BRICKS & MORTAR: A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT

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There’s a peaceful, practical magic associated with a river. Stand on its banks and the spirit surrounds you: the soothing burble and rush; the rhythmic, shifting movement; the sense of time ceaselessly ebbing and flowing. This natural alchemy can be seen in the towns that have cropped up along these ever-changing bodies of water, too—and in New Jersey’s stretch of the Delaware River, the waterside gems of Lambertville, Stockton, and Frenchtown are among the area’s best-kept secrets for just this reason … and so many more.

Whether you’re a local whose family has called it home for generations; a weekend warrior from a nearby metropolis; a day-tripper searching for treasures; or someone seeking out the best breakfast this side of the Delaware, these distinct towns offer a return to a simpler, sweeter way of life. And with summer on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to explore these picturesque spots beyond Princeton, brimming with things to do, see, and indulge in. Happy trails. —Jennifer P. Henderson (photographs by Jess Blackwell)

LAMBERTVILLE
The lowdown: Perhaps it’s the beautifully preserved 12-foot-wide Victorian and Federal-style row homes that line this quaint town’s narrow streets. Or the warm and welcoming community of artisans and craftsmen whose one-of-a-kind stores, galleries, and restaurants make it a cultural and culinary destination. Or maybe it’s simply the feeling you get the moment you turn onto Bridge Street: because entering Lambertville is like taking a serendipitous step back in time.

What to indulge in: Start off with a visit to Rojo’s Roastery (1) for a fresh-brewed cuppa and then make breakfast a must at Sneddon’s Luncheonette (2) (order a side of griddled corn muffins) or Full Moon Cafe for one of the establishment’s famous Eggs Benedict concoctions. Next up, lunch, and decisions, decisions: a wood-fired pie at Liberty Hall Pizza; Texas-style wood-smoked barbecue at More Than Q (3); traditionally prepared Oaxacan tacos at Tacos Cancun; or a table along the canal at the historic Inn at Lambertville Station (4). Best midday snack ever: a double scoop at oWowCow Creamery, named one of the best ice cream shops in New Jersey. From there, it’s a hop, skip, and a happy-hour jump to The Boat House, where the art of the handcrafted cocktail is alive and well. For dinner, tuck into homemade pasta and classic Italian desserts (the cannoli is beyond) at DeAnna’s Restaurant or Hamilton’s Grill Room, where the menu changes daily to feature seasonal offerings from local farms and butchers. Finally, don’t forget to pop in at Anton’s at the Swan for après-dinner drinks.

What to see and do: Work off that sweet-honey-cream cone with a hike, bike, walk, or kayak along the Lambertville stretch of the Delaware and Raritan Canal towpath. After your nature excursion, head over to Zanya Spa Salon (5) for a manicure, pedicure, massage, or cut and color with one of the stellar stylists. And beginning June 2 through September 2, 2017, experience Lambertville’s First Friday Celebration, including a gorgeous fireworks presentation along the banks of the Delaware; special events and promotions at area boutiques and restaurants; and the First Friday Art Crawl with exclusive exhibitions and refreshments at select galleries.

Where to shop: So many stores, so little time. Peruse the stacks, racks, and displays of treasures at the legendary antiques mecca The People’s Store (6). Place your bid on everything from fine and decorative art to furnishings and jewelry at the famed Rago Arts and Auction Center. Browse the thoughtfully curated sartorial collection at Greene Street consignment. Panoply Books (7) thrills with its array of unusual, offbeat, rare, and out-of-print books, and vintage vinyl, art, and cultural ephemera. Bucks County Dry Goods (8) is the best of both worlds, offering a mélange of mid-century antiques, local artwork, and contemporary fashion and accessories. Explore the modern-meets-cottage home furnishings and lifestyle store Blue Raccoon (9) or tap into Zinc Home and Garden’s (10) industrial-farmhouse vibe.

STOCKTON
The lowdown: This tiny Delaware River town may be small in size—0.6 square miles to be exact—but it’s big on old-world charm. Established in the mid-1800s, Stockton specializes in acclaimed contemporary cuisine with a nod to the area’s rich history, along with parks and protected green space perfect for hiking, picnicking, rafting, and bird-watching to your heart’s content.

What to indulge in: At the very heart of town is the Stockton Inn (1). Once a private residence (and a speakeasy) dating back to 1710, it now houses a recently renovated restaurant and the Dog & Deer Tavern bar (2) (read: the only establishment in town with a liquor license), which both offer acclaimed contemporary American cuisine with a side of authentic yesteryear ambience. Boasting a similarly storied background—rumor has it that former first POTUS George Washington once rested his boots here—The Sergeantsville Inn is known for its fine dining, including its vast array of entrées and delicious staples, like the tomato bisque. For less-formal food options, Via Ponte’s traditional Sicilian dishes and brick-oven pizza are molto buono, along with the aptly named Cravings, the perfect spot for breakfast, lunch, or an ice cream cone, located just off the towpath between the center of town and Prallsville Mills.

Where to shop: Seek and ye shall find—unique wines, eclectic spirits, and craft beers, that is, when you swing by Stockton Fine Wines & Spirits (3) for a tasting and a chat with the owners, who know a thing or a two about everything from pinot noirs to DeuS Brut des Flandres. Foodies, get ready: The Stockton Market (4) is so much more than your typical farm store. A veritable trove of deliciousness, this year-round farmers’ market-grocery-café (with live music on Friday evenings) hosts a slate of local vendors who proffer their wares, from artisanal breads and gourmet chocolates to small-batch pasta and grass-fed meats to dried spices and handmade jewelry. Insider’s tip: A visit to the famous Sweet Melissa baked goods stall will have you whispering sweet nothings to the delicious display of cupcakes, cookies, and gorgeous cakes (even their icing is a work of art).

What to see and do: Dating back to 1720, the Prallsville Mills (5) complex comprises the original grist mill, a linseed oil mill, saw mill, and granary, and is now maintained by the Delaware River Mill Society as a cultural destination for art shows, history tours, live music, and yoga classes. A few miles north of the Prallsville Mills, a towpath leads to Bull’s Island State Park, where you can take a stroll along the walking bridge to Lumberville, PA. Keep your eyes open for the American flag affixed to the bridge girders: the flag was anonymously hung there after 9/11 and local residents have taken up the efforts to care for it. Farther down the D&R Canal Park towpath, in Titusville, you can get your American Revolution fix with a journey across the pedestrian bridge to Washington Crossing Historic Park, in Pennsylvania.

FRENCHTOWN
The lowdown: Situated on what is affectionately known as “New Jersey’s west coast,” the hamlet of Frenchtown is as quaint as they come, with a main street of specialty shops, restaurants, and art galleries surrounded by quiet streets dotted with beautiful Victorian-era homes. This laid-back little gem also is an unexpected creative enclave, with a vibrant community of artists of every medium.

What to indulge in: There’s no better place to begin in Frenchtown than Early Bird Espresso & Mercantile (1), for your caffeine fix (the house specialty: espresso, of course) and a freshly baked croissant. If you’re looking for gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan fare, the Pulp Café & Juice Bar (2) has a full menu of locally sourced foods, including juices and smoothies. Breakfast and lunch are a lock at the Frenchtown Café (3), where daily specials keep things deliciously interesting. If you’re hankering for pizza, Galasso’s Pizza & Restaurant is the answer with options including chicken parm, primavera, and traditional margherita pies. A converted warehouse is home to Lovin’ Oven (4), a delightful farm-to-table eatery that believes food is love. The historic Frenchtown Inn is ideal for special-occasion meals with a contemporary American and French–inspired menu. And no trip to town is complete without a sweet-tooth stop at Minette’s Candies, where confections like house-made truffles and coconut haystacks reign supreme.

Where to shop: Equal parts cool and quirky, the boutiques and shops of Frenchtown will guarantee you won’t go home empty-handed. Be sure to give yourself enough time to explore every nook, cranny, and treasure tucked inside Modern Love (5), the brilliantly curated paean to vintage and modern finds for women, men, and children. From book clubs, signings, and workshops, The Book Garden (6) is more than just the new and rare independent bookshop around the corner; it’s a gathering place for the community where everyone knows your name—and the title of the next great book you need to read. Crafters will find their blue heaven (and every other color of the rainbow) at The Spinnery (7), purveyors of all manner of knitting, spinning, weaving, and dying supplies, along with creative toys for kids and artisan-led classes.

What to see and do: With the picture-postcard-perfect Delaware River as its backdrop, much of Frenchtown’s fun can be had on or along the water. Delaware River Tubing offers easy and accessible tubing, rafting, kayaking, and canoeing, and reservations include a classic riverside BBQ meal, to boot. The Cycle Corner of Frenchtown makes exploring the area a breeze for visitors of all ages with two-hour and daily bike rentals. If staying on two feet is more your speed, tap into Frenchtown’s creative force with a paint-your-own session at Re-new Paint Studio. Little Engine Studio is a recently opened gathering spot for creators of all ages with classes, explorations, and other diversions. Don’t miss the exhibitions, installations, and film screenings at ArtYard, a gallery and creative incubator founded by resident artists, filmmakers, curators, and writers. And if you happen to find yourself in Frenchtown this July, embrace the local esprit de corps with themed events, store promotions, and restaurant specials in honor of the town’s Annual Bastille Day Fete.

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BRICKS & MORTAR: OFF THE RECORD WITH MITCH HENDERSON

Experience the full article with the Bricks & Mortar digital edition available now at callawayhenderson.com.

The Jadwin Gym basketball court is gleaming, buffed to a nearly blinding high gloss. “See that guy over there?” Princeton Men’s Basketball Coach Mitch Henderson says, gesturing to an older gentleman in a team jersey wiping down chairs set up along the sideline. “That’s George. He’s been here for 80 years. He’s the one who keeps these floors looking so nice. He’s an institution in this place.” Named the 2016 Ivy League coach of the year and one of 20 finalists for the coveted Jim Phelan Coach of the Year Award, Henderson, it seems, is poised to become something of an institution at Princeton too. But don’t let him hear you say that.

After a stellar run—undefeated in the Ivy League regular season, inaugural Ivy League Tournament champs, and losing a nail-biter of a game against Notre Dame in the first round of the NCAA Tournament—Henderson is back to rotating on his axis of campus life: from Jadwin Gym to Frist Campus Center to the quad outside Firestone Library (a favorite spot) and back again. The past year has been a long, rewarding, and exhausting journey for him and the team, and he acknowledges the accolades he’s received by giving the credit where he sees it’s due.

“It’s a nice honor, of course, but I think good players make good coaches,” he says. “They always thought they would win. Even when we took that last shot against Notre Dame, we all thought it was going in. So right now I’m just appreciating and enjoying what they did so much. I am very proud of them.”

From left: Henderson and wife Ashley in their mid-century-modern living room; the bright and airy kitchen.

Mitch Henderson’s Princeton story began long before he became part of the university coaching staff. As these things sometimes happen in this town, it all started with a trip to Conte’s. Recruited out of high school by the legendary Princeton basketball coach Pete Carril, the Indiana-born Henderson had played varsity baseball, too, and was being drafted by the New York Yankees. When the Yankees scout found out he had been accepted to Princeton, he told Henderson in no uncertain terms to go to school and then promptly hung up on him.

“On recruiting trips, almost everybody who came and played for Coach Carril would go to Conte’s,” Henderson says with a laugh. “He’d hold up a slice of pizza—his order was, I believe, onions, peppers, and a little bit of sausage—and if it stayed flat he’d say, ‘Now, that’s a good pizza.’ I remember it well, being there with him. I go there with him now too. To me, he’s the culture of Princeton basketball and he’s influenced me more than anybody else.”

After graduating in 1998, Henderson headed west, to San Francisco, and found himself a research associate sitting behind a desk and not exactly thrilled with his gig or with the thought of maybe heading off to business or law school. Then came the call from his former Princeton basketball coach, Bill Carmody, who’d coached Henderson as a junior and senior, and since then had taken the post of head coach at Northwestern University. Carmody offered him a position as assistant coach. The idea of doing something familiar with someone he admired was too good an opportunity to pass up.

“Right away, I realized coaching was extremely challenging, but I loved it,” he says. “You wear so many different hats: recruiting, mentoring, coaching the strategy, and relationships with the media and with families. Each day was different. I liked being in the work and trying to do my best. That really appealed to me.”

Then, more than a decade later, he was approached by his cherished alma mater to be head coach of the team he had played on for four years and saw through three NCAA Tournaments—and to return to the town that had been a mystery during his undergrad years but had nevertheless left an impression.

“When you’re a student here, you don’t leave campus that often. We played rock–paper–scissors to see who would go up to Halo Pub for chocolate shakes. We went to Wawa. Professors would invite us to their houses. But other than that, I didn’t know the town,” he says. “When you play here, though, the place never really leaves you. It really is part of who you are.”

From left: A Princeton Tiger holds court in the breakfast nook; the dining room with a view of Lake Carnegie.

Days later, when a photographer arrived at Henderson’s Littlebrook-neighborhood home, the door was thrown open by a small, curly headed mini-Mitch. The child grinned mischievously and took off, careening around the kitchen island to disappear through a doorway.

“This was a big year for Theo,” Henderson says, referring to his four-year-old son, who can now be heard bounding along the upstairs hallway with his younger sister, Pippa. “You tell him a number and he can tell you the name of the player. When he sees a 25 mph speed limit sign in Princeton, he goes, ‘There’s [forward] Steven Cook.’ I love that the players have embraced our kids. I think that’s a big part of coaching—integrating them into your own life.”

When Henderson and his wife, Ashley, an executive producer at the advertising agency BBDO New York, first arrived in Princeton, they were planning a wedding and looking for a home—and they didn’t know a soul. They settled on a 1920s-era, neoclassical-style home, two miles from campus with a picturesque view of Lake Carnegie. Finding their niche in the community also didn’t take long as they soon realized being part of the university and having a young family exposed them to all manner of interests, activities, and people in ways they’d not expected—or experienced before.

“As a student, I had no idea—the town is better than I ever thought it could be. And now I get to double dip as a university staff member,” he says with a smile. “In my professional career, I’ve seen town-gown relations and I think Princeton does it best. I love its diversity. And it all starts on Nassau Street: There’s growth but things stay the same; that’s the beauty of it.”

With the births of his children, Henderson has also come to understand the unique parallels between coaching and parenting.

“It’s not static; there’s no straight line. You’re constantly working at it, constantly bettering yourself, but I love the challenge,” he says. “With the players, there are conversations, just like parents have, about, ‘Did we do this right? How should we handle this?’ And I find that the more open-minded I am about being a good parent or being a good coach, the better it is.”

At the end of the day, whether he’s off on recruiting trips, showing incoming players the university he loves, running drills with his team, or enjoying runs along the university’s cross-country trail off of Washington Road and hikes with his kids in the Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve trails, he cherishes his time with the people he comes across living in town. For Henderson, being a part of the Princeton community is all about the people.

“Welcome to your opportunity to live out Cheers, where everyone knows your name,” he says with a chuckle. “That’s my favorite thing about Princeton: In community events, in local politics, in storms—it just feels like everybody is together and I love that. Having lived and worked in other spots, it’s all about your village, and Princeton has everything you’d want in a place to raise a family. I have friends who have kids in college now, and they say that they want to come back to Princeton, and I think that tells you everything.

You learn here, you grow here, but it’s still about the people. I really enjoy being part of a community and hopefully making an impact. There’s still so much to be done.” —Jennifer P. Henderson (photographs by Jess Blackwell)

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BRICKS & MORTAR: LOVE WHERE YOU LIVE

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Emily Mann is the artistic director of the Tony award–winning McCarter Theatre. Currently at work on a play about feminist icon Gloria Steinem’s life, for New York’s Lincoln Center Theater, she will next be seen directing the world premiere of Chris Durang’s Turning Off the Morning News, for the 2017–18 McCarter Theatre season. Here, she waxes poetic on the town she calls home.

“I have lived in Princeton since July of 1990. Princeton has such a smart, adventurous, and diverse audience, and so I’ve been able to write, direct, and produce a great variety of theater, ranging from the classic repertoire to adventurous new plays and musicals. Many of our productions start here and go on to Broadway and London and theaters around the country, and they garner awards. And because of the wonderful audience, I have been able to build a huge body of work as a writer and director over 27 years. And I have seen more great dance and heard more great music since I moved to Princeton than I ever did when I lived in New York City, thanks to Bill Lockwood [special programming director] and McCarter.

I often walk in Marquand Park, the woods behind the Institute for Advanced Study, and along the canal towpath. When I’m in production or rehearsal, I love to dash across the street and have a drink or small plate at the Dinky Bar & Kitchen or walk up to Witherspoon Street and have a coffee at Small World, lunch at Agricola, or dinner at La Mezzaluna. And I love spring here, when the town blooms—it’s a breathtaking experience. You see flowers everywhere. It’s as if people planted the flowering shrubs and trees for one another as a gift.

One night I looked around the dinner table, and I was sitting with people in business, in science, and in engineering; there was a poet, a novelist, and a classical scholar, and I thought I could not be with a more diverse or interesting group of people anywhere else in the world. Einstein called us ‘a small town of experts,’ and he was right. I love that about our community. We are chock-full of interesting people who love to get together.” —As told to Jennifer P. Henderson (photograph, above left, by Merri Cyr)

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BRICKS & MORTAR: SPRING AWAKENING

Experience the full article with the Bricks & Mortar digital edition available now at callawayhenderson.com.

As we spring ahead and turn the page on cold-weather hygge, we find ourselves celebrating the change brought by the warmer months, and, as Princeton designer Leslie Campbell suggests, giving in to our urge “to throw open the windows, fluff the cushions, and add some flowers.” With that in mind, we picked the stylish brains of six of our area’s most talented interior designers for their must-try trends for spring. This group’s beautifully diverse philosophies run the style gamut, from Katie Eastridge’s tailored glamour with rich color, classic lines, and modern art; to Bruce Norman Long’s classic style of proportion, balance, and decorum; to Judy King’s dynamic mosaic of pattern combined with the rustic and refined. The result: wonderfully fresh takes on color, design, and texture—with a dash of time-honored style to keep it all grounded. Here’s to sunnier days. —Rae Padulo

Photographs by Shelby Tewell and AJ Margulis

FLOWER POWER
Nature and her exuberant florals
These aren’t your grandma’s florals: Think large-scale patterns, vibrant blooms, and bold hues. From his offices in Bryn Mawr, PA, and Princeton, NJ, Bruce Norman Long sees “the return of great classic fabrics with exuberant florals and patterns from past decades being recolored and reintroduced.” Hopewell designer Shelby Tewell turns up the volume on a classic office chair with a lively floral print. And don’t forget those walls. “Wallpaper!” suggests Tewell. “It can turn any room into something jaw-dropping.” Case in point: the whimsical butterfly wallpaper of a dining room project by Pennington-based designer AJ Margulis—a happy tribute to Nature’s little creatures and colors. “Spring always brings on an urge for more pinks and greens … the colors of nature!” she declares. Afraid of print? Try Pantone’s color of the year: a fresh yellow-green called, appropriately, Greenery, to bring a little spring inside.

 

Photograph by Judy King

BEYOND THE PALE
Pastels move past the nursery
Pale pastels are having their moment. Long observes “the resurgence of pastels in paints and fabrics, such as soft coral-pinks, greens, and violets. I think some of these soft colors are replacing the ‘safety’ of off-whites and beiges. Pastels allow people to embrace color without being risky or bold.” Of the pales, Tewell says her clients are looking to “soft, soothing color to create a calm home environment, and balance the busy lives everyone is leading.” So pair them with muted neutrals for a soothing backdrop, as Judy King did in this ethereal foyer, or if you’re feeling adventurous: Punch up the pales with deeper hues for maximum impact.

 

Photograph by Katie Eastridge/Pam Connolly

GLEAM A LITTLE GLEAM
Modern metallics’ subtle sparkle
“Brass is back,” proclaims the Princeton-based King, who suggests the use of metallic accessories to allow the warm, reflective surfaces of golds, bronzes, and brass to bounce light around a room. An accessory is an easy-to-try element that can be incredibly impactful, like the gleaming coffee table in an elegant living room by Princeton’s Katie Eastridge. Today’s metallics are more subtle than those of yesteryear, and according to Margulis, soft brass finishes signify the return of sophisticated interiors—adding a bit of glamour and luxury to the overall design of a room.

 

Photographs by Leslie Campbell and Katie Eastridge/Pam Connolly

WOOD: THE NEW WHITE?
Trim goes dark
Though white woodwork has been de rigueur for many years, there’s been a recent turn toward darker trim, wainscoting, staircases, and furniture, and it’s been adding big impact and dramatic contrast to wall neutrals and pales. “Gorgeous, deeper woods—all balanced out against lots of white,” signals this welcome move to more sophisticated interiors, says Margulis. The trend toward lighter walls and darker woodwork is embraced by Campbell, too. “It is refreshing after so many years with nothing but white used for the woodwork.” Or use a deep tone for a room’s furniture, like Campbell’s dining room project. Afraid that very dark trim is too much of a commitment? Try a lighter shade, like Eastridge did with a delightful pale gray on the ceiling trusses in this Great Room space.

 

Photograph by Bruce Norman Long

CLOUD COVER
The balancing act of white and color
Like laundry draped across a clothesline, a brilliant white can give any space a fresh, clean look. Eastridge recommends balancing bright white with accents of your favorite colors. She uses the crisp combination of white and green as an example: “By combining neutrals and a bright white with a clean green background, a room is at once approachable and elegant.” A white-based palette can also allow a touch of bold color to sing, like the red piping and pillows in this master bedroom by Long. A timeless, simple backdrop to colorful wall art and bright accessories, crisp white is a unifier, no matter if your taste runs classic or contemporary, rustic or polished.

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HOME SWEET HOME … AND GUEST ROOM!

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Always one-of-a-kind at Blue Raccoon in Lambertville, NJ.

April showers bring May flowers… and maybe some house guests, too! A gentle bite from the spring cleaning bug and the seasonal turn toward outdoor entertaining comes just in time for the need to house friends and family for the graduations, celebrations, and holidays that May brings.

‘Tis the season to get our homes in order: to purge, freshen up, dust off the lounge chairs, plant some flowers, and maybe spruce up the joint with a special item or two. For some A-LIST home inspiration, check out these four local must-stop spots for the perfect finishing touch:

BLUE RACCOON: Lambertville, NJ

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Tucked in next to Hamilton’s Grill and The Boat House, an eclectic mix of goodies await at Blue Raccoon. Pairing one-of-a-kind finds with a modern aesthetic, this store is wall to wall with well-designed housewares, rugs, lighting, and supremely comfortable furniture pieces from top designers like Mitchell Gold. 6 Coryell Street, Lambertville, NJ 08530.

THE FARMHOUSE STORE PRINCETON: Princeton, NJ

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The Farmhouse Store Princeton

An NJ Monthly winner for “Best Home Furnishing Store”, The Farmhouse Store Princeton is a home lover’s delight. Thoughtful pieces, large and small, are showcased throughout, with special “Princeton” items featured as well.  Screen Shot 2017-05-23 at 11.40.48 AM

Some A-LIST favorites include a framed e=mc2 print and their collection of recently commissioned mugs. Furniture pieces from Joanna Gaines Magnolia Home are sold at the store, as well as Farmhouse favorite runners from rug company Dash & Albert. 43 Hulfish Street, Princeton, NJ 08542.

AMY KARYN HOME: Hopewell, NJ

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Amy Karyn Home. Photo Courtesy of MercerMe.

Inspired by antique French textiles, Amy Karyn began as a line of one-of-a-kind fabrics and pillows, and has grown over the years to an entire home collection. Her retail shops and full service design firm have been in Lambertville, New York City, and most recently in her newly opened shop in the heart of Hopewell Borough in a beautiful commercial space renovated by Brick Farm Market and Tavern owner Jon McConaughy. 38 East Broad Street, Hopewell, NJ 08525.

ASHTON-WHYTE: Pennington, NJ

FullSizeRenderSince 1995, Ashton-Whyte in the heart of Pennington has been a mainstay for the ideal wedding, baby, housewarming, you-name-it gift. From hurricane lamps, to cocktail dresses, chic jewelry to dreamy bedding, there’s always the perfect something at this upscale, classic boutique. 157 W Delaware Ave, Pennington, NJ 08534.

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NEXT STOP: THE DINKY BAR and KITCHEN

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“Meet you at the station” takes on a whole new meaning now that the Dinky Bar and Kitchen has rolled into town. Located in the historic stone station house of the former “Dinky” train that connects Princeton to the Princeton Junction station, this joint is jumping.

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As the new Arts and Transit neighborhood takes shape to transform University and community life with a cultural, social, and dining destination, the Dinky Bar and Kitchen’s  location adjacent to the Princeton campus makes this the perfect spot pre-McCarter Theatre, post work, for a weekend jaunt to town, and anytime in between.

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Inside this “sister bar” to Witherspoon Street’s farm-to-table hotspot Agricola, expect the same masterful attention to decor, as well as a clever and delicious menu of locally sourced, ingredient-driven snacks, small plates and more. The inviting bar features craft beer, unique cocktails and small production wines. Our A-LIST picks? The Pickled Deviled Eggs, the Kale and Arugula salad, and the Dinky Cheeseburger.

Watch below to see a behind-the-scenes look at this in-town gem, and to hear from the owner about the latest plans for “Cargot”, the French brasserie opening soon:

 

THE SWEET LIFE AT LILLIPIES BAKERY

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Hopefully you have already stumbled upon the sweetest spot in the Princeton Shopping Center, LiLLiPiES BAKERY.  If not, a visit to this small-batch bakery is a must.  Jen Carson opened her doors in the Summer of 2016, a goal she pursued from a lifetime built on her love of cooking and baking.

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“When I was growing up, holidays were spent around the table, with lots of great food and drink… Some of my fondest memories were baking with my mother who baked elaborate baked goods for every occasion. Baking and cooking were loving activities, a way to show that you cared.”

Armed with a degree from the French Culinary Institute, and a bake to order business that earned a nod from the Food Network in their “Great Pies from Coast to Coast” feature, LiLLiPiES came to fruition as Jen became eager to bake her breads and sweets for a larger audience.

 “I look at Princetonians as being an extension of my own personal family,” she says. “I am very particular about using good, fresh good ingredients — local ingredients whenever I can — and using proper technique. Our sourdough is fermented for 24 hours, giving it a rich, full flavor and amazing texture. And our pies absolutely celebrate the bounty of the season. We bake fresh and from scratch throughout the day, so that everything we serve is fresh and delicious. And we are more than baked goods. I apply my same standards of excellence to the salads and sandwiches we serve.”

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LiLLiPiES offers even more than its food and its flavor; it also provides a hospitable community space.  Jen offers classes ranging from bread making to cake baking and decorating; and thanks to her own passions, LiLLiPiES is proud to offer open mic time on weekends for burgeoning musicians looking for a friendly space to test out the waters. And to keep on top of your Princeton trivia, check out their monthly “featured” sandwich based on the favorite foods of notable Princetonians. Past honorees include The Trey Anastasio and The Damien Chazelle (a traditional Italian sub on a house-made Hoagie roll).

FROM PRINCETON TO HOLLYWOOD

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With Oscar season swirling, it seems fine time to take a look at some A-LIST movies, past and present, with a Princeton area connection.

The 1994 romantic comedy “I.Q.”, is the story of Albert Einstein (Walter Matthau) and his attempts to orchestrate the love life of his niece (Meg Ryan) and a local interest (Tim Robbins). It is filmed entirely on location in Princeton, Cranbury, Hopewell, Montgomery, and Lawrenceville, NJ.

“Princeton is very well-preserved,” notes director Fred Schepisi. “The buildings alone were terrific to photograph and gave us a great atmosphere to work in. In Princeton, you get to meet a lot of academics and you understand what that community is like. It informed our work.”

The chosen locations mirror much of Einstein’s own life in town, which he called home from 1933 until his death in 1955. The Institute for Advanced Study, Palmer Hall at Princeton University, and his former home to name a few. Other recognizable scenes include the Princeton Battlefield and a gas station/garage just outside Hopewell Borough.

“I.Q.” began shooting in early spring and lasted through July. “We took full advantage of all the blossoms,” says Schepisi during a press conference in Manhattan. “Princeton to me is the most amazing place I’ve ever seen in springtime.

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Cut to “A Beautiful Mind, the 2001 drama based on the life story of the late John Nash (Russell Crowe), a Nobel Laureate in Economics and Senior Research Mathematician at Princeton University.

This film, directed by Ron Howard, was inspired by a bestselling book nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. The film was nominated for eight Oscars and won four, including Best Picture and Best Director. On-site film locations included Holder Courtyard and Firestone Common Room on the University campus.

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Next up: “Whiplash“, the 2014 drama written and directed by Princeton native Damien Chazelle.  The film tells the story of the relationship between a jazz drummer (Miles Teller) and his conductor (J.K. Simmons).  Chazelle himself was a drummer in the acclaimed Studio Band at Princeton High School. “Whiplash” was nominated for five Oscars, with three wins, including Best Supporting Actor.

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And somehow, Damien Chazelle has struck gold twice.  He is on the Oscar hunt again Sunday, February 26, 2017, at the 89th Academy Awards, with his romantic musical “La La Land.”

The film is nominated for 14 awards including 3 for Chazelle: Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Director, and heads into the Oscar race on the heels of record-breaking wins at the Golden Globes. 

Treat yourself and head over to the Princeton Garden Theatre to see this extraordinary film before Oscar Sunday.  A-LIST TIP: Get there in time to see the pre-film video and see the writer/director share his own movie memories, made right here in town.

 

 

 

 

OH, WHAT A NIGHT: FROM THE BOATHOUSE to HAMILTON’S GRILL ROOM

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The biggest challenge surrounding a night in Lambertville is choosing where to eat! Named “One of America’s Prettiest Towns” by Forbes.com, it is flush with galleries, antiques shops, unique retail spots, and a stunning array of delicious dining options within just a few blocks.

Today’s A-LIST post features the incredible pairing of a stop at The Boathouse, followed by dinner at Hamilton’s Grill Room.  Both are one-of-a-kind, just like the town itself, and together make for a perfect night out.

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The Boat House is the ideal stop for a pre-dinner cocktail. Off the beaten path, and tucked away along the Delaware, this ivy-covered, nautical-themed bar is a cozy gem with a fireside atmosphere and extensive drink selection. (And don’t miss The Blue Racoon next door, a home furnishings store that “blends modern design with country cozy,” for some interior decoration inspiration.)

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From The Boathouse, head across the way for a meal to remember at Hamilton’s Grill Room. The menu at this BYO changes daily to artfully enhance seasonally sourced farms and butchers. The Winter Menu features, oysters, steak, seafood, and short ribs, to name a few; and the fried oyster atop deviled egg appetizer is an A-LIST favorite!

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Restaurant owner Jim Hamilton, is a Lambertville mainstay and has garnered a loyal following (as have his daughters – Melissa is the cofounder of Canal House Cooking magazine, and Gabrielle is the chef/owner of Prune restaurant in New York City and author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Blood, Bones, and Butter).

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Said best by Jim himself, “Dinner is not what you do in the evening before something else. It is the evening at Hamilton’s Grill Room.” Bon appetit!

IN THE KNOW: BRICK FARM TAVERN

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The A-LIST has long loved The Brick Farm Market in Hopewell, NJ, an incredible one-stop-shop featuring ingredients from nearby Double Brook Farm. And now the doors are open to owners Robin and Jon McConaughy’s latest addition to the mix, the Brick Farm Tavern.  Don’t let the name fool you; this elegant, food-lovers restaurant is the fulfillment of their ultimate vision, a truly authentic farm-to-table dining experience in an 1800s Hopewell farmhouse.

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Brick Farm Tavern is one of the country’s truest farm-to-table experiences

Success has come swiftly to this destination hot-spot, and the accolades have started early, including an honored spot in NJ Monthly’s January 2016 “Best New Restaurants” edition.  It’s no surprise given the McConaughys’ dream team of Greg Vassos, Executive Chef, formerly of The Breakers in Palm Beach, FL and Mike Lykens, General Manager, hails from the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, CO.

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A-LIST FAVORITE – The Charcuterie Platter on the Bar Menu

Once inside the award-winning restoration of the converted stone Tavern, head to the cozy bar with exposed walls for local craft beers, artisanal cocktails & wine tastings – guided by their sommelier. The bar menu is top-notch (an A-LIST favorite is the burger with fried egg and the charcuterie platter) or go for the full dining experience and enjoy the constant creativity as the availability of meats, poultry, and produce from Double Brook Farm dictates the menu on any given night.

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Private Dining in the Wine Room

Daring diners can go for the five or eight course Chef’s Tasting Menu, and enjoy Sunday Suppers, a new concept added for family style meals of fresh, local ingredients. Unique options for private dining include the Wine Room, the Chef’s Table, and the Library – ideal spots for celebrating special occasions.

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The perfect table for two

When the first seed was sowed for Robin and Jon McConaughy’s farming and culinary adventures with Double Brook Farm, they were looking to provide healthy, local food for their family.  Their idea blossomed into sharing their bounty with others through the Market we all know and love.  And now, they have brought their vision full circle for all of us locals and “traveling foodies” who get to dine on “seasonal, delicious food in an atmosphere reminiscent of the old farming days of Hopewell Township.”

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Visionaries Robin and Jon McConaughy