LOVE WHERE YOU LIVE: OUTDOOR ENTERTAINING AT A MOMENT’S NOTICE

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We proudly premiere the first video in our “Love Where You Live” Lifestyle Series!  “Outdoor Entertaining At A Moment’s Notice” was filmed at our incredible listing at 58 Rosedale Road in Princeton, in collaboration with author and lifestyle expert Maureen Petrosky.  As we head into Memorial Day Weekend, take 90 seconds to pick up some quick tips for hosting an impromptu, fun-filled evening with friends and neighbors. Click here to watch “Love Where You Live: Outdoor Entertaining At A Moment’s Notice”.

As the weather warms up, neighbors and friends slowly creep out of hibernation.  It seems that all of a sudden our sidewalks are buzzing, gardens are blooming, and inevitably impromptu outdoor gatherings emerge. These types of parties are my favorite. With very little effort you can host a fun-filled evening perfect for savoring the season.

Food & Drink A-List Essentials

Keeping a well-stocked pantry and assortment of drinks on hand is always a good idea, especially if you have a busy household. My culinary “must-haves” for entertaining on the fly include: a baguette or two in the freezer, an assortment of crackers, cured meats and cheeses, pickles and pickled veggies, dried fruits and nuts, assorted chocolates, graham crackers and marshmallows. Don’t overthink the drinks! Keep a few bottles of red, white and bubbly wine on hand, and simply dress up a pitcher of water with sliced citrus or cucumber for a perfect outdoor sip.  

Fun & Games

My back porch and backyard have lots of options for games — and not just for the kids. Adults like to have a little fun, too!  My A-List Essentials to keep on hand for outdoor entertaining include a couple of cases of mason jars (one for drinks, and one for catching fireflies), a large rope for tug-o-war, a basket of flashlights for flashlight tag, and a container of sidewalk chalk for hopscotch, tic-tac-toe, or even checkers (using rocks as your checkers).

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Gathering ‘round a fire pit to roast marshmallows or lighting sparklers are a couple of ideal ways to end an impromptu evening with friends.

And so you see, with some simple food and drink preparation, a few fun games and other tricks up your sleeve, outdoor entertaining at a moment’s notice really can be a breeze. It doesn’t take a lot to enjoy a little bit of luxury wherever you live.

Click here to watch “Love Where You Live: Outdoor Entertaining At A Moment’s Notice”.

Maureen Petrosky appears regularly as a Lifestyle Expert on NBC’s Today Show.  Author of The Wine Club, The Cocktail Club, and popular columnist for TODAY.com, thekitchn.com, and many more publications, fans love her accessible and fun approach to making quick and easy yet sophisticated recipes, parties, decorating, food and wine pairings, and of course cocktails. Maureen is the ultimate hostess, and the only Lifestyle Expert focused on helping young professionals, moms, neighbors and co-workers bring their online social experiences to life with real-world social clubs inspired by her smart-chic book series, TV and spokesperson appearances and regular editorial features like her “The 10- Minute Happy Hour.”

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IN THE KNOW: PRINCETON PLAYGROUNDS

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Marquand Park

If the perfect playground is a little slice of heaven, then Princeton’s Marquand Park (located off Lover’s Lane) is surely one. This exquisite spot, nestled among 17 acres of preserved land and specimen trees, offers tons of play-time options: swings, a climber with slide, and a much-loved, giant-sized sandpit filled to the brim with tractors, diggers and the like. The surrounding paved path is ideal for a stroller ride or learning bikers, and a picnic area and ball field are on site as well. The beauty of Marquand’s backdrop is astounding, matched only by the grins and giggles abound.
Access: Parking lot on Lover’s Lane. Footpath via Stockton or Mercer Street.

On the other end of Princeton Borough sits “Maggie’s Park”, a hidden gem on a cul-de-sac at the end of Spruce Street. This playground is much smaller in size than it’s Marquand counterpart, but equal in fun. Reminiscent of a New York City playground, there is a surrounding fence and the park is filled with goodies: a sandbox, zip-line, bridge, tall slide, tunnel and more. Just outside the playground gates is a set of swings and a paved path.
Access: Street Parking on Spruce Street

Spruce Street Playground – “Maggie’s Park”

Another perfect spot (with or without a little one in tow) is The Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park, the 70 mile-long linear park which runs through Princeton. The Canal trail, also known as the towpath, is the perfect spot for a walk, run, or bike, and serves as one of Central New Jersey’s most popular spots for canoeing, hiking, fishing and horseback riding as well. The section of the path near Princeton University runs parallel to Lake Carnegie, home to Princeton’s rowing team.
Access: Parking lot and canoe rentals at the Alexander Road entrance.

Other favorites include the Princeton YWCA and YMCA’s child-designed and community-built playground located at 59 Paul Robeson Place, and for rainy day play the Cotsen Children’s Library at Princeton University’s Firestone Library is a dream.

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EXCLUSIVE Q&A WITH PRINCETON EXPERT MIMI OMIECINSKI

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Mimi at Princeton Pi Day, an annual event she created to celebrate Einstein’s birthday which falls on 3/14.

Lucky for all of us, Mimi Omiecinski (aka Mimi O’) moved to Princeton in 2006 with her husband and son. And while many of us consider ourselves very lucky to call the Princeton area home, Mimi put her Princeton passion to work.  She started the Princeton Tour Company, and her New York Times recommended tours are the #1 most popular Princeton activity on Trip Advisor.  Why tours? Mimi’s goal was to “create a business that would honor all of Princeton – her history, culture, residents, university and merchants so I knew a touring company made sense”. We are thrilled to share our A-LIST Q&A with the fabulous Mimi O’:

A-LIST: How would you describe Princeton to someone who has not yet been here?

MIMI: Princeton is akin to every European village you’ve visited.  It’s gorgeous, lively, values quality, and portrays all the traits of a  welcoming community.  You drive into Princeton and, literally, start to relax.  We have a gorgeous Ivy League campus and diverse shopping district which offers plenty of diversions for a first time visitor.  Our Art Museum holds the most exquisite collection of its kind in Northern America.   You read that right, the most exquisite art collection in Northern America.  Go into the museum and see Picasso, Monet, Degas and more inside the boutique museum.  There’s also world-class theater at McCarter Theater where Christopher Reeve, Ethan Hawke, John Lithgow and Lucille Ball had their stage debut.  There’s a small movie house called Garden Theater  that will take you back in time with oldies alongside the hottest Sundance movies.  Rent a bike and see Carnegie Lake – the most expensive man-made lake in America and playground to Olympic hopefuls.  Go off the beaten path and see the neighborhoods of Einstein, TS Elliot, Robert Oppenheimer, Toni Morrison, Paul Krugman, Joyce Carol Oates, Jeffrey Eugenides, Paul Muldoon, Cornel West, F Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Mann, John von Neumann, Woodrow Wilson, Grover Cleveland, Andrew Carnegie, Robert Wood Johnson ……Clearly, I’m a slave to shameless name dropping so I’ll just stop there ….

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Albert Einstein House Princeton, NJ. Photo courtesy of GoHistoric.com

A-LIST: What are some of your favorite things about living here?

MIMI: I love being able to walk anywhere and get anything I need or want.  From a face to face class with the Dalai Lama to a crossing guard that texts me that my son made it to his first day of middle school okay.  Princeton is a globally recognized world-class brand but if you able to live here it feels like Mayberry.  It’s not bragging to say I’ve seen the world – I did it – and I’m telling you, there’s no better place to live in America.

A-LIST: Why did you start Princeton Tour Company
MIMI: I met my husband in my mid-30’s as a career girl in the South  (there weren’t many of me – I was a bona fide workaholic).  I met my husband on a plane and it was love at first sight so we eventually got in the same zip code and decided to marry.  I knew I wanted a baby but his career required us to move so I stopped working to follow his career, which required a lot of travel.  I would tag along and take tours of major cities and villages.  When my husband was done working I was his tour guide before we would catch a plane back to the states.  When we were relocated to NJ, I toured the state and after a long weekend in Princeton, I knew I was home.  There is no better village on earth.  I don’t have an Ivy League education but I’ve seen the world and can, beyond a shadow of a doubt, say there is no better village in America.  I took all the tours in Princeton and loved them all.  I wanted to create a tour company that combined all of the wonders of Princeton – the University and surrounding town.
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Mimi is known for her fun AND fact-filled tours!

A-LIST: What classes did you audit at Princeton University?

MIMI: There are too many to list here but I can tell you that taking a class on campus is a wonderful experience.  The University offers many lectures from visiting scholars which are listed on their Community Page.   As I’m writing this, I’m going to see Meryl Streep perform on campus – free to the community compliments of Princeton University.

A-LIST: What is your most recent discovery in Princeton?

MIMI: I never stop discovering new people/places and things about Princeton.  I’m currently stalking Aaron Burr, Jr. whose history seems so tragically misunderstood.  EVERYONE knows about that duel with Alexander but no one knows he was the first male feminist in America.  He taught his daughter as if she were a son which was dangerous territory back then.  I like telling the full truth about a person in history.  We’re all complicated and they were too.  I tell their stories as if they can hear me to be sure I’m respectful.

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Callaway Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty agents stay “in the know” thanks to private lectures with Mimi O.

A-LIST: What is your most memorable tour?

MIMI: My most memorable tour was the one I gave to my grandfather.  He said he was proud of me.  After that, there was no turning back.

A-LIST: What’s the one thing you wished we’d ask about living in Princeton?
MIMI: I guess a lot of people wonder if they can truly make friends in Princeton.  The “brand” can feel intimidating but if you have a love of learning, curiosity of heart and sincere desire to contribute to a community you’re going to feel at home in Princeton.
Thank you Mimi!
PS…catch up with Mimi on Saturday, March 14th, and celebrate Princeton Pi Day (and Einstein’s birthday!)

A-LIST AGENTS: AROUND THE WORLD

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Callaway Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty agents are the LOCAL experts with an unparalleled GLOBAL reach. Thanks to our unrivaled Sotheby’s International Realty network, they can help meet your real estate needs ANYWHERE in the world.

 Follow our agents #AROUNDTHEWORLD!

Vanessa Gronczewski (above) visits Proprietes Parisiennes Sotheby’s International Realty.

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Beth Kearns stops by Gustave White Sotheby’s International Realty in Newport, Rhode Island.

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Amy Schaefer at Russ Lyons Sotheby’s International Realty in Arizona.

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Beth Steffanelli checks in at Puerto Rico Sotheby’s International Realty.

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Amy Granato stops by Old Cape Sotheby’s International Realty.

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Sue Cook visits Costa Rica Sotheby’s International Realty.

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Jennifer Curtis at Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty in the Bahamas.AnnGSIR

Ann Galbraith at Washington, D.C.affiliate TTR Sotheby’s International Realty.DavidSchureSIR

David Schure visits Treasure Coast Sotheby’s International Realty in Florida.1669672_627424714004826_460721339_o

Marti Moseley says hello to Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty in Arizona.
1926739_626396787440952_643607804_nLast but not least! Cheryl Goldman visits Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty. 

LET’S GO: LOCAL FALL ACTIVITIES

In the blink of an eye, summer has come and gone. The kids are back in school, football season is kicking off, and while it might not feel like it now, the weather will soon turn brisk. Luckily, for many, autumn is the best time of the year.

And this is especially true for residents of Central NJ.

Our brilliant scenery and bountiful fall harvests make for a picture-perfect fall experience. To help you make the most of the season and appreciate it in its full glory, we’ve prepared a list of autumn activities for the whole family.

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A DAY IN LAMBERTVILLE, NJ

For an easy but rewarding day trip, there’s no better destination than Lambertville, NJ. The cozy little town’s timeless blend of arts, history, natural splendor, and gourmet food means there’s something for everyone. And Lambertville’s small size means it can be comfortably enjoyed in a day. To help our readers get the most out of their trip, we’ve prepared a sample itinerary for the perfect visit.

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Beat the heat with a local frozen treat!

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During the hot months of summer, there’s nothing like a cool, creamy ice cream cone to sweeten your day.

Luckily, the Garden State’s unique blend of history and culture, coupled with its rich agricultural traditions make our area’s ice cream delights some of the best in the world.

If you haven’t yet explored Greater Princeton’s bounty of frozen treats this summer, don’t despair. To get you started, the A-List has assembled this helpful guide. You might never have imagined ice cream could taste so wonderful.

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Enjoying the great outdoors in our own backyard

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Summer is finally here! The kids are out of school and there’s no better time than now to get outside, get active, and appreciate Mother Nature’s splendor. Spending time outside makes for a great escape from the daily grind, and provides families with memories that last a lifetime.

Many readers choose to live in our A-LIST towns because of their well-regarded education systems, quaint downtowns, and strong sense of community. What they might not realize, though, is that the greater Princeton area offers a panoply of outdoor activities perfect for weekend warriors and dedicated outdoorsmen alike.

To enjoy some fresh air, get some exercise, and bond with friends and family, add these places to your summer to-do list:

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A TRIP THROUGH NJ’S VINEYARDS AND BREWERIES

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When the temperature heats up, many folks love to enjoy a cold pint of beer or a refreshing glass of wine. Our recent A-LIST post highlighted some restaurants around our area where you can kick back on a veranda or patio, and savor a drink and meal amid warm summer breezes and verdant greenery.

But for true wine lovers or “hop heads,” there’s nothing like enjoying your beverage of choice right from the source. When it comes to winemaking, your mind might jump to places like Sonoma, CA, or Bordeaux, France. Brewing might elicit pictures of silent Belgian abbeys or a medieval Bavarian Brauerei. However, for those in the know, central New Jersey is actually full of world-class vineyards and breweries that offer tours, tastings, and more.

Just in time for summer, here are a few to get you started:

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LET’S GO! The Historical Society of Princeton’s “Concert Under the Stars”

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Singer Songwriter Charlotte Kendrick performing in Princeton, NJ.

We CAN’T WAIT for the Historical Society of Princeton’s “Concert Under the Stars” featuring singer/songwriter Charlotte Kendrick!  She’s back in Princeton from a recent Nashville recording session for her fourth upcoming album, “Worth the Wait”, and her upcoming concert this Saturday, June 13th, at Updike Farm in Princeton is a must-see summer event.

Speaking to the Princeton Packet, Tracy Sipprelle, committee co-chair for the Historical Society’s event said, “Princeton and our surrounding communities now look forward to this big outdoor party, with great food and drink, lots of friendly faces, and dancing and singing.  It’s a guaranteed great night every year in support of a great organization.”

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John Popper of Blues Traveler came back home to Princeton, NJ to headline last year’s “Concert Under the Stars.”

Charlotte Kendrick and her family have lived in the area for a few years and she is thrilled to be performing at the same event she attended last year to see headliner (and former Princeton resident) John Popper perform.  She described the concert as her dream gig, stating, “It was so beautiful and perfect. I really love ‘listening venues,’ where people can hear lyrics, and I feel this setting will be great for my music. There are seats to sit down, but you can stand in the back, and it’s just ideal for what I play.”

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Enjoying a previous “Concert Under the Stars”. Photo courtesy of Town Topics and Emily Reeves.

Net proceeds from the “Concert Under the Stars” go to support the Historical Society’s mission of providing its signature programs in education and community service, particularly for children who participate in outdoor programs at Updike Farmstead. LET’S GO!