Landscape designed by Beatrix Farrand at the Graduate College.

Exotic and native plants, shrubs, and trees get their start in Princeton University’s greenhouses and nursery

By Ilene Dube | Photography by Jeffrey E. Tryon

a bitterly cold day on the Princeton University campus, and the wind is whipping plastic flaps around the greenhouses. Landscape architect Devin Livi uses his special key to let us inside, where the air is warm and moist. I feel like I’ve left winter for the tropics. Flats of potted vinca and ivy are a reminder that we’re on an Ivy League campus.

“When we’re done with the tour,” I find myself telling Livi, “I’m not leaving.”

“It’s a great job,” he admits.

He takes me to another greenhouse, where he lifts a plastic screen. It’s like peering through a portal to spring. There is coleus, orchids, lantana, euphorbia, even Einstein’s begonia. “Everything is hand-watered,” Livi says as fans spin above, spreading the most air.

At the time of my visit this past winter, Livi, who is the associate director, grounds, was more focused on snow removal and salting than in the orders he’d placed for bulbs and spring plants — his crew of 45 handles everything from maintaining lawns to planting and pruning. “None of this would be possible without our dedicated crew,” he says. “One generation passes along knowledge to the next.” more

By Taylor Smith

During decades of economic decline, Asbury Park was mostly known as the place where musical icon Bruce Springsteen got his start at The Stone Pony nightclub in the mid-1970s. However, since 2000, Asbury has seen a dramatic revitalization and influx of new residents from urban centers like New York City. In fact, modern-day Asbury has been affectionately dubbed “Brooklyn on the Beach” for its large population of artists, musicians, foodies, and creatives. Real estate projects, like the new Asbury Ocean Club, and new restaurants dominate the historic boardwalk, and day trippers flock to the seaside town year-round.

Over 39 bars, several blocks of art galleries, antique shops, restaurants (from traditional Italian to vegan), and an art house cinema lure visitors from the nearby NJ Transit depot. The tradition of live musical acts is still alive and well at venues like The Stone Pony, Wonder Bar, and the vintage bowling alley-music hall Asbury Lanes. Food trucks serving ceviche, empanadas, and Johnny’s Pork Roll gather north of the Convention Center at North Eats. The seasonal Market at Fifth Avenue features independent artisans and designers selling everything from woven leather jewelry to locally-made sunglasses.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Best Buddies New Jersey’s Friendship Walk will take place on Saturday, April 27 at 10 a.m. at The College of New Jersey in Ewing. Check-in is at 9 a.m. The Best Buddies Friendship Walk is the number one walk in the country raising awareness and funds to support inclusion for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). At this event, you can expect to dance, laugh, smile, and make new friends. If you would like to attend, but choose not to walk, volunteers are readily needed to assist with event planning and day-of support. Sign up to volunteer at

By Taylor Smith 

Many neighborhoods, one Middletown!

The sprawling township of Middletown borders the Monmouth County communities of Atlantic Highlands, Colts Neck Township, Fair Haven, Hazlet, Highlands, Holmdel, Keansburg, Red Bank, Rumson, Sea Bright and Tinton Falls. The Sandy Hook peninsula is also within Middletown Township, though it is not connected to the township by land, but can be accessed along Raritan Bay by boat.  more

By Taylor Smith 

April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day and the entire month of April is recognized as World Autism Month. Many will wear the color blue to mark the occasion in an attempt to bring awareness to a condition that physicians say affects 1 in 59 children in the United States.  more

Climb on board for a ride on the train, Easter egg hunt, and bunny meet-and-greet 

By Taylor Smith 

Black River & Western Railroad at Stangl Road and State Route 12 in Flemington is hosting Easter-themed train rides and activities on Saturday, April 20. Admission is $12 for children and $16 for adults.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Step back in time to Medieval Europe while remaining in Manhattan? Yes, it’s possible. Just plan a trip to The Met Cloisters in Washington Heights’ Fort Tryon Park. North of the Bronx, The Cloisters is perched on a very high overlooking the neighborhood of Inwood and offering sweeping views of New Jersey’s Palisades, specifically the cliffs of Fort Lee and Englewood.  more

By Taylor Smith 

New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is frequently recognized as one of the nation’s top public colleges for animation, as noted in the 2019 Animation School Ranking published by Animation Career Review. 

Central to this distinction is NJIT’s B.A. in digital design with two tracks: entertainment and interactive media/production. Both programs offer undergraduate students experience in character design, color and composition, game modification, acting for animators, character development, and technology.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Services available on the Princeton Health campus include appointments with clinicians who specialize in transplant care and are familiar with the unique needs of transplant patients, transplant evaluations for new patients, and pre-transplant appointments for established patients.  more

Artwork from “Art & Healing: Expressions of Trauma and Gratitude”

The eight artists in the exhibition “Art & Healing: Expressions of Trauma and Gratitude,” have each experienced a life-altering cancer diagnosis. Thanks to the vehicles of art and storytelling, these patients have found a new way to communicate their personal struggles and experiences of living with cancer. more

By Taylor Smith

Most people use some form of technology throughout the day. Whether it’s listening to music, ordering an Uber, booking a dinner reservation, or responding to emails. Have you ever thought that those apps on your phone could be used to improve mental health? Below are some specific apps that can be used for potentially improving thoughts, feelings, sleep, and general happiness levels. more

By Taylor Smith 

Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey and administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will speak at Drew University’s 2019 commencement ceremony in May. 

Whitman’s commencement address will be her second at Drew. She spoke at the 1997 ceremony, at which she also received an honorary degree.  more

By Taylor Smith 

In order to better meet the growing demands of the national workforce, The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) in Ewing has announced that it is adding two new undergraduate majors beginning fall 2019. They include a Bachelor of Arts in world languages and linguistics and a five-year program in secondary education with a concentration in special education.  more

July 20 & 21 in West Windsor Township 

By Taylor Smith 

The largest triathlon in New Jersey (and the region), the New Jersey State Triathlon will be held at Mercer County Park in West Windsor on Saturday July 20 and Sunday, July 21. The race is in the top 25 largest triathlons in the United States, and sells out every year. The average competitor pool is 3,500.  more

By Taylor Smith 

A host of summer classes at Seton Hall University in South Orange can help high school, college, and graduate students meet their academic and future graduation goals. The Department of Continuing Education and Professional Studies’ Summer Sessions will begin on May 21 and run through August 8.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Camps are not just for kids. For runners, a host of options are available across the country. Here are a few to check out…

Craftsbury Running Camps, Vermont

Based out of a cross-country ski center where Olympians train, Craftsbury Running Camps offers one workout few other camps do: biathlon practice. Daily running workouts are complemented by guided strength training, swimming, and mountain biking. 

Did all that running work up an appetite? The campus dining hall is committed to making sure 50 percent of its ingredients are local.  more

Green spaces to wander and roam during the warmer months

By Taylor Smith 

D&R Canal

Frenchtown along the Delaware River

The Delaware & Raritan Canal stretches more than 77 miles along the Delaware and Raritan Rivers.The park crosses Middlesex, Mercer, Burlington, Somerset, and Hunterdon counties within New Jersey. It is one of the state’s most popular avenues for kayaking, canoeing, running, walking, bicycling, and fishing. It is also a valuable wildlife corridor with recent bird surveys revealing more than 160 species of birds, almost 90 of which nest within its borders. The upper portion of the canal includes stops in charming Frenchtown, Stockton, and Lambertville, which are great weekend destinations for the arts, dining, and shopping.  more

By Taylor Smith

Weighted blankets have been used in niche medical communities for many years, but only recently have the suggested health benefits taken off as a newfound trend. Without a prescription or dramatic changes in one’s routine, weighted blankets have allowed some people to fall asleep faster and to feel less general anxiety. more