Tag Archives: Cranford

Playa Bowls

GRAND OPENING!! Cranford is Crazy for Playa Bowls!!

 

Cranford is crazy for Playa Bowls and our newest Playa Bowl spot just opened at 102B North Union Avenue! The smell of the salty air, the waves crashing, the sound of seagulls, the wind in your hair…anyone who has been to this blissful place knows that you are immediately transported back to the shore! Not only is Playa Bowls known for their fabulous acai bowls and smoothies, but it’s how they have recreated the feel at the beach that keeps everyone coming back for more!

 

Playa Bowls was founded in 2014 after owners Robert Guiliani and Abby Taylor discovered that the people of the Jersey Shore had yet to savor the nutritious and delicious acai bowls like they had discovered on their many surf trips to the West Coast. They went to work to create their own version of a healthy acai bowl at small stand at the corner of 8th Ave and Ocean Ave in Belmar, New Jersey. Of course, they were an immediate sensation and soon after they opened their first store right behind the original stand!

 

Playa Bowls is now known throughout New Jersey and they have expanded into Rutgers Campus and up into North Jersey! Abby is so excited that they have been so welcomed throughout the state as more cities are going “bowls deep”! Abby described for me how much conscious selection goes into each and every ingredient in their bowls, smoothies, and other menu items. She said, “We have the best quality around – we don’t blend our acai with anything else to add sugar!” Abby also contributes the success to the “vibe” inside each and every Playa Bowls. She said that it’s truly a “culture” – people want to order and then actually hang out because of the “chill atmosphere”.

 

Playa Bowls is now a franchise and the Cranford restaurant is owned by Alan Valenti and nephew Stephen Valenti of Morristown’s Olive Lucy’s Kitchen Table. They are excited to bring Playa Bowls to Cranford! Alan initially fell in love with this acai shop as a customer. He wanted to pursue the franchise and his wife, Allison (originally from Cranford), drew him into this close-knit community. Alan and Stephen see Cranford as an “up and coming town” and love the momentum of the small businesses in downtown. (Hat tip to our fabulous Downtown Management Corp!!)  From families to young professionals – it’s truly the best town to introduce a hot new spot!

 

From our conversation, it was evident that Alan is excited about this venture. He mentioned that their acai bowls only have 10 grams of sugar and the highest quality of acai that no one else is providing. It’s such a thick acai bowl and “once you have your first bite you can taste the difference!” Playa Bowls appeals to those who are health conscious. You can add the best ingredients such as fruit, coconut, Nutella, pitaya, and chia! They will abe providing Fall Bowls all season long! Customers can add autumn flavors to their smoothies and bowls such as pumpkin granola, pumpkin butter, cinnamon, and caramel apple!

 

Alan feels that Playa Bowls is a big family and loves that Abby and Robert are 100% “hands on” with every store that they open. Abby does all the artwork for each and every Playa Bowls. Alan commented that her pieces are “beautiful and personalized for each store” – you will never see the same thing twice! Each creation of Abby’s is unique for a particular town and their energy! Even the flooring and lighting at the Cranford shop will be different and customized for Cranford!

 

Alan, Stephen, Rob, and Abby look forward to being a “part of the fabric of the community” of Cranford. I know that the area will be flocking to their gorgeous, beachy shop! Make sure you keep updated with their stunning Instagram feed and posts at playabowlscranford ! We are all ready to “go bowls deep”!

If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it:
Fish Stand

Cranford Fish Stand: Fresh, Sustainable, and Local!

Fish StandEveryone is excited for the opening of Cranford Fish Stand, located at 200 South Avenue East, this Thursday, October 19! We spoke with owners Jill Sabochick, John Sabochick, and Kevin Pipchick earlier this summer to find out how they differ from other markets, why they chose Cranford, and how they plan on making fish fun! While talking over coffee about this new fish adventure – I quickly realized that this group of friends are seriously having a great time working together! Jill, John, and Kevin all worked at a small business software company prior to 2014. They moved around from city to city together and finally ended up in Jersey City! While living in JC, the friends realized that they craved fresh seafood. Fish markets in NYC were in an abundance, but they found a lack of fresh fish in this downtown area. John commented, “We just said, we should do this!”

 

They all wanted to provide a product that was sustainably sourced. They found local people in the industry who were able to inform them where the fish came from and where it was caught. Since everyone was in a small business together, their entrepreneurial spirit was a huge asset! The friends began their fish business at the local farmer’s market in Jersey City. Their fresh product became in high demand and the business expanded in 2015. They opened up their first store, Jersey City Fish Stand, approximately one and a half years ago. Because of the popularity of fish markets and consumers craving to know more about where their meals come from – Jersey City Fish Stand was recognized locally in a Summer 2017 issue of USA Today!

Cranford Fish Stand

 

The owners are now ready to take their exploding business to other areas of New Jersey and Cranford is lucky enough to be the site of their second store! Jill attributes the popularity of the fish market business to the fact that “people are obsessed with sustainably-sourced fish –where it came from and how it was caught.” “The industry is so interesting right now with customers wanting to be informed with purchases!” she remarked. The goal for their Cranford Fish Stand is to truly provide the customer with a unique shopping experience.

 

They want you to embrace the concept that “fish is fun!” There are so many types of fish to encounter, that over the course of the year -over 200 could make their debut at Cranford Fish Stand! The menu will rotate based on the season and “what’s catching”. John explained that there are a lot of fisheries that they work with and they hand select from those distribution sites. “Everything is provided fresh, never frozen. We only bring in enough to sell within 24 hours. This is what makes us very unique – the fact that our menu is changing daily!”

Their staples will be salmon, bass, and scallops. Clams and oysters will often come from Barnegat Bay, NJ as well as other fisheries in Point Pleasant and South Jersey. The owners will supplement local fish with selections from Southern Atlantic, Gulf, West Coast, and Alaskan fisheries. Each day there will be approximately a dozen varieties in their front case.

 

So, what can you, the customer, expect when you walk through the doors of Cranford Fish Stand? Jill remarked that they want you to have a “personal walk-through experience”. The employees will guide you through your selection, the origination of the catch, and provide cooking techniques for each choice! She commented, “It’s a true personal shopping experience when you walk in the door – with fish!”

 

Fish StandCranford Fish Stand will also have specialty grocery items and oven-ready, prepared sides. Customers will be able to select side dishes, produce, marinades, soups, dips, and spreads. The owners want you to enjoy one-stop shopping for your meal. Once your fish has been chosen, you will be able to leave the store with everything that will complement the highlight of the meal! Jill commented that “people may not know that seafood is extremely easy to cook. We make it so you can choose a simple recipe or a more intricate version!”

 

Why did they choose their second location to be in Downtown Cranford? “We chose Cranford because it was a destination spot”, mentioned Kevin. It just so happens that Kevin grew up in Cranford and his family and friends still reside here! However, it wasn’t just the hometown draw that landed them their fish market in quintessential Cranford. Kevin commented that the “cultural and food scene is thriving!” “Everyone, young and old, is invested in the town. Small businesses are welcome and everything is local and unique. Hopefully the trend will continue on an upward swing! We feel the town will support us in this movement and this is our total motivation!”

 

Please join Jill, John, and Kevin as they open their doors to Cranford this Thursday, October 19. All information can be found at their Facebook Page, Cranford Fish Stand FB. There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony that begins at 4:00 pm followed by a reception from 5:00 until 7:00 pm. New customers can enjoy light hors d’oeuvres, prizes, and of course…FISH!! The fun of fish is picking it out – let them make it an experience for you! In Cranford – everything is fresh, sustainable, and local!

If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it:
Porchfest 2017

Cranford Porchfest 2017: 24 Bands, 8 Porches, 1 Epic Celebration! 10/21/17 2-5pm

Porchfest 2017

I am so very excited that Cranford Porchfest is almost here and  even more thrilled MY PORCH is going to be part of this momentous event! How could I resist when I love this town and an epic collaborative music event is making its inaugural debut! My whole family, including my dog Lucy, has geared up to get our porch ready for three amazing bands in three hours! I sat down again with Randy Geis from Cranford Community Connection to find out everything concert-goers need to know for October 21. Here’s what to expect for the day of the event, how to plan your porch time, and what artists will be featured on the big day!

 

Randy explained that this is a FREE musical event and completely powered by the “do-it-yourself” concept. It is orchestrated by local volunteers, space provided by homeowners, entertainment performed by musicians donating their time, and a day enjoyed by the community! He commented that “every porch host, performer, and attendee is a co-creator and real-time manager of the event.” It’s meant to be an afternoon of families walking around Cranford “enjoying time together and the music we have put together.”

 

Porchfest 2017How to Plan Your Afternoon: Cranford Porchfest 2017 will take place on Saturday, October 21 starting at 2:00 pm. You can view all of the musical groups and porch locations throughout Cranford here at their Interactive Porchfest Map. Simply click on an icon and see everything happening at a particular home! Keep this map handy and use on your mobile device for the day of the event. Make sure you leave your home in plenty of time to make the first musical acts that start at 2:00 pm and then find what other performers you would like to watch at 3:00 and 4:00 pm! There will be 8 porches participating in Cranford Porchfest with 3 performances at each home. The set up and take down will all occur within the hour. At 5:30 pm the “big act” will perform at Eastman Plaza in front of Track 5 Coffee! (more about that at the end of the article). The road right in front of Track 5 Coffee will be blocked for this performance in order to accommodate the large crowd.

 

What to Bring: There will be no streets closed during the concerts, no outside food vendors brought in, and no souvenirs for sale. The committee encourages everyone to put a chair on their back, bring a stroller, ride a bike, run, or walk the town! They are committed to the sharing of public space! The Cranford Community Connection and Cranford Police would like to remind everyone that this is a family event and public alcohol consumption laws still apply. You are welcome to pack a picnic lunch and enjoy throughout the day. Please keep in mind that these are neighbors’ homes – so please take your trash with you!

 

There will be increased police presence during the day and areas directly in front of each participating house will be sectioned off to allow groups of people to enjoy the music. Each house will have a yard sign saying “Future Cranford Porchfest Location”. If you have any questions at all, you can quickly identify a Porchfest Staff member by their black “Roadies” t-shirt!

Performers: The Porchfest committee has been spotlighting performers on their Cranford Porchfest Facebook Page. They received an outpouring of applications over the summer and are pleased to announce an amazing variety of musical acts. In the mix of performers are artists in the areas of Rock, Folk, Blues, Piano, Irish Rock, Motown, Guitar, Song Writers, and DJs. Some band/solo highlights are Lovehandles, Tam Garcia, Dave D’Amico, Binge, Atomic Jam Band, and Elan Varner. Check out their inspiring stories throughout the different posts! At my porch you can find the highly anticipated Tom Molfetto, Vin Moretti, and Band Substances. The crew at my house can’t wait to hear all of them – and maybe Lucy will surprise everyone with her own one hit wonder!

 

The grand finale of the evening will Cranford’s own Alden Street Band playing at 5:30 pm at the Clocktower at Eastman Plaza! After enjoying the music at the porches, everyone is invited to come together to enjoy this local band! They will be playing your favorite classic rock and pop cover songs. What a way to go out with a bang!

 

Everything you need to know for Cranford Porchfest 2017 is at their website at Cranford Porchfest Website – including the interactive map! The best advice Randy gave was to plan your day and try to visit different porches in town. The committee consciously chose porches within the four quadrants of town – so make it a point to tour Cranford! I can’t wait to see all of your pictures throughout the day using #cranfordporchfest and of course, #coolerincranford! Don’t forget to visit my porch at 7 Hamilton Avenue! The whole community is excited to be out and about in this glorious fall weather and enjoying “24 Bands, 8 Porches, 1 Epic Celebration”!

If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it:
005-250026-IMG_4726-Edit_5643482

Charming 4BR Cranford Colonial Just Steps From Downtown!

Charm and character abound in this beautiful 4 br 3 full bath Colonial home with loads of curb appeal and a great flow for entertaining. A few short blocks from the Cranford train station and vibrant downtown!

OPEN HOUSE SUNDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2017 FROM 1-4PM

 

We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 3420815 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.

If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it:
Embellish

Cranford’s Embellish is Your Pinterest Project Dream Shop

EmbellishAt the height of the handmade craft frenzy where people can see something on Pinterest and bring it to life – Donna Del Guercio of the former “Belladonna’s Yarn Room and Interiors” brings you her new store, “Embellish”. You’ll be spending quite a bit of time in this store, located at 106 North Union Avenue in Downtown Cranford. Donna is set to open on Thursday, September 28! This is a one-stop crafting experience and unique to Cranford. From crocheting, to paper crafts, to large appliqued letters to decoupage – you will take delight in spending some quality crafting time at Embellish!

 

Donna had her highly popular and Cranford renowned fabric and furnishings store “Belladonna’s” but decided to take her creative side and her business in a new direction. Donna wanted to “reimagine the store as something else”. It was time for a change and to bring something to Cranford that was unique and in high demand! I sat down with Donna in the shop, which had already transformed itself into a crafters paradise, to find out what you have the opportunity to create in a few weeks!

You may see something on Pinterest and realize that you don’t have the correct materials or tools. This store exists to provide you a space to create anything and everything you want – from unique gifts, wall decals, birthday banners, signs, and embellished totes. Anything that you can think of – Embellish probably has all the equipment you need to make it a reality!

The highlight of the store is “AccuCut” – a machine that is known for its brilliant die-cutting ability. Donna began showing me the massive collection of templates that cuts plastic, cardboard, and other materials. The possibilities are endless with this equipment – perfect for die-cut personalized picture books, photo albums, journals, scrapbooks, party favor boxes, wall decals, and huge letters fit for decoupage.

Get ready for the holiday season now! The same old gifts at department stores are boring! Find the perfect gift for teachers, co-workers, employees, family members – all unique and individually designed by you! Wreaths, cards, and ornaments can be personalized and carefully handcrafted.

Speaking of events…Embellish will offer group classes focusing on a particular holiday. Donna hopes to have a preset group of classes that will be offered 3-4 times a week! Halloween/Fall crafts will include favor boxes, wreath making, floral arrangement demos, and crocheting scarfs. Winter/Holiday crafts will include ornaments, cowl scarf kits, favor boxes, table setting crafts, and homemade holiday cards! She has everything to make your holiday come to life with paper crafts and adornments! Embellish will also offer custom gift wrapping and custom favor boxes for those who are in a time crunch and need some crafty help!

Everything that is made during the seasonal classes will be available for purchase in the shop! Donna will have pre-made kits that you can take home and create on your own time! Since Donna used to be a storefront decorator – her store will be a gifters delight with all of the creations for you to “see and shop”!

 

EmbellishDonna will continue to provide her fans with knitting and crocheting classes! Sign up for “Beginning Knitting” on Tuesday nights: 10/3, 10/10, 10/17 and 10/24 from 6:30-8:00 pm. “Beginning Crochet” will be taught on Wednesday nights: 10/4, 10/11, 10/18 and 10/25 from 6:30-8:00 pm. The cost is $100 for four sessions. Call the store at 908-272-8100 or send Donna an email at [email protected]. Space is limited!

 

She will bring in guest “teachers” from time to time to instruct participants on a special craft item or method. Also, a brilliant corner of the shop is adorned with buttons, beads, and necklace/bracelet fastener for those individuals who want to learn to create their own jewelry! It’s truly a maker’s delight! For the future, Donna would like to be host to Ladies Night Out and BYOB gathering at Embellish where you can reunite with friends over crafting for a particular holiday or event!

 

EmbellishWhat makes Embellish so unique? Donna is opening this new shop to be a boutique crafting experience for you – the customer. It’s not just pre-made designs – but catering to a seasonal design that you would like to sit down and create! Better yet – the inspiration for her store is her little sister, Nicole, who recently passed away and who was “one of the most creative people”. In honor of Nicole, Donna is starting a foundation called the “pixiemagic”. Her sister was “the most generous person” and therefore 10% of each sale at Embellish will go toward this foundation which will reach out and benefit local charities to make a “real difference in individual’s lives”. This crafty store is going to be around for a long time – imagine all the possibilities that you can dream up and “embellish”! Craft away my friends! Be sure and stop by Thursday, September 28 from 9:00 am– 5:00 pm and tell Donna “hello”!

If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it:
Perrotti's Cranford

Perrotti’s: 50 Years as Cranford’s Small Town Treasure!

Perrotti's CranfordThere are certain places that just epitomize “small town.” The barber shop that’s been cutting hair for generations…the ice creamery that still churns its ice cream from scratch…and of course, the local butcher. Cranford happens to be home to one of the best old-fashioned butcher shops you’ll find anywhere: Perrotti’s.

For almost 50 years, Perrotti’s Quality Meats has been the neighborhood butcher shop where locals go for quality meats and prepared foods. Brothers Mario and David Perrotti learned the art of butchering after emigrating from Italy to Elizabeth, NJ, where they worked in a pork store for years. In 1967, they opened their own shop in Cranford, 23 South Union Avenue at the corner of South Union Ave. and Cherry Street, and have been operating as a family business in that very spot ever since.

 

It just so happens that my mailer coming out next week of Stephen D’Amato’s painting of Perrotti’s and their upcoming 50th Anniversary coincide! That’s right – the store opened on October 18, 1967 and it’s a huge year for celebrating! I caught up with Nick Perrotti, David’s son and current owner with his brother, Dave, to find out what makes Perrotti’s such a town favorite and how they are going to do to celebrate their “golden anniversary”.

 

Besides having the finest quality meats around – it’s one-stop shopping for a family meal once you enter the store. Coming in for the perfect side dish is what keeps the door revolving at Perrotti’s. The family grew up in a household where guests were always served homemade food and family gatherings were a feast. They learned the art of cooking for a large family from their mothers and grandmothers and knew that you didn’t just serve a plate of meat – the sides were equally as important. “You are walking into my home when you walk into here,” said Nick.

What started out as a “butchering business” evolved into customers coming in for the entire meal. The staples are their homemade marinara sauce, cheesy mashed potatoes, meatballs in homemade tomato sauce, Eggplant Parmesan, stuffed shells, their famous lasagna, legendary rice pudding, and always fresh rolls. Perrotti’s takes the prep work out of the dinner dilemma and in thirty minutes or less you have a delicious four-course meal!

 

Perrotti’s draws you in because they represent customer service at its finest. Whether you visit the store every week or only around the holidays – they will all remember you, your name, and the last thing your ordered! Nick commented, “We have customers coming here since we first opened! Fourth generations of customers are even walking through these doors and that’s why we love Cranford – it’s such a great town and a close-knit community. My dad and uncle – they owe it to the people – they put out a good product – but word of mouth made this place a success. Neighbors telling neighbors – and that still happens today.”

 

Nick asks that you don’t be shy! He encourages you to ask for whatever you need: what side dish goes best with your meal, what you should cook for dinner, or what cut of meat is best for your recipe! They will gather all the ingredients and even tell you how to prepare your entire meal! If it’s your first time to the store, Nick says they’ll “give you a tour of the store and show you what we have to offer!” From giving cookies to your children, to carrying your bags out to the car, or calling when you meat has finally arrived – it’s home town service at every step! I visit on a weekly basis, and for that, my family is eternally grateful! As a matter of fact, my sister Aileen stops in EVERY time she visits from Maryland so she can stock up on the amazing homemade pierogies!

 

“We are involved in people’s lives here not because we HAVE to, but because we really like to be! Our customers like to stay and hang out with us!”

 

 

 

Perrotti's Cranford

 

Perrotti’s wants you to know that they will definitely be celebrating their 50th Anniversary. The original Mario and David will make an appearance in their white aprons on October 18. The rest of the week will be filled with free coffee, giveaways, and cookies. You can also commemorate the event and purchase custom-made shirts and sweatshirts or their traditional anniversary coffee mugs!

 

 

 

 

Of the Perrotti’s painting, Stephen said, “I went through a period of feeling intrigued about Cranford and what it meant for me to be a resident and to discover the history of Cranford, exploring these old buildings with so much charm and character that are still standing. Perrotti’s struck me as one of those hidden treasures of Cranford.”

 

Indeed, Perrotti’s is a treasure in every sense of the word, the kind you can only find in a very special town. Please don’t be shy next time you visit Perrotti’s – talk to Dave, Nick, Tony, or Jim and ask them a few questions or even how their day is going! You just might walk out with a four-course meal and some new best friends – I know I did!

 

You can find Perrotti’s on Facebook at PerrottisQualityMeats FB and at their website with a detailed listing of butcher items, prepared food, and deli selections: http://www.perrottiscranford.com/

If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it:

Cranford’s Yale Terrace Brewery: 25 Years in the Making!

Yale Terrace BreweryCranford residents and all surrounding towns began rejoicing at the very mention of Yale Terrace Brewery coming to town. The opening of a craft brewery right in the heart of town is pure joy to all! Craft beer lovers – your prayers have been answered. Welcome Yale Terrace Brewery to 26 Eastman Street.

 The Yale Terrace Brewery website is packed full of information at ytbrewery.com but I needed to know the information that wasn’t posted on social media. I met with Vinny Savinelli – longtime Cranford resident and beloved owner of Vinny’s Pizza and Pasta to get the real scoop. As he told me the story of how the brewery was created, it was immediately evident that brewing with his best buddies has been a life-long passion.

 

Vinny related that it all started on Yale Terrace in West Orange with four friends: Pete Merrigan (the brewmeister who has the ingredients down to a science), Tom Brisco (the first mate), Rob Jones (official beer lover and taste-tester), and himself (the most business-minded of the crew). They grew up together as children and have been best friends since 1992. “I was there every day since junior high school!” commented Vinny.

 “We all get together and brew – we experiment with many different things – all different grains and grain quality from Europe, Canada, Oregon, Washington, and New York.” He mentioned that they are “always brewing, mastering, and experimenting with new concepts”.

 “We are even putting berries in our beer! We love our wine-infused IPA – it’s absolutely fantastic!” exclaimed Vinny.

Yale Terrace Brewery 

All of their beers are named only by a number. Each number represents a house number on a street of someone close to them. It could be a friend, relative, or someone they met during the journey of growing up together. The number could also refer to a memory or experience that they had at one of those locations! The owners joke that these beers will make for great conversations with customers – trying to guess what each one means! Here’s a freebie: # 19 Morse Street has a special Cranford connection to one of the owners!

 

The brewery will always have their 4 core beers (just like their friendship). They are #17 Yale Terrace: Cream Ale, #26 Yale: Oatmeal Stout, #34 Yale Terrace: Vienna Lager, and #161 Main Street: IPA. You can meet all of these beers at their home website. Throughout the year they will frequently rotate seasonal beers and special brews– for up to 8 beers on tap at a time. “We have 24 beers that we are all proud of – and will rotate weekly!” Vinny’s personal favorite? A Scottish IPA with five different hops imported from Scotland – the hop extract is placed in the whirlpool at the end and he claims that it’s phenomenal!

 

Why did they choose Cranford for their brewery location? Aside from the fact that Vinny’s pizza parlor is next door, he mentioned that “it’s all about the community – most breweries are on back roads or warehouses. This is in the center of town and next to a commuter train station – it’s the ideal location! The response from Cranford and the whole area has been tremendous! The support has been great – from the community and local businesses.”

 

The majority of the extensive licensing process is complete so it’s full steam ahead for getting the brewery to open as soon as possible (they are hoping mid-September). The owners want everyone to know that this is not just a place to sit and drink! The plan is to be open at least 6 days a week. Customers can expect to have live music, trivia night, and sports games on the flat screen TVs throughout the room. They want to have classes on brewing beer starting with the fermentation process on the premises. They want people to come in empty-handed and they will walk you through the process of brewing. At the end of the experience you have created your own beer in their brewery. The owners will also conduct tours of the brewing process and hope for customers to come in to drink pints and go home with growlers!

 

The grand opening is going to be “major” according to Vinny. Craft beer lovers should anticipate giveaways of YTB merchandise, live music, and incredible food from Vinny’s. The first day will be “open for everyone to come – expect mayhem and craziness!”

 

Yale Terrace BreweryWhat can YOU do before the doors open soon? Their YTB green shirts are everything! If you don’t own one get it NOW! Head here: YTB Store. That shirt is your ticket to the hottest event in town and the key to getting VIP information before anyone else! Owner Rob Jones also has a VIP Member fundraising campaign found here: YTB GoFundMe. For a limited time, you can gain VIP status and earn reward levels ranging from YTB accessories to a personalized brewing session with you and your friends!

 

Want the most current events and brewery info at the touch of a button? Join the mailing list at YTB Website and like them on Facebook at YTB Facebook

 

Yale Terrace BreweryAt the end of the interview I realized that I wasn’t just excited for a craft brewery to be opening in Cranford, I was happy for these four owners. Vinny commented that “it’s crazy that the four of us get along so well!” It isn’t often that friends get to work together and create something that they’ve been doing for 25 years! I’m rooting for this town and the lifelong friendship of these four men. I have no doubt that the surrounding towns will embrace the brewery and the owners as well. So, when you visit YTB in the near future – raise a pint to these guys who have been “creating unique quality beers…from grain to glass”!

If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it:
GaGa Pits

Cranford is Going Gaga Over GaGa Pits!

Gaga PitsAnyone know what these things are? I didn’t either – but I HAD to find out because one magically on a Sunday afternoon at Orange Avenue Pool! Adults were scratching their heads and kids were screaming with delight! You’re about to reach a new level of “cool” with the kids because I’m about to school you on the game of GaGa and how a community came together to give Cranford the hottest new pastime for children!

According to the GaGa Center, “GaGa is a fast paced, high energy sport played in an octagonal pit. The more players the better! Dubbed a kinder gentler version of dodge ball, the game is played with a soft foam ball, and combines the skills of dodging, striking, running, and jumping, while trying to hit opponents with a ball below the knees. Players need to keep moving to avoid getting hit by the ball. Fun and easy, everyone gets a serious workout.”

Remember dodge ball in gym? I believe that’s pretty much banned now so they had to reinvent the wheel! With GaGa, about 10 children enter the “pit” and have to avoid being hit by the foam ball. Last player standing, wins. Then it starts all over again. I hear it’s quite addicting! For reference or if you want to look “cool at the pool” – here are some “official” rules that I found online. Of course, our Cranford kids may make up their own “house rules”!  GaGa Official Rules

So how did the GaGa Pit come to Cranford? News travels, folks! The GaGa Pit was constructed Sunday, July 9 and I had the name and number of the “head honcho” within the hour. I called up local Cranford resident, Frank Klapinski to find out how this phenomenon came to be at Orange Avenue Pool.

The story that unfolded is the very reason I love our town. Someone comes up with an idea for the community and, with the power of the people and the kindness of their hearts, it just gets done! Frank and some other local fathers had been to a cub scout event at Camp Speers in Dingmans Ferry, PA. Everyone had a blast with this new GaGa Pit and they all thought, “We need to do this! We have to bring this to Cranford!”

Upon arrival to Cranford, a “team” was assembled and their feet hit the ground running. They scoured the internet and found their desired pit design. Around Memorial Day the team called and met with the Director of Cranford’s Recreation & Park’s Department, Steve Robertazzi. Everyone put their heads together to come up with the perfect spot for the pit. The old tether ball court in the back corner of Orange Avenue Pool seemed like the perfect spot for this new addition! The group continued to meet to develop the plan, fundraise, and construct their materials list.

When they say, “It takes a village” – it truly did in this case! All of the pressure-treated wood came from Home Depot. The fathers and their children met during two nights off and cut the wood and preassembled walls. The Orange Avenue Pool staff, DPW, and the GaGa team took out the preexisting asphalt court and prepped the area for the arrival of the pit. Then all of the pieces were transported to Orange Avenue in pickup trucks that the fathers’ owned. Finally, on Sunday, July 9, they assembled the GaGa Pit in about two hours!

The children who knew about the game GaGa were very excited and soon began teaching the other children at the pool. Everyone came to watch this new game being played! Frank commented that the attraction of the game is that all age groups can be included and the “simple, unstructured rules” are appealing. “It keeps kids constantly active!”

Frank said that this project was a lot of fun. He mentioned, “We had a lot of cooperation – the dads were very excited.” This “GaGa team” (including Frank) consisted of all Cranford dads: Dave Mehr, Steve Kelly, Keith Muccigrosso, Andrew Soytka, Dominick Lanzisera, Cameron Andre, Greg Wofsy, Craig Sjursen, Robert Kelly, Chris Bath, and Joe Uglialoro.

Frank wanted to add a note of thanks to Cranford’s Steve Robertazzi and the pool staff, the DPW, Pat Giblin for supporting the idea, and the spouses for supporting the dads and their idea! He mentioned that the whole GaGa team is “happy to donate a small, fun thing back to Cranford!”

Okay folks – there it is! Read the rules and head over to the pool! See what all the fuss is about! It’s bound to be a great summer over there! Thanks Cranford dads for taking action and adding to our wonderful town. Who knows – you may start seeing more GaGa Pits popping up in unexpected places!

If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it:
Welcome Home!

Gorgeous Riverfront Home In Cranford, NJ! $665,000

Cranford NJ Home For SaleThe minute you step foot on this special property, you’ll NEVER want to leave! Located on one of Cranford’s prettiest streets, this classic colonial has curb appeal in spades. The entire first floor has newly installed hardwood floors, thick chestnut trim, and oversized windows that let sunlight pour in. Relax in the spacious living room with wood-burning fireplace and a stunning view of the gorgeous grounds and Rahway River. The dining room opens into a totally updated kitchen with granite countertops, ample cabinetry, recessed lighting, and stainless steel appliances. A cozy sun room and powder room complete the first floor. Just off the kitchen, a brick patio extends the entertaining space outdoors, where the parklike backyard and welcoming gazebo at the water’s edge make every day feel like a vacation. The second level offers two good-sized bedrooms, an updated full bath, and a spacious master suite with vaulted ceilings, skylights, walk-in closet plus a double closet, and en suite full bath. The living space continues in the walk-up attic with finished office/4th bedroom and two large storage rooms. Laundry is located in the full basement along with ample storage space. With multiple zone heating and central air, a detached garage, million-dollar views from almost every room, and an unbeatable location close to top schools, parks, and Downtown Cranford … this home has it ALL!

 CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE PHOTOS AND FLOORPLANS!

*This property is listed for $665,000 with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Westfield West Office 908-233-0065. 

Fill in the form below to schedule your personal tour:

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your Phone Number (optional)

Subject

Your Message

captcha

If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it:
The Nearly NewYorkers

The Nearly NewYorkers… A Cranford Culinary Workshop

Let’s face it–everyone loves to EAT, but not everyone loves to cook or knows how to do it well! Two savvy Cranford mothers came together to launch The Nearly NewYorkers, a culinary workshop that will light up your kitchen, enhance your cooking techniques, and bring your loved ones together for an evening of full bellies and lively conversation. 

 

Erin Reilly and Sydney O’Hagan both were born elsewhere and found themselves living in Manhattan. With all the joys and changes that children bring, they independently took the big leap and decided to move to the suburbs and each fell in love with Cranford…and the very same street. Sydney moved to Cranford in 2014, while Erin and her family moved in the following year, and Erin said, “We got along really well right away.”   

As Erin and Sydney’s friendship grew, they found they had a mutual love for wine, food, adventure dreaming, running, and travel. They started training together for a half marathon, and during the long runs they’d pick topics to discuss. On one such occasion, “dream vacations” was the discussion … for 11 miles. Each took her turn, and Sydney revealed her secret desire was to attend a culinary workshop hosted by renowned food writer and French chef Mimi Thorisson. Later that night Sydney sent Erin the details of the workshop: it would take place the Thorisson family’s 19th century, 27-room, sprawling French chateau nestled in the countryside of Médoc, France. (Discover Mimi’s stunning blog at thttp://mimithorisson.com/). With Sydney being the “dreamer” and Erin the “doer,” the trip was decided! It took a year of planning and funding along with a whole lot of support from friends and family, but soon they found themselves ready to board a plane to France!

The four-day workshop in the gorgeous French countryside was a dream come true for both of these moms as they sampled the very best of French wine and food and learned to create phenomenal dishes. Sydney shared, “We had an incredible time and we came home and were like” –as Erin finished her sentence–“it just followed us, the feeling. We had all this stuff we brought home … we thought we should have a dinner where we bring France home to everyone!” “As a thank you to them,” Erin added. “We tried to emulate what Mimi did.”

The concept of their business was easy. Sydney mentioned, “We constantly share meals with each other–eating each other’s food all the time. We know how the other person cooks.” The two families are always together eating lunches, snacks at the pool, dinner prep collaborations–the total advantage of living so close! They set out to create their workshop, focusing on what they thought was current and poignant to today’s households. Erin said, “This was a combination of the two interests – entertaining in a beautiful way to make people feel loved and special … and a workshop where we can teach people how to do something and maybe make it a little more easy, or fun, or try something they’ve never tried before.”

Why the name The Nearly NewYorkers? Don’t be offended thinking that they live in the suburbs yet are longing for their old NYC life. Just the opposite. They are loving the location of Cranford in such a rich, cultural environment. “You can have the best of all worlds here,” they agreed.

Their concentration is spot-on; how to cook meals using fresh and wholesome ingredients and stretch your dollar as far as it can go. They both grew up being taught that you “don’t throw things away – no one has the budget for it.” Sydney added that they want to teach you “how to use a product and get the most out of it.” And cooking novices need not fret; Erin said, “We’re not technical – we try to be ‘easy’ and ‘useful.’”  

The Nearly NewYorkers

Their first workshop focused on cooking with CSA produce, and the feedback they received from attendees was glowing. Erin said, “After our first night – it was literally roaring in here — everyone having such a good time– it was exactly as we wanted it to be! We want them to come in and be chilled out – have a cocktail and get to know each other.”

Have I piqued your interest now? Go to www.nearlynewyorkers.com and click on “Workshops.” Each workshop costs $40 ($5 off if you bring a friend) and includes cocktails and food pairing, cooking demonstrations, hands-on food prep, learning how to extend the ingredients into other meals, and an adorable take-home recipe package. These intimate workshops are held at Erin’s beautifully renovated Cranford home with an open concept great room that opens into a picturesque backyard deck and outdoor space perfect for entertaining!

Now here’s the scoop for what’s in store for the summer:

Canning and Fermentation Workshop (July 15): You’ll sample cocktails based on the theme – we’re talking Bloody Marys and “Red Beer” (secret recipe from Sydney’s mother!). Learn how to make homemade kombucha, pickled vegetables, kimchi, and sourdough bread. You’ll come away learning the entire canning process for preserving fruits/vegetables and how to store those more difficult liquids (broths, soups). Expect a memorable dessert – a little birdie mentioned sourdough waffles …  yum!

Back to School Lunches and Dinners Workshop (August 26): “Our kids like to cook and are adventurous eaters – they are interested in food. If they make it, they are more prone to eat it. School lunches are a good opportunity to engage kids in their food.” This workshop will focus on how to give kids their “protein” when many schools are nut-free, how to prepare fun bento-style lunches versus boring sandwiches, how to make the most of meal-prep Sundays, and “what tools are essential, and how to really stretch your dollar.”

  

What’s their vision for the future: bridal showers, Couples Night, Kids Baking Parties, Cooking Essentials for New Parents, What Every Newlywed Needs to Know, and more. And while their gorgeous and inviting homes are perfect for the intimate gatherings they currently offer, their big dreams may lead to their own commercial space one day. In the meantime – it’s another brilliant concept put into place by two moms with small kids who dreamt big and made it happen.

“Food is the central thing to everything– how we show our family we love them, how we entertain, how we take care of people. That’s how I want people to feel making food with us – they feel welcome, warm and special.”

Let The Nearly NewYorkers help you be the cook and entertainer you always dreamed to be!

 

If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it: