Tag Archives: Community

We Love Montclair Valentine’s Day Contest

Almost one year and 29 posts later, I am so grateful for my readers and friends who encouraged me to keep this blog going. It’s almost Valentine’s Day and I want to show you all how much I appreciate you and how much I love being a part of this community. So let’s play a game! Here’s how to play. There are 2 ways to enter your name, but only one winner.

How to Play:

1. I have chosen 11 articles and pasted links below. Vote for your favorite article by writing the name of the article in the comments section and you will be entered into a drawing to win.

2. Share this contest on Facebook and you will be entered a second time.

The winner will be announced on Valentine’s day and will receive a goodie bag filled with all kinds of local treats from Olive That and More and Montclair Bread Co, and gift certificates from Photography by Jennifer and Adriana Smyth Interiors.

A very special thank you to all my readers!

Because We Heart Montclair

The Lips of Stanford Place

Olive That and More! – Upper Montclair

Montclair Tastes Good!

Walnut Street Welcomes Montclair – Central Montclair

Unique Housing Opportunities in Montclair

It’s (Block) Party Time! – South End

Neighborhood Banners – Montclair

Beverly Bathroom Reno

Santa and a SWAT Truck-South End

Potter Ct Tree Lighting – Upper Montclair

 

 

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Potter Ct Tree Lighting – Upper Montclair

As we approach the New Year, I’m sad to see the holiday season come to an end. It’s such a beautiful sight to see all our neighborhoods lit up and decorated to celebrate this season. One Montclair block in particular, the cul-de-sac of Potter Ct, where the homes (mostly 1940s side hall colonials) are as quaint as the block itself, embraces the season with their very own tradition. Each year the residents of Potter Ct replace their flagpole (in the center circle of their cul-de-sac) with a tree. The neighbors come out and join together to trim and light the tree and have a little party. There is food, fun, and hot cocoa. Kids play in the street and all are reminded of neighborhood friendships and the beginning of the holiday season. It’s a celebration of Hanukkah, Christmas, and most of all, neighbors.

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Refreshments for the Tree Trimming
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Santa Pooch
Hot Cocoa stand
Hot Cocoa stand
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And the tree is up
Potter Court in December
Potter Court in December

Stories like this one are why I really love Montclair. As a mother it’s incredibly important to know my neighbors and expose my children to the people around us, people we may not otherwise have the opportunity to know. Getting outside of our homes builds a stronger, safer, and happier community. And I’m happy to live in a place where the residents are not only friendly, but a place where they reach out and come together to establish new traditions. Thank you Potter Ct for sharing your story, your photos, and most of all, for making our town and our holiday a little bit brighter. I hope everyone reading has a wonderful New Year!

Trimmed with red bows
Trimmed with red bows
Shiny and Bright!
Shiny and Bright!
Potter Ct at Night
Potter Ct at Night

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Santa and a SWAT Truck-South End

Last year I read about a program through the Montclair police department where Santa visits the homes of Montclair residents and delivers gifts. It’s meant as a toy drive and it is a huge bonus to the residents of our town, as well as the beneficiaries of the donated toys. I dropped off one gift for each of my children and one gift from each of my children, as a donation to another child.  I’m not sure what I expected, but I knew it would be exciting for my kids to see Santa a bit early and receive a toy. So when Santa pulled up on a police truck, escorted by a glowing, glittery, musical, holiday SWAT truck and 2 other vehicles, the entire experience greatly exceeded my expectations. I think it’s probably just best to check out the videos to see what happened next.

After much success in 2014, we participated once again in the MPD Santa toy drive this year. Since we knew what to expect, we gave our friends and neighbors some warning this time and were able to enjoy the experience with them too. It wasn’t raining, so no one came inside, but we had plenty of time to check out the parade of vehicles. And it was quite a sight to see.

Santa Arrives-2015
Santa Arrives-2015
Santa's Helpers
Santa’s Helpers
Joy!
Joy!
Photo Op
Photo Op
Kids with Gifts
Kids with Gifts

Like many working families, the day to day for our household is quite busy. There are careers and housework, school work, school functions, birthday parties, and the list goes on. Time really seems to be moving faster and faster and the seasons are changing before my eyes. But one thing I can always count on to get me out of my rut is my town, my community, and my friends. The decor in Montclair center, the town events, the social engagements, the local shops, the performing arts, the visual arts, the music, and the generosity make my chores and to do lists feel exciting and fun as the seasons change (especially around this time of year) and remind me why I love life in this town we call home. I can count on the wreaths and menorahs to go up, the parties to happen, the food drives, the coat drives, the giddy children, and Santa on a Police truck. I am so very grateful for the people of this community. I personally love this time of year, but I think that even the grinchiest of Grinches would not be able to help smiling about what is going on right here in Montclair.


Montclair Center Tree

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Walnut Street Welcomes Montclair – Central Montclair

Two weeks ago Friday marked the first day of May in Montclair and the start of a busy town calendar. With the first day of the Montclair Film Festival on Friday, and Glen Ridge Avenue and Walnut Street fairs, the town was bustling and the sun was shining. Welcome to Walnut street, a street festival just 3 years young, took place on Saturday May 2nd and successfully captured the vibe of one of my favorite neighborhoods and food destinations in town. I’ll be honest, it’s taken me so long to write this because instead of enjoying everything this street fair had to offer, interviewing vendors, and taking great photos, I was experiencing this fair with my family. Experiencing something with your family when you have a 4 year-old and an almost 2 year-old is kind of like trying to “experience” your wedding day. You have people (in this case tiny humans) pulling you in different directions while really cool things happen around you and you attempt to taste really good food, but end up watching other people (in this case tiny humans) eat the food instead. And someone always ends up melting down or falling asleep. So I will attempt to paint a picture, although I have to admit that my experience was somewhat limited because we had the nap time clock ticking from the moment we arrived.

We arrived on Walnut Street on a perfectly beautiful day with the boy in  his stroller and the  4 year-old pushing the stroller into the street. My wife bribed our daughter with a donut because for some reason, a street fair didn’t sound fun to her that day. So of course the first thing we had to do was get a donut. As we entered Walnut street, I started drooling over the beautiful art, antiques, and other cool vintagey items that I had to walk quickly by, so we could get the 4 year-old her donut. We immediately recognized friends outside the Montclair Baby location and stopped to chat.

Poofy Organics Table

Montclair Baby Walnut Street Fair

But of course after 5 minutes we were reminded of donuts and Montclair Bread had a genius donut decorating table for the kids. So not only did my kids get a donut, but they got to do something interactive. Here are some kiddos decorating donuts in front of Montclair Bread.

Montclair Bread Donut Decorating Donut Decorating at Montclair Bread

She finally got her donut. She had to wait a whole 5 minutes. The torture…

Donut Eating

Her brother ate his donut in 10 seconds and wanted another while she was still taking dainty little bites.

Boy Eating Donut

But there was so much more than donuts. Walnut Street really has become a destination for food. With Gina’s, Montclair Bread, Le Salbuen, Red Eye Cafe, Corso 98, Mac Attack, Babo Teahouse, and the long-standing Egan and Sons and Halcyon, all in a three block stretch, Walnut Street has become dense with fine foods and rich flavors.

Le Salbuen Sampling

In addition to permanent food options, Walnut Street hosts the weekly Montclair Farmer’s Market, which opens the door to even more fresh food and of course, food trucks!

I spent a good 15 minutes in the taco line and lost my family. Good thing for me, I ran into friends and then eventually reunited with my family. Also, good, the tacos from Taqueria Autentica (taco truck)!

Taco Truck!

There were also crafts and activities for kids that were really fun and entertaining, but I have no photos because I was chasing my children and eating tacos in the kid zone. My daughter painted a rock and helped create some weird sculpture-like thing with big sticks. I was able to grab a bubble tea from Babo on my way out and sample delicious cake from Gina’s, as my son was fading and whining for his nap.

Welcome to walnut food sampling

Walnut Street is a special place in a special town. My favorite thing about this whole experience is the sense of community I feel when I go to these events. My friend Stephanie and  her husband Logan actually told me they had a bet going on to see if they could guess the number of people they would know at Welcome to Walnut Street. She guessed more than 9.5, which was their betting number, and he said less. Well their final count was 21! I love this because Montclair really is a small enough town where you actually see people you know on a regular basis. But it’s also large enough to have something for everyone and large enough to meet and see new and interesting people all the time. It may have been a bit of a whirlwind with the kids, but I’m so glad they had the opportunity to attend this event and I’m glad they will have so many more opportunities to attend town events in the future. This is a town where so many people are welcome and where the town embraces community and variety and makes you feel like everyone is a part of it.

I would say that Welcome to Walnut was a success. I thoroughly enjoyed attending this event with my family. And I loved watching my kids absorb everything that was going on around them. But, there were things, like the “poem ladies” (photo below) as I call them, that I would have loved to wait in line for, if I had a bit more time that day.

Poem Ladies

Music on WalnutWelcome to Walnut Street

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St Patrick’s Day Parade 2015- West Orange

There are no shortage of celebrations in the Montclair area. This community celebrates food, seasons, art, families, holidays, sports, and just about anything else we can use as an excuse to plan an event. So, on this Irish holiday I would expect nothing less than a huge celebration. Today in West Orange the Streets were lined with  green attire, food, drink, and festivities while the St Patty’s Day Parade marched on. There were several bagpipe bands, marching bands, dancers, trucks, motorcycles, a vintage fire truck, and a bat mobile. One of my favorite things about this celebration is that I live close enough to walk.  But wherever you are in this town, there are festivities and events within walking distance. This is yet another reason why I love Montclair.

parade crowd

Food Table

fire truck

2-Parade 3:15:15

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Montclair Tastes Good!

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I don’t think I’m alone when I say I love the food in Montclair. There are an abundance of delicious food options, which makes it hard to know where to begin when it comes to writing a food post. So, it feels appropriate to write my first food entry about the dozens of local restaurants and food vendors that participated in Taste of Montclair. This delicious event, organized by the Rotary Club of Montclair and held in the Conference Center at Montclair State, featured over 45 Chefs, Restaurants, and Specialty Food vendors from the area. As patrons of the event sampled savory dishes from Fin, Salute, Blu, Nextdoor, Fricassee, Brick Lane, Escape, Le Salbuen, Mesob, Olive That and More, Montclair Bread, Spice Thai, Tiny Elephant, Toast, Gina’s Bakery, Anthony’s Cheesecake, and much more, live music played, and drinks were poured. It was a fun and delicious event. I love that I live in a town with so many options for fine dining and tasty community events.

My personal favorite was the short rib from Le Salbuen. Here are some of the other highlights in photos.

I started the night with Meatloaf and Chipotle Sauce, yum! I especially loved the presentation and the fact that there were no disposable plates required for the meatloaf, which meant less waste. Blu/Nextdoor

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Blu & Nextdoor

 

This soup from Escape was amazing!

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Escape

 

I had never had Spice Thai, but now I’m a fan. Mango salad, yum!

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Spice Thai & the Azariah Crane Cocktail by Warren Bobrow

 

This is literally the best cheesecake (other than my Mom’s) that I have ever eaten. Anthony’s Cheesecake

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Anthony’s Cheesecake

 

I have to say that THE highlight of my night was tasting a very pure and fresh cocktail prepared by Warren Bobrow, aka The Cocktail Whisperer.

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Warren Bobrow, the Cocktail Whisperer

 

For all of you who attended, what were your favorites of the night?

 

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