Welcome to the Medicine Wheel Garden at Lusscroft Farm

I wrote this for the Medicine Wheel Festival a few years ago.  It’s been an amazing journey working with the Medicine Wheel community.

I started as a parent volunteer and went on to create their website and do their festival promotion.  I am so proud of all our work and our amazing volunteers.

Kath Galvin Cameron


Gardens & Gatherings to support Community, Sustainable Agriculture & Lusscroft Farm

Source: Welcome to the Medicine Wheel Garden at Lusscroft Farm

It’s Black Potatoe Festival week!

The aptly names Quarry Stage, for the more rocking music.  The River Stage features the more acoustic sounds.

The aptly names Quarry Stage, for the more rocking music. The River Stage features the more acoustic sounds.

This is a mere hour from NWNJ and worth the trip. The Black Potatoe Music Festival is the very best in independent music arts that happens in NJ….period.

Yes, I am biased.  I used to work with Matt Angus back in the day at the Stanhope House, full disclosure.  He booked the best music then and has for years at his festival.

I guaranteed if you go, you will walk away with a list of artists that blew your ever loving mind and you will wonder why you never heard of these artists before.  That is what Matt does best, he puts a spotlight on the unsung heroes of the indie music scene. These are artists who love their work and create music from the heart.

With Beth Williams, Matt’s better half has helped to guide the festival and keep the integrity of the event.  It is a must for any lover of indy, americana, folk, eclectic music.  Hardcore fans are belovedly known at Potatoe Heads.

Some artists to check out this year are Katie PearlmanThe Voodudes, Ellis Paul, Sarah Donner, The Wahoo Skiffle Crazies and the Matt Angus Thing.

Sarah Donner, Musician/Cat Lover

Sarah Donner, Musician/Cat Lover

Find Black Potatoe on Facebook here.






Newton moving on up

Newton Street Festival

Newton Street Festival

Happy Birthday Newton!

You threw a sweet little street fair to celebrate your 150th.

I love a good street fair. They bring back memories of block parties in my old neighborhood.

If I had my way, Spring Street would close up to traffic regularly during the summer.  Street Fairs are good business.  They increase sales, visitors and give vendors a chance to sell their goods on a main street.

Sussex county needs all the help it can get and give to entrepreneurs.  Street Fairs and Farmers Markets help raise people and community up.

Sugary treat: dry ice volcano drink.

Sugary treat: dry ice volcano drink.

There were carnival concoctions, like the volcano drinks . Okay, not our usually healthy fare, but worth it for the special effects.

In addition to the vendors, a few new shops opened up on Spring Street.  The Newton Theater has helped lift up nearby shops and restaurants.

We stopped in the new penny candy store, just for a look see.   I didn’t take any home, but I  loved the colors of the decor and the sweets.   There was even a little homeschooling info.  We got a walking tour brochure, detailing all the historical buildings in town and their Greek, Roman and Italian influences.

Newton has had ups and downs, but anything that brings people together along with arts and music will keep this town going.

20140614_161232Can’t wait for the next street fair in northwest new jersey!




No more gasoline…in my lawnmower

I was told when I moved to Sussex County that if you don’t mow your lawn “people will think your subversive. ”

I kinda like that.  If my front yard meadow, keeps you guessing, then so be it.

Before cutting my front lawn, in spring, I forage onion greens, garlic mustard and dandelion to make at least one batch of wild pesto. That ought to get the neighbors talking…

I have added some meadow zones, where I don’t cut the lawn on the side of the house and backyard.  To be neighborly, I still cut the front lawn with my new electric mover.  I love that I don’t have to buy gasoline, change oil, filters or nearly rip my arm of my socket when I try to start the gas mower.

I will save money over time according to this chart from Mowers Direct:

Gas-Electric Cost Chart








I got mine from Lowe’s in Newton for under $200.  Home Depot didn’t have any electric mowers in  stock. Sears had one but it was very pricey.  Self propelled and cordless models go for a bit more.

There is movement to get away from gas mowers. Some towns are offering rebates when you switch from gas to electric powered mowers.  Electric works great for a not huge lawn and it is much quieter.

I’m not off the grid, with this choice, but at least I’m a little closer.  I hope trends in lawn meadows, raised beds, front yard orchards and other uses for boring old lawns continue to grow.   And if do still need a lawn mower in the future, I hope my next one is solar powered !


Schools or Homeschooling?

I love that at any time, I can call my local school and register my kid and the school will welcome her.  The thing is not every kid wants to go to a big school. Some kids work better and excel outside of a school setting.

Homeschooling is not easy or any one way. Every family does it uniquely from what I can tell.  We are still relatively new to this world of education.  We didn’t come to homeschooling for religious reasons or because of school phobia.

It was just time for a new choice.  My DD asked if she could take a break from school and after consulting with her teachers and advocates, we took the leap.  It was a big leap that I was not planning on, but it was time.

That first year was a lot of trial, error and successes.  My kid went from a small school with most of her social time in one place to meeting many circles of friends. There were enrichment programs, hooping classes, minecraft get togethers, anime club, the Y and her time with me volunteering for the Medicine Wheel Gardens. The ages and backgrounds of her friends expanded far beyond her school circles.

The second year we started the Northwest New Jersey Homeschoolers to see if there were other families out there like us.  Sure enough there were.  We started meeting at the Frankford Main Library and then started a 4-H group. The group enjoyed a series of trips to Fairview Lake Camp.  A whole new circle of friends grew through their time doing team building, archery, stream assessment and a swamp walk.

I admire the way my DD can now walk into any new social setting and give it a go.  I know she can continue to homeschool or go to a school and find her peeps.  The time away from school, better prepared her for returning, when it is time.  I am thankful she has options

So, I’m not dogmatic about school…or homeschooling.  What works for one kid, may not work for another.  And that can change from year to year too. I hope in the near future schools will become more flexible and not be so “either you are in or out.”  It would be great to have access to afterschool activities to be a part of the school community.  There are also wonderful hybrids popping up like the Princeton Learning Cooperative. Teachers are there to mentor kids, give them options and support them in following their passions.

My only advice as a newby homeschooling parent is, always think of school or homeschooling as a choice you are making now and keep your options open.

You can always make a new choice, as long as you don’t put yourself or your kid(s) in a box.

Movement Begets Groovement, a little at a time

Hooping @ HomeAfter a long period of being stuck and kinda scared, I am coming out of my funk.  Or maybe I should say I’m getting into my funk and Franti ~ through movement.

During our brutal winter, the couch became my little desert island of safety and warmth.  I knew joining  a gym because I “should” was not going to work to get me moving, so I began to make just the tiniest of movements to get back in the groove.

Inspired by Nia’s Five Stages, I started this practice of very basic moves each morning: stretching, creeping, crawling, squatting and up to standing and walking.   The movements were small and slow to start.  I creeped and crawled out of my way. Then onto swaying, stretching, shifting feet, swinging arms, gentle rebounding and dancing.    The more I moved, the more I wanted to move.

Amazingly a flow movement space recently opened in little old Sussex Boro, NJ.  They offer hooping and many movement classes.  One teacher hosts a monthly ecstatic dance class at the new Whirled Revolution .  The beauty of this Gabrielle Roth inspired practice is the full spectrum of movement to stillness is all good.  I am still shy in my dance and movement.  There is a level of freedom in free dance that can be a bit overwhelming.  Each month I move a little deeper inward and outward.

I am thankful Whirled Revolution has created a safe space to try on different types of movement for every body.  I have dabbled in their tai chi and hooping classes and I am feeling drawn to try more movement adventures.

I am so glad that rather then dive into a gym membership, I let my movement or groovement practice unfold.  As I continue my practice of tiny movements into larger ones, I am feeling better and life is starting to flow with more ease too.





Honing in on my Passion(s)

Easy ways to improve visibility and interest in your business here in Northwest NJ.

Easy ways to improve visibility and interest in your business here in Northwest NJ.

As this blog moves away from an overview of what is going on in Northwest New Jersey and more into my own experiences, you may notice some changes.

I have been doing promotion for small businesses, entrepreneurs and local events for some time.

I now am shifting towards other passions.  Rather then do the promoting for others I would rather empower others how to do it themselves.   For me it’s all about letting go and honing in on the things I LOVE to do.  To make it quick, easy and cheap, I took this need for change and parlayed it into my first little e-book.

It is different in that it is a niche book, a mere 3 pages focused just on local media calendars here in northwest New Jersey. Simple, useable resource to support local entrepreneurs, artists, festival makers, musicians and fundraisers.

I wanted it short and sweet, but mostly helpful to other locals who are following their passions and need help getting the word out on their events.

I wrote it, reviewed it and published it in a weekend.  I wanted to push through any resistance and get it out there before I second guessed it.  I am so glad I did.  Now I can say I am a published author.  And making that shift alone made the book a success for me.

Some of the passions I want to follow in life and on this blog are:

Creating more Writing, Photography and Art.

More Creative Movement with Nia, Ageless Grace and the many opportunities at the new Whirled Revolution Flow/Movement Studio.

Living in Abundance on a Shoestring.

Homeschooling and unschooling.

Supporting Local Economy.

Life beyond Northwest New Jersey.

When I look at the sum of the whole of this, it seems like a lot of different directions.  For me though, this is following my passion(s).  It is not a linear road for me. More of a spiral, moving into varied CREATIVE directions, with flow.

I look forward to sharing my journey.









Consign of the Times – Consignment stores fill niches in NWNJ

Phase 2 Consignment BoutiqueSweet find!Last fall Children’s Quality Consignment morphed into the new Phase 2 Consignment Boutique. With the new name and broadened focus, this store now has lots of great finds for infants through adults and accessories for you and your home.  An added bonus, “P2” also has a plus size section. There is also a children’s book nook for kids to explore while you are shopping.

Clothes shopping is expensive and many items don’t last.  If it makes the cut at this consignment boutique, it is probably better quality than many of the items you would find in a local big box store and more reasonably priced.  There is also a greater variety and a fun eclectic feel to consignment store shopping. What other clothing store carries as many brands?!
Owner Lauri Malefyt says her goal is to “encourage shopping local and to support your small businesses.”   I have been a customer of the store for years and love this local business.   We spend our credits at the store each season, saving us out-of-pocket clothing expenses.
Find Phase 2 at 6 Main Street, Branchville, NJ.  Call them at 973-948-7775 for info and hours.  As of this post, they are open Tue. – Fri. – 10am – 6pm and Sat. 10am – 4pm.  They are on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Phase2ConsignmentBoutique
 Zipper rug
Branchville is home to other second-hand finds. Just down the street in the old bank building is Broad Street Books , featuring previously read books and new selections by area authors. This place is a real treasure trove for any reader.
The Habitat for Humanity Restore about a half mile away, is open Saturdays from 9 till noon.  They offer discontinued, donated home appliances, accessories and building supplies. Funds from the sales, go towards home building for those in need.
A few miles away is the Garage Sale Warehouse in Lafayette, NJ featuring mostly used home furnishings and accessories – year round.  In a few miles and on a shoe string, you can consign yourself and your place a whole new look!  Well…almost new.


Springfest jumpstarts the Season

Fountain GardenSpringfest is a must go to event every March. The Fairgrounds Conservatory and Greenhouse are filled with vibrant colors and scents of spring.  Flowers are forced into bloom for a sneak peak of summer gardens to come in Sussex County.  Every year there is a different theme carried into the Springfest Cafe hosted by Krave.  I wouldn’t miss it.  Here is the scoop:

Hang up the snow shovel and break out the garden gloves – it’s time for all things SPRING! at the 18th annual SPRINGFEST GARDEN SHOW, March 13-16th  in the sun-drenched Conservatory at the Sussex County Fairgrounds.
The area’s foremost landscape companies have been busy all winter designing their displays, forcing flowers from winter dormancy, and building the glorious gardens that will inspire you to imagine your own property improved by the latest outdoor- living trend or perhaps a new planting to enhance your homes’ curb appeal. Meditative Garden Sit Spot
If you’re considering an outdoor project, visiting a local garden show is a great way to meet with various well-established, respected landscape companies and actually chat with the owners and peruse their portfolios. Springfest President and garden exhibitor David Wright says, “Springfest was created to help showcase the horticultural community. Many of these landscape companies, chosen for their quality work and reputation, have been exhibiting at Springfest for up to 18 years.” In addition to David Wright Landscape Architect LLC, visitors will see diverse gardens created by Hautau Landscaping, Inc., Three Seasons, Inc., Garden State Koi and Aquatic Center, Farmside Landscape & Design, Erik Enterprises Landscaping LLC, and Anthony Group Installers.
It wouldn’t be a ‘Garden Show’ without these displays, so each year these award-winning exhibitors gather their resources and invest weeks of time and truckloads of materials to produce a beautiful venue all for the 4-day show. It is their hope that it inspires visitors to consider the vast options available in gardening and landscaping today. Bring a camera to capture the many ideas, and find help in planning to get the most from your property.

Glass Globes
As you stroll through the gardens and pathways at Springfest, be sure to check out the more than 75 charming shops and horticultural services and even take in a lecture or two. Bring the kids to the Kids Plant Your Own Zone, and relax in the beautifully decorated Café.

Springfest Garden Show bursts into bloom March 13-16th, 10am-5pm Daily, at the Sussex County Fairgrounds, 37 Plains Rd. Augusta, NJ. Admissions: Adults $12., Seniors (65+) $9., Kids under 15 free. For more information visit: www.springfestgardenshow.org  or call 973-948-9448.Conservatory baubles

Steampunk Festival this weekend in Mo’town!

speedwell-by-the-friends-of-historic-speedwellNorthwest New Jersey is having it’s second Steampunk Festival!  Celebrating all things connected with the Steam Era.  The event takes place at Historic Speedwell this weekend.  Here is the scoop from Jeff Mach, creator of the event:

On October 12th and 13th, Morristown, NJ celebrates its captivating history as the birthplace of the telegraph. Steampunk International City is a festival honoring the real and imagined wonders of the industrial revolution.

Historic Speedwell is a renown as a national treasure. Visit the Vail house (home to Alfred Veil, inventor of the telegraph), and the Landmark Factory Building, where the telegraph itself was perfected. Patrons can also attend educational and hands-on workshops on a myriad of topics – including traditional Victorian mourning customs and blacksmith demonstrations. Child can play in the craft and dress-up area, or watch zany, family friendly renditions of Shakespeare. Adults may appreciate a variety of musical performances, an evening performance by White Elephant Burlesque Society, and wares from a variety of talented artisans.  steampunkked out

Steampunk began as a small subset of science fiction, and has grown into a cultural zeitgeist. The Steampunk is the perfect place for neo-Victorian aficionados, history lovers, and the ‘Steam-Curious.’ For more information, please visit “InternationalSteamCity.com.”

To learn more about Steampunk, got to this short video or this long one for more details. 

For more about Historic Speedwell and go to their site.

I’m looking forward to dipping my toe in the steampunk pond!

Highlands Festival at Waterloo has good bones

The first ever, Highlands Festival at Waterloo took place this weekend.  Breaking ground on a new festival is a daunting task.  You are creating a community – for just one weekend.  Hopefully the mixture of humans, arts, intentions, coalesces into future gatherings, movements and action that spill out into our community. 

The Highlands Fest has laid the foundation for future events to shine a light on Northwest New Jersey’s water, farms, fields, peeps, and the challenges that lie ahead in one of New Jersey’s last rural regions. 

I am tired, but the good kind. After a weekend full of community and affirmation that this is truly a special corner of the earth.   More to come on the Highlands Coalition.

The Pfeiffer Twins to perform at the Highlands Festival at Waterloo

Over 20 local north jersey bands will perform September 21st and 22nd at the first Highlands Festival at Waterloo.

Northwest New Jersey sisters, The Pfeiffer Twins “are happy to join the Highlands Festival and perform our original songs to a local audience”, said Carrie Pfeiffer.” We always enjoy performing in their own community and feeling the love of support of their hometown fans.”
The Pfeiffer Twins will perform on the Gazebo Stage at 3:45, Saturday, September 21st in Historic Waterloo Village, Byram, NJ.

Carrie and Lindsay Pfeiffer have been busy finishing up recording their breakthrough debut album, entitled “Nobody’s Puppet,” with producer Anthony Krizan of Sonic Boom Studios in Raritan, NJ. The CD release party is slated for November at the legendary Stanhope House, the twins’ new home venue. Fans can find the Pfeiffer Twins hosting “The Country Sessions” open mic jam at the Stanhope House every other Thursday evening.

They recently opened for New Riders of the Purple Sage and plan to join Railroad Earth on their Horn-O-Plenty Thanksgiving Weekend Festival at the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg, PA.

For more gigs and info, please check out their official website: http://www.thepfeiffertwins.com or visit them on facebook to stay in tune with The Pfeiffer Twins!

Here is a sneak peak of the title track, “Nobody’s Puppet.”

Northwest New Jersey Music Festivals

DSCN3654 Northwest New Jersey hills come alive with the sound of live music, spring through fall.  Some of the best in outdoor music can be found in these hills at fairgrounds, street festivals, campgrounds, waterfront parks and restaurants.






Be on the lookout:

Rickey Farm Music Events

Crawfish Festival

Black Potatoe Music Festival

Groove in the Grove Festival


Festival in the Borough

The Big Bandingo


Medicine Wheel Festival

Highland Festival at Waterloo

getting ready for the spring Medicine Wheel celebration.

getting ready for the spring Medicine Wheel celebration.

First time around for Highlands Festival, all about keeping the Highlands Region Green

Here is the scoop:
The New Jersey Highlands Coalition is hosting the 1st annual Highlands Festival at Waterloo on September 21-22, 2013 at Waterloo Village in Byram, NJ. The environmental festival will be a “Celebration of All Things Local” and will promote local music, food, art, history, cultural and natural resources.

This rain-or-shine event will delight people of all ages and feature a wide range of activities, including performances by 20 NJ musicians/bands, Local Food Court, Crafts and Fair Trade Marketplace, Living Green Expo, cooking demonstrations, workshops, an art show, Lenape Village activities, canal rides, kayaking, and guided nature hikes.

The music line-up features artists with strong ties to New Jersey and the Highlands region. Headlining on Saturday is Marco Benevento (Rolling Stone’s David Fricke described his music as, “deceptively rich, catchy melodies and straight-ahead grooves that expand with subtle mounting gestures”). On Sunday, the popular Americana band, Yarn, will cap off the day. Known for mixing bluegrass, country, rock and roll, the Grammy-nominated Yarn will no doubt delight new fans and draw their die-hard and enthusiastic fans, affectionately known as the “Yarmy.

The musicians on the roster—all with New Jersey ties—include: Bovine Social Club, Wig Party, Brother Buddha, The Soviet, Grover Kemble and Za Zu Zaz, Damian Calcagne Band; Matty Carl Project, Keith Kenny, Chelsea Carlson, Nalani and Sarina, Pfeiffer Twins, Son of Dov, Mike Herz, Kathy Moser, and Dave and Claire.

Waterloo Village has an exciting history as a musical performance venue. Over the years, renowned acts such as the Beach Boys, Judy Collins, James Taylor, Willie Nelson, Phish and the Metropolitan Opera have performed there.

The New Jersey Highlands Coalition is hosting the Highlands Festival to raise awareness about the natural resources of the NJ Highlands region, to promote the missions of the NJ Highlands Coalition’s 80+ nonprofit member organizations, and to fund the 2014 Small Grants Program which supports local grassroots organizations. As a nonprofit organization in Boonton, New Jersey, the NJ Highlands Coalition works to protect, restore, and enhance the water and other natural and cultural resources of New Jersey’s Highlands, now and for the future. The Coalition serves eighty-eight municipalities in Bergen, Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren counties that are protected under the New Jersey Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act in addition to the 5.4 million state residents who depend on the Highlands for drinking water. For more information on the NJ Highlands Coalition or to become a member, please visit the organization’s website: http://www.njhighlandscoalition.org/

With such a diverse range of activities offered at the two-day event, the Highlands Festival at Waterloo is sure to be a fun and enjoyable event for all. Tickets cost $15 online for one day; $25 for two days. At the gate, tickets will be $25 for one day; $40 for two days. To purchase tickets online and for more information about the festival, please visit the festival’s website at: HighlandsFestivalAtWaterloo.org

Big Bandingo is back in NWNJ!


On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, September 6th, 7th, and 8th 2013, AG Tavern at Layton Hotel in Layton, NJ will welcome back the Big Bandingo festival!


In addition to over 50 musical acts, the weekend entertainment will include; vendors, hula hoopers, belly dancers, Lorde and Lady of Layton competition, find the M&M in the whipped cream contest, visual art romp and late night frolicking.



The performers have been selected to cover a wide range of music to satisfy various palates and ages. Up and coming new talent, as well as legendary masters will be spotlighted. Soul, rock, folk, country, jazz, bluegrass, funk, gospel, and even space-dance-swing-disco will be represented. On Friday evening, the classic ‘Dark side of the Moon’ album, by Pink Floyd will be performed in it’s entirety, complete with a psychedelic light show. Some of the anticipated highlights will include the Latin power punch groove of Sub Committee, the trance freakout of 50 Hippies, the super shaking Matty Carl Project and the Ecuadorian pan-flute sounds of Andes Cosmos.



“Northwest NJ may seem like nothing but a bunch of hicks in the sticks, but these hills are alive with the most glorious of sounds. Come savor the delight,” beckons Mingo Lodge, of the band, Big Boss Sausage.



The Layton Hotel was the home of the Big Bandingo from 2007-2010. The festival organizers decided to return here after it was purchased and renovated by the folks at AG Pizza. The rustic stage sits by the Little Flatbrook on the amphitheater-like lawn. A new patio, complete with a tiki bar, overlooks the site, and offers patrons a chance to enjoy the show while dining.



The festival begin at 4 pm Friday night. It will be outdoors until 10 pm, then continue inside until 1:30 am. On Saturday, gates will open at 11 am. It will go inside again at 10 pm, then go until 1:30 am. On Sunday the gates open at 11 am, and the festival ends at 10 pm. The show is rain or shine, so prepare accordingly. Food, beer, frothy cocktails, and other refreshments will be available at the event. Bring your blanket, lawn chair, flip- flops and a hankerin’ for a sweet country hoedown. Please leave your pets and coolers at home.



AG Tavern is located at 124 CR 560 in Layton, NJ. Local camping, Pay Pal details and other information can be found at www.bigbandingo.com. AG Tavern can be contacted at 973-948-5020.


Advance tickets are $5.00 Friday, $10.00 Saturday, $10.00 Sunday, and weekend passes are $20.00.


At the gate, tickets are $10.00 Friday, $15.00 Saturday, $15.00 Sunday, and weekend passes are $25.00. There is no refund on tickets.




5pm– Ordinary Decent Folk


5:40– Josh Lafargue


6:00– Rusty Rachets


6:40– Drew Whelan


7:00– Tell The Truth


8:00– Evan Lane & Friends Feat. Josh Chaffee


8:40– Kelly Fragale


9:00– Dark Side of the Moon Tribute


10:00– Kevin Kinsella Band


10:40– Ophelia Immortal


11:00– Ant & Co.


11:40– Rachel Weinrich & Brian St. John


12:00– BBQ




12pm– Lorg


1pm– Chris Fantasia Band


1:40– Bill Ruddy


2:00– Gandalf Lebowski


2:40– Maura Glynn-Congdon


3:00– Circus McGurkus


3:40– David Larsen


4:00– Blind Fergeson


4:40– Melissa Judge


5:00– Michael Ironside


5:40– Jake Stanton


6:00– Swamp Fox


6:40– Troop Lakshmi


7:00– Subcommittee


8:00– The Purple Avenger & Jack Mullet Band


8:20– Puck


9:00– The Spinbirds


9:20– Jungle Jazz Initiative


11:00– Eric Waldman


11:40– Mike Herz


12:00– The Hawk Owls


1:00am– Gabe Zander




1pm– 50 Hippies


1:40– Brian Peterson


2:00– Malvador


2:40– Andrew Lister


3:00– The Dowden Brothers


3:40– Bob Nicholson


4:00– Morning Door


4:40– John Sheehan


5:00– Reno


5:40– Mike Esposito


6:00– A Bit of Finger


6:40– Steel City Sunrise


7:00– The Matty Carl Project


8:20– Non-Stop Denny


8:40Big Boss Sausage

The new Crandon Lakes and Northwest New Jersey’s best kept secret

View of the East Beach of Crandon Lakes.  Recently added amenities include a pavillion, swimming dock, boat docks and a gazebo.  Coming soon is a playground.

View of the East Beach of Crandon Lakes. Recently added amenities include a pavillion, swimming dock, boat docks and a gazebo. Coming soon is a playground.

Psst…I’ll let you in on one of the best kept secrets in vacation living year round.  75 miles from my NYC there are communities surrounded by natural beauty and centered by a lake. Not just one lake, about a dozen in nwnj near mountains and rivers.  These little communities are tucked away in the northwest corner of the state, but near to the Appalachian Trail, Delaware River, Peter’s Valley Art Center and more.

I never get why people travel from NY to the Poconos, bypassing right through some of the most gorgeous lake communities on the east coast.  The upscale Lake Mohawk, the party animal Hopatcong, the refined Culvers, country living Owassa, suburban Kemah.   All with homes that cost less then a nyc studio apartment.  With the change in the real estate market there are more home rentals available now.

It has a quieter pace, and not as many amenities as the closer burbs or the city.  But it has pretty much everything you need.  And it has Community Supported Gardens, Horse Farms,  Antique and Boutique Town centers, Theatres, Water Parks.  The enter west of Northwest New Jersey is a ridge of parks along the Kitatinny Ridge.  High Point, Stokes, Delaware Water Gap.

Yeah, we have our share of soulless strip malls, but get off the main drags of 206 and 15 and you are in the lush green outback of New Jersey.  Seriously stunning vistas, forests, trails, waterfalls and plenty of colorful creatures to catch your eyes.  There are also a surprising number of artisans, farmers, musicians, crafters and left of center types hunkered down in these hills.

Crandon is a little lake of about 75 acres with a two mile lake loop shared by runners, strollers and skaters with a gorgeous east shore view of the Kitatinny Ridge and amazing east shore sunrises.  It’s not unusual to see a blue heron, diving ducks or a kayakers gliding by.

And in two hours, I can be in Port Authority heading to any slice of NYC I am hankering for.

Hop in a zip car and take a cruise up to Sussex County and drive around some of our gorgeous lakes.  Stop by the Blue Ribbon for a cocktail at the tiki bar, Lafayette for some antiquing and take in a show at the Newton Theatre. We have quite the music scene here too with many festivals from the Crawfish Festival to the Big Bandingo.  There is tons of room for the artistic scene to continue to grow and musicians keep heading out here to be a part of it.

I’m liking this lake life with occasional nyc excursions thrown in for good measure…The best of both.

NWNJ Waterfalls

Stoked State Forest, home to many streams, falls, lakes, ponds, trails...

Stoked State Forest, home to many streams, falls, lakes, ponds, trails…

Who doesn’t love a waterfall?!

Buttermilk Falls is tucked away in Stokes State Forest, not far from Tillman’s Ravine.  A one mile drive along a bumpy road will bring you to it’s bottom on the roadside.

For the ambitious and hearty, there is a huge staircase with several lookouts leading up to the top.  A great spot to visit anytime, but particularly special after a heavy rain when the gushing water turns a milky white, hence the name.

See links below for more waterfall exploration in and around NWNJ.






Farmer James of Goodness Grows

Farmer James of Goodness Grows

This is Farmer James owner and visionary behind the new Goodness Grows Farm & CSA. James worked in commercial horticulture before becoming an organic farmer last year. He has been unlearning the traditional agriculture model common in Sussex County and learning the back to basics of permaculture, organic practices, etc.

His CSA, Solidarity is growing in Stillwater.

James will be hosting a tour of GG and also a Foraging walk with guest speaker Dan Farella on Friday August 23rd at 6pm. Come see where amazing, healing food comes from.  Here are the deets:
Foraging for Foods and Remedies and Intro to Goodness Grows Community Supported Garden
Hosted by Goodness Grows Farm with Guest Foraging Guide, Dan Farella
Friday August 23rd, 6pm-9pmGoodness Grows Farm
939 Potters Road
Stillwater, NJ 07860


Farmer James Grenewicz, owner of Goodness Grows Farm and Solidarity Community Supported Garden invites you for an insightful walk around the farm with Forager, Herbalist, and Teacher Dan Dhanji Farella of Return To Nature.

Dan will share his knowledge and wisdoms on the often overlooked “wall of green” plants that surrounds us. Learn to identify some edible, herbal, and medicinal plants, often mistaken for mere weeds. Dan will discuss some traditional methods of treating ailments with homemade herbal remedies as well as the preparation of and nutritional benefits of wild foods that can be found growing naturally, and often abundantly, in our area.

Farmer James will also offer a tour of his farm, Goodness Grows LLC, and provide an overview of his second year offering community shares in his produce through Solidarity Community Supported Agriculture. Learn how you can participate in building a resilient, local food system, free of chemicals and GMO’s while enjoying locally grown veggies and fruits.

A build-your-own salad with both wild edibles and freshly picked produce from the farm will be shared after the walk and tour. Homemade dressing will also be served. Please bring your own beverage.

There is a $20 suggested donation per person. Children are free.  For more information, Please visit Dan’s webpage at http://returntonature.us/ .  Goodness Grows Farm is located at 939 Potters Road in Stillwater, NJ. Eggs are available for purchase daily from the roadside stand.  All eggs come from pasture raised and organically fed hens.

Goodness Grows can be found online at  http://goodnessgrows.csasignup.com/
973-919-6422 or goodnessgrows@centurylink.net

NWNJ Loves our Arts

NWNJ Loves our Arts

We love our Arts in Northwest NJ. Home to the Peters Valley Art Center, Ricky Boscarino’s Luna Parc, and many artisisans. This is our first ever PoP Up Art Gallery or Bust! from the Medicine Wheel Celebration.

Artist Paula Scheyer got the ball rolling bringing her statute. With a little word of mouth and social media, the barn at Lusscroft was filled with fabulous art of all kinds for the weekend celebration.

New Jersey’s Best Indy Music Fest: Black Potatoe

ImageEverything is ready for the 17th Black Potatoe Music
Festival, running four days and nights from July 11-14, featuring the
rich sounds of artists in all genres played in the quarry and along the
river at the historic Red Mill Museum Village in Clinton.

        Top draws will include Jimmy Vivino and the Barnburners performing the
music of The Band; Graham Alexander, whose Broadway performance of Paul
McCartney music in “Rain” drew wide acclaim; Wicked Knee, a brass and
drums ensemble featuring Billy Martin of Medeski, Martin and Wood, along
with dozens of other greats like Chris Smither, Willie Porter and Eilen
Jewell.  Local favorite The Matt Angus Thing does its traditional
Saturday night set under the stars.

        See the full lineup at www.blackpotatoe.com.

        “For this year’s festival, we return to the intimacy of the two stages
set up at the mill so our fans get up close and personal with the
performers,” said Matt Angus, festival founder and music director for the
fest.  “We’ve got something for everybody this year, including a jug
band, the Yahoo Skiffle Crazies, a pair of piano prodigies, Nalani and
Sarina from Flemington, as well as veterans Ellis Paul, Kathy Phillips
and Chris Smither.”

        This is the 17th festival, started originally as a  CD release party.
This year, another CD is being released…the sound track from the new
documentary film “Demand Your Independents,” a look at what goes into
independent recording production. Its premiere is Wednesday, July 10, at
5:30 p.m. at the mill.

        Tickets can be reserved at www.blackpotatoe.com or can be purchased with
cash at the door.