STARTING POINT – The Black Bass Inn and The Lumberville General Store, Lumberville Pennsylvania
HALFWAY ACROSS ON A HOT JULY DAY, STRONG NORTH WIND A GREAT BLESSING
BICYCLE AT THE BOAT LAUNCH, BULL’S ISLAND
ONE ECSTATIC CYCLIST
RESTORED RESTAURANT & 1745 INN, RESTORED BRIDGE
RESTORED TOWPATH AFTER HURRICANES & FLOODS, PENNSYLVANIA SIDE
Mostly a photo essay on the priceless fruits of preservation and restoration….of restaurants and venerable stores, of towns, of islands, of the historic towpath, of our River of Liberation itself.
http://thelumbervillegeneralstore.com/ [sign up for notices of SPECIAL events…]
One of Winter’s Welcoming Fireplaces, Lumberville General Store, PA
How can one be homesick for a place that is not home? Or actively miss a place, when one is there every few weeks? This has been my fate since I ‘met’ the renovated Lumberville General Store, on ‘The River Road’ above New Hope. This emporium of excellence has been eincarnated by brilliant Laura Thompson, aesthetic genius behind the Black Bass Inn across the road.
Bass Inn, Venerable ‘Parent’ Establishment Across Route 32
A Florida friend and I had set out for Bucks County with Christmas presents for one another in hand, planning for breakfast at a traditional Lamberville morning restaurant. Now that she lives in the South, time together needs to be timeless and quiet. Our destination, that morning, turned out to be rambunctious and raucous, with a line out the door into December’s gelid air. “We’re not doing this,” I announced. “I’ve read about new chefs at the Lumberville General Store. Let’s give it a try.”
Ice Floes Race Down the Delaware River, Out Lumberville General Store Windows
Welcoming Lantern on the Mantel
Window Decor, Lumberville General Store Haven
Fireplace Tile, Lumberville General Store
Even the Fire-Tending Gloves are Decorative!
Scotch Woodcock (home-smoked salmon), gossamer eggs, cloud-like roll, home-fashioned-and-smoked sausage with ginger and sage — and the most ethereal (so-called) hash-browned potatoes of our lives — [Chef Anton’s secret being pre-preparation inspired by The French Laundry] — an hour and a half sous-vide… and, o, yes, “We finish them in butter. Everything’s better in butter.”
One chooses a room, a table, a fireplace. One picks up a handy compact clipboarded menu in the main room of the General Store. One agonizes between their own bacon, quiche with crust that levitates, scrambled eggs in the form of the omelets of France, triple-berry or cheese scones, hearty breakfast biscuit, and the like. I cannot count the number of friends I have taken there or met there. All are astounded — even at lunch. This attention to detail, to sources (“We’re between Manhattan and Philly — purveyors are glad to serve us.”) I seem to remember Anton’s delight in the storied Viking fisheries of LBI for salmon and other fish; and local eggs whose provenance resembles that of works of art. Their legendary soups are also available frozen to take home, as are those remarkable quiches. Tall sturdy glass bottles with metal and porcelain stoppers hold (free) refrigerated water for your table, by whatever fireside, or outside, setting you may choose.
While Amy and Charlie and Anton banter with you behind the counter, you can create mixed coffee concoctions to meet your morning needs. Everyone’s pride in his and her work is palpable. Their delight in one’s presence is as though you’re guests and they’re cherished hosts in the warmest of homes.
We’ve done any number of Christmas and birthday rituals, wrapped in timelessness that is not the norm in this dire century. There have been celebration of having recovered visits and even sympathy returns. Hale or not, merry or sad, by the fire, or with backyard breezes wafting in as guests feast at the sturdy outdoor tables — in this historic setting, one feels blessed. As well as gastronomically enchanted.
And afterwards, in most weather (once, even in black ice — a short jaunt), one can walk the foot(e)bridge across my beloved Delaware and its Pennsylvania canal, to Bull’s Island in New Jersey. There’s even a successful eagle nest visible when trees are less leafed out, one mile below the New Jersey entry to Bull’s Island. This hefty structure crowns a massive sycamore, almost on the river. And another eagle nest may be found on the power tower near the Lambertville toll bridge — whose three young fledged on the Fourth of July weekend! For a long time, the Homestead Farm Market on the Lambertville hill had its scope trained on the nest where these hefty young were “branching” — testing their wings.
Canal and Towpath, Pennsylvania Side
Canal and River Alongside/Below Black Bass Inn
Winter Canal, “Down By the Riverside…”
NJWILDBEAUTY readers well recognize that this haven, which extends far beyond a mere restaurant, constellates most of my passions: beauty, history, authenticity, gastronomy, and Nature herself — especially my cherished Delaware River.
Places such as Riverton and Burlington NJ, and Perkasie and Sellersville, PA, remind us, along with Lumberville: Without preservation, we would have little or none of the experiences and photographs on this ‘page.’
This canal was connected to our D&R Canal by an aqueduct at nearby Raven Rock. Much of New Jersey was settled, in the canal era, beside canal towns. Before that, the Delaware was the main artery. Lumberville was named for the trees harvested there and floated down the river to build Pennsylvania and New Jersey in those centuries. It is a miracle that not only beauty, but even artifacts of those time, let alone buildings, remain.
NJWILDBEAUTY readers know I celebrate living in the Delaware Valley, because it is so easy to get to beauty and wildness, and HISTORY, within an hour’s drive or less! It wasn’t like this in Michigan, which became a state in 1837… Open your eyes and your tastebuds newly to our surroundings. Give yourselves these memorable gifts.
From their web-site — you see, yet another passion, art in general and Delaware Valley Impressionism in particular…
As you can see from the original date stone on the front of the store, our beautiful building has stood on River Road since 1770. Over the years – with ownership passing from local family to local family – the General Store has always honored the same fundamental tradition: providing a place for the community to congregate. While our visitors may not be relying on us for their weekly groceries these days, we’re proud to still maintain the cozy, communal feel that has defined our store’s history.
This once-sleepy area alongside the Delaware River steadily developed over the course of the late eighteenth century, and with it, the General Store. In 1775, Revolutionary War hero Colonel George Wall, Jr. acquired the land and began personally overseeing the store. He also (modestly) renamed the area “Walls Landing” and created two lumber mills, a grist mill, and a surveying school. By 1825, the store started to serve a dual purpose as the post office of the newly renamed “Lumberville” – a moniker chosen by Jonathan Heed and Samuel Hartley in response to the successful saw mill operations. As the eighteenth century turned into the nineteenth, the General Store exchanged hands between the Livezey family and the Heed family.
Over time, Lumberville became a bucolic haven for artists, such as Martin Johnson Heade, who was originally a “Heed” before leaving for Europe to study painting. His romantic landscapes experienced a resurgence in popularity the 1940s, with pieces selling for up to $1,000,000. When the daughter of his nephew, Elsie Housely, became the owner of the General Store in 1939, she ensured Heade’s continued recognition after disassembling his sketchbook and selling the pages to eager dealers and collectors. The store remained in her capable hands until 1973, when the ownership changed again.
FINALLY! BACK TO ‘THE BRIG’ — Leed’s Eco-Trail
NJWILDBEAUTY readers know how important weekend adventures are to me, –the essentiality of refilling the well, emptied daily in our work, saving the Planet.
And Beloved Leed’s Point, (near home of the Jersey Devil, whom I long to meet!)
Some of you also know about February’s torn meniscus — healing enough that I’ve been back on the trails. But p.t. takes hours daily, –some in private, some with kind, gentle, dedicated coaches. There remains too little time for creativity with all this body-building. The whole point of this work on “glutes, hamstrings and core” is to get back outside. Come with me to recent restorative havens.
Snowy Egret in Full Breeding Plumage, in WIND, The Brig
Visitor Center, Purple Martin Houses, Perfect Clouds – The Brig
Spring Mimics Autumn – Swamp Maple, Waterlilies, The Brig
Essence of Spring – Geese and Goslings — The Brig
Jeanette Hooban (Intrepid) Rights Horseshoe Crabs,
Fortescue, Delaware Bayshore
High Tides Upset Horseshoe Crabs, Fortescue
BEACH COBBLED WITH HORSESHOE CRABS — 2 weeks late for the Full Moon of May
SACRED EGGS OF THE HORSESHOE CRABS
But red knots and ruddy turnstones may have come and gone, ill-nourished, to Arctic
Fortescue at Its Best — Late Light, Late Fishermen
“DAY IS DONE, GONE THE SUN” – Fortescue
For these scenes, these full days in the wild, all those intense hours of physical therapy, with John Walker of Princeton Orthopaedic Group; and of chiropractic with Brandon Osborne, D.C., are worth it. Whatever it takes to give yourselves the wild, do it!
I dare to rephrase Thoreau: “In wildness is the healing of the world.”
MUSEUM LOBBY (a.k.a. Mass MOCA – Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art)
conduits of yesterday-metal
vie with writhings pf formidable tubes
against the striated ceiling
columns unretouched in this century
allow the past to bleed through
–here, the hue of Mohawks in rain
–there, the tone of too many tears
beams scoured by time
I resist descending
this fierce metal stairway
leading to that basement
where factory workers headed
to restrooms lacking all rest
where harshness and high walls
surround sinks that still insult
this lobby, capacious and echoing
streams with guests
–eager and savvy
–even the children
skipping toward grim gate and guard
pillars / ceilings / room dividers
flaunt splotches and scars
vivid as palettes of the brilliant
whose lifework adorns
relentlessly eloquent walls
CAROLYN FOOTE EDELMANN
Mother’s Day, 2017
I actually thanked the Mass MOCA guards for the policy of not retouching the industrial past of this glorious museum, –full-to-the-brim with the most challenging art installations. They were gratified, especially when I added, “This reality honors all who worked within these walls. And underscores the powerful meaning of each artist’s work.”
As a creative person, I viscerally feel how stifled those factory workers must have been, laboring deep within these endless, now empty, but then emptying, spaces.
On this week’s Berkshire Journey, I realized that the transformation of Mass MOCA echoes that of the miraculous Michener Museum in Doylestown, –once a prison where my friends (mothers, nursing mothers, grandmothers) were impounded over an entire weekend for daring to lie down in front of bulldozers who would destroy the banks of the Delaware, so that the dread PUMP could be built to deplete our sacred river.
James and Mari Michener’s vision has been realized, that art triumph over incarceration.
I salute all the visionaries who knew that thought-provoking installations could surpass industrial dehumanization. Being at Mass MOCA is like standing under a shower of fresh mountain waters, mixed with electrifying ions, generous helpings of stardust, and more than a dash of cayenne.
NJWILDBEAUTY readers know that ‘The B rigantine’, or Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge, near Smithville, New Jersey, has been closed to humans other than construction workers, since September. I’ve now made two trips to the re-roaded, re-opened refuge. I am happy to note that rarities are in residence, or in tourist mode, to a high degree. This late March Saturday, we were treated to the last of the winter birds, and one life species for me — WHITE IBIS — two in a tree with a Great Egret, on the way to the Gull Pond Tower. Most of these images are by my dear friend and superb bird artist, Brenda Jones. All of them are wild nature, roaming free, thanks to far-sighted altruistic politicians of yesteryear.
A thousand thanks always to consummate birder, Mary Wood, who not only drives us in her silent Prius, which does not alarm the wildlings. But who gave me her spectacular (second pair) of Swarovski binoculars, which finally allow me to see eye rings…
In case you wonder why people bird….
Imagine Two White Ibis in One Tree — (Internet Image) We left before they did...
Great Egret – We also saw this one wading about (a first for us!) in sparkling Absecon Bay
Brenda’s Serene Male Bufflehead — We had three females, two males.
Brenda’s Intricate Female Bufflehead
At one point, we had the mute swan and the 5 buffleheads ‘in one glass’
(meaning we could see all without moving our optics)
We were this close to the first returned male osprey, — serene, imperious on his nest. His mate is due to return in about two weeks.
We had green-winged teal beyond counting, at the inlet from Absecon Bay
We were given snow geese in numbers of this magnitude – Laura Frazier at Blackwater Wildlife Refuge in Maryland, from Internet — our were at rest upon the waters, serenading us with that musical murmur before departing for cooler climes…
Brenda’s Spectacular Female Harrier – I also spied “The Grey Ghost,” the elusive silvery male northern harrier, coasting along the tree line in a field to the west of Route 206, before we’d even turned into the Pine Barrens.
We heard, but did not see, the song sparrow at the northeast corner of the Refuge.
Internet Image of Black Brant in Water — We were given flocks on both sides, –bay and impoundment — and overhead in elegant waves.
We frequently heard and ‘almost saw’ chickadees.
We heard and saw newly returned red-winged blackbirds.
Our finale bird at the Brig was an American Bald Eagle hiding out, disguising its imperious white head and diagnostic white tail in a black and white paper birch overlooking the final pond.
Does it seem to anyone else as though the sun never shines?
Literally and metaphorically, I mean…
Seems as though every excursion planned with any of the Intrepids is either diminished or actually cancelled, by weather.
NJWILDBEAUTY readers know that what I must do, [whether to flee personal tragedies beyond bearing, let alone the current political situation in this former “land of the free”], is to take intensive, day-long, nature pilgrimages.
On February 1, a dear friend and I took off for the Brigantine Wildlife Refute, above Atlantic City, on Absecon Bay. To our intense shock, ‘reparations’ of the refuge are still proceeding — to the effect that we could not enter, nor drive even to Gull Tower #I nor Gull Tower #2.
A biologist, who required our identification of snow geese, regretfully but firmly did not allow us to proceed. Enormous red trucks zoomed and roared everywhere. The official revealed that the truckers complain to her, “Those PEOPLE [meaning birders] are CRAZY!” Yes, indeed. Guilty as charged. All who travel to the Brig are there to experience wildlife where the wild creatures had always been plentiful and safe!
Leeds Eco-Trail, a ‘board’walk, was all that remained available in this shrine frequented by New Jersey’s most committed birders. In winter, we make pilgrimage there for snow geese beyond counting, for tundra swans and sometimes even the rare trumpeter swans, and all the winter ducks.
We took our disgruntled selves down to Church Road in Absecon, where any number of avocets had pranced and preened a year ago right now. But, due to high water, the array of sandbars that had served those rare shorebirds had vanished absolutely. All we could find on the unexpected lake were resident mallards, habituated to cars! Squawking and demanding, the handsome green-headed ducks and their muted females surrounded us.
Obviously, humans have not learned never to feed wild animals, since our food is junk food to them: As with the foxes of Island Beach, human food fills the stomachs of wildlings. But our offerings do not nourish appropriately; seriously subverting their immune systems. In Absecon, very odd, almost comical hybrid ducks swam and begged with the traditional mallards. I was too chagrined to take pictures. Only Brenda can render mallards attention-getting!
My friend, Fay Lachmann, and I took ourselves next to Scott’s Landing, where NJWILDBEAUTY readers well know that Tasha and Alan and I spend many a merry Christmas. Those magical days are rich in fellowship first; birding second; and Tasha’s elegant picnics, in sun (whatever THAT is) and new snow, among rare winged creatures, often beyond counting.
February 2017 finds Scott’s Landing a wasteland; a travesty of the concept of refuge. It’s always a shock, in hunting season, to see all those flat wooden images of various winged fowl, with numbers as to the size and shape of ducks and geese at so many yards. “The better to shoot you, my dear…”
It’s harder yet to come upon successful hunters at Scott’s Landing, triumphantly laying out bloodied prey upon these sandy, wood-rimmed stretches that pass for the driving area of the Landing.
When Tasha and Alan and I are there at Christmas, our ‘guests’ include elegant great egrets, all white and gold and sheer nobility; as well as stately, ashen ‘blue’ herons. At dusk in warmer times, Scott’s Landing is ideal for rails; even bitterns. In this season, we should have seen hordes of snow geese and heard their mellifluous ‘chattering’.
At Scott’s Landing, Fay and I saw no living creature.
The Brig, (Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge) after Sandy was a far, far better refuge/antidote than was our recent experience. In the picture below, note that post-Sandy sign announcing: TRAILS ARE OPEN.
For Fay and me, not only were no trails open on February 1, 2017. Even along the too-brief Leeds Eco-Trail, we could see but a smattering of snow geese settling onto nearby grasses. And not the wing of a single other bird, in this renowned bird refuge. I lay those empty skies and grasslands to all the disruption, since I received the notice: “Wildlife Drive Closures Begin Monday, September 12th.” “WORK IS EXPECTED TO TAKE SEVERAL MONTHS TO COMPLETE.”
Purported road repairs (never evident so far) and major building are the norm at Forsythe “Refuge” now. And the truckdrivers wonder why ‘those people’ are ‘crazy’…
Post-Sandy — Far Better Than Now