Cherry Blossom Festival – Branch Brook Park

Did you know that Newark’s Branch Brook Park has thousands of cherry blossom trees, with more variety (and number) than those in Washington DC, which is so well known for their trees.

The Cherry Blossom Festival is coming up in April, and it’s popular, with 10,000 visitors a day at the peak.

Aside from just looking at the blossoms, come for some activities, including:

April 9 – bike race – the Cherry Blossom Challenge.

April 10 – 10K and one mile fun run

On April 17th, check out Bloomfest, with lots of events, including Japanese cultural demonstrations, live music, kids’ activities, crafter’s marketplace and food. Free admission, open from 11-5. Activities are mostly around the Essex County Cherry Blossom Welcome Center.

 

Here are some tips for photographing the cherry blossoms.

New Jersey Corn Mazes and Pumpkin Patches

I did a corn maze for the first time last year, and am making it a yearly tradition. The kids are now old enough to last in there for more than 10 minutes. We wandered around for probably two hours (maybe an hour longer than was really fun for the kids).  Interestingly, I was dizzy when we got out.  So many twists and turns.  I let them take turns picking the direction.  If it weren’t for the staff positioned at one spot in the maze, we never would have made it out.  Even after getting directions out (it was something like – turn right at every turn until after the bridge, then turn left at every turn), it still took us 15 minutes to exit! I look forward to the day when my husband and I go together, and we compete, Survivor style, to see who can make it out first.

Let me share some corn maze tips with you, before giving you a list of New Jersey corn mazes to consider!

Alstede’s 2009 maze

CORN MAZE TIPS WITH KIDS

–Before you go in, use the bathroom. This cannot be stated enough.

–Bring food and water. Your kids will need some nourishment during their breaks. Bring your own, or buy something on site. Most farms sell food too.

–Wear comfortable shoes – that can get muddy.you can't see over it!

Continue reading “New Jersey Corn Mazes and Pumpkin Patches”

Apple Picking in New Jersey

Pick me! Pick me!

Fall air brings apple picking. Did you know:

– it takes 36 apples to make a gallon of cider
– it takes 8-10 years for an apple tree to begin producing fruit
– the science of apple growing is called pomology
– a bushel of apples weighs 42 pounds
Thank you Hillview Farms for the apple facts – click here to read more apple trivia!

Too many apples? Learn how to make caramel apples here.

Here’s a list of some great apple picking farms and orchards in New Jersey.

Peaceful Valley Orchards in Pittstown
In addition to apples you’ll find fall decorations, baked goods, and an observation bee hive.

150 Pittstown Road, Pittstown, NJ
(908) 730-7748 Continue reading “Apple Picking in New Jersey”

Miller-Cory House Museum – and kid-friendly downtown Westfield

If you’re looking for some New Jersey history, and a chance to see what things were like in the 1700-1800s, head over to the Miller-Cory House in Westfield, NJ. (And read on to see what to do in downtown Westfield when you’re done).

The house was built in 1740 – on 100 acres of land. You wouldn’t believe it now, since it’s in the middle of a residential neighborhood where most lots probably don’t exceed .3 acres on average. Inside you’ll find the house with typical period furniture, and kids can see what a kitchen with no electric dishwasher looks like! Pots and pans hang from the walls, the floor is uneven and the walls wood-paneled.

The house is open on Sundays in fall through spring, or for prearranged group programs on weekdays. It’s staffed by volunteers – including a lot of elementary school teachers. They dress up and lead kids in crafts, read stories and talk with kids about the theme of the week. There’s also open-hearth cooking demonstrations in the building next door. Continue reading “Miller-Cory House Museum – and kid-friendly downtown Westfield”