Editor’s note: We realize our blog is late this week but we had several reasons for the delay: 1) we were visiting with relatives and it would have been impolite to ignore them to write the blog, 2) there was no Wi-Fi internet access in or near our next campground, and 3) one of the benefits of being retired is that we can miss deadlines without repercussions. The good news is that the next blog should be coming soon, but don’t count on it.
Last week we visited Patty’s relatives in the Garden State, New Jersey, probably the butt of more comedians’ jokes than any state in the Union. But here’s some evidence that New Jersey is really a great place to live–three out of five of Patty’s siblings and Bruce Springsteen still live in New Jersey. Enough said.
We first parked our Airstream at the home of Patty’s brother Rob in Pompton Plains. From there we visited Patty’s parents, Eleanor and Jules Deyden, in the Hawthorne home where she grew up. Jules treated us to dinner from a local landmark, Johnny & Hanges, which has been serving deep-fried hot dogs since 1939 (no reason for health concerns because their frying oil is now cholesterol-free). Of course we had the dogs “All the Way” with J&H’s special chili sauce. One of the great things about New Jersey is its ethnic diversity and we also went to a kosher restaurant after Ed found out they served the “best shawarma around”. We didn’t actually know what shawarma was but it turns out it’s cooked on a spit, similar to the meat in a gyro, and also is typically eaten on pita bread.
Our next stop was the Shore (Nobody in New Jersey says the Jersey Shore). By the way, we’ve been wondering why everybody else in the U.S. goes to the beach but in New Jersey they go to the Shore—if you know please let us know. We stayed at Sea Isle City where Rob and his family, wife Jane, daughter Alex, and son Andrew, had rented a house for the week. Sea Isle City is in in South Jersey so they did not have as much damage from Hurricane Sandy as some of the northern beaches, but they still had up to six feet of water in the downtown area. However, they recovered quickly and it’s a very nice family beach resort area. We had a great time visiting with Rob and his family and also had a chance to kayak in the marshes along the Intracoastal Waterway. Here are some photos:
The Shore at Sea Isle City. We mostly lounged on the beach and people-watched.
Kayaking in the marshes along the Intracoastal Waterway
Patty takes a break from kayaking.
After the Shore, we headed to the home of Patty’s sister Cynthia, husband Jim Hausamann, and daughters Meghan and Mackenzie in Belvidere, New Jersey. Located next to the Delaware River, Belvidere is only 70 miles west of New York City but it’s a rural area of rolling hills and woods. The woods are full of deer and black bear—while driving Ed and Jim saw a mother bear and her cub crossing the road. On Sunday we were joined by several members of the Deyden clan (Patty’s sister Eleanor, Jules, Rob, Jane, and Andrew) for a cook-out and “garage organizing” (similar to an Amish barn-raising). Patty also learned a lot from Meghan about raising chickens (their nine hens each normally produce one egg per day), but we don’t expect that chicken-raising will be allowed in our Asheville neighborhood. Here’s a couple of photos from our visit:
The locals welcome us to the Hausamann estate.
Meghan, Aunt Patty, Mackenzie and some of the egg producers
All in all, we had a great week in the Garden State. And since we complained so much about the heat back in June and July, we should say that August in the Northeast has been beautiful, with weather more like early fall. Next week we’re headed back south of the Mason-Dixon line.