Yule Log!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

For many years Channel 11, WPIX in New York City (one of the oldest TV stations in the country), would present the "Yule Log" on Christmas Eve. While the Yule Log burned, Christmas carols would play. Now my childhood home did have a fireplace, but there was something about the Yule Log on Channel 11 that made us happy. It became a New York area tradition. I hope you enjoy it! This particular Yule Log was shown in 1983.

After a few years off the air, the Yule Log was restored back to Channel 11 a few years ago, and now is seen on many stations around the country.

There is, of course, a fan website devoted to The Yule Log.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wordish Wednesday: Gingerbread Wonderland!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011
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Recently the Frelinghuysen Arboretum celebrated their 20th annual Gingerbread Wonderland. Participants created displays made almost entirely of gingerbread and candies. Throughout the week, visitors voted for their favorites and there were three "winners", although everyone who participated showed great creativity!

The first photo below is a Monopoly set made out of gingerbread. Very appropriate, since the classic Monopoly set is based on Atlantic City, New Jersey.

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The iconic Cape May Lighthouse:

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Log Cabin:

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iPhone with apps:

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Here are some classic gingerbread houses:

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House of Cards:

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I love the Gingerbread Man!


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Snoopy's Doghouse:

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A beautiful building:

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Girls Around the World (many entries were from Girl Scout Troops):

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A September 11th Tribute:

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Which entries won the hearts of visitors?

Here are the winners of the People's Choice Contest! 

I had a feeling I knew which one would win, because I heard many people discussing how much they liked it. It's classically New Jersey with the lighthouse and the wonderful beach, and it obviously took many hours to create, including all the figures on the beach and in the sea. I was right!

First prize:

"A Day At The Beach." 

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Second Prize:

"The Nutcracker"

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Third Prize:

"The Birdhouse"

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For more about Frelinghuysen Arboretum and the Gingerbread Wonderland, including photos of all the wonderful entries, click here.

For more Wordless Wednesday, the badges below!

For more Wordful Wednesday, click the badge below!

Have a wonderful week!

Wordish Wednesday: Christmas At Kips Castle

Tuesday, December 13, 2011
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Several months ago I wrote about Kip's Castle, which is located in parts of both Verona (8 acres) and Montclair, New Jersey (2 acres).

Frederic Ellsworth Kip was a wealthy man who had his home constructed to look like a Norman castle. In the 1980's it was inhabited by a weird religious cult.

The property is now part of the New Jersey Green Acres program and is an Essex County Park. Anyone can stroll around the grounds from dawn until dusk, although the interiors are usually prohibited. Occasionally the castle is open for special events, especially during the holiday season. 

The castle is beautifully decorated with TWO Christmas trees and is obviously lovingly maintained. When you walk around the balcony and look out the windows and also walk around the grounds, you do feel as if you're in a castle.
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I originally wrote about Kips Castle here.

You can read more about Kips Castle:


Discover A Landmark Treasure (.pdf)

The New York Times (written when the cult was in the castle)

Dumont Castle/Kips Castle

The Kips Castle Parks Conservancy

Lost In New Jersey (written before the castle was restored -- photos are missing in the interesting article)

You can read more Wordless Wednesday by clicking the badges below.

You can read more Wordful Wednesday by clicking the badge below: 

Have a wonderful week! 

Wordish/OutdoorWednesday: Former Nike Base Becomes Art Park!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011
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During the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union during the 1950's and 1960's, there were multiple Nike Missile sites in the U.S., including several in New Jersey.

As the cold war started to fade in the 1970's, several of these Nike bases were abandoned. In 1974 the federal government sold the one in Livingston to the county for $1.00. Interestingly, instead of building condos or strip malls upon it (which is what would happen today), the county came up with a unique idea: convert the former missile base into art studios at greatly reduced rents to artists.

Artists at Riker Hill work in a rustic and rather wild looking place, dotted with tall grass and wildflowers (apparently artists do not like to mow anything). It's not particularly beautiful but rather certainly different.

We visited there in May and took these photos. I didn't see any artists, but they were probably inside the buildings. I didn't want to disturb them. There are rather unusual metal sculptures and also remnants of the former Army base are still around, as seen in the very last photo.

They have open houses every year when you can meet the artists and purchase art, but I always forget about them or else they are on days that I cannot be there. Hopefully, next year.

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You can read more about the former Nike bases here, here, and here.

Weird NJ wrote about the Nike bases here.

You can read about Riker Hill Art Park here.

You can see one artist's sketches done at Riker here.

You can read more Wordless Wednesday here.

You can read more Wordful Wednesday here.

You can read more Outdoor Wednesday here.

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