New Jersey – Family

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Photo credit goes to the ever so talented Mr. Lee!

I am a lucky, lucky girl. Not only did I marry the best guy in the world, I married into an awesome family. These past ten years, we’ve been able to spend a lot of time with my Mr.’s family. They took me in the moment they met me. No one else has ever been welcomed with such love and kindness as I was with my Mr.’s family. His middle sister and her husband live in Maryland so they’re often in New Jersey as well. We all met up in New Jersey for a family friend’s wedding at the end of August. It was the best weekend. Lots of joy, laughter (“She’s like a volcano…”), love and of course, food.

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Puppies! Rocky is the sage old man in the house and Ron is the exuberant youngster. Ron just wants to play and poor Rocky just wants to be left alone! It’s hard to get a photo of the two together.

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Family BBQ with way too much food as usual. Life is good.

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We knew that this would be our last trip to Jersey for a long time but it didn’t quite hit me until we started to drive away. Like always, we had breakfast together, bummed around a bit and slowly loaded up our cars while Mama tried to sneak food into our bags. My Mr.’s sister and husband left first then my Mr. and I started to get ready to leave. Mama was laughing and tearing up as she said good bye to her oldest children and I laughed with her. Then I realized that this was the end of an era. We’ve made this trip so often and this would be the last time. We’ll visit again but we won’t be able to come as often. I burst into tears the minute we pulled out of the driveway. I’m going to miss the lazy days watching Law & Order, the endless Chinese buffets, celebrating birthdays, mother’s days, father’s days, falling asleep in our little corner room to the sound of summer bugs singing, the gallons of OPC, holiday parties with all the families, battling the spiders, and everyone being together. I’m going to miss being so close to them. We love you family!

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New Jersey – Family

New Jersey – Point Pleasant

New Jersey, part two! I love Jenkinson’s Boardwalk at Point Pleasant beach. I grew up in the midwest so beach boardwalks are a foreign, yet delightful concept to me. All the junk food! The cheesy games! The rides that make you barf! I fell in love immediately. Point Pleasant was hit pretty hard during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The town rallied and today, it looks just like it did before. We spent the afternoon slowly walking up and down the boardwalk, nibbling on zeppoles and filling our pockets with quarters to play arcade games. It was a perfect afternoon.

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Lemonade is a must on a hot and sunny day.

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This stand is named just “Sugar.” I thought it was hilarious. It’s good to be honest.

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Minion’s are the current hot toy at the game stalls.

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Back in the day, before I became a giant wimp, I loved this ride. It’s the one that acts like a giant centrifuge and you get plastered to the wall.

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Woo cheese fries! Love you Point Pleasant!

New Jersey – Point Pleasant

New Jersey – Eats

My Mr. is from Jersey and most of his family is still there. It’s just a 4.5 – 5 hour drive to their home so we’ve made a lot of trips there during our time in Boston. We estimate over 40! We took one last road trip to Jersey just before Labor Day for a wedding and visited our favorite spots. Here’s part one!

First stop is Bagel Talk. There is something in the water. These bagels are so delicious, it makes you wonder why no one else in the country can make a decent bagel. Crisp on the edges and oh so doughy and chewy on the inside. My favorite is the whole wheat everything with light veggie cream cheese. My Mr. is an egg bagel sort of guy. There have been times when I insist that we visit Bagel Talk multiple times in a weekend. My Mr.’s family thinks I’m a little crazy. I am crazy. Crazy for bagels.

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Sometimes we go extra wild and get the challah french toast too. So very fluffy. I love carbs!

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Bagel Talk
8 South Main St
Marlboro, NJ 07746

Rita’s is another spot that we often visit more than once on a trip. I have my bagels, my Mr. has his gelatis. Rita’s specializes in frozen custard and Italian ice. If you get both in one cup, it’s a gelati. I think it’s weird but my Mr. loves it!

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I’m all about their sundaes. Lovely, smooth custard with hot fudge and nuts. While there, we noticed a sign that said they had swapped their frozen custard for soft serve ice cream due to the egg shortage. Definitely not as good as their custard but I’ll take it. Hoping all those chickens get well soon!

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Thankfully, they have lots of locations in California. And in several other states. Maybe we can try to hit one up in each state as we drive through the country!

New Jersey – Eats

Dumbledorks

I work with some awesome people. They pass around cat videos and talk about what Harry Potter character they are based on their Myers Briggs profile. So when one of them found out that ThinkTank was doing a Harry Potter trivia night at Common Ground, it took about 10 seconds to form a team and establish our team name. Madame Pince’s Army!!

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Now, we didn’t think we’d have a shot at winning and we definitely weren’t there to win money. There are some hardcore Harry Potter fans in a city like Boston. I figured the real contenders were the people who play Quidditch on the weekends and have Harry Potter tattoos. Still, I studied a bit before trivia night using Sporcle and crammed the night before looking up spells and reading up on magical creatures. I felt like I was studying for a big exam and cursed myself for not re-reading all the books immediately after signing up. Still, we did pretty well and were in second place for most of the game. Once we realized that we actually had a chance at winning, we got super anxious and couldn’t stop laughing. In the end, we weren’t able to pull ahead and finished in second. We lost by just a couple of points. We were SO CLOSE!! I had an awesome time and it was so much fun hanging out with other Dumbledorks and my library colleagues. I have a feeling SB won’t have Harry Potter trivia so I’ll just have to visit Boston for next year’s Harry Potter trivia night.

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Dumbledorks

Ramler Park

I live across the street from the most beautiful little park. It is lovingly tended by volunteers and the gardeners planned it so that blooms in just about every season. It’s just as lovely in June as it is in February. It’s where I go to unwind and read after work. Where we walk in the evenings to visit the resident bunnies. On a nice afternoon, my coworkers and I take our Rod Dee to the tables to eat under the shade of the trees. It’s where we spent our last afternoon with Waukegan. It’s where I had one of the most perfect birthdays. It’s one of the things I’ll miss most when I leave Boston. This is my happy place.

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We caught the last concert of the summer a few weeks ago. As the sun set and the summer night settled in around us, my Mr. held me and I cried the first of what I’m sure will be many tears. The moment was just so perfect that I couldn’t stop thinking of how much I’ll miss this place.

Ramler Park

Cappy’s Pizza

BBQ chicken pizza with french fries. Yes, the fries are on the pizza. And it is so, so good. During my short time working at the college’s IT department, I was introduced to this pizza and it changed my life. Not only is it delicious, it reminds me of fun times with the Helpdesk crew. I won’t lie, I kinda miss wasting time with them.

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Worth every calorie.

Cappy’s Pizza
82 Westland Ave
Boston, MA 02115

Cappy’s Pizza

New England Quilt Museum

Time for some serious nerdiness. My Mr. won husband of the year when he came with me to the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell. I was so excited! There was a special event going on, Summer Celebration of New England Quilts, so admission was free. We saw the most amazing quilts. I’ve never seen quilts like this before! Brace yourself for a lot of quilt photos.

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My Peacock, 2014 – Julie Legere Hammersmith Quilters Guild

This one reminded me of Korean cushions and quilts. The colors, the gold threads, and the paisley shaped leaf patterns make me think of home. The tail is so beautifully done!

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Top: My Tree of Life, 2012 – Sandra Reynolds Bottom: The Civil War Bride Quilt, 2015 – Stella Blunt, quilted by Janet-Lee Santeusanio

I loved the tiny, tiny details on these quilts. Both were done using different techniques. It’s incredible how many different ways there are to make a quilt! The appliqué on both were done completely by hand.

Maggie Mae, 2014 - Penny J. Sander
Maggie Mae, 2014 – Penny J. Sander

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing with this quilt. The quilter collected batiks over time and pinned thousands of tiny rectangles of fabric on to the background and then machine stitched the entire thing. I have never seen anything like this! It’s like a painting.

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Shoot, I didn’t get a photo of the sign that accompanied this quilt so I don’t know the quilter’s name! I was blown away by the quilting on this piece. Everything component of this quilt – the fabric, design, quilting – contributes to the story.

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These are actual Civil War era quilts. They were in such good condition! I stared and marveled at the beautiful quilting done by people who didn’t have access to sewing machines, cutting mats, rotary cutters and all the other tools we have access to today. What a blessing that these quilts have survived all these years. It’s either incredible luck or loving care that protected these quilts from decay. Incredible.

The one on the right is what’s known as a potholder quilt, a style of quilt making that was popular during the Civil War. Each square is like a little finished quilt complete with binding and several are sewn together to make a complete blanket.

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This was a special exhibit of Civil War era quilt designs. Quilters selected a real Civil War era quilt and recreated it. Some stuck with the original design and replicated it exactly, others used it as inspiration and created their own versions.

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Modern quilts. So many beautiful colors! Such tiny piecing!

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Mrs. S’s Garden, 2013 – Laura Salo Cornerstone Quilters Guild

I’m not really into batiks but this quilt is lovely. And I’m not just saying that because of the bunny! Batik’s are used beautifully in this quilt.

Thanks for walking through the New England Quilt Museum with me! This was only a tiny selection of the photos that I took. There’s so much more to see!

New England Quilt Museum
18 Shattuck Street
Lowell Massachusetts 01852

New England Quilt Museum