Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pasta Night At The Smoke Rise Village Inn

Pasta Night at the Smoke Rise Village Inn
Hey! Best Pasta Night Ever at the Smoke Rise Village Inn this past Sunday 9/20/09! The food, from the salad to the pasta fagiole to the pasta itself, was REALLY GOOD!

I'm not just saying that -- the flavors were fresh and bright and deep, not at all what you might expect of a pasta buffet.

By the way, you do not have to live in Smoke Rise to come to the Village Inn. It's open to everybody.

There were 4 pasta dishes as usual, and each one was delicious. There was farfalle with a mushroom pancetta cream sauce, cavatelli with broccoli and sausage, tortellini with vodka, and penne with a tomato eggplant sauce. All of the pasta was warm to hot and al dente, the vegetables were fresh and al dente, nothing was over salted, and I could have happily eaten myself sick.

I did not. Good for me. I was plenty full, though.

Washed down with the Smithwick's Ale (pronounced shmiddicks, I am told), it was an ideal Sunday night dinner with no work, no cleaning up and happy kids.

Pasta Night at the Smoke Rise Inn
At 13 bucks per person and 1/2 price for kids under 10, it's a great deal, too.

The Inn has a new manager, Keith Tierney, whom we met and who seems very much on top of things, and we understand Chef George has some new sous chefs to help him produce the great food.

Look for the newsletter announcements or check the website for notice of the next Pasta Night (always on Sunday from 5 to 7:30 PM).

You will be happy you did.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Why I Love Kinnelon - Tai Chi Anyone?

Tai Chi in Bryant ParkI love that Kinnelon has such easy access to New York City. My favorite route in is via Route 23 to the new NJ Transit Center where I catch a direct bus into Port Authority on 42nd street in Manhattan. That's assuming I reach the Transit Center early enough to get a parking space; next option is to park at Willowbrook Mall. Regardless, the trip into Manhattan takes 3o minutes and, from there, marvelous adventures are guaranteed! For example Tai Chi in Bryant Park this past Thursday morning.

I love cutting through Bryant Park to get places.

Bryant Park reminds me of the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris: small green tables and chairs along pebbled walkways around the grassy green; wonderful people watching and always unexpected activities. An oasis of calm surrounded by tall buildings and intense city.

From 1985 to 1988 or 89 I worked at 11 West 42nd on the 3rd floor. From my window I could see Bryant Park. In those days, it wasn't a place worth hanging out in - at least if you were sweet, young and not looking for illegal substances. I remember it being boarded up for a long time, too. However, from my window, I also remember admiring the antics of Rubberband man, the contortionist. Do you remember seeing him?

I was delighted when Bryant Park was redeveloped and spent many an idyllic lunch time there when I worked at 1460 Broadway at the corner of 41st street. That from 1993 to 1999 or so....

Now, I like stopping in Bryant Park to catch my breath and check my email or to meetup with friends for an intense chat.

What was most wonderful on my most recent trip into NYC this week was coming across this group of Tai Chi enthusiasts in intense action. It made me wish I could simply step in and take part.

I've admired similar groups taking part in Tai Chi in Beijing [not always with swords], in Toronto, but never in midtown Manhattan. I tried Tai Chi briefly at the Palisadium in Cliffside Park a long time ago. I'd like to become more adept.

In fact, seeing this motley group in Bryant Park made me wonder what if we could do the same here in Kinnelon...

Tai Chi anyone?

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Save The Date: 10/4/09 Indian Cliffs Hike

Please save Sunday 10/4/09 for a hike to Indian Cliffs for a breathtaking view of the Split Rock Reservoir.

Plan on meeting at 1pm at the Smoke Rise Inn parking lot.

All are invited, including children and dogs, says Ken Bitz from the Smoke Rise Lake & Environment Committee.

Several of you from outside Smoke Rise have expressed interest in this hike. Please email me if you can join us.

If you'd like a taste of what's to come, please read my previous post on the subject: Indian Cliffs Trail Hike.

See you then!

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Francis S. Kinney's Ram Pump

Image courtesy of Green and Carter. See How Ram Pumps Work.
Green and Carter: How Ram Pumps WorkNext, a post about the Ram Pump as I promised in my last post about Francis S. Kinney's Bathhouse and Boathouse. I had thought that the Ram Pump 'powered' the Bathhouse pool.


As Tom Kline wrote in an email: The Ram pump that existed at the dam had nothing to do with the operation of the bath house. The bath house was fed by gravity, the top of the pool surface being a good 8-10 feet below the water level of the lake. A series of valves on site could direct the water into the pool or divert the flow into the ram pump.

The ram pump consisted of a large pipe laid horizontally. This horizontal pipe was a good 12" or better in diameter, There was also a smaller vertical pipe that was perhaps 5" in diameter. The large pipe would fill with water, a float would rise when the pipe was full and allow the water to escape down through the smaller pipe. The difference in diameter between the two pipes created hydraulic pressure. Pretty sure that the pump had ceased operations in the mid to late sixties. It made a loud rhythmic melancholic noise that sounded like a base drum being hit about every 10-12 seconds. It made the area quite scary.

A series of pipes left the dam area and traveled underground past the stable to the carriage house, delivering water into a large metal tank located in the carriage house attic. That water was then used to gravity feed the greenhouses.

Can you imagine?

The greenhouses, carriage house and stable were built in 1914. Electric lines weren't introduced into the newly formed Kinnelon Borough until about 1926. It sure seems to me that a mechanical pump requiring no electricity, powered by water, in an area as rural as Kinnelon must have been considered the height of modernity and technology!

According to Tom, the greenhouses were fully operational through the 1980s, although each year more of the original glass was broken until finally the remaining glass was completely removed. When he was younger, a family lived above the carriage house. The father had been hired by Morris Kinney to be the caretaker for the greenhouses. The caretaker's two sons are who shared so much information with Tom regarding the ram pump and the storage tank in the carriage house.

Tom further described: The ram pump was still operating when I was quite young. I remember my father once taking me on a canoe trip on The CHK and hearing it and the water flowing over the dam. It made a low, eery rhythmic sound. I was about 8 and it was incredibly scary. Needless to say we weren't supposed to be there as we were on Private Property which added to the drama of the whole event!

As a reminder, all of this was and continues to be on private property!

For those of you wanting intensely to see one in action, here is a 7:44 min video of a Hydraulic Ram Pump. Subscribers, please click on this link to see the clip.]

Amazing, in my opinion.

What do you think?

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Francis S. Kinney's Boathouse & Bathhouse

Francis S. Kinney BoathouseMore details have emerged relating to Francis S. Kinney's Bathhouse and even his Boathouse, which did exist as you can see from this picture. We recently met with Tom Kline and John Connelly to get the lowdown on these vital details. In the process, Tom shared photos and both shared stories.

First some facts:

+ Both structures appear on a 1904 map of Francis S. Kinney's estate.

+ Both were wooden structures which means that neither has a "date stone" indicating exact building dates.

We do know that Kinney started using St. Hubert's Chapel in 1889 and had to have a means of getting people to the church on time. In other words, he needed boats - most probably an armada of wooden row boats and canoes - and a place for storing them. Hence, a Boathouse.

Extrapolating from that puts the construction date of the Boathouse and also the Bathhouse at circa 1890.

Francis S. Kinney bathhouseTom Kline believes that the Boathouse must have disappeared long ago. It was located in an obscure location and none of the more recent (i.e., 1930s to 1950s) photographs show it. Despite examining the area very carefully, he has found no trace of a foundation or anything else.

Most likely, he thinks it was taken down at about the time (1934) that the original Kinney mansion was disassembled and rebuilt into the present day "Cotswolds." (Talbot Home)

Moving on to the Bathhouse.

Tom and I had a fierce email exchange over the Bathhouse. I just couldn't in my mind figure out how it could have fit so close to the Lake Kinnelon spillway and dam, let alone include a pool. As you can see from the second photo, the Bathhouse wasn't built on Lake Kinnelon, but rather next to it. Do you see that roofline to the left of the dam? That's the Bathhouse!

Here's how Tom describes our Bathhouse:

The bathhouse was a wooden structure that sat on the left side of the dam as viewed from the lake (cottage side). It was on the downstream side of and directly under the dam. The roof of the structure peeped out above the dam and was visible from the water. The foundation for the structure on the brook side (the brook being the water that came over the dam) was a massive stone wall that went all the way to the bottom of the dam. The water flowing over the dam would brush against this wall as the water found its way down the brook, heading towards the stable.

[Note: I think that's the carriage house/stable building that you can see through the trees in the photo above.]

Kinnelon bathhouseIt was a wooden structure that measured approximately 28 wide and about 40-45 feet long. A set of stone stairs lead from the lawn down to the structure. As you entered, the first part had a wooden floor. Inside, on the left (the side closest to the cottage) were 8 changing rooms, completely paneled with stained wainscoting. The beams coming down from the ceiling had decorative carvings on the ends.

On the brook side of the structure was an indoor swimming pool, cast in concrete, with a ceramic tile lining. The indoor pool measured approximately 12 feet wide by about 30 feet long. the pool itself was about 4-8 feet deep and tapered to the back of the building (stable side).

A small gangway, also in concrete ran the length of the building and acted as a hallway that separated the changing rooms from the pool area. I recall that the changing rooms had windows, complete with glass. The wooden wall that was on the brook side had already collapsed by the time I got around to seeing this, so I am unsure what type of openings were in it to allow light in. On the dam side of the structure there was a set of double doors that opened towards the lake. The exterior of the structure was covered in cedar shingles and the roof was of wooden shingles also.

In third photo, you can ever so slightly see the Bathhouse roofline to the center left of the image, above the water line and nestled amidst the trees.

Tom further explains:

Getting to the ChapelAt one point, later in the building's life, a wooden structured deck was installed above the pool and the roof reinforced - probably in the 1930s when Cotswold was created.
It was on this deck that two skiraffs were stored. The skiraffs were long, thin boats that Morris Kinney brought to Smoke Rise from Pakistan in 1937. They were used for the first "community" services at St. Hubert's Chapel in the early 50s. [Note picture of boats headed toward the Chapel.]

The Bathhouse was finally taken down in the late 1980s. At that point, the structure was severely rotted from the extreme moisture of water falling over the dam. It was too far gone to be salvaged.

In my next post, I'll share information relating to the previously mentioned Ram Pump which did NOT power the Bathhouse....

Remember, though, all of this was and continues to be on private property!

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Classic Cars & Cruisers Around Kinnelon

Dawn WinklerWere you aware that just down the road from us in Kinnelon, you can admire the most beautiful classic cars and cruisers? That's right, in Riverdale at the National Guard Armory, sponsored by the Tri-County Cruisers.

Cruise Night takes place on Thursdays from May through September. The last one of the 2009 season takes place September 27 so you have two more opportunities... [assuming no rain].

I learned about this fun on-going event from our friend, Dawn Winkler [yes, that Mrs. Winkler from Apple Montessori] who, with her husband Tim, participates regularly with their classic cars.

Above, you see Dawn next to their 1969 Ford Mustang Fastback. The engine is a 351 Windsor [see below].

Her 'baby' - not pictured here - is a 1973 Mercury Cougar RX7 with a 351 Cleveland engine. As Dawn describes it: "It is all original and everything works except the clock. My car has a/c, power driver seat, rear window defogger, power front disc brakes, power steering, fmx transmission, leather interior. It was the last year that they made this size cougar based on the pony cars. 1974 they went big like the Thunderbirds."

The Tri-County Cruisers was established in 1993. The event at the Armory includes about 60 to 70 cars, all in beautiful condition. I enjoy visiting with my daughter because it's such a fun opportunity to talk about some of the cars I remember growing up, and the roadtrips we took as a family before air-conditioning, and...

1969 Ford Mustang FastbackAccording to Dawn, the Thursday night event has changed places over the years because of different circumstances. Space, food, even the police!

The Armory, though, seems like the perfect spot with ample parking and easy access from Route 23.

If you go, do look for Dawn and Tim and say hi. Their cars are beautiful and they can introduce you to others who participate in the Tri-County Cruise night with their beautiful Classic Cars.

By the way, the definition of "classic" varies as you can read from the Wikipedia entry. Tim and Dawn's cars fit the description of unique, definitive, rare and classic.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Oktoberfest & Ted's Fresh Hot Sauce in Butler at High Point Brewery: Sat. 9/12

Ramstein Oktoberfest beerA big event is taking place this Saturday, September 12th from 2 to 4 pm in Butler, NJ: Ramstein Beers is having their once a year Oktoberfest Brewery Tour at the High Point Brewery down in Butler, at which time they will introduce this year's Oktoberfest Beer which will be available on draft. And, you'll encounter Ted's Fresh Hot Sauce!

We will be there to drink the Oktoberfest and also to introduce the Hot Sauce Ted has been making for the past 15 years, in 2 types:
  • SR Virgin Fresh Cayenne-Cherry Pepper Red, and
  • SR Virgin Fresh Habanero Gold.
We will have a tasting of the 2, with appropriate food, and invite all of you chile heads to come join us and tell us what you think.

These hot sauces are a little different from what you are used to -- they have to be REFRIGERATED -- because they are FRESH. And they're not mostly vinegar and salt like others you may have tried. Come check them out!

We will have a limited number of the bottles on hand for sale should you like them so much you have to have some!

Don't forget! This all takes place from 2PM to 4 PM this Saturday, Sept. 12th, 2009, in Butler. Here are directions. Come and bring your friends!

See you there!

~ Ted

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Monday, September 7, 2009

The Full Hemlock Trail In Smoke Rise

Hemlock trail headAnd, now, as promised in The Hemlock Trail in Smoke Rise, the FULL Hemlock Trail....

Hemlock trailThis was our first hike of 2009 which we did on January 1st - an invigorating way to ring in the New Year.

We took the long way around - on foot - to get to the official trail head on Summit Terrace.

If you remember from the official trail description for the Hemlock Trail:

The head of this trail begins at the intersection of Summit Terrace South and Bush Hill Road.

Note the large glacial erratic at the trail entrance. Fabulous, isn't it?

Now, the trail description refers to many giant Eastern Hemlocks, including a particularly large one with a ten foot circumference within the first 100 yards on right side of trail.

Hence the name of the trail, right?

We noticed the hemlocks. Unfortunately, none were alive. Some blight had killed them. What remain are tall, imposing skeletons - including that of the large ten foot circumferenced hemlock.

Hemlock TrailDoes anyone remember what happened?

The first markers we noticed were yellow. The rest, though, were orange.

The trail needs clearing. We had to creatively skirt many of the fallen trees.

You'll note a marvelously located bench - a perfect place for reading the Sunday paper perhaps. [Per Ted & Emma, the bench may no longer be. A tree may have fallen on it. TBD.]

The trail heads down a natural path or ravine. It looks to become a stream during rainy periods with water funneling down toward Hoot Owl Pond.Hemlock trail

To our left as described, we saw magnificent mini-palisades, highlighting the marvelous variety of terrain that 've noticed throughout Kinnelon and the Pyramid Mountain or Split Rock reservoir hikes.

Although I took photos of these palisades, they don't do justice to their natural beauty.
Hemlock trail

Past the palisades, the trail/ravine continues to Hoot Owl or climbs to the left.

The official Hemlock Trail goes up to the left for a short steep portion, across flatter terrain and then down to the infamous bog area.

Hemlock trail palisades
We noticed throughout most of the hike many other marks in the snow.

Not necessarily human, though.

Rather, deer! Many, many deer prints.

We believe we had come across the equivalent of a deer highway given the concentration of hoof prints and other signs.

Back to the bog portion of the trail.

Hemlock trailIn deep winter, as we had in January 2009, the bog is frozen over and the boards more stable. Missteps weren't that treacherous although some boards were iced over.

I consider this trail particularly magical in deep winter because of the Hoot Owl Pond connection.

Hemlock Trail through bogWhen Hoot Owl Pond is frozen, you can extend the hike by crossing the pond, sliding here and there and checking out the pond dam. I have some photos of that that I'll share with you - ideally before skating season starts up again!

Once through the bog, there's a last climb and then you reach the trail end at the Hemlock Lane cul-de-sac.

There you have it: the full Hemlock Trail in Winter and Summer with contrasting pictures!

I'd love to hear stories relating to the heyday of this trail. It must have been truly magnificent.

Hemlock trail

But, what happened? Were the trees destroyed by the hemlock wooly adelgid?

It also seems that this trail hasn't seen much use lately. Wouldn't it be nice to get it back into trail shape? Hmmmm.

I hope you'll check it out, if you haven't already, and will you let me know what you like most about the Hemlock Trail?


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Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Hemlock Trail in Smoke Rise

Hemlock Trail markerLast Sunday, Ted and Emma went off for a short hike along the Hemlock Trail in Smoke Rise - allowing me time to put the final touches on my just published e-Book "Social Media's Collective Wisdom: Simplifying Marketing With Social Media".

The Hemlock Trail is described in the Smoke Rise Trails Map as follows:

Hemlock Trail [orange]:

Round Trip walking time: 20 minutes

Hemlock Trail bogHead of trail begins at the intersection of Summit Terrace South and Bush Hill Road. Park on the left shoulder on Summit Terrace South near large glacial erratic on right at trail entrance. Note giant hemlock within first 100 yards on right side of trail [ten foot circumference at the base]. Mini-palisades on the left and beautiful stand of hemlocks throughout. Trails ends at cul-de-sac of Hemlock Lane between #12 and #16 Hemlock Lane.

Entire circuit approx. 1/2 to 3/4 mile.

Hemlock TrailLet me clarify up front: they did NOT do the entire trail [I'll share that with you in a separate post].

And, they did NOT start at the glacial erratic.

Instead, they started at the trail end [as described in the Smoke Rise Trails Map] on Hemlock Lane where you will find a trail marker that indicates "Hemlock Trail" [see photo above].

From this direction, the trail takes you through a boggy area made passable via these boards.

WARNING! Proceed very carefully! Many of the boards are moss-covered and slippery. Others are no longer anchored and stable. A misstep may land you - as it did Ted twice - in the bog!
Hemlock Trail
Hemlock TrailOnce past the bog, you reach the wooded section of the trail, which - in the depth of summer - is green and lush and not necessarily easy to follow.

Ted observed that trail markers were hard to find and follow given leaf coverage. They may also need some refreshing...

Rather than proceed north toward the beginning of the trail [and the erratic], Ted and Emma proceeded south, down the gully and toward Hoot Owl Pond.

Can you glimpse the water through the trees in this next photo? Pretty magical.

Have you taken the Hemlock Trail? What do you love most about it?

Next post, I'll take you through the entire trail. Be warned though: it's a winter scene...

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