Thursday, November 13, 2008

Princeton / New Hope Autumn trip

We went back home the first weekend of November. This was the first time back since Grandpa McCormack died. That was when I started this blog. Happy 1 year anniversary of my blog!

The family was having a surprise 50th for my uncle on Sunday. We (I) needed a little escape, change of scenery.

We decided to stay in Princeton, New Jersey at the Homewood Suites by Hilton, a few miles from our old house in Monmouth Junction, South Brunswick Township. We've stayed there before and after researching all the places to stay in the area, it works best for us. The rates are reasonable for what we get. A 1 bedroom suite with 2 beds. We can close the door to the bedroom when the kiddos go to sleep and we can stay up in the living room for awhile. The kitchen makes it feel like a teeny apartment. It's actually bigger than what many people live in. I look for them anywhere we travel.

I made a list of all the restaurants we miss and we picked a few to eat at while we were up there. Saturday we had a great time at Joe's Crab Shack in Lawrenceville, a few minutes from the hotel. My mom joined us. The only other Joe's I've seen was in Hampton Roads and San Francisco, both a bit far for us to drive out to for a Friday night dinner out ;-)

Before the party, we made a quick stop in to visit Grandma Howard and Gary. I couldn't not let her see the kids.

Grandma Flo LOVES butterflies, always has.

I am so glad we got to visit with her, albeit so short.

After the party in Scotch Plains, we had plans to meet up with my sister for dinner. We decided on Charlie Brown's in Hillsborough. The location worked best for us all, we'd all had some fond memories of hanging out there with friends in the old days. Besides, it's only in the NY / NJ / PA area so it fit the bill. Our dinner was good and the company even better. My girl lost her first tooth on a piece of pumpernickel bread and the tooth fairy actually found us at the hotel. How cool is that?
Since her tooth has been loose for awhile now, I searched high and low for cool keepsake tooth fairy items and of course Buttons and Bows had just what I wanted. And Grandma Williams made the pillow and book.

Monday I planned for us to spend most of the day in New Hope, Pennsylvania. It was incredibly fun and such a delight. I do miss that town. It's so cute.

We found that one of our favorite brew pubs Triumph Brewing Company from Princeton now has 2 other locations. One in Philly and one in New Hope! So of course, we ate lunch there (delicious), sampled some of their latest IPA and brought home a growler of Bengal Gold IPA and a sweatshirt souvenir.

I browsed a few galleries, looking at things I may be able to display someday when there are not little urchins running around the house wink wink. The lamps at A Mano Galleries really caught my eye. I'll look again next time we are there. Or I can just look here on their site.

Strawberry Jam Gifts is such a great store too. We picked up some stickers and a beautiful Erte "Queen of the Night greeting card for me to frame.
My mother in law says its art deco, I am thinking Priscilla Queen of the Desert(1994)!

We went into a newer store named Magnet Mad-ness. They have a website store now too. I picked up a few cool magnets for gifts and for myself. Consider checking them out for some great gift ideas yourself. The center 6 are from this past trip.

I picked up a souvenir for myself at the Jonathan Rice Collection store. It is a Zero Gravity glass Signature Silverback pendant
Oddly enough, the company is Virginia based! I travelled to New Hope, PA to buy a VA item.
I thought I was buying to replace my favorite necklace that I thought I'd lost, turns out I recently found it.
That is an EquuStone necklace that I picked up at the Easy Rider store in Manakin-Sabot a few years back. I stopped in for riding gloves and walked out with a great necklace and travel bag. EquuStone makes jewelry from natural stone and pearl - Artwork in stone - made in the USA.

I also should mention the Christmas Past Village shop. I'm not really a big Christmas store nut as I know some people are. But it was an amazing store. Absolutely packed with very tasteful things, not junk, just as you would expect for a shop in New Hope. I did pick up 3 gorgeous Christmas ornament balls. Not sure if they are for the tree or some other decorating idea but I could not pass them up. They also had a wooden Christmas countdown / advent calendar with box like drawers that was about $200. It was gorgeous and I kept going back to look at it. I did leave it at the store ;-) I'll stick with the less expensive paper versions for now!

I really enjoyed browsing in Beyond the Wall but that was short lived because unfortunately, we were running short on time. Little ones can only take so much browsing in stores. Besides we had dinner plans an hour away.

I also picked up and thoroughly enjoyed reading some of the local free rags like Icon magazine and Bucks County Woman.

We did not walk over the bridge to Lambertville this time. 3 and 5 year old legs can only be pressed to walk so far you know. If we did, we would have certainly sat in The Boathouse for a bit. Awesome place from what I remember.

Monday night we had another great dinner at Arthur's Steakhouse and Pub formerly? Arthur's Tavern in North Brunswick. We have some fond memories of their delicious delmonico steaks on the menu as "Our Steak"and the pickles on the tables. My aunt Theresa and Uncle Nick joined us for that. They even gave us our own room. Real nice for us to catch up.

They now feature some items from Harold's NY Deli of Lyndhurst such as. Their cakes. OMG! If you're not familiar with their cakes and sandwiches, you would NOT believe their size. Check out the pastrami sandwich. We ordered a sugar free cheesecake slice in the end which was especially tasty to my DH whose fav dessert treat is cheesecake and he's been missing it since he's on the no sugar low carb diet.

Thank you Aunt Theresa for shipping us the 2 diabetic friendly, low glycemic index, Junior's low-carb sugar free cheesecakes from QVC. Someone in this house is going to be in pig heaven for sure! Junior's is a New York tradition, Brooklyn based since 1950.

Overall, it was a real nice trip and I did come back refreshed with a different perspective on some things. I have some very fond memories to think of now when I want to drift off.

There are a number of people I would have liked to have seen and hang out with for a little while when up there but you can't fit it all in! KB-sim qual-CS-2? Danny? CS-1? maless? clifford? carol jean? Maybe you guys can make the drive here???

Oh, and of course it was nice to see the family again!

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