Ok. I guess some explanation need to be made. Some visits hometown roots are about checking out changes in neighborhoods or generally about town. Other visits are for seeing the people. I didn’t check out the old homestead or schools or where I used to hang out. I wanted my time in Jersey to be with the family members that I hadn’t seen in a while for some quality memories. Looking forward, not back. We have a whole new generation that is growing and exploring and thriving. So there it is.
The Cocco sisters spent a lot more time our second day yakking and drinking about three pots of tea in the process. There was a lot of territory to cover. After that and giving in to the calling for some real lunchtime food at Prime 15 (great sandwiches) Denny – I mean Bozo – and I packed up the car and drove down to Hillsborough to visit with my niece Liz, her husband Tim, and their cats Mayhem and Mischief.
In the past, Bozo has heard me rave about the pizza in Jersey. Sometimes memory is way better than the actual thing. But Liz and Tim brought us to Desi’s Pizza, which was a short walk from Liz and Tim’s condo. Bozo finally experienced what I have been preaching about all these years. Fantastic thin crust coal oven pizza. I really liked the Fiorentino version Desi’s serves. And I am embarrassed to admit that I ate three LARGE pieces. There is something about the coal-fired pizza that is light and flavorful and doesn’t leave the feeling of a ton of lead in the stomach. And walking is good, too. It might have been humid, but afterwards the evening called us to season Liz’s new espresso/mocha coffee pot. Liz had a homemade anise cake that complemented the espresso perfectly. A great cap to a great meal.
The next morning Tim had to head off to a work meeting while Liz hung out with us and we finished off the visit with lunch at Culinary Creations. I was good and held off from the pastries. My roll-up was really tasty and hit the spot.
All too soon we were in the car and heading in the direction of Princeton University. The last time (which was the first time, at least for me) we toured the campus it was raining cats and dogs. We had made the brave attempt to cover as much ground as possible, but had ended up exploring the museum instead. This time we had a little humidity with clear skies as low 90’s as we shared the road with returning students. The campus had a healthy buzz as we meandered and I took pictures of doors and other sundry items. There was something about the doors that I felt calling me. Gotta do what you gotta do, sometimes. I have my moments. There were certainly a lot of back stories in process, watching some students with their parents and families, posing pictures, and outdoor groups following a guide, or singles tracking maps and balancing supplies. The campus is really beautiful with a timeless ambiance that can’t be found in many places. That’s where Jersey constantly surprises – there is a rich revolutionary history that is not advertised, so most of the world has a jaded version based on the Soprano’s and the Jersey Shore. Spare me. There’s a Jersey that’s been ignored by Springstein and others that can speak to the heart and is the muse for a lot of creativity. Footsore and thirsty, we re-grouped at a coffee shop just off campus (recommended by a student in the campus store) and then headed to Hopewell to visit with my brother Larry and his family.