26

 The long cold winter of 1965 gave way finally to warm and lazy days which drew me and my sisters to the Smoke Rise beach. The thick ice upon which Richard Wohltmann and I had walked to the chapel months earlier had long since melted revealing the dark green waters of Lake Kinnelon shimmering with yellow highlights.

Speckled across the beach were various colored blankets and beach towels hosting hair-perfect lipsticked ladies chatting about current events. Their rhinestone sunglasses and beach hats softened the afternoon sun. The air was familiar with the smell of wet bathing suits, suntan oils, perfume and burgers grilling at the food stand. My friends and I dug in the sand lost in dreams of worlds far away. My sisters sat in their new bikinis playing a recently learned game of Bridge; their skin pale and marble next to their bronze-colored Italian friends. Each fascinated by the other.

Muffled sounds of life blended together; splashing, laughing, coughing, the tapping of a metal clasp against the flag pole in the breeze. Mothers called out, “Come eat!” while children cried back “Watch this Mom!” Here and there little battery powered radios were all tuned to AM 77 WABC. A favorite song played over and over during the day, “Do the Mouse.” It was from the popular “Soupy Sales” show. There wasn’t a kid on the beach who didn’t watch it. It still makes me smile. [Here's a link on YouTube to Soupy Sales with Pookie and White Fang.]

Between songs WABC’s popular DJ, Cousin Brucie, would deliver up his characteristically enthusiastic phrase:

“Is this The Place? Gotta’ be the place! ‘Cause there’s no other place….a’like this place!” 

He was so right. This was the place. There was no other quite like it.

Spread before us was our world - The Lake. On the left, the boat docks with little boys standing at the ends casting their fishing rods, the chapel behind in the distance. In front the roped-in swimming area and lifeguard stand, a tanned young man sitting watchfully. Little brightly colored sailboats drifted in the background. Moving to the right, was the rotunda, crowned by serious looking adults in long pants, socks and dress shirts. These new masters had replaced the Kinneys for dominion over this special land. They sat on beach chairs smoking cigars and surveying the scene.

Further to the right of the rotunda, however, was an area of the beach that was more menacing somehow. It was a stretch of beach that everyone just sort of knew should be avoided. I can recall stepping into the waters there just once. The water seemed darker and when I took a small step in, the thick organic muck at the bottom seemed to grab my foot and hold it there. I shivered and pulled back. Everyone somehow knew to avoid this section of beach. Few sat over there. Only the “edgy” or the outcast would even consider it.

Cloistered within our gated womb one could be forgiven for not noticing the great changes going on in the world outside. 1964 had just seen the passage of a landmark civil rights bill in the US which rendered discrimination illegal. But that kind of sweeping change doesn’t come easy and during 1966 and ‘67 violent race riots broke out in hundreds of American cities. But that was far away and it was well outside of our gates.

However, my father’s world, the place where he worked, was outside the gates.

Dad was in Real Estate and development from the 1950s through 2005. He spoke of times that today seem unimaginable. A time, for example, when Italians were not permitted to buy a home in any of the Northern NJ lake communities. High Crest Lake, Fayson Lakes, Lindy Lake, Packanack Lake and all the rest were off-limits. He used to tell me about the little man who developed and sold Packanack Lake. The man used to call my Dad several times a year to remind him to tell his 85 sales agents, many of whom were Italians-Americans, not to show Packanack Lake property to any “undesirables”, including fellow Italians.

In ways similar to those of gated communities all over America at the time, a review board would determine who “qualified” to move in. To their credit, unlike the other surrounding lake communities, the Smoke Rise Lake Community had begun to allow Italians in a few years before my Dad and Mom sat before them in 1962. Dad told me what that process was like: You’d be offered drinks to loosen you up and then you’d have a casual chat with the six board members. The goal was to suss out whom you were and if you “fit.” A few weeks after your meeting, a letter from the board would arrive advising you whether you’d been approved by the board or not. Mom and Dad, of Irish and Scottish descent, made the grade, though it did come with one string attached: So afraid of my Dad’s Real Estate juggernaut at the time and fearing potential competition, they put a capricious deed restriction on our home on Orchard Road that prevented Dad from practicing Real Estate within Smoke Rise. I suppose they could do anything they wanted back then. To his credit, my Dad honored the agreement long after such restrictions were deemed illegal. “A man’s only as good as his word, son” he’d say when I quizzed him about it.

In 1964 a young man named Milton Supman got a job in New York and went before the Smoke Rise review board. He had arrived from California and wanted to raise his family in a safe place.

He was sent a letter a few weeks later advising him he’d been turned down; they didn’t need to give you a reason back then. He moved elsewhere offering no struggle. The children of Smoke Rise, hearing later about the denial, were crushed. You see, Milton Supman, the man deemed “unsuitable” was better known by his stage name, Soupy Sales. We could watch his antics on TV, but he couldn’t join us at The Place.

There was another couple back then who decided to go down swinging. We tried to avoid the North Gate during this time because every weekend for about six months they stood there with picket signs accusing the board of unfair treatment. As kids we slid down in the backseat to not make eye contact with such nasty business. They finally gave up and moved on without further disruption.

Time passed and by the mid 60s the civil rights movement was in full force not only in America, but globally. Spain allowed the first native Jewish child to be born there in 500 years, on January 2nd, 1966, for example. But, it was little Suburban Wayne New Jersey that would electrify the country when an insignificant school board election was suddenly the focus of the nations press.

The election was being held to fill 3 vacant seats. Two of the five running were Jewish, Mr. Mandall and Mr. Kraus. A week before the election, the school board’s vice president was quoted in the paper as saying:

"Most Jewish people are liberals, especially when it comes to spending for education. If Kraus and Mandell are elected and Lafer [another Jewish board member] is in for two more years, that means a three to six vote [on the nine member board]. It would only take two more votes for a majority and Wayne would be in real financial trouble. Two more votes and we may lose what is left of the Christ in Christmas celebrations in our schools. Think of it!

Wayne was now in the national spotlight and camera crews and reporters came out in droves to cover the election results of this obscure school board election just south of Smoke Rise! Despite condemnation of his remarks from all possible official quarters, Mandall and Kraus were defeated in a record turnout by a margin of 2 to 1.

It was in this time and climate that another family went before the Smoke Rise review board. I would prefer to not use their names, though old-time residents will remember. Like Mr. Supman, this couple was Jewish. If approved, they would be the first in Smoke Rise.

They too received a letter a few weeks later advising them that they’d been denied. But, this was now a few years later than Mr. Supman’s denial and much had changed. For example, the NJ courts had ruled in 1966 that Packanack Lake could no longer restrict its buyers to just “White Protestants.”

The couple decided to take on the review board. A battle ensued that dragged on. A lawsuit was threatened. The battle became well known among the Smoke Rise elite of the day and I imagine many an afternoon tea at the Village Inn was punctuated with talk of the matter. As was the cigar talk of the rotunda.

After a great and spirited battle, the couple prevailed and they moved into Smoke Rise that spring. They had won a victory that would forever change Smoke Rise. The gates triumphantly rose for them to enter. Vans brought furniture and a child’s toys could be seen on their well tended lawn. The weather turned sultry and the young wife took her infant daughter to the beach and they set up their blankets on that far side, near the dark waters.

Youth is a time of “firsts” and that day was to be one for me. It was the first time I was to hear a mother’s plaintive wail over a lost child. I can look back now on others; a mother after an earthquake in Turkey stumbling through ruble, a mother in Samoa whose child died in her arms from fever, a mother whose son was found dead from suicide. Such sounds are unforgettable, but as I said, this would be my first.

It began slowly. “Where’s my daughter?

The woman, that newest member of our community, ran about the rotunda several times growing increasingly frantic.


 Radios were turned off. People were on their feet. Sudden movement was occurring everywhere. People were offering to help look for the little girl. Searchers scattered in all directions. Maintenance workers dropped their shovels. The grill closed up. Everyone was now engaged in the search.

Finally, after much time had passed, the lifeguard organized a group to lock arms and enter the dark waters. They fanned out in a chain and began a slow walk deeper and deeper into the lake until one searcher shrieked and a little lifeless body was pulled from the dark and rushed to the lifeguard who began CPR on the shore.

A strange quiet had settled over us all. There was no sound other than the breathless sobs and wailing of the mother. The lifeguard worked on the child despite the obvious fact that she had been in the water for well over an hour. In the quiet of the afternoon sun, between moments of sobbing you could at times hear the “hut! hut! hut! hut! hut! hut! hut! hut!” of his heroic efforts pressing the child’s little chest.

When someone in my family died, the event was accompanied by bagpipes. The players would press hard against the wind bag of the pipes with their arms and produce sweet sounds of the “Old Country” and of “Amazing Grace.”

But, standing there as a ten year old, it struck me that the pressing on the chest of the child was producing no sound. No music. No coughing. No crying. Nothing.

Each minute passed like hours. Our group of onlookers, from cigar smokers to the maintenance workers, hair perfect ladies to sandy-stomached young boys, stood solemnly. Slowly and one by one each of us on the beach fell to our knees in exhaustion eyes fixed on the lifeguard, his brow wet with sweat, until the entire crowd assembled was kneeling together. The valiant effort to save the child was the only movement.

The lifeguard never faltered. He continued to try and resuscitate the child for the hour or more it took the ambulance to finally arrive from Chilton Hospital. Knowing it was useless, he nevertheless continued, perhaps for the mother’s sake. Finally, with sunlight fading, an ambulance came and the child was taken along with its mother and they were gone.

Months later the mother told my parents that she felt they had been cursed because they pushed so hard to get into Smoke Rise. Being a devout Jew, she was aware of the curse found in the Bible book of Joshua at the start of this story. While clearheaded counselors would protest that it was just a tragic accident, the cruel consequence of time and unforeseen circumstance, you cannot judge the tortured expressions of a person suffering such a loss.

The memory of that day overwhelmed me during this writing as though it had just occurred. We each process trauma and grief in our own ways and times, it seems.

The long summer led to fall and then winter followed turning the lake once more to glass. Then another summer and another until now 45 summers have passed since that day. There have been many other “firsts” for Smoke Rise since. That first Jewish couple, armed with the power of the courts and new laws, were the first to lift the gates for the diverse and many who now call Smoke Rise home.

As far as I know, the funeral took place outside of Smoke Rise. I don’t know how many attended or how long it took the couple to recover from their loss….if ever. I’m also unaware of any service ever being performed at the lake in the spot where the child died. No bagpipes have ever played there for her. Nor was a wreath ever placed there in her memory. I’d like to think that one may be laid there one day to both remember a little girl and lay to rest the shadows of a very different time.

But, then again, I remember that day and that moment in time when the radios were silenced, the cards were set aside, the fishing poles were let down, the cigars were extinguished, the digging was halted, the burners were turned off and the shovels were dropped. I recall a universal image; of anguish clinging to the face of a young mother, pierced though the heart, as a lifeless child was placed in her arms. That day, when the air was punctured by her sobbing and joined by the puffs of air from an unrelenting lifeguard, which blended with our own steady breaths and ascended above to God. That day, when the cigar smokers and fisher-boys, the ladies and maintenance men, the pallid and the bronze, the fry cooks, the bikini-clad and the sandy-bellied boys joined an inconsolable mother.

All kneeling. All united.

[To view the video on YouTube, click on Celtic Legends - Amazing Grace."]


 Thank you, John, for this intensely moving story.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Smoke Rise Art Show & Sale: 3/25/11

Calling all Smoke Rise artists, neighbors and art lovers! Come to the Creative Expressions Arts & Crafts Show and Sales taking place Friday, March 25th, 2011 at the Smoke Rise Inn. It is sponsored by the Women of Smoke Rise and proceeds benefit St. Hubert's Chapel.

The program, which features artwork created by Smoke Rise residents, has two parts:

+ Kids from 4:30 to 6pm
+ Adults from 7 to 9pm

It also includes a 'Small Treasures' area with works priced between $25 and $200.

Visitors are invited to judge which artwork they consider the best!

Roe Saks, President of the Women of Smoke Rise, shares the following:

"Creative Expressions, sponsored by the Women of Smoke Rise, is an Art Show and Sale, with a portion of the proceeds this year going to benefit the restoration of our St. Hubert's Chapel.

While all are invited to attend and purchase artwork, the artwork and crafts on display and for sale  are the creations of our own talented Smoke Rise residents, young and very young!

Smoke Rise residents will be asked to judge all categories.  

We are offering an area called "Small Treasures", featuring artwork from $25 to $200.  These pieces are those which are not being judged in the show.

The event is Friday, March 25th at the SR Inn in Smoke Rise.  Judging begins at 4:30 pm!  We will announce the winners of the children's section at 7 pm and the adults at 9:30 pm!"

Everyone in Smoke Rise, Kinnelon and beyond! are invited to attend the Creative Expressions Arts & Crafts Show and Sale. Come and vote for your favorites! Be tempted by the small treasures created by artists big and small.

Enjoy the Smoke Rise Inn on Friday, March 25th, from 4:30pm to 9pm. Meet your Kinnelon neighbors, have some hors d'oeuvres and a drink from the cash bar.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Kinnelon Cabaret Night, March 26, 2011, Smoke Rise Inn

Kinnelon Cabaret Night, March 26, 2011, Smoke Rise Inn
Cabaret is definitely in the air! This time it's Cabaret Night at the Smoke Rise Inn in Kinnelon on Saturday, March 26, 2011 at 8:30 pm.

Cabaret Night is an annual event. It started three years ago and draws a nice crowd to the Smoke Rise Inn, where Kinnelon's own Stearns Matthews hosts and performs with other talented musicians. This year's event includes more performers than in previous years.

Note that the event is open to the public, as is the Smoke Rise Inn.

Perhaps you've seen the flyer describing Cabaret Night. It reads:

"Stearns Matthews will be your host for the evening in addition to performing with some of his close friends from the music industry. Adding to an already wonderful evening will be the talents of Debi Kahn who will join Stearns on stage for a couple of numbers.

To make reservations for this fun filled performance, please mail your check, payable to the Smoke Rise Village Inn, to Jean Roy at 254 Long Meadow Road, Kinnelon, NJ 07405.

Tickets are $10 per person and your check will act as confirmation of your reservation.  Tickets may also be purchased at the door the evening of for $15.

Be sure to make your dinner reservations early and enjoy a wonderful dinner prior to the show. To better accommodate our guests that evening, the kitchen will remain open until 11pm for any late night cravings or those wishing to have desert after the performance.

Performance begins at 8:30pm."

Stearns Matthews and Debi Kahn are both from Kinnelon and Smoke Rise.  They join Megan Candio, who performed with Stearns last year, Jenna Tomsko, and Ben Houten, who will be playing the piano.

By the way, Stearns also performed in the 27th Annual Christmas Concert at Our Lady of the Magnificat. If you missed him there, listen to this video of him performing This Will Be.

Stearns Matthews - This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)

Cabaret Night at Kinnelon's Smoke Rise Inn is a great opportunity to sit back with your friends and listen to terrific [Kinnelon] musical performers, have a drink or two, perhaps include dinner beforehand and desert afterwards, locally here in Kinnelon.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Kinnelon's Steven Savvides and Cabaret, Smiling Rhino Theatre

Steven Savvides
Did you see the announcement about Cabaret taking place March 18 - April 9, 2011 at The Smiling Rhino Theatre in Pompton Lakes, NJ? Kinnelon resident, Steven Savvides, performs in the show and shares perspective and photos taken at last night's dress rehearsal of Cabaret which opens tonight, March 18th! Have you purchased your tickets?

If you haven't, I've included links for purchasing ticketsshow times, and directions to the Smiling Rhino Theatre. Or, simply call 973-248-9491.

C.B.: Steve, tell me about yourself. How long have you lived in Kinnelon?

SS: I moved to Kinnelon and Smoke Rise in 1996 with my wife and 2 daughters from Smithtown, Long Island. I am originally from Queens but went to H.S. and College (NYU) in NYC.

C.B.: What do you like most about Smoke Rise and Kinnelon?

SS: The beautiful natural surroundings and privacy make Kinnelon and Smoke Rise a very unique place. Coupled with the close proximity to all NYC has to offer, plus the Meadowlands, NJPAC etc…

C.B.: You’re involved in a performance of Cabaret. What is your role? 

SS: I play the role of the EMCEE. He is basically the Master of Ceremonies who keeps things moving at the Kit Kat Klub in 1930s Berlin.

Cabaret, Smiling Rhino Theatre, 2011

C.B.: Is anyone else from Kinnelon involved?

SS: Yes! Small world… Kim Urba plays Sally Bowles the British singer at the Kit Kat Club, Liz Merritt is in the ensemble and dances with me as the Gorilla, and Lori & Krista Gabriele (mother/daughter) are in the ensemble.

Cabaret, Smiling Rhino Theatre - Ensemble

C.B.: How did you get involved in Cabaret?

SS: This is my 11th show at the Smiling Rhino over the last 6 years and I love performing there. When they announced the auditions for Cabaret, I went through the audition process and was fortunate enough to get the role.

Performance Cabaret, Smiling Rhino Theatre

C.B.: What makes this performance of Cabaret special?

SS: The set of Cabaret takes place within a 1930s Berlin nightclub and also inside a small boarding house. It is a very intimate setting and the audience needs to be close to the action to “feel” the energy and emotion of the production.

The Smiling Rhino Theatre provides that setting because it seats about 200 people; however, they are very close to the stage and will feel as if they are inside the nightclub. I believe this intimacy and also the talent pool of actors involved will make each of the performances very special.

Cabaret, Smiling Rhino Theatre, Pompton Lakes, NJ

C.B.: What about the director?

SS: Our Director, Joe Elefante, comes with very high credentials in that he was in the USA touring production of Cabaret for several years and played many of the roles himself. He brings a high level of artistic and practical knowledge to this production, and his level of attention to detail and professionalism has impressed me at every rehearsal.

C.B.: Anything else you’d like to mention or highlight?

SS: Simply that the track record of productions staged at the Smiling Rhino have been stellar with regard to quality and audience satisfaction. The production team that works on these shows pours a lot of heart and soul into everything they do whether it is costumes, stage design, lighting, music etc.

Keep in mind that the plot of Cabaret is quite serious with regard to the story of the rise of Nazi Germany and the way ordinary German citizens were swept away by politics. Although there are wonderful, lighthearted song and dance numbers, there is also a strong, poignant, underlying dramatic message. This would be appropriate for teens and older.

I know that folks who come to see this show will enjoy it very much. It’s the kind of show that will not only entertain but will also stir some type of opinion or emotion within them.

I hope to see many of our friends and neighbors there!

C.B.: Thank you, Steve!  I wish you and the entire cast of Cabaret a fantastic performance!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Cabaret March 18 - April 9, 2011, Smiling Rhino Theatre

Cabaret March 18 - April 9, 2011, Smiling Rhino Theatre
Broadway in our back yard! That's right - the hit musical Cabaret is coming to Pompton Lakes, NJ, to the Smiling Rhino Theatre starting March 18th through April 9th, 2011. Even better, the performance includes several Smoke Rise & Kinnelon neighbors. Don't miss it!

I had the chance to get the lowdown on Cabaret at the Smiling Rhino Theatre from neighbor and show performer, Liz Merritt Walberg.

C.B.: Liz, tell me about yourself. How long have you lived in Kinnelon?

LM: I grew up in Mountain Lakes. I moved to Norway 3 days after graduating chiropractic school in Chicago. I maintained a private practice just outside of Oslo Norway for over 13 years before moving to Kinnelon almost 4 years ago. My husband, Bjorn, is Norwegian and all three of our children are born in Norway.

CB: What do you like most about Smoke Rise and Kinnelon?

LM: Well we moved here because we love the schools and the nature, but we have to admit that the people are also growing on us.

CB: You’re involved in a performance of Cabaret. What is your role?

LM: I will be in the ensemble and - the role my kids like the best- the dancing gorilla.

CB: Is anyone else from Kinnelon involved? 

LM:  That is what is especially neat with this group of folks. I have met 4 others from Kinnelon in the cast. Lori Gabriele and her daughter Krista are in the ensemble with me and 2 of the lead roles are folks from Kinnelon. Sally Bowles is played by Kim Urba and the Emcee is played by Steve Savvides, a fellow Smoke Rise resident.

CB: How did you get involved in Cabaret? 

LM:  I was a member of a musical theater troupe in Norway for over 10 years and have been yearning for a community of musical theater ‘addicts’ like myself ever since I moved here. So when I saw that there were auditions at a theater as close as Pompton Lakes, I jumped at the chance to be part of it.

Cabaret, Smiling Rhino Theatre
CB:  What makes this performance of Cabaret special?

LM:   I have to admit that I have not seen any live performances of Cabaret, only the film with Liza Minnelli.

This is a special musical in that it relays a painful, poignant, and chilling message with lively, toe-tapping, catchy music and dancing. This musical highlights the life-changing decisions that a group of individuals are faced with in Berlin 1939 as Hitler rises to power. The message that we need to be grateful for the freedoms we enjoy and watchful that these freedoms are protected is just as imperative today as it was for folks in 1939 especially in light of the changes other countries are fighting for in our world currently.

CB: What about the director?

LM:  Well, it is a real kick to work with my high school musical theater director again. Rich Lavallo is the musical director for this show. It was fun surprising him at the audition.

CB:  Anything else you’d like to mention or highlight?

LM:  This musical does include some fun and racy costuming. It also deals with some adult situations that may or may not go over the heads of some kids so I would say that this is a great ‘date night’ musical. I hope that folks come out to support our neighbors. But mostly I hope that they will come to thoroughly enjoy this high-quality (not to mention nearby) evening of live entertainment.

CB: Thanks, Liz!

For information about purchasing tickets, show times and directions, visit Smiling Rhino Theatre or call 973-248-9491.

And for a taste, check out Liza Minelli with Joel Gray performing Money, Cabaret, and Mein Herr.

Enjoy the show!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ice Fishing on Lake Kinnelon in Smoke Rise: a Kid's Perspective

Ice Fishing on Lake Kinnelon in Smoke Rise
Chuck Mougalian with friends
On a cold Saturday morning recently, my dad and I decided to go to Lake Kinnelon to check out the ice fishing. We had heard from some of the dads at the bus stop that there would be people out on the lake probably for the last time this year. When we got there some ice fishermen could be seen out in the distance by Chapel Island already fishing. And we thought we could see them catching a fish!

We ourselves weren't there to fish but we did want to go out onto the ice and see what they had caught. Unfortunately, the previous couple of days we got about 2" of rain and the ice was as smooth and slick as glass. We walked slowly out towards the island but mostly we slid. As we got past the last dock we started hearing cracking in the ice. This did not sound good to me, and I didn't like it. We went farther and farther out and heard even more cracking. Finally, I had had enough and I turned to my Dad and said, "Lets go back."

"No, don't worry, it's just the top layer," my Dad answered. I wasn't so sure about that so I took a few more steps forward, but there was even more cracking. This time I put my foot down and I convinced my dad to turn around. He nodded and said, "OK."  We turned around and when we got back to shore some fishermen getting ready to go out on the ice told us that we needed cleats. Not soccer cleats but ice cleats. We didn't have them because we don't go ice fishing that often. We went home and I decided to ask an ice fisherman neighbor of ours some questions about ice fishing. His name is Chuck Mougalian and this is what he told me.

Q. How many inches of ice does there need to be?

A. We like to go with at least four inches of clear solid ice, and that is the minimum generally recommended.

Q. Why do you like ice fishing so much?

A. I like being outside in the winter time and I like catching fish.

Ice Fishing on Lake Kinnelon in Smoke Rise - by Chapel Island
Ice fishing off of Chapel Island
Q. What's the biggest fish you caught this year?

A. I caught a 23 inch pickerel.

Q. Where is your favorite place to fish?

A. I like to go near the chapel but some of the other fishermen like to go near the cove.

Q. Do Evan and Eric ice fish?

A. Yes, they do ice fish.

Q. When did you start ice fishing?

A. I started six years ago; my son Evan started last year and Eric started with me five years ago.

Q. What time do you get up to go out fishing?

A. I would like to be out by 6 AM or even earlier if possible

Q. Do you take the fish home for supper?

A. No we catch and release.

So I don't think there will be any more ice fishing this year, but I'm looking forward to doing my ice fishing next year even if I do have to get up early on a frozen morning to do it. Maybe we'll even have cleats!

Emma Whittemore


To put into perspective this story that Emma has shared with you, here is an excerpt from the March 15th, 2011 update from the Smoke Rise Fishing Club:

"The S.R.F.C. hosted its first "Family Ice Fishing Party" and "Ice Fishing Tournament" on Saturday February 26th with huge success. There were over fifty people and three friendly dogs out on the ice enjoying a beautiful day on the lake.  The Club served hot cocoa and grilled cheeseburgers and hotdogs all afternoon.  After the party a group of adventurous members headed out to deeper water for a four hour evening tournament near Chapel Island.  Tom Braden won the tournament with the most combined weight of five fish and largest fish. John Roberts won a side bet later in the evening with a seven pound catfish. The ice has since melted away..."

Christine & Ted

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ramstein Open House and SR Fresh Hot Sauce this Saturday @ 2 PM - First Maibock of 2011!

Ramstein Beer Open House

Here is reminder for this weekend’s Ramstein Beer Open House and Tour, this Saturday, March 12. Directions are at the website.

This is the first Tour for this year and will introduce one of my favorite Ramstein seasonal Lager beers, the Maibock. Hooray for 2011! Only comes once a year ... 

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

Blonde Hefe-Weizen, Golden Lager, and Amber Lager will be on tap.

Sixpacks of Classic Dunkel weizen and Blonde Hefe-Weizen will be available, as will be 1 liter and 2 liter growlers.

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

We hope to have some of the new Cayenne-Fresno Red bottled and available by then.

You Hot Sauce people can check out the SR Fresh Hot Sauce Website, where the sauces are explained and sold. Check out the Fresh Hot Sauce Blog as well.

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

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Roxbury's Ledgewood Inclined Plane, Morris Canal Hike

Have you noticed signs of the Morris Canal system around the area? On September 18, 2010, the Morris County Park Commission [MCPC] Hike-a-Park-a-Month program offered the opportunity to learn more about the Morris Canal when we hiked Roxbury's Ledgewood Canal Basin and experienced firsthand an inclined plane. Who better to share that knowledge than noted Morris Canal historian Joe Macasek.

Ledgewood Pond
During this hike, we learned about the efficiency of an inclined plane for moving canal traffic over different terrain and, more specifically, up a hill without having to construct numerous locks.

We saw the restored turbine chamber where a water-powered turbine pulled barges up the inclined plane.

We visited a nearby mine and then hiked up to a lookout point.

32 intrepid hikers!

Tom Edmunds from MCPC Trails Mapping/GIS summarized the hike as follows:

"We had a most enjoyable time on our September 18 tour & hike at Roxbury’s Ledgewood Canal Basin of the Morris Canal. Joe Macasek (and later, Bob Bodenstein) presented excellent details of the restored turbine chamber of the incline plane and surrounding artifacts. Joe’s talk and handouts were exemplary of the tours he conducts for the MCPC Industrial Heritage walks. 

The hikers, 32 of us, were greeted by Roxbury Councilman Tim Smith and Open Space Committeeman Bill Dluzniewski. Peter Turnbull, Assistant Engineer also joined us. We visited the nearby High Ledge Mine and did a short hike up and over an excellent “lookout” point surrounding the plane, with 3 young ladies guiding us by the trail blazes."

Here follow my photos of Roxbury's Ledgewood Morris Canal Basin. At the end, you'll find my trail map which includes additional photos of the mine part of the hike.

Roxbury Councilman Tim Smith and Open Space Committeeman Bill Dluzniewski greeted us.

Can you believe the size of this? This is what pulled the barges up the inclined plane.

That cable ran down the inclined plane along these sleeper stones. 

Cool debris

Looking down the Inclined Plane

Joe Macasek talking. Photo courtesy of Barbara Page

Those are Joe's feet. Behind him are stairs that overlook the Turbine Chamber.

Going to visit the Turbine Chamber.

Fabulous rock walls

The Turbine Chamber

Remember that photo above of Joe's feet? This chamber is just below that covered section.

Very cool rock formation by the mines
Here is my trail map:

Ledgewood inclined plane Morris Canal

EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking near Newark, New Jersey

Have you visited Roxbury's Ledgewood inclined plane and Morris Canal Basin? What did you think? What other Morris Canal sections have you visited?
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