The original stone farmhouse dates to the 1730s. Sean Skeuse’s parents had added on, as had prior residents. Sean and his wife, Megan, brought in the design teams of Eastridge Design Home (interiors) and Lasley Brahaney Architecture + Construction to modernize the home, letting in more light, though staying true to its historic integrity.

The Skeuse Homestead is Reimagined for Today’s Living

By Ilene Dube | Eastridge Design, Interior Design; Lasley Brahaney, Architecture and Construction; Interior Photography by Pam Connolly; Exterior Photography by Tom Grimes

Sean Skeuse spent his formative years on a 200-acre property in the rolling farmland surrounding Stockton, New Jersey. Growing things was in his blood. When he and his wife, Megan, were living in Boulder, Colorado, he became immersed in the cannabis industry, learning about the cultivation, extraction, and retail side of medical marijuana from the ground up.

Upon legalization of hemp farming in New Jersey in 2019, Skeuse returned to the family homestead – his parents had relocated to Houston. Skeuse’s firm, Headquarters Hill Hemp (HHH), has dedicated 14 acres to growing Berry Blossom Flower, an organically grown product containing less than .3 percent THC, as monitored by the state of New Jersey. (THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis, and hemp growers typically market their non-psychoactive product as CBD.) The self-described modern-day farmer, who earned a degree in business administration at Rider University, also raises corn, soy, rye, and apples.

Megan, who teaches at Princeton Montessori School, always loved animals. Her childhood pets included a pony, a horse, birds, guinea pigs, bunnies, turtles, and dogs and cats. Today, Sean, Megan, and two daughters keep goats, pigs, silky chickens, rabbits, and geese. The animal theme continues inside on the wallpaper. more

The Wedding Dress: Styles and Stories

By Stuart Mitchner

For our lavish New York wedding (no music, no frills, no rice, bearded nondenominational minister, statue of St. Francis looking on), my wife wore a knee-length, crocheted off white dress purchased from the teenage girls’ department at Lord and Taylor (she’s 5’0).

Also 5’0 and two years younger on her wedding day in February 1840, Queen Victoria, according to numerous online sources, wore a white, off-the-shoulder gown with a structured, eight-piece bodice featuring a wide, open neckline; short, puffed sleeves trimmed with lace; a floor-length skirt containing seven widths of fabric; and a satin train over six yards long, which 12 attendants carried down the aisle.

Another thing my wife and Queen Victoria have in common is a fondness for Charles Dickens, who resisted invitations to visit the Queen until shortly before his death in 1870. Of all the wedding gowns in literature, the best known must be the one worn by Miss Havisham when young Pip first sees her in Great Expectations: “She was dressed in rich materials, — satins, and lace, and silks, — all of white. Her shoes were white. And she had a long white veil dependent from her hair, and she had bridal flowers in her hair, but her hair was white.” Dressed for a wedding that never happened, she had but “half arranged” her veil, her watch and chain “were not put on, and some lace for her bosom lay with those trinkets, and with her handkerchief, and gloves, and some flowers…” And everything within Pip’s view “which ought to be white, had been white long ago, and had lost its lustre and was faded and yellow.”

Credit to Victoria

In The Way We Wed: A Global History of Wedding Fashion (Running Press $24) by Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, Queen Victoria is credited with popularizing the long, white wedding gown, which was solemnized with the proclamation of the Immaculate Conception by Pope Pius IX in 1854. Among the book’s illustrations is Michel Garnier’s painting The Marriage Contract Interrupted (1789), a preview of Miss Havisham’s dilemma that shows a bride in full wedding regalia “dropping her quill in surprise as an unexpected clause derails the ceremony.” more

Untitled, 1982 by Grif Teller. From “Crossroads of Commerce.” (Courtesy of Dan Cupper)

Ghost of a Town

By Anne Levin

At the bottom of Alexander Street where Princeton meets West Windsor, joggers, walkers, cyclists, and nature lovers gather — especially in fair weather — along the banks of the Delaware & Raritan (D&R) Canal. The leafy site known as Turning Basin Park has a parking lot on one side of the road, and a popular kayak/canoe launching site on the other. A few houses line Basin and Canal streets, which hug the narrow waterway. It is peaceful and quiet.

There is little, if anything, to suggest that, nearly 200 years ago, the area was a bustling center of commerce and industry. Princeton Basin was a thriving small town along the 65-mile canal, a mile south and worlds away from quiet, academic Princeton proper.

Princeton Basin took its name from two inlets, or basins, which opened off the north bank of the canal on either side of a turn bridge. These were small ponds where barges could moor overnight, unload their freight, and turn around. Vividly documented in historical publications written in 1939 and 1983, the Basin boasted coal yards, a lumber yard, a hotel, a tavern, and some 20 residences. The general store was a popular meeting place. A school was built as a mission by Princeton’s Trinity Episcopal Church. Pulled by mules along the banks, barges carried coal, hay, produce, quarried stone, and more between Bordentown and New Brunswick. The Princeton Steam Mills and the New Jersey Ironclad Roofing and Mastic Company were located at the Basin. It was busy, busy, busy — but the Basin’s heyday was short-lived.

“Settlement of the Basin dates from the early 1830s, when a railroad building furor was sweeping the eastern seaboard of the United States,” reads Old Princeton’s Neighbors, a 1939 publication of the Federal Writers Project. “And to Commodore Robert F. Stockton, United States naval officer and member of one of Princeton’s pioneer families, belongs much of the credit for building the canal and railroad which served central New Jersey. To his initiative, also, Princeton Basin owes its origin.”

Finished in 1834, the canal had four locks at Trenton, and another at Kingston. It wound through the smaller communities of Rocky Hill, Griggstown, Millstone, and Somerville. The Camden and Amboy Railroad ran a line next to the waterway. But as the railroads began to dominate the transportation industry, the canal, and its town, went into a steady decline starting in the 1870s. more

Gettysburg Cannon at Sunset (Sept. 2021) by Josh Friedman

Interview by Taylor Smith

Natural beauty is all around us, but how often do we press “pause” to find a change of pace, a new frame of mind, or inner peace? 

Bucks County-based photographer Josh Friedman has developed a following for his painterly photographic portrayals of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Here, Friedman offers some insight into his own creative process and encourages everyone to find an activity in which they achieve a “flow” state — something that is immersive, yet effortless. An opportunity to lose oneself in an activity while enjoying a fulfilling creative experience.  more

February 26 and 27 

Join the celebration at Longwood Gardens for the annual Orchid House Opening Weekend on February 26 and 27. Meet the brains behind the beauty of Longwood’s orchid collection including facts about orchid restoration, research, and conservation. Orchid Collection Curator Greg Griffis will be on hand to answer attendee questions about everything orchid-related. Admission is free with the purchase of Gardens admission. Buy tickets in advance here: https://longwoodgardens.org/events-performances/events/orchid-house-opening-weekendmore

Princeton University’s Public Lecture Series will continue March 16 from 5 to 6:15 p.m. at McCosh 50 with Marc M. Howard of Georgetown University, one of the country’s leading voices and advocates for criminal justice and prison reform. He is a professor of government and law, and the founding director of the Prisons and Justice Initiative at Georgetown University. He is also the founder and president of the Frederick Douglass Project for Justice, a nonprofit organization that launched in 2020.  more

June 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m. 

Tony-winning director Bartlett Sher and the team behind South Pacific, The King and I, and 2017 Tony-winning Best Play Oslo bring a fresh and authentic vision to this beloved theatrical masterpiece from Tony-winner Joseph Stein and Pulitzer Prize-winners Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. more

The Princeton Day School (PDS) girls’ ice hockey team reigns supreme, having bested Oak Knoll in a 5-0 performance to earn the Prep Championship. Their impressive run to the February 8 Prep final included playing each round as the visiting team, defeating Pingry in the quarter finals and, two days later, beating the No. 1 seed, four-time defending champions Morristown-Beard School with a score of 3-2 to get to the final.  more

Photo Credit: Rochelle S. Paris

Maura Reilly — a curator, writer, art consultant, and nonprofit leader who has organized dozens of exhibitions internationally that focus on marginalized artists — has been named the new director of the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. more

It’s that time of year again! 

With freezing nights and thawing days, the smell of maple syrup is in the air at Howell Living History Farm in Hopewell Township. Guests will have the opportunity to observe and participate in harvesting maple syrup from the farm’s trees on Saturday, February 19 and Saturday, February 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  more

Upper Rose Terrace at Bodnant. Credit: David Austin Roses and Howard Rice.

On February 22 at 2 p.m., Morven Museum presents a virtual event entitled “Return of the Rosarian” with Michael Marriott, live from the U.K. Marriott will discuss the British roots of Mount Vernon’s historic roses on Washington’s birthday and will share other rose-related tips and tricks for cultivating your own special rose-hued oasis. Personal Zoom links will be emailed to registered participants on the day of the event. A recording of the lecture will also be sent to all registrants following the event. Attendance is $10-15. more

Heated rooftop igloos at Asbury Biergarten

By the time February rolls around in the Northeast, many residents may be experiencing a little bit of cabin fever. Thankfully, Valentine’s Day shines a bright spot on an otherwise wintery month with dating, dining, and travel options for you and your significant other.  more

Saturday, February 26 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Whether you are a flower fanatic or a vegetable virtuoso, the 2022 Home Gardeners School @Home has something for you. This half-day online conference allows gardeners of any level to choose from 15 different workshops taught by horticultural experts, on various gardening topics including vegetables, fruits, and ornamentals. The cost to virtually attend is $80 general admission and $75 for Master Gardeners members. more

Now through April 29, 2022

The Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie in Cadwalader Park is now presenting an exhibition of paintings by New Jersey native and revered American landscape painter Lois Dodd and artists who have long been a part of her life. Dodd, 94, a co-founder of the legendary artist-run Tanager Gallery, has, for more than 70 years, painted her surroundings including New York’s Lower East Side, rural Mid-Coast Maine, and the Delaware Water Gap. Among her favorite subjects — and the central theme of the exhibition -— is the night sky. more

The Bunbury Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation awarded more than $1.4 million in grants in 2021 to local nonprofits to help build their internal capacity.

“The Bunbury Fund’s mission is to strengthen the ability of nonprofit organizations to do their best work,” said Jamie Kyte Sapoch, a Community Foundation trustee and adviser to the Bunbury Fund. “We also believe it’s important to develop meaningful relationships with the nonprofit partners that we support. There are so many organizations in our region doing incredible work. With these grants, we hope to help some of them achieve their next level of organizational maturity and capability.” more

January 21 and 23 at the Kimmel Center

Leonard Bernstein famously called this opera-oratorio based on Sophocles’ tragedy the “most awesome” work of composer Igor Stravinsky’s neoclassical period. The drama tells of an entire family’s attempts to evade their inescapable, tragic fate. Music Director Corrado Rovaris leads the Opera Philadelphia Orchestra and Chorus with soloists William Burden, Rihanna Thelwell, and Mark S. Doss. more

Image Source: Hun School of Princeton 

Camille Schrier (Hun School ’13) became a viral sensation when she was crowned Miss America 2020. Schrier was the first person in the organization’s 100 year history to win the famous competition based on a STEM platform. Her talent was in fact a demonstration of a chemical reaction using hydrogen peroxide, sodium iodide, and dish soap. The result was a large foamy concoction which she dubbed “elephant toothpaste.”

Schrier is currently pursuing a doctorate of pharmacology at Virginia Commonwealth University and visited the Hun School in early January to speak with current students. Schrier made for an engaging guest and discussed everything from her path to Miss America, women’s leadership, drug education, the opioid crisis,  how substance abuse effects cognitive behavior, and her experiences so far in the STEM field.  more

Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve in New Hope, Pa., is offering paid summer internships to qualified applicants who are interested in native plant education, horticulture, and public gardens. The internship will begin in either May or June 2022. Applicants must have already completed two years of college. The application deadline is March 1, 2022. more

Poet James Longenbach. Photo Credit: Adam Fenster.

Princeton University’s Fund for Irish Studies (FIS) presents a lecture by James Logenbach on W.B. Yeats and his poem, “Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen” on Friday, January 28, the 83rd anniversary of Yeats’ death, at 4:30 p.m. via Zoom webinar.

Princeton University professor and Co-Chair of the Fund for Irish Studies Paul Muldoon will provide a welcome and introduction. The lecture is free and open to the public. Register online at https://arts.princeton.edu/events/fund-for-irish-studies-poet-james-longenbach/.

Logenbach will give an account of William Butler Yeats’ (1865-1939) poem, discussing how it assumed its shape, and, more importantly, the influence of that shape on subsequent long poems written throughout the 20th century. Yeats won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923. more