BORDENTOWN CHRISTMAS: Gifts Beyond Measure!

I am lucky to have friends who are willing to go on quests with me.  NJWILDBEAUTY readers know that most of our pilgrimages have to do with nature in general and birds in particular.  Others require history.  Many involve food.  This is a jaunt with superb poet Betty Lies, friend-of-long-standing and co-founder of Princeton’s Cool Women Poets.  We needed Christmas one year, and Bordentown unexpectedly provided it, ‘in spades’   Saunter with us…  through this town of great significance, always too little appreciated in our time!

Little Engine That Could Bordentown 09

The Caboose was always my favorite part of real trains.  There was frequently a trainman in that car who waved to me, as though he’d been waiting all day for that very moment…

Trains had a great deal to do with childhood Christmas in Michigan.  One year, Santa brought me an intricate Lionel train set, even though there were only daughters in our family.  Each year after that, it circled and tooted merrily under the tree.  I had forgotten that…  regret that we did not weave that in as I raised my own daughters.

All Aboard Bordentown 09

ALL ABOARD!

Joys of Bordentown 09

In Bordentown, it’s as though the village itself is wrapped for the Holiday.

Bon Appetit Farnsworth House Bordentown

Our Favorite Place to Eat — Old-World and Leisurely

 

Bordentown Facade 09

In Bordentown, Always Look Up — The Past is Waiting

 

Beauty of Emptiness Tree Shadows Bordentown 09

Beauty of Emptiness, Bordentown Streetcorner

 

Jester's Cafe Bordentown 09

Jester’s — Home of the Hearty Welcome

Bordentown Mural wide viewHistoric Mural of Strategic Bordentown – site of lost Revolutionary Battle, Thomas Paine’s only bought property, superbly venerable Quaker Meeting House, home of America’s first sculptress, Clara Barton’s schoolhouse, and both Joseph and Charles Lucien Bonaparte – sent to Point Breeze for its magnificent ‘aspect’ over the Delaware, by Napoleon himself.

 

Borden's Towne

PILLAGED AND BURNED BY THE BRITISH IN 1778

 

Bordentown Historical SocietyLIVING HISTORY

 

Baubles of YesteryearBAUBLES OF YESTERYEAR

 

Clara Barton's first schoolCLARA BARTON’S FIRST SCHOOL

 

Frances and Joseph Hopkinson HouseFRANCIS AND JOSEPH HOPKINSON HOUSE:

“Revolutionary Patriot, Signer, Member of Congress, Scientist, Artist, Scholar, Statesman, ‘Hail Columbia’,” etc.: LIVING HISTORY

IMG_1273SITE OF THE RIVER LINE TRAIN – FREE BEAUTIFUL RIVERSIDE PARKING FOR ALL-DAY JAUNTS – through Marsh to Trenton or down to Roebling, Burlington, Riverton, Riverside, Camden and even Walt Whitman House and Aquarium…

Bordentown Peach Mousse IrisAnd, Most Ethereal of All Bordentown’s Gifts: Mother’s Day Festival of the Most Exquisite Iris Ever Anywhere!

Advertisements

Essence of Chincoteague – Maritime Museum Part I

Fresnel Light from Assateague at Chincoteague Museum

Fresnel Lens from Assateague’s Light — Absolute Beauty and Lifesaving Usefulness

***

Fire Bell Chincoteague Museum

Volunteer Fire Company Bell of Yesteryear

***

 

Vintage Fire Equipment Chincoteague Museum

Historic Artifacts — Chincoteague Pony Swim Funds Fire Company

***

Chincoteague Masterpiece Maritime Museum

Chincoteague Masterpiece — Oyster Schooners under Sail

***

I'll Take One of Each Chincoteague MuseumI’ll Take One of Each…

***

Kind Sign Chincoteague Museum

Chincoteague Casts its Spell

***

Wild Ponies Tapestry Chincoteague Museum

Wild Pony Tapestry, Chincoteague Maritime Museum

***

Chincoteague Storm Damage Museum

Apocalyptic Storm – Superb Video of Local Heroism

***

Decoy Early Chincoteague MuseumPrimitive Decoy

***

Misty, Stormy Chincoteague MuseumMisty, Stormy

***

Sea's Bounty Chincoteague Museumjpg

Gifts From the Sea

***

Phragmities Assateague Light Event Building Chincoteague MuseumFrieze of Phragmites, Events Pavilion, Chincoteague Museum,

Assateague Light in Distance

HISTORY-TREKKING — NEW CASTLE DELAWARE

Founding principles feel present, still, in venerable New Castle, Delaware.  Literally on the banks of the Delaware River, famed as William Penn’s landing place.  But when the Swedes arrived around 1638, this bucolic spot was home to legendary Lenapes.

Flag Draped New Castle dwelling July 2017

Brick sidewalks thread through brick neighborhoods.  Flags are as likely to bear thirteen stars as the sharp angles notorious as the British banner (proudly displayed to left, below.)

A far cry, this joining of emblems, from the high spirits of the Founding Fathers hammering out a country in nearby Philadelphia; debating, and then signing, the Declaration of Independence.

***

That Declaration and our Constitution remain living, yes, sacred, documents to me!  Democracy was the fruit of their labors, and where is it now?

***

British Heritage New Castle Delaware July

***

To my great delight, Revolutionary history is EVERYWHERE.  Here we read of (my hero!) Lafayette’s having given the bride away in this church:

***

Lafayette Gives Away the Bride New Castle Delaware

***

Buildings echo Philadelphia’s most venerable.  Here, both country’s flags blow in a July wind off the adjacent Delaware River.

***

Essence of New Castle July 2017

***

Venerable signs have faded on vintage buildings.  It’s eerie to see Coca Cola as a vestige of some storied past.

***

Fine Sign New Castle Delaware

***

Here and there, one passes “packet alleys” — long slopes, brick-lined, leading to the Delaware.  Here, clipper ships had landed.  Along these time-worn ramps, ‘stores’, –ships’ provisions–, had been tugged into the commercial part of town, by four-legged and two-legged creatures.  At one time, an epidemic closed the major port of Philadelphia.  New Castle had to step into the breach until a change of season brought a change of health.

***

 

Model Ship Jessop's Tavern New Castle Delaware 2017

SHIP’S MODEL IN WINDOW OF HISTORIC JESSOP’S TAVERN

***

The Shadows Know New Castle Delaware July

THE SHADOWS KNOW… What stories these rooms could tell…

***

O Say Can You See New Castle Delaware July

“O, Say, Can You See?”

***

Venerable New Castle Delaware Scenes July

***

Wharf New Castle Delaware River Scenes

PORT OF CALL

Delaware Memorial Bridge Delaware River New Castle Delaware

COMMERCIAL DELAWARE, DELAWARE MEMORIAL BRIDGE TO NEW JERSEY

Inn op New Castle Delaware 2017

YOU, TOO, CAN OWN A STORIED INN

***

Thomas Jefferson Ale Jessop's Tavern New Castle Delaware 2017

THOMAS JEFFERSON ALE, JESSOP’S TAVERN OF NEW CASTLE —

300-year-old building

From “Delaware, 200 Years Ago”, by Harold B. Hancock, “New Castle remained the county seat, but it lost out in trade and population to Wilmington…  Visitors in the port [of New Castle] considered it a town of lost importance.”  In 1785, New Castle was described as “a little, insignificant town.”  There were predictions that it would “bloom again”  And bloom it does for this traveler, in search of the courage, honor, dignity of Revolutionary Days, in a setting of unparalleled early beauty and taste.

When Lafayette and Jefferson join me on my history treks, I ask no greater boon.

WHY READ HISTORY? — To re-experience EXCELLENCE

Thomas Paine from Internet [5].pn

“These are the times that try men’s souls.”  But, no, this line was not penned nor typed nor tweeted in the 21st Century.  It is one of the slogans that made the American Revolution possible.  That generated and strengthened bonds among “we few, we band of brothers”, striking tyranny from our land in the 1700’s.

thomas paine sign re Common Sense from Internet

The eloquent and heroic Thomas Paine went on to declare,  The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”  George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were known to credit the Spirit of ’76 [which barely existed in that era of barefoot soldiers, yet steadily grew], to the words of this writer. 

Strategic Retreat

The Legendary Crossing, which may never have happened without Paine’s heroic urgings

Nearby Bordentown is the only place where Paine ever owned a home.  A slight, compelling statue recreates the man without whose pamphlets we might not have a nation.

19171278-A-statue-of-Thomas-Paine-father-of-the-American-Revolution-in-Bordentown-New-Jersey--Stock-Photo

Paine’s  courage was by no means limited to 1776 — for he would also pen the stirring phrase, “Government without a Constitution is power without a right.”

We the People from Internet orig

 

220px-Thomas_Paine_by_Laurent_Dabos-crop

 

13 Star Flag Chestnut Neck Revolutionary War Monument Winter 2017

Thirteen-Star Flag in Winter, Chestnut Neck, NJ, Battleground —

British Won This One

 

I am steeping myself in history books, of the time of TR, FDR, ER and always Churchill; alternating with our own American Revolution, because I am starved for excellence.

Right now, David Hackett Fischer’s stunning account, “Washington’s Crossing” “hath me in thrall.”  I am particularly moved, proud of our state as I am, to read, “Ordinary people in New Jersey came together to do something about their lost liberty.”  This wise author describes our ‘rag, tag and bobtail’ soldiers as “an army of optimistic fatalists.”  Writing of the Crossing of the Delaware, Colonel Henry Knox declared, “Perseverance accomplished what at first seemed impossible.” 

We are a country that first seemed impossible.  Our neighbors sacrificed everything — there is an entire chapter on the Hessian’s near-total looting of New Jersey homes and of course farms and farmlands.

George Washington penned a note to himself on the Pennsylvania side before the crossing, “VICTORY OR DEATH.”  Our challenge was that simple, that austere.

One of the miracles was that “in the end, not a man was lost to the river,” despite towering, occluding ice floes, ice in the Durham boats, a sleet-laden nor’easter that struck as the men boarded their crafts at McConkey’s Ferry.

Surely, all this did not happen to have it tweeted away in the 21st Century!

Let Tom Paine have the last word: “Some evils in the world are worse than war.  And one of them is tyranny.”

Protest every way you know how!

“WALKING ON WATER” – Crossing the Delaware on the Lumberville — Bull’s Island Footbridge

Black Bass Inn from Bullls Island July 2017

STARTING POINT – The Black Bass Inn and The Lumberville General Store, Lumberville Pennsylvania

***

 

View from the Bridge North Bulls Island Lumbervile July 2017

HALFWAY ACROSS ON A HOT JULY DAY, STRONG NORTH WIND A GREAT BLESSING

***

Waiting for the Swimmer Bulls Island July 2017

BICYCLE AT THE BOAT LAUNCH, BULL’S ISLAND

 

***

The Swimmer Delaware River Bull's Island July 2017

ONE ECSTATIC CYCLIST

***

 

Come On In Bulls Island July 2017CONSIDERING…

 

***

The Water's Fine Bulls Island July 2017

BEATS TUBING!

In the Web Delaware BridgeHOMEWARD BOUND…

 

Restored RestaurantRESTORED RESTAURANT & 1745 INN, RESTORED BRIDGE

 

***

 

Restored PA towpath

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.

TIME TRAVEL: FLEECYDALE ROAD, CARVERSVILLE, PA.

Road Sign Fleecydale Road, Carversville

 NJWILDBEAUTY readers know that I am partial to time travel.  Give me a town or a region, a landscape or seascape that’s frozen in time, and I could move right over or down there.  You also know how much timelessness matters to me.  I hope, over the years, that my blog images have conveyed historic or even non-historic, as in unspoiled scenes, matter to me.  My current time travel destination is Fleecydale Road (closed to cars, open to locals and walkers), below the Carversville Inn in Bucks County.

Carversville inn PA Jan. 2015

Beautiful Ruin Fleecydale Road, Carversville

Recently, on two different occasions, I took dear friends over to Carversville, Pennsylvania, in Bucks County.  We go across the Stockton (NJ) bridge and straight up the hill.  Take Aquetong Road right til you come to the Carversville Inn, seemingly unchanged since the 1800-and-somethings, at the corner of Aquetong and Fleecydale.

View From the Bridge Fleecydale Road, Carversville

Go inside, having made a fireside reservation if the fireplace is working.  Otherwise, sit in the sunnier upper room, and feast.  The chef is a wizard with sauces, — subtle, authentic, nuanced, and never overdone.  I have friends who call up to be sure their escargots with the little poufy pastry hats are on the menu, before they set out on the journey, often in a snazzy little white Triumph, top down, fur hats this time of year.  The car is named Murg, and she loves back roads.  It doesn’t get any ‘backer’ than Fleecydale. But I am ahead of myself.

Beech Central, Fleecydale Road, Carversville

If they have oyster ‘stew’ – liquid gossamer – go for that alone.  Then, I am always torn between the DIVER SCALLOP, yes, singular, and about the size of a filet of beef, wrapped in applewood-smoked bacon or prosciutto, served on tangy julienned root vegetables, and delicately/heartily framed with artistic doodles of sauce that could be Cumberland or could be some essence of citron.  “Torn between” this superbly undercooked scallop, and the Wild Mushroom Ragout.  TBD.  All desserts are made in house, and their ice creams and sorbets give Princeton’s ‘bent spoon’ a run for the money – as in salted caramel…  There is a flourless chocolate cake with house-made (of course!) caramel that is “worthy of the journey”, in the renowned Michelin Guide term.

No Swimming Fleecydale Road, Carversville

O, Fleecydale, you ask!  What about Fleecydale?

Cross Creek Reflections Fleecydale Road, Carversville

Well, it’s been closed since Sandy.  Don’t ask.

Bridge of Yesteryear Fleecydale Road, Carversville

It winds about like Lombard Street in San Francisco.  But it’s far more beautiful, natural, and, YES, OLDER!

Fleecydale Road Doorway Carversville

Fleecydale is studded with buildings from the 1600s, 1700s, 1800’s you already know:  Mill this, tanner that.  Each house remarkably individualistic, from the tiniest to the grandest.  A handsome bridge.  A tranquil creek now, that raged in Sandy.  Broad fields, resplendent with wildflowers in summer and autumn; a remarkable rock wall on the left as you walk away from the Inn, which is festooned with ice sculpture by the greatest artist of all, Nature Herself, in January.

Baby, It's Cold   Fleecydale Road Carversville Jan. 2015

Fleecydale Dwelling Carversville

The neighbors are always out walking, and they welcome you to their haven.

Cross Creek Sign Fleecydale Road, Carversville1

The vile pipeline has metastasized even onto Fleecydale (where no one seems to drive but locals, but the pipeline has eminent domain).  No one is safe, anywhere, in the Era of the Pipeline, not even sacred Fleecydale!  Do what you can, WHEREVER YOU LIVE, to STOP ALL destructive PIPELINES!

Dread Pipeline rural Fleecydale Road, Carversville

Even in late November, new ferns are sprouting.  Spiky, tough though delicate witch hazel adorns otherwise empty shrubs.  Mill wheels lean against trees of other times.

Yesteryear, Fleecydale Road Carversville PA Jan. 2015

Each yard is subtly tended, and now decorated for Christmas.

Tis the Season Fleecydale Road, Carversville

Five of us took the Fleecydale Challenge on November 29th.  Four of them treated me for my impossible 78th birthday.  Then we trekked outside and down the ‘closed’ road, into timelessness and silence and wonder.  Of the five, three of us had seen whales that week — two of us at Island Beach, one while fishing off Barnegat Inlet. No one but yours truly had ever strolled Fleecydale.

Carver's Tanner Fleecydale Road, Carversville

Trust me that it is glorious in all seasons.

Fallen Hydrangeas Fleecydale Road, Carversville

The legendary Max Hansen Caterers (of Michener, of Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve events) manage the general store now.  Get Max & Me smoked salmon, if they haven’t sold 14 packages just before you came.  Wondrous hefty breads await, and the lavender products of Carousel Farm.  Note the copy of Van Gogh’s postman in the lobby, for this was (is?) a post office not long ago.

Max Hansen Sign Fleecydale Road, Carversville,jpg

Haycock Hippies Fleecydale Road, Carversville

Copy of Max Hansen Awning and Window Fleecydale Road, Carversville

Max Hansen Giant Pumpkins Fleecydale Road, Carversville

Whatever you do, get out onto Fleecydale after your sumptuous feast.

Take cameras!

LIGHT-FILLED DINER — HYDE PARK — “WORTHY OF THE JOURNEY

NJWILDBEAUTY readers are accustomed, possibly too accustomed, to my being enervated and worse by lack of light.  On the other hand, you also experience in your writer a certain ecstasy in the presence of light.  Add to that the hint of time-travel and surprisingly satisfying food, and you have my all-time favorite diner.  It doesn’t hurt that major historical shrines of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt await nearby.

It’s in Hyde Park (New York), where I travel on Roosevelt-quests, as much Eleanor, of course, as Franklin.  And it’s a step back into my teen-age years, except we didn’t have anything nearly so exciting in Detroit!

Hyde Park's Iconic Diner at Night

Hyde Park’s Iconic Diner at Night

Floats!  Time Travel...

Floats! Time Travel…

Glowing Interior

Glowing Interior

Franks

Franks

Sandwiches

Sandwiches

And, of course, COCKTAILS

And, of course, COCKTAILS

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup and Fresh Hot Biscuits -- I would go back for this alone...

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup and Fresh Hot Biscuits — I would go back for this alone…

Nouvelle BLT at Eveready Diner, Hide Park

Nouvelle BLT at Eveready Diner, Hide Park

Our Table, Our Reward after the (rain-slashed) Day's Long Ride

Our Table, Our Reward after the (rain-slashed) Day’s Long Ride

Howard Johnson’s, it isn’t!

That was the closest I’d ever come to a diner in my Michigan life.  First one I met was the Edison Diner in New Jersey in the 1980’s.  And it was industrial strength…

Mr. Coffee

Mr. Coffee

Whimsical and retro, I’m sure you see why I make at least one pilgrimage per Hyde Park trip, to the Eveready!  Breakfasts are hearty, hefty, also filled with light, even on downpour days– stoking us for continuance, whether to or from the Berkshires.

Night Delights, Hyde Park

Night Delights, Hyde Park

Even now, looking back on our October trip, this diner shimmers like a mirage.

The diner is right on Route 9, not far from FDR’s Springwood.  Stay at the ’50’s motel, impeccably kept, to which one is warmly welcomed, The Roosevelt Inn.  Make reservations by phone – the owner/hostess enjoys that.  This is also on #9, a few blocks north of the diner, and near one of the town’s timeless churches, which plays a hymn at 6 p.m. — which may well honor the Angelus.

The highlight of that day was a Ranger-guided tour at Eleanor’s home, Val-Kill, tucked into woods, just far enough from Sara Roosevelt.  The President loved going to Eleanor’s haven, for which he gave her the land; and for which he, an amateur architect, made clever plans.

Unbeknownst to me for decades, Franklin also had a Sara-haven on the Val-Kill property, Top Cottage.  If you’re not delayed by rain, heading to Hyde Park, you can arrange to visit both in one day.  Details may be found by checking the FDR Library site.

You used to have to pay for tickets and take bus to Val-Kill and then back and then another such arrangement for Top Cottage.  We could drive into Val-Kill, pay among a cluster of very friendly Rangers.  What I love about the Roosevelt guides, in Springwood and the Library, as well, is that they bring ‘my’ President and his lady back to life.  Even last October, it was as though Eleanor would come ’round the corner at any moment, pick up her knitting, and settle down next to Fala’s basket.

(Fala was FDR’s Scottie — very famous in his day, and thoroughly bereaved, as was I as a child, by the death of that larger-than-life man, my only president, due to all those terms…)

The night before departure for Hyde Park, my travel-and-hiking friend, Deb Hill, and I watched the last ‘reel’ of the splendid PBS special on the Roosevelts of the Hudson River Valley, by our arch-film historian, Ken Burns.

Franklin's and Eleanor's Train Station -- many a campaign speech took place at this site...

Franklin’s and Eleanor’s Train Station — many a campaign speech took place at this site…

This Welcomed the President Home

This Welcomed the President Home

This May Have Held Their Baggage -- Milk Cans of Hyde Park

This May Have Held Their Baggage — Milk Cans of Hyde Park

Another Form of Time Travel -- Fresh From Hyde Park Cows

Another Form of Time Travel — Fresh From Hyde Park Cows

BAGGAGE of Hyde Park

BAGGAGE of Hyde Park

Wild Grape -- Hyde Park Train Station

Wild Grape — Hyde Park Train Station

This is a casserole I made in advance, had ready to sustain us travelers, upon our return.

FOOD BACK HOME AFTER JOURNEY Strata, Ready to Bake

FOOD BACK HOME AFTER JOURNEY
Strata, Ready to Bake

STRATA - PART II

STRATA – PART II

STRATA READY TO BAKE -- A NOURISHING WELCOME

STRATA READY TO BAKE — A NOURISHING WELCOME