Touring the Manischewitz Factory – Part 1

If you grew up in the New Jersey area, you may have taken an Manischewitz factory tour through religious school, in Jersey City. That factory closed, and the new global headquarters and manufacturing plant is now in Newark. It opened in the fall 2016, and you can book group tours there. I love factory tours, and even more so when it’s the actual factory, and not a fake one (I’m talking to you, Hershey’s).

**UPDATE – it appears this Manischewitz Newark factory is closing. We’ll update the post if we get additional tour information.**

The Manischewitz lobby has memorabilia and oversized posters of their labels. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

In this tour, you walk through a lot of the 186,000 square feet of the factory. What you’ll see being produced depends on the day, as they make more than 400 products. Continue reading “Touring the Manischewitz Factory – Part 1”

What You Will Learn on a Maple Sugar Tour

Every winter we see listings for maple sugaring tours, and every year we seem to be busy or forget to go. This year we finally went. What will you learn on a maple sugaring tour? A lot!

We went to the Great Swamp in New Jersey for our education. They were offering two sessions on a weekend afternoon – for $3/person (though no one asked for or collected money – and we checked in at the outdoor education center desk).

Follow the maple sugar leaf signs to the sugar shack at the Great Swamp. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

While there’s no way to know for sure who discovered maple sugar, Continue reading “What You Will Learn on a Maple Sugar Tour”

Help the Community FoodBank of New Jersey

It’s that time of the year when we stuff ourselves silly and buy to excess. You’re probably already doing things to help those less fortunate. But I wanted to share our experience with the Community FoodBank of New Jersey (CFBNJ).

Photo courtesy of the USDA/Flickr.
The food loading area at the CFBNJ. Photo courtesy of the USDA/Flickr.

I brought my kids to the CFBNJ when my college alumni group organized a volunteer session this month. It was a really interesting experience. Here’s what we learned. Continue reading “Help the Community FoodBank of New Jersey”

Stony Hill NJ Corn Maze: Review

We usually do a NJ corn maze every year, and it’s often the Stony Hill corn maze. This year was no exception. Why Stony Hill? They have a lot of other activities to do there, many included with the basic admission. The corn maze is well done also.

When we went on a recent Saturday, they had live music, which we could hear inside the maze. They also had a face painter. Not sure if you pay extra for that.

This year’s theme is Rutger’s 250th anniversary.

Rutger's 250th anniversary corn maze at Stony Hill. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
Rutger’s 250th anniversary corn maze at Stony Hill. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Continue reading “Stony Hill NJ Corn Maze: Review”

Fossil Hunting With Kids at Big Brook

Did you know that October 12 is National Fossil Day? With a few days off this week, and fall break/teachers’ convention coming up next month, you may be looking for day trip ideas. Think about going fossil hunting in New Jersey! Turns out there are a couple of places that are easy to get to, where you can wade through streams looking for sharks’ teeth, oyster shells, squid fossils, and other items that are millions of years old. Even though you’re not by the ocean, this area was once covered in water.

Big Brook Preserve. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
Big Brook Preserve. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Continue reading “Fossil Hunting With Kids at Big Brook”

Passports with Purpose: Win a stay at one of 180 U.S. campgrounds with Thousand Trails

Jersey Kids likes to do its part helping others, which is why we’ve been participating the past few years with Passports With Purpose. This blogger-run (and all volunteer) fundraiser chooses a new organization and project every year to raise much-needed funds for great projects.

For every $10 donation, you get the chance to win a prize and these Kenyans can get access to e-readers. It's win-win! Photo courtesy of Worldreader.
For every $10 donation, you get the chance to win a prize and these Kenyans can get access to e-readers. It’s win-win! Photo courtesy of Worldreader.

This year we’re working with Worldreader, and we’ll be raising funds to bring digital readers (like Kindles) to five libraries in Kenya. Each library will get about 50 e-readers each, providing 6,250 children, teachers and parents with access to more than 50,000 books. The books will be in Swahili and English, with fiction and nonfiction books.The Worldreader program trains the librarians, and also provides field-tested solar chargers to keep the e-readers charged if electricity is scarce. This one speaks to me because I love reading, and so does my son. I can’t imagine not having access to books.

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Not a bad place to spend a week with the family! Take a vacation at one of 180 Thousand Trails and Encore RV Resort campgrounds this year. Photo courtesy of Thousand Trails.

So you’re probably dying to know who is providing an amazing prize for this fundraiser, and what you can win. You probably got a hint from the photo above. The answer is:

Thousand Trails Campgrounds and Encore RV Resorts, who is giving away a week’s stay at any of Thousand Trails Campgrounds and Encore RV Resorts’ 180 campgrounds across the country. You get to pick!  Continue reading “Passports with Purpose: Win a stay at one of 180 U.S. campgrounds with Thousand Trails”

Shopping at H Mart in Edison New Jersey

When I go to a foreign country, I make plans to visit a grocery store. I love seeing all the different products, since it tells you a lot about their culture (like what they eat). So on my recent trip to the Korean Island Spa in Edison, I checked out HMart, which is in the same strip shopping center. It’s a huge Asian grocery store. I’ll share some of my findings.

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In addition to the grocery section, they have a mini-mall indoors, with a vendors selling Gangnam style socks (above), as well as make-up, household items, kids’ fun accessories and a dessert shop. Continue reading “Shopping at H Mart in Edison New Jersey”

Review: Island Spa (Korean Spa) in Edison

The last two summers I spent a day at King Spa Fitness in Palisades Park, NJ. It’s a huge Korean spa, and one for which non-Koreans like me need a culture lesson before going. I was thinking of going back this summer, when a friend told me that Island Spa in Edison just opened up this summer, in July. In the name of research, I went there instead.

The exterior of the charcoal island at Island Spa. Photo copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
The exterior of the charcoal island at Island Spa. Photo copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Island Spa and Sauna is on Route 27 Continue reading “Review: Island Spa (Korean Spa) in Edison”

Branch Brook Park Cherry Blossoms

We haven’t been to Branch Brook Park since 2011, to see the cherry blossoms. Each year we plan to go and then something gets in the way. We missed the festival (though to be fair, it’s super crowded) but went last weekend – a week after the festival – to catch the just-past peak trees. They were still gorgeous. This park has the largest collection of cherry trees in the country.

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Continue reading “Branch Brook Park Cherry Blossoms”