On Tuesday Rich and I went down the shore. First we went to Belmar for pizza at Three Brothers (I’m sure he’ll appreciate this photo with his mouth full of pizza!). We love their pizza and often make a trip there just to get a couple slices.
Then, back on the road, and to avoid traffic on Route 35, we detoured and ended up in Mantoloking. Sadly, there’s still a lot of damage in that area from Hurricane Sandy, which in another six weeks will be at its one year anniversary. My sister-in-law’s mom owns a house there, but she was very fortunate in that her home is okay.
From there we went to Seaside. Ahh … Seaside. The place where Rich and I spent many summers prior to being married a zillion years ago, many summers in our early marriage, and later we’d visit in the off seasons to avoid the crowds. We generally start in Seaside Park, at the Funtown Pier, and walk the boardwalk into Seaside Heights. To us, it’s always been just Seaside.
While there are still areas that need a lot of work, there’s been a herculean effort of work done to rebuild vast areas of the boardwalk and open businesses in time for the summer season.
The Sawmill has always been a favorite place for us, and they reopened in the spring. After going up and down the boardwalk a few times, we returned to relax there and have a burger (yes, that was after pizza in Belmar!).
But look at all the progress made!
The new boardwalk looks great, and we like the new fence rather than the chain linked fence. For $500 you can get your name inscribed on a boardwalk bench, and for another fee on the boardwalk itself. We discussed it and pondered whether we wanted our name on the bench looking at the ocean or looking at the boardwalk.
We had an excellent day, and we both left feeling hopeful, that, yes, things were looking up for Seaside!
How shocking that today, while going through pictures to add in my journal, the news broke of a fire on the boardwalk in Seaside. I watched and was shell-shocked. When Rich walked through the front door after coming home from work he said, “Did you hear about Seaside?” We then sat in front of the TV and watched the news in sadness and disbelief. Some 400 firefighters from around NJ battled the blaze. By late night the news reported that The Sawmill is gone. Some 32 businesses are gone. The remains of Funtown Pier are gone. After all the work of so many to rebuild, some 80% of the boardwalk apparently is gone. It’s all so very sad.
Rich and I visited three different gardens recently. This past Sunday we spent several hours at Chanticleer (once the home of the Rosengartens), a 47-acre estate located in Radnor, PA, of which some 35 acres are open to the public. The literature says it “has been called the most romantic, imaginative, and exciting public garden in America,” and it’s totally worth the $10 per person fee to enter the grounds. There are gorgeous gardens, including a teacup garden and a pond garden, lovely paths to walk, and some 5,000+ plants to peruse. I particularly liked the “Ruin and Garvel” garden. Here are a few of the photos from the day.
I suspect we will return again, as I know there is more for us to explore. Visit their website for more information.
I am finally starting to see some monarchs! I’m glad. I took hundreds this week, many flying in the air with their wings in various states of flap. Fun stuff. Yesterday I spent the final late afternoon of August at the a Rutger’s extension photographing some of the gardens and some butterflies. I’ll post more of those in the coming days.
This weekend I went to several outdoor places to photograph primarily butterflies. I’ll post some images from those adventures in the coming days. However, I did want to post this guy. Many times when I’m out photographing, I see these gorgeous yellow birds — American Goldfinches — which I learned happens to be the state bird of NJ (along with Iowa and Washington). These birds are incredibly active, jumping and flying at the smallest hint of movement. Generally I can only take pictures from afar. However, yesterday as I was standing and scoping out the area, I realized it was sitting on a cone flower not far from me. I very slowly raised my camera and starting taking pictures. I managed to take about 15 shots — looking left, looking right, looking over its shoulder, and feeding off the flower.
Yesterday was a fabulous weather day in central, NJ. Today was also great up until about 3 p.m. Both days I spent a few hours photographing butterflies. Here are a few favorites from today.
I took these photos at the Grounds for Sculpture in central, NJ.
These are the individual blocks that make up my beautiful butterfly quilt. There are several blocks that I cannot identify the maker, and they are SO pretty. Nancy Billings, Vivien Zepf, Ginny Greaves, Susan Klang, and Nita Markos, please let me know which block is yours. I again thank all of you for this incredible gift!
In today’s mail I received a large Priority Mail box. It came from Lyric Kinard, who sent me an email a few days ago confirming my mailing address and that I’d be home to receive a “surprise.” While I knew a surprise was coming, I had no idea what it was. Thus, when I saw that box, I felt a wave of excitement.
I opened the box to find a card written by Lyric. It was a “gift of love from our heart to yours.” She wrote about my earlier cancer diagnosis, relief that all went very well (I was extremely fortunate), and how she and others wanted to offer support in the form of a quilt — “a gift of love from our heart to yours.” She further wrote, “You are one of those people who quietly goes about making the world a better place with your generosity. This is just a small token of our love and appreciation for you.” Yes, I had tears in my eyes! Then I slowly unwrapped the gift, and there it was — a large quilt filled with butterflies! I have such a thing for butterflies and immediately thought, wow, how perfect!” At 65″ x 47″, it’s a comfy snuggle-on-the-sofa size!
Although I feel totally undeserving of such a generous gift, I am very, very grateful for it. The quilt has blocks made by Nancy Billings, Sue Bleiweiss, Traci Bunkers, Lisa Engelbrecht, Jamie Fingal, Ginny Greaves, Mary Kerr, Susan Kiang, Kristin La Flamme, Nita Markos, Barb McKie, Virginia Spiegel, and Vivien Zeph. The beautiful fabric filled with butterflies and connecting all of the blocks was screen printed by Lyric! Plus it includes her “Fly” motif, which I always liked in her work and am happy to now have one of my own!
I will thank each of you individually, but wanted to share this beautiful gift and thank you all here, too. The overall view of the quilt doesn’t do the quilt justice. I have photos of each block, which I’ll add here soon.