By William Uhl

View of New Brunswick across the Raritan River, Shutterstock.com.

Nestled by the Raritan River in New Brunswick, Rutgers University is home to a diverse range of history and traditions. An intercollegiate rivalry with Princeton University, a real-life armored and mounted Scarlet Knight, and a romantic ritual connected to the legendary Passion Puddle are all classic traditions — and so is eating a Fat Sandwich, a sub roll packed with enough French fries, chicken fingers, and mozzarella sticks to earn the name. That mix of thoughtfulness and playfulness is everywhere in New Brunswick, and you can find plenty of both in just a day’s travel.

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Audience members (opposite) explore the 2018 Power in the Pines Open House and Air Show May 6, 2018 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. U.S. Air Force photo by Brad Camara.

The U.S. Air Force Reserve Turns 70

By Donald H. Sanborn III

McGuire is a fantastic example of what the Air Force Reserve can, and should, be,” asserts Col. Robert Dunham, a graduate of Princeton University. “McGuire is an associate unit, meaning that reservists share the same hardware with their active-duty counterparts. That is a model that has worked very well.” more

The USGA Museum as seen at the USGA Headquarters, Golf House on Thursday April 13, 2006 in Far Hills, NJ. (Copyright USGA)

The USGA Museum and Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History

By Bill Alden | Photographs Courtesy of the USGA Museum

The famed architect John Russell Pope designed some of the iconic structures in Washington, D.C., including the Jefferson Memorial, the National Archives, and the West Building of the National Gallery of Art.

But it is one of Pope’s lesser-known creations, a stately brick mansion nestled in the rolling countryside of Far Hills, built in 1919, that has been transformed into a monument to the history of golf. more

Photo Courtesy of Poconowhitewater.com

By Taylor Smith

Five times larger than New York’s Central Park, Lehigh Gorge State Park in northeastern Pennsylvania is a 4,548-acre wilderness just 90 minutes from Philadelphia and two hours from New York City. The region is home to the Northeast’s most accessible and convenient whitewater rafting, family style rafting, hiking, and rail trail biking. This summer, encourage your kids to put down their screens and instead experience an action-packed Whitewater Dam Release weekend, biking, or hiking in the great outdoors. more

Photos Courtesy of Butler’s of Far Hills, Inc. Photography by Laura Moss

Vacation homes are a boon to New Jersey’s economy and beyond

By Wendy Greenberg

Second homes represent a lifestyle change, an investment, and sometimes several years of exploring myriad locations. But often, the second home becomes as beloved as the first home, and many times the homeowners don’t want to go home. They ARE home.

As Spring Lake realtor Cindy Napp says, “Life is short. Buy the beach house.” more

By William Uhl / Photographs Courtesy of Thomas Edison National Historic Park

Walking through the halls of Thomas Edison’s laboratory in Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange, it’s easy to think history’s been frozen in time. From the chemical storage to his personal lounge, everything in the laboratory has been meticulously preserved and restored to look how Edison himself would have seen it. The material storage room still has everything ranging from iron bars to elephant hide, and the production floor has era-appropriate hats and jackets hanging on workers’ hooks. more

Sunset Sips & Sounds at Terhune Orchards Vineyards and Winery (Photo Courtesy of Terhune Orchards)

By Laurie Pellichero

Summer is just around the corner, along with a plethora of events in town and all around. Here is just a sampling of activities to enjoy as the weather heats up…

CONCERTS AND SHOWS

The Arts Council of Princeton (www.artscouncilofprinceton.org) and Princeton Shopping Center (www.princtonshoppingcenter.com) present the 35th annual Summer in the Courtyard Concert Series, featuring the best in local and regional jazz, folk, world, rock, and blues. Concerts are every Thursday, 6 to 8pm, from June 21 through August 23 at the Princeton Shopping Center. Don’t forget to bring a lawn chair! Acts include The Dirk Quinn Band on June 21, Blawenburg Band on June 28, DCFusion on July 12, BRIZ and the Revival on July 26, Grace Little Band on August 2, Eco Del Sur on August 9, and the Octavia Blues Band on August 16. In the event of inclement weather, concerts will be held inside the Arts Council’s Pop-Up Studio, next to Metropolis Spa & Salon at the Princeton Shopping Center. more

By Anne Levin / Renderings courtesy of Morven Museum and Garden 

Imagining an addition to Morven, the historic Princeton museum that was home to a signer of the Declaration of Independence and five New Jersey governors, one might understandably expect a building in the style of the 18th-century Greek Revival mansion. But the recently opened Stockton Education Center, which adds much-needed space to the site, bears no resemblance to its grand old ancestor. more

Brian Sullivan, NYBG’s vice president for landscape and glasshouses, teaches a horticulture class in the native plant garden. (Photo courtesy of New York Botanical Garden)

Classes online and on-site offer an array of horticultural help

By Wendy Greenberg

The air is warmer and daylight lingers longer. Lime green leaves are painting roadside landscapes.  So often spring awakens an urge to seek greener thumbs, or greener yards.  After all, it is the Garden State.

If you are so inspired, you are in luck. A bounty of classes and programs beckons to help would-be plant whisperers find their voices. Some of the area’s most respected and scenic public gardens are at your service with on-site and online courses, ranging from landscape design to wellness and therapy, to native flora, and some unusual offerings. more

Princeton’s Institute Woods is among the best places to view spring migrators

By Ilene Dube

Photo-Illustrations by Jeffrey E. Tryon

Birds by Maria Stezhko (shutterstock.com

At this writing—a cold gray winter day—it’s hard to imagine that in May, the skies will fill with migrating birds, bringing color, song, and beauty to the treetops.

“Spring warbler watching is not just birding. It is a social phenomenon, a ritual, a happening like maple sugaring in Vermont or the opening day of trout season in Pennsylvania,” writes eminent ornithologist Pete Dunne. “People who never lift binoculars at any other time of year X out their Saturday mornings in May and join thousands of kindred souls searching for treasure in the treetops.”  more

Children and their parents experience Brandywine Christmas. Photo by Carlos Alejandro. 

By Ilene Dube

In all its starkness, winter was the favorite season of the painter Andrew Wyeth (1917–2009), one of the 20th century’s most popular American painters. Even today, exhibitions of his works draw large crowds to museums.

Wyeth described winter as a time when “you feel the bone structure in the landscape—the loneliness of it—the dead feeling…” Wyeth’s landscapes of that season are both placid in their silence and haunting in their feeling of desolation. He has the ability to capture the nuanced shades of white, even when working in watercolor. more

The Holidays at Drumthwacket

Jack Frost is in the air, and the “most wonderful time of the year” is about to begin…

Mark your calendar for these festive events that celebrate the season:

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Red Mill Museum Village

By William Uhl 

A symbol of early American industry, Clinton’s iconic Red Mill still sits aside the Raritan River. Since its construction two centuries ago, the mill’s sleepy water wheel has worked with cloth, minerals, food, and electricity. Now, the mill is home to an array of galleries. Some house historical reproductions, some display pieces from international artists, and others hold fragments of local Clinton history. more

By Wendy Plump 

Photography Courtesy of Nomadic Expeditions

In a dramatic re-interpretation of the notion “If you build it, they will come,” New Jersey resident and contractor Jalsa Urubshurow built a base for his adventure expedition company in Mongolia. He chose the South Gobi Province on the edge of the Gobi Desert—where the Altai Mountains rim the horizon—and put up forty Ger, the traditional felt yurts of Mongolia’s indigenous nomadic tribes. He designed the main lodge in the style of an ancient temple. He quarried local stone and installed local staffers – herders, guides, cooks – because he wanted authenticity in a world greatly in need of it, and, if truth be told, because he demanded the most breathtaking gateway for those visiting his beloved Mongolia, the home of his Kalmyk ancestors. more

Mercer County Italian American Festival

By Laurie Pellichero 

The leaves will soon be falling, the air is crisp…it’s time for fall festivals!

Mark your calendar for these upcoming events:

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Photo Credit: Asbury Park Distilling Co.

Craft Distilleries are Booming in New Jersey 

By Laurie Pellichero

From Jersey City to Cape May, craft distilleries have been quickly popping up and producing local spirits throughout the state. While craft beers and breweries have grown quite ubiquitous in New Jersey, it’s been in just the past few years that these small batch distilleries, which now number 16 and counting, have been able to produce and promote their wares.

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Photo Credit: Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association

Friday, August 11

9 to 10 a.m.: Free, Baby Boot Camp stroller-based fitness program on Palmer Square Green (weather permitting). For more information and to register, visit www.babybootcamp.com.

5 to 8 p.m.: Sunset Sips and Sounds at Terhune Winery, 330 Cold Soil Road, Princeton. more

TRIUMPHANT AT THE FINISH: A team celebrates completing the R2C relay just beyond the finish line in Manasquan. (Photo by Paul Mecca: PaulMecca.com)

By Doug Wallack

Early on Saturday morning, 44 teams comprising over 300 runners will gather in Lambertville, on the banks on the Delaware River, and head east across the Garden State, winding 72 miles through Mercer and Monmouth counties before arriving at the beach in Manasquan late in the day. This year will mark the 22nd running of the River 2 Sea Relay, an event that for many participants has become a beloved annual tradition. Each team of seven divides the course’s nine stages between its members in an event that embodies teamwork to an extent that is rare in the world of distance running.  more

Emilie Brzezinski, Lintel, 1993, bronze. Photo by David Howarth for dmhphotographer.com

By Laurie Pellichero

Founded by artist and philanthropist J. Seward Johnson, Grounds For Sculpture (GFS) has welcomed more than two million guests since it opened to the public in 1992. The 42-acre sculpture park, museum, and arboretum features a unique collection of contemporary sculpture, special programs, and seasonally-rotating exhibitions in six indoor galleries.

In honor of its 25th anniversary, GFS has opened five new exhibitions for its Spring/Summer Exhibition Season including two site-specific interior glass sculpture installations by Daniel Clayman, titled Daniel Clayman: Radiant Landscape and an exploration of space and sky with photographic collages and pastels by Elyn Zimmerman in Elyn Zimmerman: Sensitive Chaos. more

Liberty State Park

By Wendy Plump

On a recent train ride home from Boston, surrounded by people tapping at computers and staring into cell phones, as well as my own pile of devices, the meaning of serenity asserted itself. It wasn’t gained by answering emails or texts or squinting through news feeds, but by looking out the window at miles and miles of wild coastline and coves, a great gray ocean, and a marbled sky. Every seabird scratching in the sand or stand of evergreens leaning out of the wind served to remind me that this is what saves. more