Inside This Edition: Dancing Goat Cafe Gallery in South Orange, NJ; Jersey Treasure - Spring in New Jersey; Movie Review - Jersey Girl; Twin Lights Historic Site in Highlands, NJ and Feature - What is a Jersey Girl? | April 2004  

April, 2004

Jersey Food - April, 2004

If you live in New York or California, the local coffee house is fairly commonplace - out in the suburbs of New Jersey, not so much.  With the rapid growth of the generic coffee chains, it's a pleasure to see individuality creep back into the suburban scene.

South Orange is the home of one of those unique cafes.  The Dancing Goat Cafe Gallery is located in the South Orange center on South Orange Avenue.  The name alone is enough to bring a smile to your face.  The interior says "relax and stay for awhile" with comfortable couches and coffee tables.  The floor to ceiling windows bring in the light, and the high ceilings provide an airy feeling.  The counter in the front of the cafe provides frozen drinks, coffee, tea, light wraps and sandwiches, and an array of delicious homemade pastries and cakes.  Toward the back end of the cafe, floor to ceiling velvet drapes open up into the lounge area with more comfortable couches and a raised stage. 

On a recent lunchtime visit, we enjoyed frozen beverages that were very tasty - a mocha coffee freeze and a green tea peach freeze were of special note. we also enjoyed the light lunch offerings.

We were rather surprised by the number of young mothers with children in strollers who arrived and disappeared through the drapes.  After looking at the schedule of events, we realized that the laughter coming from the lounge was attached to "children's story time."

The Dancing Goat Cafe appears to be a spot of much activity, featuring poetry readings, singers, comedians, jazz musicians and anyone who would like to use the "Open Mic Night."

The creative process seems to be alive and well in South Orange.  What a pleasant place to enjoy coffee and a pastry in a most relaxing atmosphere.

Dancing Goat Cafe Gallery - South Orange, New Jersey 

Let Your Voice Be Heard!



Jersey Treasure - April, 2004

Spring In New Jersey

Another harsh winter has passed and it's time to park the snow blower and make way for the lawnmower.  This special time of renewal here in New Jersey is loaded with places to see, things to do and just to simply enjoy.  Over in Newark which as many know often makes the news in unpleasant ways, Branch Brook Park ushers in spring with the blooming of the cherry blossom trees.  With Sacred Heart Cathedral along the park's edge over in the Forest Hill's section the view is stunning and a springtime "must see" for all.  All the beauty of spring in New Jersey with our diverse cityscapes and landscapes also makes way for the traditional activities of spring, such as baseball at the local, collegiate and even minor league level!  With gas prices on the rise this year, long trips may not always be in the budget; but a springtime cruise out to the beach can melt away all the doldrums of winter if one ventures down the shore on a good day.  Cruising up and down the boardwalk this time of year, there are some stands open and others preparing for the start of summer with boardwalk eats available.

No matter where you live in Jersey,  you have no doubt already felt the changes in the weather and the eagerness of everyone to get outside and do more!  This list of places to see in Jersey and things to do is almost limitless but no doubt their is something memorable in store for everyone this time of year.

April is a month of transition and renewal and a New Jersey Treasure that comes only once a year but every year!

Quick Links To Getting Around In New Jersey:

Train & Bus: New Jersey Transit
Ferry: New York Waterway
Area Airports: Port Authority - New York & New Jersey

Things To Do - April, 2004
View The Cherry Blossoms:
Branch Brook Park Newark, New Jersey Best time range for viewing - 4/15 - 4/25 Best place to view - Area nearest to Sacred Heart Cathedral

Annual Daffodil Show: Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morristown, New Jersey 4/23 - 4/24 Tel. 973-326-7600

  Shoreguy Things To Do: "It's not too early to get out to the beach this time of year!  Great people watching and shore eats on the boardwalk in Seaside.  Restaurant Mattisse on the boardwalk in Belmar is open now!  If you are down in AC get out for some fresh air on their massive boardwalk."  SG                              

Jersey Feature - April, 2004 

What Is A Jersey Girl? 

Any attempt to answer that question through one person's eyes is about as lame as any journalist who tries.  Jersey girls are as diverse as our population and while certain stereotypes can be formed from what part of Jersey a girl is from, that's where it ends.  Jersey girls from all walks of life, hometown, ethnicity and income levels enjoy our beautiful beaches, dance at our great clubs and eat our great food. 

A Jersey girl may be highly intellectual, maybe she grew up on a farm (yes farm) in New Jersey, maybe she grew up on an estate complete with horses and of course who could omit the one's who grew up "down the shore."  Every Jersey girl deserves the title with all the benefits thereof.  Discussing the benefits of such a distinction is thought for a future time. 

Jersey girls are far from one of a kind, but certainly one kind is popularized for the world in books, magazines, television shows and movies.  This "Hollywood" version of a Jersey girl is quite a character indeed and of course this portrayal does bear similarity to many living here, but it is far from everyone.  It's actually kind of nice to have this character for all the media to mold and shape to suit their needs.  The one thing that gets lost in all this when this stereotype is beamed around the world is that behind every Jersey girl are the same hopes and dreams for a better life as everyone else.  

I was born and raised in New Jersey and know Jersey girls who bear a close similarity to the stereotype portrayed in the media, but I know far more who bear little or none.  It's arrogant and unfair to leave some Jersey girls behind because of their zip code. 

If you are a girl and you are from New Jersey then you are a Jersey girl.  It's just that simple...

Do you have great memories of Growing Up Jersey or a Jersey Girl story that you would like to see featured on Jersey Spin?  Send us your original unpublished story and if we like it we will make arrangements with you to feature it here!  Email submissions to us here.

Twin Lights Historic Site - April, 2004

Perched just about 200 feet above sea level are the Navesink Twin Lights in the Highlands.  This beautiful Jersey Treasure has been available for all to see as a New Jersey State Historic site since 1979.  Walking the nicely cared-for grounds, visitors can look out from the Highlands as far as the eye can see past Sandy Hook to the North and Sea Bright to the South.

People in New Jersey aren't surprised by much, but many are unaware that even our lighthouses have technologies that were first used here.  For the Twin Lights Of Navesink it was the first lighthouse to use a fresnel type of lens to signal ships and other vessels within sight.  Years later, in 1898, the lens was replaced by even more sophisticated technology making the site the most powerful lighthouse in the US with a beam of light that could be seen for over 20 miles at sea.

Visitors to the site can enjoy an educational walk through the castle-like building viewing photographs, instruments and memorabilia.  An especially nice feature is the ability to climb the tower and look out from the Highlands over a large portion of the Jersey coastline.

After looking out from the tower, a trip to the Twin Lights Historic Site
is an enjoyable addition to any day trip "down the shore." 

Twin Lights Historic Site - Highlands, New Jersey 

Movie Review - April, 2004

Jersey Girl - Rated - PG -13

Well...  if you want to see this movie in the theatre you better hurry up, because if you snooze you will in all likelihood lose.  Actually if it weren't in the afternoon, I just might have fallen asleep watching this less than forgettable (not even B quality) movie. 

Don't expect any heartfelt connection to New Jersey portrayed in this film.  The scenes in New Jersey are flat, lifeless and could have been shot anywhere.  Anyone with a deep connection to the "Atlantic Highlands" of New Jersey probably won't feel much connection.  Most of the characters portrayed in Jersey Girl are ho-hum with the exception of Gertie Trinke.

In my search to always seek out anything positive, along comes a little kid named Raquel Castro who saves the day and thankfully prevents Jersey Girl from being a complete waste of film.  Little Raquel Castro who portrays Gertie Trinke delivers a big performance, and with a few more breaks is destined for big things in her young life.

It's nice to be able to find something redeeming amidst such an amateurish attempt at filmmaking.  It seems as if the rough draft of the script was thrown together in a couple of days with a couple of pizzas then given the once over to get it made.  The premise is a good one of a man and daughter finding their way after wife and mommy die, but carelessly and almost thoughtlessly executed.

Not only is Jersey Girl not a Jersey movie by any measure (unless filming part here makes it so) it's not much else either, except a  valuable piece of acting  for the young and very gifted Raquel Castro.

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