Historic Places in South Jersey

Historic Places in South Jersey

A discussion of historic sites, and events, with the purpose of sharing, encouraging participation, and networking.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Batsto and Atsion, Sister villages of the Iron industry

On Saturday, July 11, 2015, Barbara Solem, author of Batsto:  Jewel of the Pines, Ghosttowns and other Quirky Places in the NJ Pinebarrens, and The Forks, gives a lecture on Atsion and its relatioship to Batsto.

Atsion Mansion was only recently opened for tours on Saturday and now on Sunday as well, thanks to the efforts of Barbara Solem in cooperation with the Batsto Citizens Committee and the State parks administrators.  Barbara has been gathering a group of loyal tour guides to help her, although in the beginning, she did it every Saturday on her own!

With the help of volunteers and photographer Albert Horner, she created a handsome brochure which describes an Atsion walking tour with three or four interesting sites, in addition to the Atsion Mansion, and the Company Store (now a park office).  Along Quaker Bridge Road which was once the Tuckerton Stage Road which ran from Cooper's Landing in Camden, to the coastal port of Tuckerton, the third largest port in New Jersey from the Atlantic to Philadelphia, you can see the church, built in 1828 and still in use as a church, the old school built in 1872 by Maurice Raleigh, and the cottage, oldest building in the village, near the ruins of the cotton mill built in 1852. 

Not far is the abandoned railroad and the site where the train depot once stood.  Ation functioned as an iron forge, and later, as a cotton mill, turning raw cotton into yarn.  The firplaces in Carpenter's Hall in Philadelphia were cast at Atsion. 

It is a great place to tour, hike, and if you get there early or during the week, to swim in the lake.   There are also cabins to rent for camping.  Recently Pinelands preservation acquired a canoe rental property near the lake and cabins for Pinelands Adventures, to help acquaint people with the beauty of our state heritage.  For information call 609-561-0024 or 609-268-0444

Friday, July 3, 2015

Places to Go Things To Do

Yeaars and hundreds of posts ago, I started this blog for friends who were retiring after long long career and wondered what to do with all their new free time.  There seemed to me to be an endless number of interesting places to visit and thing to do in wonderful South Jersey, that I decided to let them know about the ones I found.

I'm not driving around to far off locations as I did when I first began, but I find wonderful places and things to do close at hand too.  A place I like to eat lunch is Maritza's in Maple Shade, NJ, on Main Street.  It i a simple old fashioned and homey luncheonette.  When my family moved to New Jersey from Philadelphia when I was 12, we lived in Maple Shade.

On Thursday, a hiking buddy and I headed over to Maritza's for lunch but they were closed for a week summer vacation, so we stopped in at MAIN STREET ART.  Which is a n Art studio run by an old college buddy of mine.  She offers, not only Art Classes for all ages, but summer Art Camp for the kids and a variety of "break out and try something new" art experiences for adults including jewelry making.  My buddy Barb and I each bought unique bracelets there and I may contact her for small studio experience events for myself in the future.  I paint and have an Art degree, but sometimes it's hard to get yourself inspired and group work helps.  Also, I have a very rooted in realism style and always wanted to expand and try a looser, more impressionistic style.  Maybe she can help with that.

In any event, head on over and check it out.  She also offers hand-made soaps and many other interesting objects you might want to buy for home or for gifts.
Stop in, the Studio is at 18 Mains Street, next door to Canal's Liquor Store.  Call 856-979-5356 for information, proprietor, Ms. Diane Paul, graduate of Rutgers, the State University.  Stop in and see her beautiful paintings too!
Learn something new - expand your possibilities, enhance your brain!

Happy Trails,
Jo Ann

Places to go, things to do

Main Street Art, 18 Main Street in Maple Shade, NJ not only offers art classes for adults or children, but Art Summer Camps as well.  You can also buy unique jewelry, hand made soaps and other art objects for your home or for gifts, or you can simply enjoy the beautiful paintings on display both by the proprietor, Ms. Paul, or by her student.  The paintings are also for sale. 

They say learning something new is good for the brain!  If you've always wanted to learn here is the chance, close and reasonable, or if you know how and just want some group support and a nudge to expand your vision, try Main Street Art!

856-979-5356 Diane Paul, Proprietor (a classmate of mine from Rutgers the State University.)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Tornado Hit Mickleton June 24, 2015

On Thursday, June 25, I went to Mickleton, New Jersey, to bring my sister two coolers, two bags of ice, and my Brooklyn Lantern because they'd had a BAD storm and she had no power which meant no lights, no fridge, no freezer.  
I was shocked at the level of devastation to every town from Woodbury to Swedesboro!  I could barely get down the roads for ripped up trees and hanging power lines and downed phone poles.  I couldn't call her and she couldn't call out because the cell phone towers were all down too.  And my sister is without a car, so she was really stuck.
The first sign of something really awful and strange was the WAWA off 295 at Mickleton, which had lines out to the highway waiting for gas.  A lot of the food shelves were empty, and there were enormous lines for food.  I left without gas or food and got on my way up Harmony Road, which as luck would have it was the only road open between Clarksboro and Swedesboro.
When I got to Kings Hwy, however there was a police road block.  I explained that I was taking supplies to my sister who was only a quarter of a mile further up Kings and he let me through.  That was when I was driving under trees with soaked branches that made it like driving through the car wash.  When I got to her house, I saw the trees down, and fortunately only one hit a building.  It was on her garage.  Some of her friends had their cars all smashed.  We checked on an elderly neighbor who had just come home from the hospital after heart surgery and who had a disabled wife.  Fortunately by then, his grandson was at his home.  He had a 150 year old oak fallen on his 130 year old house, crushing the third floor.
By Friday, my brothers had come, one from West Virginia, one from Philadelphia, to help my sister cut down some branches, but after one days work, it was clear that weeks would be needed.  The maple canopy was enormous and a dozen truck loads of sawn branches barely made a dent.  By Saturday morning, my sister had power again, but my brothers had to put off branch cutting due to rain.  
Not much in the Courier Post about all this.  I would have made it a cover story.  I never saw anything like it.  I think no news vans could get through, so they put the focus on other stories, but in my opinion, this was the BIG one!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Upcoming Events AND Vegetarian Society of South Jersey Free lecture Series

Monday June 22 at 6:30 at Collingswood Public Library, 771 Haddon Ave., Collingswood, NJ 856-858-0649:  Topic Fiar Trade Food

Tabling at 32nd Annnual Whitesbog Blueberry Festival Saturday June 27, 10:00 A.m. to 4 p.m. 120 Whitesbog Rd. Browns Mills NJ 08015

Monday July 27, 6:30 Collingswood Library again, Finding Sanctuary

Get healthy, get aware!  Animal Agricultural is a leading cause of global warming and can be a major cause of your health problems in later life such as diabetes and heart disease.  Learn more!  Get involved!

Happy Trails!

Earth Fest at Smithville and Education at Cold Springs Village

Two other field trips I've enjoyed in the past week or two were a trip to Historic Smithville in Burlington County (not to be confused with Smitheville near the seashore which I also like but in a different way).  My favorite thing was the percussion grove experience for children.  Some musicians had hung a clothes line with refrigerator doors and trays and other kinds of metal lids and containers and the kids were banging them with drum sticks which made a sound like a wild and stormy wind chime.  I loved it!  But I also liked the tables on vegetarian eating, and on ecological sound practices for yards.  In this day of water shortage and dying bea colonies, it is nice to think of sharing our space in a just and thoughtful way with our animal neighbors.  I was so sad when a new neighbor cut down 7 healthy trees after moving in.  Over the years, I've watched older neighbors cut their trees down so they didn't have to deal with leaves, but then the sun beats down on their houses making them hotter and the water isn't well absorbed by tree roots when we get torrential rain which causes flooding.  My trees and shrubs have completely stopped the flooding and mud I used to have in the yard.  

Also, I have a 'natural yard' by which I mean I don't have a traidition carpet style lawn.  Grass grows and I have a wide variety of Jersey friendly shrubs such as hollies.  One area at the back of my yard I have allowed to stay natural with wild roses and honeysuckle and it provides a safe place for various small animals which I delight in watching.  When I pull into my gravel drive, I love to see my family of rabbits run across the grass to the fenceline with the border of harboring shrubs. 

I also have a birdbath which is recommended in the pamphlet I found at the Earth Fest and I fill it when I water my flowering plants.  I learned my less early on about invasive species such as English Ivy.  I spent %6000 to have it rmeoved one summer from my back yard and it is always creeping back!

At Cold Springs, I attended a meeting with Batsto Citizens Committee volunteers who are working to expand the outreach possibilities for young people, to acquaint them with our colorful history in South Jersey and to help them learn to appreciate our resources to protect them for the future.  I'm grateful to my Father for all the family trips he took us on when my brother, Joe, and I were growing up.  Every Sunday we drove somewhere, often free places, and had a family picnic - thanks Mom.  Sometimes we took longer trips to Gettysburg, Valley Forge and Niagara Falls.  It is sad waste when people substitute amusement parks for cultural treasures that could engage children in a love of history.  Another favorite trip was to Washington DC which I think is a far superior school trip for children than to amusement parks.

My point?  Visit Cold Springs - Open Tues., Thurs., Fri., Sat. and Sun. now, and Sat. and Sun. at the edges of the summer season.  AND visit Batsto, and historiSmithville!  And ALWAYS take the boat ride with Capt. Dave on the Maurice River in Millville!  Hope to see you there!
Happy Trails!

ps.  I put the text in larger type because I'm having eye sight difficulties and you may be also!

Third Friday Night in Millville June 2015

Last night, two friends and I drove to Millville for Third Friday.  It was so much fun.  My favorite thing ALWAYS is the free music.  Don Shaw was playing at the Clay Studio, and Bob White was next door to Bogart's Book Store,   At Bogart's was a very talented young man but I didn't get his name.  He did Bob Dylan songs with really wonderful harmonica and guitar playing.  There were half a dozen other musical groups along the main street that we stopped to hear as we browsed our favorite shops.  If the weather hadn't been somewhat threatening, we'd have made our way down to the river for the delightful river walk, but we were lucky.  We got back to the car on on the road before the sprinkles began.  

We had just been in Millville a week ago with another friend to take Captain Dave's boat ride down the Maurice River after lunch at Wildflowers.  

Sorry I didn't get this to you in advance, but it was a last minute spontaneous thing, however, this gets you ready for 3rd Friday in July!  Give it a try, and if you get there by 4:00, and reserve your place in advance, you can take Captain Dave's sunset boat ride before your stroll the boulevard.

Friday, June 5, 2015

AnotherUpcoming Event

Just received this from Genealogical Society of Salem County, of which I am a member.  They have excellent speakers at their monthly meetings on Tuesday night.  Due to vision problems, I haven't been out to night events for the past year or so.  I had previously attended with a friend but his work schedule has precluded us venturing down there but here is a day event and I LOVE lighthouses!

" On Sunday, June 14, 2015 at 1:30pm, the Salem County Historical Society quarterly meeting will be held at Friends Village in Woodstown. The speaker will be Peter Harp, speaking on New Jersey Lighthouses. Hope you all can make it!"

Here is their web site for more information:

Happy Trails!  Lately I've been more close to home than usual hence, no adventure reports.  I've been going to the gym, hiking at Timber Creek with my dog Trixie and my friends, with a couple of hikes at Atsion Lake and yesterday I made a cactus garden!
Hope you are enjoying the cool hiking weather!
Happy Trails!  Jo Ann

Sunday, May 31, 2015


Lots of good things happening down our way this upcoming week.  First of all there is the music festival in Woodstown at the Salem County Fairgrounds June 4, 5 and 6. 

Second, a friend told me there is an event at Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ this Saturday.  I wasn't able ti find it listed in a cursory exploration of web sites but then most web sites seem not to be update.  I couldn't find any information on the lecture series at the Corson Poley Center in Burlington, or the Burlington County Historian's Roundtable either.  After Joe Laufer died, it seems updates stopped on the website.  But if you want to call and see what's going on, here's the contact information:  It is Sunday as I type so I can't do it.



Third, the largest World War II Re-enactment in the world takes place at Reading, Pa. and if I could go I would, but I don't like to make a drive like that by  myself these days with my eye-sight problems and my old car and none of my friends are WWII followers as I am, so I can't go this year.  I hope you can though!!  Fortunately their link is updated and you can find all you need to know if you want to go: 


Friday, May 29, 2015

My "Fan Club" took me to lunch today

How thrilling it is to have people acknowledge your efforts and proclaim their pleasure in your book!  That's what happened today when Wes and Roger took me to lunch at Connie Mac's Irish Pub to talk to me about my book Black Horse White Horse.  For those of you who don't know about it, I wrote that book in 2006.  It is a historical fiction account of two WPA workers, a writer and a photographer, traveling the back roads of South Jersey during the summer of 1937.  The places they visit are real and many of the events they witness did occur, but the characters are entirely made-up.

For a year or so after I independently published the book, I gave presentations on the Civilian Conservation Corps in South Jersey.  The last presentation I gave was a year or so ago at the Genealogical Society of Salem County monthly meeting at Friends Village in Woodstown.  They were a great audience, very interested and with their own memories of the CCC in their area.

Anyhow, Wes enjoyed my book so much he bought several copies and gave them to his friends.  I asked them today what a member of a writing club that I attend asked me yesterday.  "What did they like about it?"  

Both men said one of the things they liked so much about it was that it was a Road Trip,  And since both men are history buffs, too, they liked the hsitory of South Jersey that is contained in the book.  

What a delight it was to meet people who really enjoyed my book and wanted to talk about it.  Thank you Wes!!!  Thank you Roger.  Wes will be giving a talk on the CCC at the Batsto Speaker's Series in August, I think he said it was on the 8th.  I'll be there!.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Magic in Burlington for Memorial Day Weekend!

AS you know I'm always on the lookout for great day trips for you and for me.  Today, I visited one of my favorite spots, Burlington, and I was on the hunt for a new place to eat since the Cafe Galleria closed down.  At the Antique Center in downtown Burlington, the ladies at the counter suggested Curtins Wharf.  I'd passed it before, the marina, and seen the boats, and I thought today was a perfect day to try it out.

First, however, we decided to hunt for treasure, and visit with the past, at the Burlington Antique Center.  We like to pic our favorite objects.  Mine has always been the hand-made canoes hanging on the wall, but today it was a very large train on a shelf.  Gail's was a beautifully painted bureau and vanity set.

The best was yet to come.  At Curtin's there was enough crowd to make it festive but not so much as to make it too busy and the B E S T jazz ensemble imaginable.  It was the Bob Pollitt's Jazz Band and they were wonderful.  (check them out on YouTube - they perform in Collingswood in the Jazz series at the Community Center too)  The music, the sun, the delightful breeze blowing over the mighty but peaceful Delaware River, all blended into perfection.  There were a great number of healthful and vegetarian menu items as well.  I strongly recommend that you visit Curtin's Wharf for a delightful eating and listening experience.  I'll be a regular from now on.  It is one of my new 'favorites.'

On the way home, we drove through all the river towns and I stopped at some of my favorite spots, such as the old marina in Riverton, and Zena's (under new management and new name, but the same home-made pastry and delicious coffee).

What a picture perfect way to spend the delightful holiday Saturday with no highway jam ups or noisy crowded beaches to contend with.  So, if you haven't already made plans, go on over to Burlington and have lunch at Curtin's Wharf and visit the Antique Center and buy someone a nice present.  I'm going back for a black wrought iron plant stand I liked.

Remember someone who served to make sure we all remained free and to help keep the rest of the world free on this Memorial Day.  My father, brother, grandfather and uncles will be in my heart and on my mind and I'll be thinking of them with gratitude for their service in three wars!

Jo Ann
ps.  I almost forgot, the Antique Emporium itself is a favorite building of mine, enormous and spacious and a former automobile establishment of historic interest in and of itself.  Check out the photos to the left as you enter.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Off the Leash Dog Walking and MORE

This time of year, my most frequent hiking buddy, Barb Spector, and I are looking for places to hike that won't put us in danger of Lymes Disease, which she has had, as have so many of my woodland hiking buddies, but I have so far avoided.  Anyhow, the other consideration that I have is places I can walk m dog off the leash.  First of all, she stops a LOT to sniff, and after all, it is her walk, too, so why shouldn't se?  Secondly, when she wantes to go fast, she is too fast for m, so why should I be strangling her and she pulling on the leash, when I can find places to walk her off the leash where (1) there are few other dogs (2) there are few bikes (3) we are not likely to get into trouble with park guards.  Well, a few days ago, our destination for all these considerations was the trail beside the lake at Batsto - perfect in every regard, but not paved and tick free.
Today, we found all of the above at Milville.  There is a wonderful biking hiking trail beside the Maurice branch that flows through Millville.  It is paved, it is scenic, it is not busy and there are lots of places for a dog who likes to cool off by wading in the water to take a short dunk. 

As always when we visit Millville, we have lunch at WILDFLOWERS, which is ALWAYS delicious.  While there, I picked up some brochures and so here are some places to go and things to do in that area:

1.  GlassWeekend 2015 runs from June 12 - 14Glass Arts at Wheaton and Studio events, for more information visit glassweekend.com

2.  I have not yet been to the Levoy Theater but they have a fabulous line-up of shows including RENT, and many wonderful concerts ined up including Suzanne Vega, Leon Russell, and others.  go to www.Levoy.net for more info or call 856-327-6400

Meanwhile, on your visit to Millville be sure to visit the Art Gallery, directly across the street from Wildflowers and look at the stunning paintings of Bobbie Berg. As you know if you've been reading my blog, I am an artist, so I rarely buy other paintings as my walls are full of my onwn, but if I did, I'd buy Bobbie's paintings. 

I missed Mayfest at Smithville, 1 North Ne York Rd, Smithville, Nj today because I was hiking at Millville, but if you made it there, I hope you had a great time.

Happy Trails!  Jo Ann
ps.  Family History note:  I've been working on a variety of family history projects and tomorrow, I'll be having lunch with two cousins, one I haven't seen in over 40 years!  They are both Wright cousins.  I'm working on a family history scrapbook at present.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Shirley Baily, a hero

Yesterday, after hiking the Maruice River Bluffs blue trail and red trail, my friends and I stopped in for coffee at Bogart's Book Store.  There I found a big pile of South Jersey Magazine which never fails to inspire me with a desire to go find some hidden treasure on a Creek or Bay in South Jersey.  As I paid for the two copies I was buying to add to my collection, the counter-clerk and I both voiced our admiration for the Editor-I-Chief, Shirley Bailey, who was also the author of two books in my collection:  Yesteryear on the Cohansey River and Yesteryear on the Maurice River.

I mentioned another favorite of mine, another history hero Margaret Mintz, author of several independently published book on the people and the industry on the Maurice River, two of which are treasures in my New Jersey history book collection.  The counter-clerk, whose name I am sorry to say, I didn't write down, and I both spoke of our admiration for Shirley and she said she thought something should have been done to honor Shirely for hier remarkable career saving our history.  I agree.  If you look her up, you can find her obituary,she died February 20, 2011, age 83.  I had called her phone number, listed in the magazine in the mid 2000's hoping the magazine was still in publication and wishing to get a subscription, but it had ceased publication in the earl7 2000's so at least, I was fortunate enough to speak to Shirley Bailey before she passed away and offer my praise for her accomplishment.  If I had authored a magazine, it would have been this one.  But I could never have made the contacts and connections Shirley had from growing up in the area.  We owe an incalculable debt to Shirley and Margaret for their ceaseless efforts on behalf of saving our cultural history in South Jersey, a remarkable place.

There is a mention of the magazine on Barry's Ghosttowns site:

Richard Bailey is also deceased and he passed away in October of 2014.  Margaret Mintz passed away in 2001 at the age of 92. 

Along with these venerable historians and writers, I must mention Louisa Llewllyn of Gloucester City who wrote a book of history on that town which is out of print.  I had a copy which I had purchased twice but both times my copy was purloined from my classrooms, once from the high school where I taught and once from the middle school.  At least I was gratified to know someone was interested in the local history.  During my teaching time, I tried to put local history projects into my curriculum as often as possible.  Louisa was not only a respected and evoted historian, she was a mentor to many teachers and students during her long career and received Citizen of the Year awards from her home town.  AS is so often the case looking back, I wish I had tried harder to keep in touch with her during her retirement and especially during mine.  But I thank her and these other historians for their efforts on our behalf.

Shirley R. (Robbins) Bailey

Shirley R. (Robbins) Bailey, age 83, of Millville, died suddenly Sunday morning, Feb. 20, 2011, at her residence after a brief illness.

Born in Absecon, she grew up in Dividing Creek, Bridgeton and was a graduate of Bridgeton High School, class of 1945.

She was the publisher the "South Jersey Magazine" as well as other books relating to Sough Jersey History. Previously she had worked for Airwork Corporation, Millville as the computer department head. She retired in 2003. She will always be known as an authority on local history. - See more at: http://obits.nj.com/obituaries/southjerseytimes/obituary.aspx?n=shirley-r-bailey-robbins&pid=148790175&#sthash.m2GPEfi4.dpuf
Shirley R. (Robbins) Bailey

Shirley R. (Robbins) Bailey, age 83, of Millville, died suddenly Sunday morning, Feb. 20, 2011, at her residence after a brief illness.

Born in Absecon, she grew up in Dividing Creek, Bridgeton and was a graduate of Bridgeton High School, class of 1945.

She was the publisher the "South Jersey Magazine" as well as other books relating to Sough Jersey History. Previously she had worked for Airwork Corporation, Millville as the computer department head. She retired in 2003. She will always be known as an authority on local history.
- See more at: http://obits.nj.com/obituaries/southjerseytimes/obituary.aspx?n=shirley-r-bailey-robbins&pid=148790175&#sthash.m2GPEfi4.dpuf
Shirley R. (Robbins) Bailey

Shirley R. (Robbins) Bailey, age 83, of Millville, died suddenly Sunday morning, Feb. 20, 2011, at her residence after a brief illness.

Born in Absecon, she grew up in Dividing Creek, Bridgeton and was a graduate of Bridgeton High School, class of 1945.

She was the publisher the "South Jersey Magazine" as well as other books relating to Sough Jersey History. Previously she had worked for Airwork Corporation, Millville as the computer department head. She retired in 2003. She will always be known as an authority on local history.
- See more at: http://obits.nj.com/obituaries/southjerseytimes/obituary.aspx?n=shirley-r-bailey-robbins&pid=148790175&#sthash.m2GPEfi4.dpuf
Shirley R. (Robbins) Bailey

Shirley R. (Robbins) Bailey, age 83, of Millville, died suddenly Sunday morning, Feb. 20, 2011, at her residence after a brief illness.

Born in Absecon, she grew up in Dividing Creek, Bridgeton and was a graduate of Bridgeton High School, class of 1945.

She was the publisher the "South Jersey Magazine" as well as other books relating to Sough Jersey History. Previously she had worked for Airwork Corporation, Millville as the computer department head. She retired in 2003. She will always be known as an authority on local history.
- See more at: http://obits.nj.com/obituaries/southjerseytimes/obituary.aspx?n=shirley-r-bailey-robbins&pid=148790175&#sthash.m2GPEfi4.dpuf
Shirley R. (Robbins) Bailey

Shirley R. (Robbins) Bailey, age 83, of Millville, died suddenly Sunday morning, Feb. 20, 2011, at her residence after a brief illness.

Born in Absecon, she grew up in Dividing Creek, Bridgeton and was a graduate of Bridgeton High School, class of 1945.

She was the publisher the "South Jersey Magazine" as well as other books relating to Sough Jersey History. Previously she had worked for Airwork Corporation, Millville as the computer department head. She retired in 2003. She will always be known as an authority on local history.
- See more at: http://obits.nj.com/obituaries/southjerseytimes/obituary.aspx?n=shirley-r-bailey-robbins&pid=148790175&#sthash.m2GPEfi4.dpuf

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Artesian Well at Estelle

When you hike the NJ Pines, you have to think of water, both to drink and to look at.  The ponds are beautiful, the creeks are companionable and there is literally Water WAter Everywhere. 

Today, Barb Spector, Gail Kerr and I hiked 4 miles at Estelle Manor on the boardwalk trail.  It was delightful - a paradise of breezes, pine needle fragrance, and gurgling brooks running alonside you as you walked.

We stopped to admire the view over Stephens Creek and we had a drink at the Artesian Well.  We would have had lunch at Sugar Hill but it didn't serve until 3:00 pm.  It is early in the season for Sugar Hill, so we stopped at a Wawa on the Black Horse Pike before we veered off onto 559, my favorite road, and had lunch at Lake Lenape, watching the crew teams cross the lake like dragon flies. 

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

Sunday, April 12, 2015

500 Bassett Hounds in Ocean City AND Rails to TRAILS!

Yesterday, Saturday, April 11, 2015, Barb Spector and I went to Ocean City to find the Rails to Trails at Haven Avenue.  We are following the Rails to Trails book by Craig Della Penna called 24 Great Rail-Trails of New Jersey.  To our dismay, many streets were closed off to automobiles.  Barb carefully threaded her way to 6th and Asbury where we wanted to have lunch at a charming cafe called Arlene's.  It is across from where my grandmother Mabel's apartment used to be before it was torn down a year or two ago.

At Arlenes we asked why the people were all lined up for a parade and we were told it was the Doo Dah Paradw with 500 Bassett Hounds.  I had never heard of this parade and had never imagined 500 Bassett Hounds all in one place, so I was very eager to see this spectacle.

There was the requisite fire engine, followed by a marchng band, a bag pipe band, a HoBo band, a rock and roll group on a flat bed truck, and numerous small town Beauties in the "Miss Ocean City" type display, an open convertible, often a Classic Car, THEN, finally, the promised Bassett Hound Parade.

I cannot imagine a parad eof 500 any other kind of dog - just think of barking poodles or beagles trying to get away or any other kind of dog surrounded by other dogs, a fire whistle and crowds of on-lookers.  The Bassett Hounds faced it all with proud dignity and unshakeable aplomb - truly an admirable breed.

For the day, dogs were once again allowed on the Boardwalk, and the Beach and we took advantage of each with Trixie, my Lab/Weimaraner mix who could match any Bassett for good behavior.  She is a gem.

The Haven Ave. Rails to Trails in contrast was a bust.  There really is no trail, only, we think, sidewalk and street - no good for dog - walking.  We left after I took photos over the fence of the old bus/train station building - charming.

Next we headed to Linwood for what turned out to be a delightful Rails to trails many miles long with many people walking their dogs, biking, or just strolling along.  It was charming and we determined to return for mor walking on another day.  We strongly recommend the Linwood Rails to Trails.  It is off Oak Crest Avenue.  We had to ask directions of a local resident, a lady with a dog who said she walks their frequently.  Our gps got us to Oak Crest, but we were on the wrong end of the street stuck in a cul-de-sac in a housing development.  The bike trail was on the other end of Oak Crest, I think it was East.

Happy Trails - You never know what you'll find when you set off on an ad;venture - and no one EVER expects to run into 500 Bassett Hounds!
Jo Ann
pictures to follow at a later date - I'm off on an adventure to Mullica Hill and I couldn't get my picture transfer working in time.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Marvelous Millville Revisited!

Have you ever tried to figure out how to describe what happiness feels like?  It is easier to describe fear, excitement, joy, surprise, but happiness is more elusive.  On the way home from Millville, on Friday, I felt purely happy and I wanted to write about it on this blog. 

First, my usual hiking pal, Barb Spector, and I went to Wildflowers Vegan/vegetarian restaurant for lunch - never a disappointment and always a good way to stock up on energy for a hike!  My favorite is the power salad, though I used to favor the boisterous black bean burger. 

Then we headed for the Maurice River Bluffs where we hiked the blue trail, then the red, then part of the white trail.  After an hour and a half, we were sufficiently cold and tired to be ready for a nice cup of coffee at Bogart's Coffee Shop and book store. 

First, however, we dropped in at The Thrift Shop, across the street from Bogart's at 129 N. High St.  I have shopped in M A N Y thrift and vintage and 2nd hand shops, whatever you like to call them, and this was by far the most attractive and appealing.  It was evident that a tasteful and thoughtful hand was a work in laying out items to buy.  It wasn't the usual cluttered jumble of tired cast-offs, it was a charmingly arranged gathering of attractive items, 8 of which I purchased!  There were luncheon plates that matched a set of dishes I have at home, and that being the dish most often carried around, mine were long lost and broken.  Barb bought a photograph of cardinals and a frame for a gift.  We were both delighted with our finds and with the kind ladies who were running the shop.  A beautiful young woman was playing guitar and singing while we browsed which added immeasurably to the magic.  .All proceeds go to help rescued and abused animals.  You can drop off donated items there for re-sale, call856-300-5705 for more information.

Finally we went across the street to Bogart's and I had a delicious pumpkin spice latte' while Don Shaw sang songs by Neil Young, Linda Ronstadt, Billy Joel, the Bee Gees, and other gifted songwriters.  He has a wonderful voice and plays guitar beautifully.  I sank into a comfy chair with the coffee and enjoyed the free entertainment and thought to myself, "This is heaven."

Hope you find yourself there enjoying some of these pleasures in Millville one day soon!  Meanwhile, Happy Trails!

Oh yes, I almost forgot, I bought a charming rag rug at the FiberArts Cafe in the little cluster of shops that are neighbors to Wildflowers.  The prices are extraordinarily reasonable for hand-made knitted, crocheted and woven goods.  If you need a gift, what a great place to find one!

Jo Ann

Friday, March 20, 2015

Rails to Trails Pemberton and Grist Mill Antiques

The trail was clear, the sun was out and no one could have ever believed that one day later it would be snowing all day and 3 inches on the ground!  I'm glad we got our 3 miler in when we did.  The Rails to Trails at Pemberton, couldn't have been nicer.  It is a big wide, flat trail with no bushwhacking and if you are walking your dog, don't worry about glass.  When I was here some years before, there seemed to be a lot of sharp gravel and glass but it is all gone.  The ice and snow were gone too.

My hiking buddy, Barbara Spector, and I had pieroghi's at Sebastien's Schnitzelhaus in Wrightstown, and we bought things at the Grist Mill Antiques.  Barb needed a gift for a new office open house, and found a handsome antique letter opener.  I found a fine papier mache Easter Bunny and a die cut, cast paper bungalow from Germany, circa 1940.  It was a PERFECT DAY by my scale any way.

Happy Trails, and if you are driving, safe travels!
Jo Ann

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Rails to Trails

Rails to Trails

Monday, March 16, 2015

Scrapbooking Infor

Sorry I left this out by accident.  For a vintage photo and family history approach to scrapbooking, here is an inspiring link:

Next:  Save your A. C. Moore advertising circular from the Sunday paper for the coupons and look for sales.  Great insert pages can be found much less expensively at WalMart, as can name brand glue sticks, and other kinds of adhesives.  I made the mistake of buying my original materials at Staples - too costly. 

Browse around for ideas just by putting family history scrapbooking in google search.  What a great way to save memories and spend a gloomy day in a creative pursuit (not to mention avoiding household chores and yard work!)

Happy Scrapping!
Jo Ann

Life Story Scrapbook

I have made a scrapbook for my daughter's 30th birthday, my sister's 50th birthday and now I am going to make one for my 70th birthday which arrives next autumn.  It seems to me that I have become something of a historic topic in my own right.  I was born in 1945 - a historic year:  The end of World War II and the opening salvo of what was to become the Baby Boom thanks to returning soldiers and sailors and grateful and happy home-fires.

So, the first phase of the process is to decide what format you want to use to hang your information and images upon.  I decided on chronology.  I like simple and traditional approaches to most things including narrative and I do believe we are the products of our times.

My first page will include photos of my mother, pregnant, my father in his sailor suit, and my baby picture.  Also, I will have some picture from the internet of the 'times' an image of the headline announcing end of the war from the Philadelphia Inquirer, an album cover of the Andrews Sisters, a Bing Crosby, and more.

I am including this process here because I have always thought it would be good to have a place with ideas on what people can do with their paper memorabilia to share it with others.  So far for Christmas, I made a large photo collage of our oldest family photos, a family tree (both framed thanks to yard sales in the summer) and a book of what I have found so far of family history that I had reprinted at Belia Copy Center in Woodbury, mo "Go-To" choice for all copying for many years.  They are  expert, helpful, family owned and very reasonable in price.

So now, looking back on my childhood in South Philadelphia after the war.  I'll post periodically on this process as it goes on and maybe inspire otheres to do their life story in any form - scrapbooking, writing, blogging but save your story - it is unique and it tells the times!

Happy Trails,
Jo Ann

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Hiking Trails

To paraphrase the Great Willy Nelson, "I'm on the Trail Again!  The turning planet has brought us back to sunshine, warmth, and almost completed work on thawing the ice and snow that clogged the trails and made them dangerous.  Now, my hiking buddies and I can get back into the woods.  Don't mistake me, we hiked the woods most of the winter because it is a "tick free" time, but when the snow came, then melted and turned to ice and new snow on the ice, we had to give it up.  Well, I had to give it up.  My intrepid buddies, the two Barbs, Barbara Solem, and Barbara Spector, don't let anything stop them from hiking the woods.  And with YakTrax, you are pretty safe.

Most recently Barb Spector and I hiked around Cooper River, but it was less than successful because it began to rain, and because the utility trucks doing work there, keep their engines running filling the air with noxious and poisonous carbon monoxide.  On top of that, it is NOISY!  So much traffic goes around that park that if you are used to the silence of the woods, it is irritating rather than meditative.  Still, it is a good stretch from our usual 3 mile hikes in that it is 4 miles, and I'm always grateful to the beautiful new  Marina for providing the clean restrooms at the halfway mark.

Now, I have done favorites before but I'll do it again today:
My favorite hiking trail is Pakim Pond and the Cranberry Trail at Brendan Byrne.  I think this is the prettiest pond I've ever seen and in season, the pitcher plants are along the pond trail.  The Cranberry trail can be as long as you wish to hike.  I think it is 3 or 4 miles to the ranger station.  We usualy hike by time, as in half an hour out and half an hour back or longer in good weather and well functioning legs. 
This link will give you directions and also directions to Whitesbog, another favorite hiking area of mine, especially in the late summer when the cranberries are ripening.  Use the web directions by all means, but to give you an idea, it is out route 70 then 72.

Barb Spector's favorite hiking trail is Parvin State Park
Parvin State Park is down near Pittsgrove, Elmer and Upper Pittsgrove off Almond Rd.
This is a nice 3 mile trail also boasting a public lavatory and a cheery family swimming lake in the summer.

Barb Solem's favorite hiking trail is Atsion Lake
Barb also has organized tours of Atsion Mansion in the spring and summer on Saturdays, thanks to help of a loyal band of volunteers and the cooperation of the Parks system.
A favorite fo both Barb Spector and me is the Maurice River Bluffs hike.  Definitely go to the site for directions, but it is in Millville, out Silver Run Rd.  There are several marked trails with a nicely varied terrain and gorgeous views of the Maurice River.

We like to make a day of it with lunch at Wildflowers Vegan Restaurant, and a trip to Bogart's Book Store to stock up on reading material and have a nice coffee after an afternoon on the trails.  Sometimes we are lucky enough to get there when there is music.

We hke many many other trails, Goshen, Forsythe, Cox's Creek, and dozens of others, but these are our favorites.  And when the ticks come out, Barb Spector and I like to do the Hunter's Glen bike trail, and the parks in Collingswood, Knight's Park, Newton Creek, and Audubon Lake in Haddon Heights Park.  That way we stay out of the tick territory.  Also now that the thaw has come, I'd like to try the Rails to Trails up at Wrightstown near the railroad station that used to be a charming museum. 
There is also a trail a Bordentown I'd like to hike again.

And of course if you want to drive further north, the Delaware Canal trail up at Washington State Park is nice in spring, summer and fall.

We picked Batsto for today because Barb Solem spends a lot of time in the woods and her prediciton was that the Batsto hiking trail she prefers is higher and more well drained so less likely to be full of puddles and mud.  I'll let you know after it's over.
Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Lines on the Pines & What's Going On in SJ

Today, Sunday, March 8, along with a couple of my friends, I attended the Lines in the Pines at Kerry Brooke Caterers in Hammonton, right in front of the Frog Rock Country Club.  As usual, it was thronged with friendly and interested people, and as usual, there were gorgeous photographs and a multitude of interesting arts and books to see and talk about.

My friends and I like to do a "Pick your Favorite thing" when there is so much to see.  It helps you narrow down and remember.  My favorite thing was the spinners.  It has always seemed like magic to me.  Once I went so far as to wash and card a barrel of sheeps wool that a friend with a farm gave me, but I never got to the spinning part of the process.  Watching the wool get turned into yarn is fascinating, mesmerizing.  You can see how fairytales were made from it as in "Spinning straw into gold."  My friend, Gale Kerr's favorite thing were the miniature terrarium gardens in jars, another friend, Janet Romano, a music teacher, liked best talking to the members of Ongs Hat music group - see
www.ongshat.com.  My other friend, Barb Solem was there to talk about her latest book BATSTO, Jewel of the Pines, and her other two books, GHosttowns ond other Quirky Places of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, and the Forks.  

We met up with another couple of friends, Barb and Frank and we all went over to the MapleWood for lunch.  

Some flyers with interesting information:  Buzby's General Store Collection is in the process of being digitized and put on-line.  Among other things, the collection includes postcards, letters, photographs, and invoices.  The collection is donated to the Richard E. Bjork Library by Marilyn Schmidt, who has been the owner of Buzby's for some years now and has published numerous books on Pinelands history and recipes.  I love that store.  More information on this can be found at http://stockton.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/

Another flyer titled South Jersey Culture & History Center ann0ounced the exhibition Pine Barrens Life and Legends on display at the Noyes Museum of Art of Stockton Univ. in Oceanville, NJ.  It runs through September 13, 2015 - another fun day trip.
Bud Wilson, noted archaeologist and Ted Gordon, Botanist will speak on Thursday, March 26 from 6:30 to 7:30 and Ongs Hat Band will play on Thursday, April 16 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.
There will be storytelling and Music on Saturday May 2 at 2:00 and a spinning and felting demonstration on June 20 at 1:00.

For more info go to www.noyesmuseum.org   or blogs.stockton.edu/sjchc

I took some photos but I'm struggling getting them off the camera and it is late and I'm going to bed now.  I'll try to post a couple of the photographs another day.  I have one of the spinners.  Hope this gives you some good ideas of places to go and things to do this spring in South Jersey!
Happy Trails!  And a great big thank you to Linda Stanton the force behind Lines On the Pines!
Jo Ann

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Upcoming Events

Event #1 - Lines on the Pines ~ The ABC”s of the Pine Barrens ~”10th Anniversary Bash and Celebration”   Sunday, March 8, 2015 at Kerri Brooke Caterers...                                                                                   
 If you have never attended the Lines on the Pines, you should give it a try.  There is always music, great Pinelands Art, unique handmade objects, fascinating books and people, and a great deal to learn about the New Jersey Pinelands.  I go every year and it was a privilege to be there as an author a couple of years ago with my book White Horse Black Horse.  Hope to see you there!  Look for my another of my best friends, Barbara Solem who has written 3 books on the Pinelands:  Ghosttowns and Other Quirky Places in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, The Forks, and Batsto, Jewel of the Pines.  She will be there to talk about her books, sell them and sign them. 

Event #2
Announcing the 2015 Alice Paul Equality Awards, honoring

Lita Abele, CEO, U.S. Lumber
Phoebe Haddon, Chancellor, Rutgers University-Camden
Candida Toccia Seasock, Founder & President, CTS Associates 

To celebrate our 30th Anniversary we are proud to honor the 
Founders of the Alice Paul Institute

Elsie Behmer ~ *Chris Borget ~ Judy Buckman 
Barbara Irvine ~ Dee O’Neil ~ Patricia Owens ~ Jean Perry 
Nancy Quinn ~ Diane Quinton ~ Janet Tegley ~ Pat Williams

Thursday, March 19, 2015
The Westin Mount Laurel
Cocktail hour 6:00, Dinner & Ceremony 7:00

Tickets are on sale at www.alicepaul.org

This second event means a great deal to me because *Chris Borget and I have been friends for 55 years or more, since junior high school.  I couldn't be more proud of her and the effort she and a group of women made, thirty years ago, to save Paulsdale from developers and turn it into a legacy of which Alice Paul would be proud.  If by chance you don't know who Alice Paul was, she was the point guard, guide and primary mover behind the Right to Vote movement for women in the early part of the 20th century.  She devoted her life to the cause and she wrote the Equal Rights Amendment after we women did get the right to vote, in order to ensure equal treatment under the law for women.  She found success in gaining the right to vote for us, but we never achieved the Equal Rights Amendment.  However, a group of women piooled their talents and their financial support and saved this beautiful and historic house to remind us all of the struggle that some made to make America a better and more equal place.  You should visit Paulsdale if you've never been there!  It is located on Hooten Rd. in Mt. Laurel and you can get directions and contact information at their website.  http://www.alicepaul.org/

Friday, February 20, 2015

Elmer Times Company, Elmer, NJ

Despite the record low temperature today, two friends and I ventured down to Elmer.  We had hoped to visit two places, Talk of the Town Coffee Shop, for refreshment and Elmer Times Company to buy some SJ history books.  Unfortunately, an unexpected late start caused us to miss out on the coffee shop but we were not disappointed by the Elmer Times Company!  

I only wish I had taken some notes because one of the proprietors, who are brothers, told us how many volumes they carry, but I have forgotten.  Just last night, on the phone, making plans with one of my friends, I told her how sorry I was that I hadn't bought the book on Jewish history in South Jersey, that I had seen at the Samuel Azziz Museum in Woodbine.  Fortunately, this book was among the holdings at the Elmer Times Company, so she and I were both able to get a copy.  My hiking pal, Barb Spector has relatives connected to the Bayuk family, one of the pioneer settling families in the Alliance area.

I had met one of the Fosters before at the Genealogical Society of Salem County monthly lectures which I attend sporadically.  Most recently they had offered a lecture on the archaeology of the Wistarburgh Glass House.  I don't drive at night anymore due to a vision problem, so when a fellow volunteer from the Whitall House at Red Bank Battlefield goes, I can go too as he is kind enough to pick me up and drive me there.

Among the many intriguing treasures I saw at the Elmer Times Company were a collection of gorgeous glass bottles, some of which were Clevenger Glass, and a wonderful old typewriter, one of the earliest models I have ever seen.  I have a 1919 Underwood and a 1947 German portable.  

It was a great day thanks to the warm hospitality we found at the Elmer Times Company.  Elmer is fortunate to have these men who have worked to preserve and share the history of their town.  It was through their historical society magazine that I found out about the books they have for sale.  They kindly gave me several back issues of the magazine including one on the churches and one on the old schools, that I very much enjoyed.  

Next trip, I will try to get to Elmer before 1:00 so I can enjoy a coffee at the Talk of the Town before I stop in at the Elmer Times again, to chat and look at the books.

Friday, February 13, 2015


I find inspiration for  blog posts in many places, often the same places where I find hints for the next places to visit.  This time, I was reading the Greater Elmer Area Historical Society magazine, which I got for free at Friends Village in Woodstown, on Tuesday during the lecture on Wistarburgh Glass Works.

The article I was reading was about small town grocery stores which have great appeal to me for many reasons.  One reason is than an ancestor of mine, William C. Garwood (born 1818) was a storekeeper at the Turner Store in Turnersville. in the mid 1800's.  He was also a postmaster and a teacher (like me - teacher that is, not postmaster).  Also, when I was a child, the corner store was the first place a little kid could go without a parent and actually conduct your own business, which was to buy penny candy. 

We would stand before the glass case with its mind boggling array of small candies trying to decide which 5 to buy or whether to splurge on a 2 penny candy.  My favorites were a little pie tin and tiny spoon with a chocolate fudge concoction in it.  Also, I loved the little wax bottles that you bit the necks off to suck out the sweet liquid inside.  Third place were "Dots" - tiny button sized dots of candy on a long strip of white paper like the paper in an adding machine.  Other kids liked red peppery jelly fish, but they never appealed to me.

Anyhow, when you were old enough to be trusted, your mom could send you to the corner store, (ours was called "Sam's") for something she needed for dinner, or for lunch meat.  You had a white paper note with the money folded in it or you asked Sam to put it "on the book" where it would sit in trust till pay day.  I can still remember the smell of the pickles in the barrel and the rye bread.  And the fascination of the long 'grabber' - the tool the grocer used to get boxes off the upper shelves.  It was a long broom handle with a grabber on the end operated by wires and a grip. 

So, now that I've read the beautifully written and detailed article about the grocery stores of Elmer, I want to go and see the buildings that still stand and then get a coffee at the Talk of the Town, Coffee Shoppe, 119 South Main Street, Elmer.  Also, I'd like to stop in the Elmer Times Co. and browse their books for sale. 

Often I write about places I've already visited and give reviews, but here is one about a place I have yet to see.  Maybe I'll run into you there!  But it won't be tomorrow.  Three friends and I are having lunch at The Robin's Nest in Mt. Holly vor Valentine's Day.

Hope you Have a Happy Valentine's Day!
Jo Ann

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Wistarburgh Glass and teh GSSC

On Tuesday, February 10, 2015, the Pennsville Historical Society hosted a lecture on the current Archaeological findings at the site of the Wistarburgh Glass Works in Salem County.  The speaker was Bill Liebknecht, and he brought a large map, several types of artifacts, and gave an excellent power point presentation.

Glass was on my mind recently after my trip to the Grist Mill Antique Center in Pemberton where several beautiful collections of various kinds of glass were on display, including a fascinating display of green glass that glowed under fluorescent lighting.

So intrigued was I by this story of a German immigrant, Caspar Wistar,  establishing this first successful glass factory in South Jersey, that I bought a book from amazon.com which I now eagerly await.

Needless to say, Wistarburgh being the earliest glass works in the colonies, I have no intention of ever trying to collect any Wistarburgh glass wich is highly sought after and extremely rare.  But I can afford to learn about it.  

Glass is such a mysterious and fascinating material, created from the most common, material, sand, and transformed by fire into this beautiful translucent material through the living breath of glass blowers.  One very interesting fact I learned at the lecture was that New Jersey sand was particularly well suited to glass making because it is wind blown and all the particles are the same size which makes them heat and melt at the same rate.  Sand of different size particles can't melt at an even rate which is a big problem.  I'd like to know more about this and may have to make another expedition to the Wheaton Village where glass blowing actually takes place and wonderful displays of glass are offered.  

It was delightful to visit again with Bonnie Beth Elwell, the brilliant and devoted President of the Genealogical Society (http://gsscnj.org/) of Salem County.  She is a marvelously warm, charming and talented local historian and genealogist. 

Just spent the morning reading the Elmer Times which I always get at the GSSC meetings and enjoy for days afterward, especially Bonnie Beth's column Ancestor's Attic.  Even before Wheaton, I plan to visit Elmer and check out the history book store at the Elmer Times Co.. 
21 State Street, Elmer, NJ 08318
 (856) 358-6171http://www.elmerboroughnj.com/ElmerTimes.html

Happy Valentines' Day to all you History Lovers!
Jo Ann

Thursday, February 5, 2015


Today, Thursday, February 5, 2015, my intrepid explorer buddy, Barb Spector, and I drove to Pemberton to visit the Grist Mill Antique Center and then to Wrightstown to have lunch at Sebastian's Schnitzel Haus.  

The Grist Mill Antique Center is just packed with delightful and charming items of which I selected three to purchase:  a LYONS TEA tin, because it was my Great-Aunt's name, a vintage Valentine for myself, and a delightful hand-painted wooden house because I collect them.  The ladies were very helpful and we commiserated over the great sad event of the closing of the Pemberton Train Station Museum, which I LOVED and mourn.  Some petty political dispute brought about the disaster of the closing of the museum and worst of all, the trains which had been donated and sat on rails outside the museum were scrapped.  Yes, I said 'scrapped' - it is a CRIME!  The last time I visited the train station, a large crowd of happy families, hikers, mountain bikers, and train enthusiasts were touring, and enjoying the trains, the museum and the rails-to-trails hiking and biking path.  It was truly delightful.
Today, when we drove there, the hiking trail was frozen over, and empty and the ghosts of the trains that had been entrusted to the enterprise cried out to me.

We couldn't hike the rails-to-trails path because it was a sheet of ice.  Three other hikers came off the trail and told us it was wretched and not to try it.  We didn't have our trax with us, so we passed it up for this trip.  Maybe in the spring or summer we'll try again.

So, on to Wrightstown which I have long wanted to visit since my name is Wright!!
There really isn't much town there, but  to me, an amusing, string of restaurants offering cuisine from foreign lands:  You can get Mexican tacos, Shishkebabs, Italian or French.  We opted for German and were warmly welcomed into Sebastian's Schnitzel Haus.  I suppose being in the neighborhood of Fort Dix has spawned this array of foreign food eateries, to give soldiers returning from overseas duty, a taste of the place they left.

Naturally, being vegetarians, we didn't order the schnitzel so I can't really say anything about the traditional foods.  We settled for potato pancakes, salad, and were given a free sample of spaetzle, a kind of egg noodle which I love.

All in all, despite the frigid temperatures, we found a warm welcome in Pemberton and at Sebastian's.  I only wish the train station museum could have been saved.  It was a treasure.  I'm glad the grist mill found a new use.  It is sad for the mills to disappear when they were the center of life for so many villages and towns in the past.

Happy Trails! Happy Valentines Day to you too - maybe take a date or a best pal to Sebastians for lunch or dinner and get a vintage Valentine at the Grist Mill!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Gene Shay's last broadcast after 60 years!

Today, from 3:00 to 6:00 is Gene Shay's last broadcast after a 60 year career in radio.  He also founded the Philadelphia Folk Festival in Schwenksville, Pa. in 1962.  I went there for 25 years!  If you have loved folk music, then you know Gene Shay's name.  

But, we have our own venerable musical site - Albert Hall.  I haven't been there this year due to vision problems driving at night, but I LOVED it when I went regularly and hope to get back again when the days grow longer.  If you haven't ever been there, you should go.  The music is wonderful!  It is a mix of folk, country, and local plus musician traveling the area.  

Here is the address and they have an excellent web site:
GPS Address: 131 Wells Mills Road (Rt. 532)
Postal Address: P.O. Box 657
Waretown, NJ 08758


Monday, January 26, 2015

Train Show at Brooklawn American Legion Post #72

On Sunday, January 25, I joined the throngs out on the highways and byways of this corner of South Jersey.  I don't know exactly whey there were so many people on the road, but the Dollar Store was jammed with lines 15 to 20 people long and the same for ShopRite, although I didn't venture into the grocery store.  I was warned off by the people in line with me at the Dollar Store where I had stopped for sun glasses which I haven't needed for a month.  We guessed that it was so crowded because the tv news had so hyped the snow storm on it's way that people were taking advantage of their one day off from work to shop and get what they needed in case they couldn't get out for a couple of days.

Anyhow, I crossed Route 130 and headed into Brooklawn using my gps to get to 11 Railroad AVenue.  I had a pink slip announcment of the Train show from when I visited the little American Museum on Main Street in Glassboro.  The train show was hosted by the Strasburg Model RailRoad Club and there were the advertised "Over 50 Tables of Train Items."  They sold everything from the trains themselves, to books about trains,  train tracks, hats, whistles, and other accessories.

My interest, of course was the running train displays.  I love the platforms and the villages, the trees and the trains.  I was wishing I had remembered to bring my photo of my N gauge platform set up at Christmas, but I didn't have it.  So all I could do was admire and listen to the owners as they discussed their sets.

In regard to the Strasburg Model RailRoad Club, I wonder how many of you have ever ridden the big Strasburg train in Lancaster County, Pa. http://www.strasburgrailroad.com/ originally I rode the train with my family when I was a child, then with my family and my child, then with my child and just me.  We went a dozen or more times.  I love a train ride.  I've also ridden many trains such as the Cass steam train in West Virginia.  http://www.cassrailroad.com/  And in Petersburg, West Virginia, there was a dinner train that ran in October that I rode with my father.  He was the one who started my interest in trains.

My father's company put the train in the Smithsonian. (*see below) He was an ironworder in his youth and later, a cost estimator for the same company, Hake.  He loved trains too, and he bought both of my brothers model trains for our Christmas platforms, but as is so often the case, I was the one who developed the interest, not so much my brothers.  They sold their trains, but I sold my daughter's trains, so don't think I'm making judgements.  You can't hold on to everything, and, perhaps, only the happy memories.

And, you can go to the train shows and re-live those happy memories.  I didn' get to Railroad Days in Bordentown this year but a friend did.  I will try to make it again next year and I strongly suggest that you go to the Train Show in Brooklawn next year too.
Happy Rails!
Jo Ann

Southern Railway No. 1401
 from http://amhistory.si.edu/onthemove/collection/object_15.html
*"The locomotive was retired from service in 1952. A Regent of the Smithsonian, who was also on the board of directors of the Southern Railway, headquartered in Washington, D.C., persuaded the Regents to accept the 1401 in 1953 as a gift from the Southern - to represent the 'age of steam railways' in American history.
From 1953 to 1961, the 1401 was stored at Alexandria, Va. When the new National Museum of History & Technology (now NMAH - under construction from 1959) was ready, the Southern gave the 1401 and its tender a full external restoration, with new paint and striping, in October-November 1961.
Two 250-ton-capacity railway steam cranes of the Southern lifted 1401 from a rail spur located about two miles from downtown, where 1401 had been moved. The two cranes set the engine (sans tender) on a special, 200-ton-capacity, multi-tire trailer. Late on the night of Nov 25/early on the morning of Nov 26, 1961, the engine and its tender were moved (part of the way on Constitution Ave.) to their new home in Washington.
Another eleven days were required to place the engine and tender in the museum. The east end of the new museum was completed around the installed 1401. In January 1964, the museum opened to the public."

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Great blog and a great man

1.  A Great blog - Today, Monday, January 19, 2015 I had several e-mails from friends telling me about an Inquirer article about a blogger who travels the roads in South Jersey.  I checked her out and it is GREAT!

I hope you will check it out and enjoy! 

2.  A Great man - On Saturday, I enjoyed a fascinating lecture on Brevet Brigadier General Elias Wright born in 1830, died in 1903.  He served in the Civil War but he was also land agent,  surveyer and friend to Joseph Wharton of the Wharton Estate, Batsto, New Jersey.  Needless to say, I am always interested in the Wrights!  
After the lecture, we took a tour of Batsto Mansion which I have done many times, but it is always new.  Our guide was Alicia whom I had met several times at Hancock House further down south along Alloways Creek.  She gave an excellent tour.  We hiked around the village a little afterward and I bought several items in the gift shop for valentine gifts to send my daughter.  It was a delightful day!
Oh yes, a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day connection.  General Wright commander of the 10th U. S. Colored Troops!  As you know, it wasn't until the final year of the war that African American soldiers were permitted to fight and brave and noble men who trained and became their leaders and commanders. such as Capt. Robert Shaw.  

Monday, January 12, 2015

TRAINS! And more....

You know I love trains, and sadly, I missed Railroad Days in Bordentown this year.  BUT, I was delighted to visit the little American Museum at 123 Main Street in Glassboro last week to see the collection of trains on display there and I think I enjoyed it even more because it wasn't as overwhelming and because it brought back memories of my childhood platforms.  The museum director ran the trains for us and there were chairs to sit in for a longer meditation on the memories and the information he provided about the age and type of his trains.  For more information and a picture of the trains, go to the website.  I forgot to take a photo (entranced by the trains, I lost my photojournalist professionalism).


Before the train exhibit, my two friends and I had lunch at the Lake House and it was delicious.  We had spinach ravioli and a delightful view of the snow covered Iona Lake.  The snow is gone now, so I'm glad I got to see it when it was picturesque. 

This is another example of a simply delightful way to spend a winter day.  Hope you have had many wonderful days following these tips!  Also, I hope to discover and share even more wonderful places to go and things to do in historic South Jersey. 

Oh, by the way, there is another train show coming, and I'll be there - Sunday, January 25 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Brooklawn American Legion, Post #72, 11 Railroad Avenue, Brooklawn, NJ 08030 Hosted by the Strasburg Model Railroad Club - Over 50 tables of TRAIN items.  For more information, call Dave Luciano (856) 988-0689

And for really good food, I can't praise Illiano's Restaurant enough.  They are located in the Shamong area and I often eat there with my author friend, Barb Solem, who recently finished her book on BATSTO:  Gem of the Pinelands.    Illeanos is in the Village of Taunton Forge, 200 Tuckerton, Rd. Medford, NJ (856-985-2975, website 222.illianocucina.com

By the way, the Paul Schopp lecture on Timbuctoo that was held on Saturday at Medford Leas was deeply enlinghtening and the story of Perry Simmons was heart stirring.  Paul never disappoints in his lectures.  He is a brilliantly knowledgeable historian and I try to go to any lecture he is giving when I can.  

Happy Trails and in view of the subject, Happy Rails
Jo Ann

Thursday, January 8, 2015


Wow, I just realized when I checked my stats that I am approaching 50,000 views and this is my 5th anniversary since starting the blog!    My first entry was in December 2010 and I have 313 entries.  I think this year, I'll try to round it off to an even 500 to match the year and the eventual # of visits.  Glad you joined me! 
Jo Ann

Family Tree Magazine

As I have mentioned many times before, my interest in history has, perhaps, its roots in my place of birth, Philadelphia, and my own family history.  To help me in the search, I have turned to a great many books, often mentioned in this blog, and to Family Tree Magazine to which I have subscribed for several years.  The current issue, January/February 2015, celebrates the 15th Anniversary of Family Tree with many useful articles including 101 BEST Genealogy Tips, which I found very interesting and which, I am sure, will come in handy in the future.

Also recently arrived is the FENWICK COLONY GAZETTE,  the newsletter of the Genealogical Society of Salem County, to which I am a member.  They are holding an Old Photo Contest
genelogicalsocietysalemcounty@gmail.com (Jpg format)
The topic is ancestor who fathered the most children and the deadline is the last day of February.  the Web site for the organization is
www.gsscnj.org and they have a facebook page as well.

I may submit my ancestors Adam Young and Catherine Sandman who had four sets of twins and three singles, of which my grandmother, Mabel Wright was one.  She was a twin.  Only six of the children reached adulthood.  The photos date to 1886.  

The society meets monthly at the Fenwick auditorium at Friends Village, Woodstown, NJ at 7 p.m.
January 13, Searching Newspapers, presented by Bonny Beth Elwell (President)
Feb.10 (Archaeology at Wistarburgh, presented by Bill Liebknecht
March 10, Blueberries New Jersey's Wonder Fruit, presnted by Judith Krall-Russo
April 14, Irish Research, presented by Claire F. Keenan

The people in the society are enormously helpful and welcoming and if you are starting out, they can offer a great deal of help.  Membership dues are $17 a year for singles.  Attend a meeting and see if you like it.

If only all the hunting could be for ancestors and knowledge:  Happy Hunting and Happy New Year 2015!
Hope to see you on the trail.
Jo Ann

ps.  I have written two essays to send to Reminisce Magazine, wish me luck!  One is on charm bracelets and the other on German Christmas Tree ornaments.  Maybe I'll publish them here as well!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Reminisce with me

If you want to reach me and can't work the comments of blogspot, here is my e-mail:
and you can always reach me via facebook as well.

I love old stuff.  I swear to you, it speaks to me.  An old toaster, an old business machine like the addressograph, a pill box hat, a 45 record player, they tell me stories and they remind me of my youth.  So, I love Reminisce Magazine.  I subscribed this year for the first time because  friend of mine has had her essays published there very often (Dorothy Stanaitis).  They say they want to hear from us, some topics they have recommended are:  Extraordinary Moms, The Sound of Music, Retro Recipes, Capri Pants, My First Computer, The End of the Vietnam War, and Pillsbury Doughboy Turns 50.  

e-mail submissions to 

or mail to
750 Third Avenue, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10017

The piece I am going to work on is about my charm bracelet.  I know there are modern versions such as Pandora, but I love the old ones and in particular, mine, which reminds me of major life events such as:
  • My High School Pennant charm - for graduation from Merchantville High School in 1963
  • A 21 charm for turning that age
  • my Unisphere charm for going to the Worlds Fair in NY in '64 (my boyfriend gave me his high school ring that day to go steady)
  • a Charm for the Expo in Montreal, where we spent our honeymoon
  • a Cuckoo Clock charm for when we lived in Germany for 2 years while my then-husband did his military service.  I was able to go because he was an officer and officer's wives could travel with them.  I lived in a  village called Heilbronn on teh Neckar River and he was stationed at Wharton Barracks.
  • There is a charm of the Aztec Calendar that I bought when I was 19, and went on my first vacation, to Mexico, as an adult, with a work colleague from W. B. Saunders Publishing Company, a girl my own age.  We were so daring!

My house has many sentimental objects from my family and from my life.  One of my favorites is a mahogany ship's deck chair from my grandfather, Clyde Franklin Wright, who was a Merchant Seaman, a ship's cook.  Also, I have a chocolate pot from occupied Japan that belonged to my grandmother Lavinia Lyons, who gave it to me when my then-husband and I bought our first house.  I had loved it since I was tall enough to look at it in her china cabinet.  Now I look at it in mine.  There are other things and perhaps in other essays, I'll talk about them.  I'd love to hear what precious and unique old items live with you!  Make this a two way street - get in touch:  wrightj45@yahoo.com
or contact me on facebook at Jo Ann Wright.  Hope to hear from you!  Check out Reminisce Magazine when you get a chance. Jo Ann

Monday, January 5, 2015

Remembering Hisorians and Friends

Yesterday, I received the notification via e-mail of the passing of a great old friend who was a wonderful historian.  It made me think, again, of all the unsung heroes working away on their own at home or in little historical societies, saving family history, local town history, and making it available to others.

Louisa Llewllyn was my high school teaching mentor in the 1980's when I first went to Gloucester High School to teach English.  No one ever needed a mentor more.  She was also my inspiration.  She was undauntedly optimistic and hard-working.  She wrote a local history called FIRST SETTLEMENT ON THE DELAWARE RIVER, GLOUCESTER CITY, which made me and many other people aware of the lost history of that remarkable river port.  She was Citizen of the Year many times for her wide-ranging volunteer efforts in numerous community programs.

Recently, I was searching via google for the other woman history writer who had so impressed me when i was a volunteer at Bivalve.  Margaret Louise Mints had independently published at least two histories that I found after a good bit of searching since they are out of print and rare now.  Louisa's book is also out of print and impossible to get.  That is a shame because both of their books were repositories of invaluable information on lost worlds.

I never met Margaret Louise Mints, but I am grateful that I had the honor to know Llouisa Llewellyn.   Someone swiped my copy of her book from my classroom where I often referred to it when doing lessons on local history.  I wish I had a copy of it now.  

If you want more information on Louisa Llewellyn, you can probably refer to the Gloucester City News (online or in paper format) which I buy from Carr's Hardware Store on Broadway in Gloucester City.  I used to subscribe, but I've been retired for so long now ( a dozen years already) that I have grown away from those employment roots and just buy single copies from time to time when I'm shopping at the hardware store.  

Some day in the future, perhaps I'll do a piece on Gloucester History, what a deep rich history there is in that town.  Check out the Historical Society on King Street opposite the historic Mill HOuses if you are ever in that area.  You can also take a picnic lunch down to Proprietor's Park, a few blocks from the historical society, and enjoy the wide and beautiful Delaware River as it glides by with it's barges and ferry boats, container cargo ships and storm torn logs.  At that very beach many years ago, some parts of the old British War Ship August were still visible in the mud, but they are gone now. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Lake House in Clayton, NJ

What a great discovery!  A friend, Barb Spector,  and I were on our way home from Barbara Solem's book singing at Bogart's in Millville when Barb Spector asked if I'd like to see Iona Lake.  Now, it is one of those odd things, I had, many years a go, a friend with a farm near there and I often looked for Iona Lake and couldn't find it.  I know, you are probably wsaying, how could you miss it!  But, I did.  Until we drove there yesterday, Saturday, December 20.  What a pretty lake.  We stopped in at the Lake House and the hostess gave us a tour.  There was a very happy Christmas party going on in one room and jolly groups of friends having holiday lunch in other areas.  The view was spectacular.

Of course when i got home I tried to get some history on the lake and whatever mill I presume must have been there for the lake to have been formed but no luck so far.

Meanwhile there was some slightly suspect and familiar scandal/haunting history to be found.  Apparently, at the turn of the century, a Polish family started the hotel and restaurant that has now become Lake House.  However, when prohibition caught up with them, the once popular music and dancing road house became an illegal drinking spot and the tourist rooms became (allegedly) brothel rooms.  Since prostitution often followed on the heels of speakeasies, it is plausible though in no way proven as factual.  Personally, I like the history of old mills better than old brothels.  When I find out more, I'll add it.
Meanwhile, Lake House looks like a very good place to do some holiday celebrating with friends and family.