Where else would you find countless branches than at Branch Brook Park in Newark, New Jersey. And where else would you find countless branches filled with cherry blossoms every April than at the Cherry Blossom festival in Branch Brook Park.
Here’s a little known fact: Branch Brook Park has more cherry trees than Washington D.C. and has more than 2,700 Japanese cherry blossom trees. Branch Brook Park also holds the distinction of being the first county park in the United States opened to the public.
A few pictures from 2010 and 2018. I really kind of like the lion one best 🙂
The rails of the historic Central Railroad of New Jersey train terminal at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Taken from their website: ‘From 1892 through 1954, the CRRNJ Terminal stood with the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island to unfold one of this nation’s most dramatic stories: the immigration of northern, southern and eastern Europeans, among others, into the United States. After being greeted by the Statue of Liberty and processed at Ellis Island, these immigrants purchased tickets and boarded trains at the Terminal that took them to their new homes throughout the United States. Learn more about the CRRNJ’s history, visit the Historic CRRNJ Train Terminal site. ‘
Clockwise from upper right: tree sculpture in PA – easels in windows – statues and metal cows at the Field Gallery on Martha’s Vineyard – sidewalk art – mural in NJ – piano in Greenwich Village, NYC.
My daughter and I are deeply into our genealogy and have been visiting cemeteries where our ancestor are buried. I’ve always found cemeteries to be interesting places, especially the older ones where grave stones and markers are indeed works of art. We have several ancestors buried in Mt Pleasant Cemetery in Newark, New Jersey, which is Newark’s oldest cemetery and in my opinion the most beautiful and interesting one. The cemetery has a special section for the firemen of Newark and that is where my great, great grandfather is buried. The unexpected art connection to me are the fire hydrants that surround this section.
What’s it like to finally meet someone you’ve admired for years, someone you have come close to meeting through mutual friends but didn’t for one reason or another, and so you resigned yourself to the fact that it would never happen! Carly Simon has always been an inspiration to me through her song lyrics and through her written words, and to meet her, although for only a few minutes…. well, it was down right awesome, nerve wracking and surreal and all I hoped it would be.
After 40 years of being a fan and admirer of Carly Simon – 5 concerts (MV with Harry Connick Jr, NJ art center, Lincoln Center, the Apollo and Joe’s Pub in NYC)…
After a lifetime of both of us having a connection to Martha’s Vineyard and never ever meeting each other it finally happened on Oct 24th here in NJ at Carly’s book signing for her new book ‘Touched By The Sun’ about her long time friend ship with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
How did this come to be after all these years? Carly has done signings of CD’s and books over the years in NYC but I’ve never been able to make them, but when it was announced she was going to be on this side of the Hudson River in New Jersey and not far from where I live, and an early evening appearance… we knew it had to be now or possibly never.
My daughter got off from work early and we left around 3 for the 6 o’clock signing. We got to Bookends in Ridgewood, NJ around 4. There were already maybe 7 people in line outside, we went into the book store to purchase our reserved copies of the book which were our tickets into the event, got a refreshment and then got in line which had swelled to about 12 people by then. I was so relieved to be near the front, and my daughter could relax knowing she had delivered me bright and early to the event. I tend to get anxious sometimes and this was absolutely one of those times. The final estimate was between 250-300 people. Around 5 they led us into the bookstore and downstairs into a large room where they had a sort of roped off maze of lanes which led up to the front of the room where there was a desk. My description is horrible but the concept was great as it kept everyone orderly and in order of how you first got in line. As in most cases when you’re in a line for awhile for something you begin chatting with those around you, some were sitting on the floor already reading Carly’s book, my daughter was knitting socks, everyone was friendly, happy and anxious for 6pm to roll around.
A little after 6 we were all led back upstairs where Carly was seated behind a desk waiting for her eager fans.
Carly looked gorgeous, she was charming, gracious and warm, she didn’t rush anyone and spoke to you like the two of you were the only ones in the room. I was afraid I would turn out to be one of those ‘gushy’ fans that says the same things she’s heard a zillion times so I practiced in my head what I wanted to say in the short amount of time I had. I did not gush, I did not blather, I did not forget my name, or hers, I was my version of cool.
I wonder if we were both thinking the same thing…
If you’re wondering why the pictures show the back of the jacket I have on, it’s from Carly’s tour in 1978 when her ‘Boys In The Trees’ album came out. I came into possession of the jacket through two mutual friends of mine and Carly’s and thought she might get a kick out of seeing it. She did.
Thank you Carly for all the years of your incredible music,your heart felt lyrics (there’s a Carly song for every emotion), and for books, you are truly an inspiration.
It all began with this little snippet in the Vineyard Gazette 29 years ago in September of 1990. My daughter Deb liked Harry Connick Jr and I’m a huge fan of Carly Simon, I have been even before I knew of her Vineyard connection. This seemed like a perfect weekend getaway for us but how could I manage to get tickets when I live in NJ and they were only on sale on the Vineyard !
I did it. I was determined and when it involves the Vineyard my determination is un-stoppable. So off we went. There were a few glitches along the way concerning MV accommodations and ferry reservations so we decided to stay in Falmouth on the mainland and just go to the Vineyard for the day of the concert.
It was a spectacular September Sunday afternoon on the Vineyard, the Campground was filled with happy concertgoers bustling around..
Before the concert began we were talking with a woman sitting next to us who was going on and on about how excited she was to be seeing Carly Simon. She said she had chatted about it with her seat mate on the small plane she had flown over to MV on that afternoon. She told him she had no idea who Harry Connick Jr was but that she was mainly there to see Carly.
When Harry stepped onto the stage she gasped and said ‘oh my god, that’s the young man I was talking to on the plane.’
At 3pm the concert began. Harry’s band was fantastic and Harry’s voice velvety smooth. After about an hour or so of great music the lights were turned off. The only illumination was the sun shining through the stained glass windows around the perimeter of the Tabernacle. And then… out stepped Carly.
I was beside myself, in actuality though the person beside me was Carly’s mother. I have seen Carly in concert several times since then but seeing her on the Vineyard and at the Tabernacle was something special for me.
Harry and Carly sang a few songs together, their voices meshed beautifully. Carly did a few songs alone and then way too soon it was over. What a fantastic day, one we’ll never forget.
The reviews of the concert were glowing, much like the talents of Carly Simon and Harry Connick Jr as they stood side by side on the stage of the Tabernacle.
After the concert we had ‘drinks’ with the band at the Oyster Bar in Oak Bluffs.. us and about 100 other people. Afterwards we headed to Edgartown for dinner.
Too quickly our lovely day on the Vineyard was coming to an end. We drove back to Oak Bluffs for one last look at the now darkened Tabernacle.
We had booked a late ferry and it’s one of the few times I’ve sailed at night. The sky was star filled, a cool breeze was blowing and a young man on board was strumming his guitar and singing softly. Perfect day.
I’ve seen Carly 6 or 7 times but this was the first time and there couldn’t have been a more perfect place.
Every few years I post about my favorite summer event on Martha’s Vineyard…
Illumination Night this year is Wednesday, August 14, 2019
It has always been my favorite event of the summer… going to Illumination Night is a thrill for me no matter what my age.
I think I was 2 and 1/2 the first time I went to Illumination Night. I’m embarrassed to say that even with my annoyingly good memory, I don’t remember it. My first memory of Illumination Night involves wearing a particularly pretty dress so I’m thinking I was around three or four, which would have been around 1946.
My dad, mom, god-mother and I would have an early supper and then walk to the Campground. My dad and I would stroll around looking at all the beautifully decorated gingerbread houses while my mother and god-mother would chat with friends and relatives.
At 8 o’clock the Vineyard Haven Band would begin playing and the always fun community sing would start. Patriotic songs like, America The Beautiful, Yankee Doodle, Battle Hymn of the Republic are always stirring and emotional. It took me a couple of years to learn the words to all the songs and I still get messed up on a couple of the rounds like John Brown’s Baby. The band playing the Star Spangled Banner and the rousing Stars and Stripes Forever are always a crowd pleaser.
But as much fun as that was it was only a precursor to the main event. The Tabernacle and Campground go dark… the crowd cheers. The lighting of the first lantern and then all the gingerbread houses are simultaneously aglow with Japanese lanterns.
Everyone oohs and ahhs and stream out of the Tabernacle to walk through the magical fairyland the Campground has become. My dad would carry me on his shoulders so I could see everything… I felt like I could touch the stars.
After seeing all there was to see we’d head out onto Circuit Ave to either the Frosty Cottage for ice cream or Darling’s for popcorn, a tasty ending to a perfectly enchanting night.
No matter your age, Illumination Night is fun for everyone, I myself morph into an 8 year old.
The Islander was retired in the winter of 2007 and the last time I sailed on her was that February.
Even though not sleek or graceful, for 57 years the Islander brought her own special beauty to the waters surrounding the Vineyard. The Islander will continue to exist through paintings, photographs and in the memories of those who loved her.
Early morning …
The beloved work horse of a ferry, the Islander plied the waters between Woods Hole and Martha’s Vineyard for 57 years before retiring in the winter of 2007. There was just something about this tub of a boat that endeared her to all who sailed on her… she wasn’t a great beauty but she had a regalness about her.
Her blue plastic outdoor seats certainly weren’t known for their comfort, but comfort wasn’t necessarily what one was after for the 45 minute sail from America to the Vineyard, which was more of a transition from the everyday to the magicalness awaiting you. The Vineyard is many things to many people and in many hearts the Islander was the emotional connection.
Fond memories ❤
February 1989 was the first time back to the Vineyard in winter since I was a child. Following are excerpts from my travel log about that trip and also pictures taken with a non-digital camera… which does have relevance in this post. So come join me in a trip down a cold, snowy very wintry memory lane.
Picture of the Islander in dry dock in Woods Hole from aboard the ferry, Eagle.
One of my favorite places is the Campground in Oak Bluffs. I love the gingerbread cottages but most of all I really really love the Tabernacle… every time I’m on the Vineyard I take a few moments…or hour… and sit quietly there and enjoy just being. Winter is no exception and cold as it was it was warm in my heart.
Let’s wander through Oak Bluffs a little … notice Christmas tree is still in the Bandstand.
Christmas trees along the dunes at South Beach/Katama where they are brought after the holidays.
Then to Aquinnah to see the Gay Head cliffs.
excerpt from travel journal : ‘it was cold on the cliffs, maybe 26 degrees…but off I went to see them anyway. Down the road I traipsed over the dunes and onto the beach… what a sight. Thousands of rocks all shapes and sizes, and there in the distance… the cliffs… I was very excited. Took some shots and scurried back to the warm car. Noticed camera had opened a bit, closed it and didn’t think much about it. After lunch in Edgartown I rode out to the ‘bend in the road beach’ to take some pictures and noticed that the picture counter on the camera said #1 !!!! When I had gotten in the car in the morning it had said #16 !!! Something was wrong. I turned around and headed for the camera shop. Everything seems to be okay with the camera but maybe it got too cold and lost its memory and reverted to #1… or perhaps when the camera opened just that little bit it caused it to revert !! At any rate I’m having what was in the camera developed.’
The following day I picked up my photos and not only were they all fine, there was this one…. actually, these two…
shot of the cliffs taken before camera opened …
shot after I closed the camera … I’ve always kind of liked it… can’t do this with a digital camera …
After a long first day headed back to Edgartown but not before stopping at Sengekontacket Pond for the sunset…
I love the Vineyard no matter what the season but there’s a quiet, ethereal beauty in the winter.
I repost this post often as it touches me deeply.
My daughter Deb is a twin. Sadly her sister Susan was only here for a few hours.
One of my favorite pictures of Debbie (age 3)
Katy (Katama) was Deb’s first Boykin Spaniel. She was the first dog to go on vacation with Deb and me, no big surprise that it was to MV. Katy left us after 20 months and we feel that she’s now with Susan. Here’s Deb with Katy at Sengekontacket Pond on Martha’s Vineyard.
Chappy (Chappaquiddick) was Deb’s next Boykin Spaniel. Here they are enjoying the window seat at the inn we were staying at in Oak Bluffs.
We took lots of pictures of Chappy’s first trip to the Vineyard, especially on the beach and in the water. He really enjoyed splashing about and barking at waves. These pictures show a little of his fun at the beach.
And then there’s this picture…
Is this a double exposure, or is it Deb and Chappy with Susan and Katy ? You be the judge. Just let me say that my camera, not a digital one, had never, until that day, taken a double exposure and never did so afterwards.
Happy Halloween !!!