Hopewell Township is a really neat town with a lot of beautiful houses. It has a revolutionary-era feel to it, and there are many small towns in the vicinity that have a lot of curb appeal if you know what I mean. Many of these homes I wouldn’t want to live in, but I greatly admire their architecture and landscaping. I am more of the gardener’s cottage sort. In my case it would be the weaver’s cottage. That said, the drive to Larry’s was relaxing and entertaining as we cruised through the town. In no time at all we arrived at the homestead, and were catching up with Dawn, Leah and Alexander. After Emily and then Larry arrived, we piled into the car and headed out to Piccolo Trattoria Pennington, NJ for a fabulous Italian-style meal. I hate to admit that their potato gnocchi are better than mine. How do they get them so fluffy? There must be a secret ingredient. Larry and Leah are working on educational gaming applications of World of Warcraft which is truly incredible and sounds absolutely fantastic. Webcasts on the discussion are in process, if you’re interested.
Food, food, food. What does a series of foodfests do to you? Make you fat! Of course hours sitting in the car don’t help, either. We had to find a place where we could walk off some of the calories from the previous days, and Liz had mentioned the Duke Farms Living Habitats in Hillsborough, so we headed there. One again, you ask yourself, is this Jersey? The answer is yes, it is. Doris Duke, daughter of the tobacco family fame, donated the lands to perpetuate the concepts of sustainability and be a place that people could enjoy. We walked the grounds for over an hour. It’s well worth the trip. If you are more predisposed to riding a bike, you can bring your own or rent. There’s a tram for the less ambitious. Denny/Bozo and I took the long loop and caught the orchid exhibit, checked out the Old Foundation and basically trod as much as we could.
There was still a lot of ground to cover by car, though, because our next family visit was all the way up to Port Jervis, where my cousin Ciano and his wife Barbara have a house. It would take about two and a half hours and gave the GPS a chance to play poltergeist. We did make it, and it was well worth the drive. The parts of New York state, other than NYC, are also very beautiful with farms and fields that reach beyond the sky and have their own charm. Ciano’s property has an original stone fence that was built by Indians indigenous to the area way back when. Barbara cooked a fabulous meal of chanterelle mushrooms, polenta, chicken roasted in the Venetian tradition and a chocolate grand marnier mousse that melted into your soul. Homemade wine, caffe corretto and fresh bellini’s rounded out the feast.
The night was dark with a thousand stars and we slept like logs, ready to tackle the next phase of driving.