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7th Annual Spring Lake Italian Festival  Oct. 10, 2015 7th Annual Spring Lake Italian Festival Oct. 10, 2015(0)

Columbus day Weekend  October 10th 2015  12 noon – 5  pm

Visit Alstede Farms in Chester, NJ – by TOM COSENTINO Visit Alstede Farms in Chester, NJ – by TOM COSENTINO(0)

Kurt Alstede and his family founded Alstede Farms in 1982 in Chester, NJ as a family run operation producing a huge variety of local fruits, vegetables, and flowers grown using only sustainable and USDA certified organic production methods. They take soil and water conservation and the stewardship of their farm land very seriously, and have therefore permanently preserved all of the farm land they own. Indeed, they are proud to be able to say that nearly every acre of the 600 acres of farmland they till is permanently preserved. Alstede Farms offers: Pick Your Own fruits and vegetables, the best Community Supported Agriculture Program (CSA) in New Jersey, and a fully stocked Farm Store that is filled with the fruits and vegetables grown on the farm, as well as their own local honey, homemade ice cream and fudge, home baked pies, jams, jellies, cider donuts and more! Alstede Farms local fruits and vegetables are also sold at Tailgate Markets across Northern New Jersey and beyond.
Alstede Farms opens at 9 am seven days a week. Visitors can shop the Alstede Farms Farm Store which features a wide variety of seasonal local fresh produce grown on the farm, over 250 homemade products including fudge, ice cream, syrups, honey and salsas and the Tomasello Winery retail wine store.
NJ Discover visited Alstede Farms on the final weekend of their annual Strawberry Festival. From taking a hayride to pick your own strawberries to enjoying homemade strawberry ice cream; strawberry lemonade slushies; strawberry sundaes; strawberry pie; strawberry rhubarb pie; and strawberry fudge at the Alstede festival tent; musical entertainment by local bands and more, Alstede Farms ws the place to experience the strawberry season. In addition to picking strawberries, Alstede Farms also offers 13 strawberry recipes accessible on the Alstede Farms website
Whether they are there for the Strawberry Festival or a visit during the week, families visiting Alstede Farms can also enjoy a full slate of family fun activities including pony rides, tractor train rides, a moon bounce, hay wagon rides, and much more. These free family-fun activities are open every day all year long.
• Visit and feed friendly farm animals
• Stop by the bunny run
• Be entertained by goats on the Goat Walk!
• Climb the giant hay pyramid
Alstede Farms has made a long-term commitment to agriculture in Chester as well as in New Jersey. For more information call 908-879-7189 or visit


Nightmare in NJ – Halloween 2014 by TaraJean McD. Nightmare in NJ – Halloween 2014 by TaraJean McD.(1)

Although I love the idea of Halloween and dressing in outrageous outfits, I am not usually a big fan of being scared. Maybe it goes back to my childhood when my sister would race me up the stairs at bedtime and hide somewhere in my room or the bathroom waiting for the perfect opportunity to jump out and terrify me. But this year, with the help of my courageous 11 year old, I decided to see what the fright craze was all about in NJ.


Our first visit was to Asbury Park on the evening of the Zombie Walk. Some have called it the largest Zombie gathering in the world.


I decided I would dress in a CSI ball cap and sneakers, prepared and ready for a quick escape if necessary. Upon arrival I realized that I would be able to blend in with the hundreds of spectators mixed among the thousands of zombies, which relieved me. I was fully aware that zombies have a tendency to target fearful victims and I didn’t want to be their next meal. My sidekick and I stepped into the slow zombie crawl towards Cookman Avenue alongside an old decrepit man dragging his bloody leg. Looking in either direction I realized that I was surrounded by zombies with bloodied, half eaten faces, dragging their legs and arms and other body parts down the boardwalk.


The event was not just for the wild and outrageous lovers of gore, but it was also a fundraiser for brain cancer through the Gray Matters campaign and a blood drive with Central Jersey Blood Center.  I recently learned that over $3000 was raised for Brain Cancer Tumor Center and Camp Jinka – a free summer program offered by the David S. Zocchi Brain Tumor Center for kids and teens whose lives have been impacted by a loved one’s diagnosis of a brain tumor. The evening was a little surreal, and the experience I can take away from this event mostly was the unsettling feeling of what it could be like to actually live through a Zombie Apocalypse. As the sun set on the avenue at Asbury Park the zombies began to spread across the town and meander into some the stores. Bloody old women and half eaten children were standing on lines for cheese fries or a warm pretzel. The sidewalks could not hold all the zombies and they began spilling into the streets, slowly struggling to move in their tattered clothes and face prosthesis. Everywhere we looked decaying groups of people were sluggishly looking for their way home. An eerie night over all, both my little 11 year old and I decided next year we would dress as Zombie warriors and come back to join the crawl.

The following weekend I brought a small group of witches, cats and zombies with me to the Witches Ball in Mount Holly NJ. This event is referred to as wickedly cool and amazingly enchanted. Rather than experiencing the future omen of the apocalypse, we found ourselves propelled into the past within moments as we entered under the archway leading to the Historic Mill Race Village.

As we ambled through the darkly lit streets the atmosphere of magic and mysticism enveloped us. The town had transformed into an old witches haven, with fortunetellers, artists, musicians and vendors. My mood relaxed as I meandered amongst witches and goblins, and men and women of gothic, fantasy, medieval and horror. It almost seemed as though we were all out for an eerie moonlight stroll. After listening to the great sounds of Midnight Mosaic, a local NJ band, we gathered our broomsticks and headed for our next excursion.




The Casola Haunted Hay Ride in Marlboro, NJ on Rte 79 was our final stop for the evening.

Although there were many times I have taken afternoon hayrides through the cornfields, it could not have prepared me for the terrifying darkness that awaited us through the torch lit woods. As the rickety wagon with very little protection slowly waddled down the winding dirt road zombies, ghouls, and axe murderers threw their bodies against the sides of the wagon and clamored on board. They were moaning or screaming or laughing uncontrollably as they moved slowly through the horrified wagon looking for huddling passenger to petrify. Although my little sidekick was shaking in her boots, I felt that I could maintain my composure amongst all these horror film villains. After all, I knew that there was only one figure that could cause my skin to crawl and shatter my bravery. Specifically it was the little demon girl who wore the decaying antique nightgown and used her long dark stringy hair to hide her decomposing face, she was the character from the movie “The Ring”. Luckily, the ride seemed close to the end. Strangely, I sensed a quietness. As I lifted my head from the safety of my daughter’s hooded shoulders, I peeked a look around to see if the eerie villains had abandoned the ride. As I turned to my left I spotted something white and small that seemed to be slowly floating a few feet behind the wagon in the darkness.

As I looked closer my eyes focused on the silhouette of a little girl with long hair wearing a long white night gown following the wagon in her bare feet. My heart stopped. From her pace I was sure she could never catch up to our rickety old wagon. That’s when the wagon came to a halt. I looked at my brave little 11 year old and said, “They have got to be kidding.” Sure enough the little faceless child with the bloody nightgown and dirty feet climbed on board. Not sure how she knew, but she went directly over to me and sat beside me and began to creepily hum a twisted nursery rhyme.

Well…that was all she wrote! I was done and ready to go home.


That experience was, after all, my last Halloween adventure for this year. On my list of places I was to visit are some of the scariest and most terrifying in NJ:


Six Flags Fright Fest in Jackson

Brookdale’s Haunted Theatre in Lincroft

Asbury Park’s Haunted Hall

Brighton Asylum in Passaic

Field of Terror in East Windsor

Camp Evans Base of Terror in Wall

Ghost Tour of the John Fell House in Allendale

Corn Field of Terror in Egg Harbor City

Fear in the Forest in Browns Mills

Hollowgraves Haunted Manor in Keansburg

Evil Spirits Woods at Emerald Acres in Monrow

Nightmare at Gravity Hill in Jackson.


I hope you can choose a place to visit off this year’s October “To Do” list that will help you reach you scare limits this Halloween. Thanks to the creepy little faceless girl in the long bloody nightgown I will be holding off until next year, spending the next hundred sleepless nights regaining my courage.

So, maybe next year I will start with a ghost tour or and haunted asylum (or maybe not).

Happy Halloween!

And post your favorite spine chilling Halloween experiences.

TaraJean McD.,

ON THE AVE is NJ Discover’s new TV Show with Tara-Jean Vitale hosting, airing twice a week on Comcast TV channel 190 ON THE AVE is NJ Discover’s new TV Show with Tara-Jean Vitale hosting, airing twice a week on Comcast TV channel 190(1)


ON THE AVE is NJ Discover’s new TV Show  with Tara-Jean Vitale hosting airing twice a week on Comcast TV channel 190

ON THE AVE will be driving through New Jersey Towns discovering local businesses, restaurants and hot spots. We will take you inside these places and meet the people who make it all possible.

In this episode Tara-jean Visited  Escondido’s of Freehold, Green Flag at Wall Stadium and Krank of Hoboken.  Sit back and enjoy!

Watch ON THE AVE – NJ Discover TV and discover what local gems are in your neighborhood

In Case You Missed It ! Annual Reenactment of the Battle of Monmouth[Video Highlight] In Case You Missed It ! Annual Reenactment of the Battle of Monmouth[Video Highlight](0)

Annual Reenactment of the Battle of Monmouth
Each year the Friends of Monmouth Battlefield co-sponsors, with the DEP, State of New Jersey, an annual reenactment of the battle. The event is usually held on a weekend towards the end of June, in commemoration of the anniversary of the battle being fought on June 28, 1778. Hundreds of troops encamp at the park and recreate scenarios of the battle over the weekend.

Video Jason Nappi (NJ Discover)
On June 28, 1778, as Sir Henry Clinton and his troops departed from the Monmouth Court House, George Washington and his Continental Army troops plotted an ambush on the rear column of Clinton’s British Army soldiers. It became one of the largest battles of the American Revolution. It took place in the fields and forests that now make up Monmouth Battlefield State Park, though the battle soon ended in a standoff.[6]

The Battle of Monmouth is notable for creating the American legend of Molly Pitcher, a housewife who boldly took her husband’s place at the cannon only moments after his peril. In honor of Pitcher, an aging white cenotaph was erected near the property of the battlefield.

Tastes Of The Belmar Seafood Fest 2014 – by  Noelle Ciumei Tastes Of The Belmar Seafood Fest 2014 – by Noelle Ciumei(0)

Belmar NJ – Seafood Festival 2014
I found a great spot on the boardwalk to put my plate of oysters down and was greeted by this extremely friendly family from out of town. One of the family members convinced me to take a before and after picture of my plate- she read my mind so I took a before and after picture. After, I reviewed the “photo shoot” I had with my oysters and came to the conclusion that this was my favorite picture.


Came across this awesome stand, where they were serving raw oysters, shrimp and clams. I couldn’t help but smile and admire how hard this little boy was working to help feed a hungry crowd. [ check them out on FB: Jersey Shore BBQ]










Good times at the Jersey Shore!
Noelle Ciumei

9/11 Memorial Ceremony Brings Comfort to a Town in NJ – Marlboro, NJ 9/11 Memorial Ceremony Brings Comfort to a Town in NJ – Marlboro, NJ(0)

written by Rabbi John L. Rosove, Temple Israel of Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA

Eternal God, Source and Creator of Life: From the depths we have called to you and we call to you again for courage, strength and wisdom on this 12-year anniversary of our nation’s tragedy.

Grant us courage to confront our enemies. Comfort those who stand alone without spouse, parent, brother, sister, child or friend. Open our hearts to them and to the children orphaned 12 years ago today. Enable us to love more deeply all children who suffer. Accept with mercy our prayers of healing on behalf of the families of the victims and on behalf of the responders who became ill at Ground Zero.

Despite the horror and tragedy of 9/11, our country remains a shelter of peace, a symbol of freedom a beacon light of compassion and justice to the downtrodden and oppressed of the world.

Strengthen the hands of our people to defend this country and our common values of freedom and justice. Inspire our leaders and diplomats to act wisely and to pursue peace everywhere in the world.

May we teach our children to learn and to think, to consider and to reason, to be courageous in thought and in deed, and to nurture hearts of wisdom that they may do battle against fear, hatred and bigotry using weapons of the spirit and loving hearts.

We offer our prayers on behalf of our country and government, our President and judiciary, our officials and institutions, our soldiers and citizens, upon all who faithfully toil for the good of our country, to preserve democracy in our land, to advocate for civility between adversaries, and to treat every human being as infinitely worthy and dignified by virtue of being created in the Divine image.

Bestow upon us all the blessings of peace, and may we live to see the day when swords will be converted into plowshares and nations will not learn war anymore.


Grand Opening Press Conference  ‘Asbury Park Musical Heritage Foundation.’ An Amazing Historic Place! January 14, 2013    By Calvin Schwartz Grand Opening Press Conference ‘Asbury Park Musical Heritage Foundation.’ An Amazing Historic Place! January 14, 2013 By Calvin Schwartz(2)

Grand Opening Press Conference  ‘Asbury Park Musical Heritage Foundation.’ An Amazing Historic Place!

January 14, 2013    By Calvin Schwartz



As a journalist who gravitates to music these days, there are events to cover and then every once in a while, I alight from my Conestoga wagon of discovery ( I wish I was around  when the first Conestoga wagons were coming off the assembly line in Detroit) and walk into a magic world of music history and relevance. Such was yesterday at the opening press conference for the Asbury Park Musical Heritage Foundation headquarters on Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park’s hip business address. I started my love affair to remember with Asbury Park exactly a year ago when I hooked up with NJ Discover TV and some unknown universal energy dispatched me to Asbury and the rest is a personal history and words you’re reading now.

Asbury’s music past, present and future swirl around my soul; I know that Asbury Park will one day find itself as an international music presence and destination much like Memphis or Nashville. Asbury Park belongs on the global stage; so many of us who frequent the diverse, rich cultural heritage of this evolving city know this; the music is so good and plenty here.







At the beginning of last summer, I was walking down Cookman Avenue; the sun was setting surreally on a pastel blue house across the street. A young boy was standing in his backyard, with a guitar and an amp, playing incredibly well. He couldn’t have been more than twelve; I dream; maybe I found a way back to the future; it was Bruce Springsteen, no, Vini Lopez, no, Southside Johnny or Clarence Clemons or a hundred other angels who contributed to the rich history of this music town.

Tom Gilmour (director of Economic Development for Asbury Park) opened the press conference and introduced Susan Pellegrini  as the new Executive Director of Asbury Park Musical Heritage Foundation. “We were not ready to take the leap to open this yet for another year, but Sandy made us pick up the pace,” Susan said. They plan to have exhibitions, lectures, live broadcasts and to be that special international destination for people. She continued, “The focus is for us to be a connector for different aspects of music in Asbury Park.”  The inaugural exhibit will be a Light of Day retrospective tour with four photographer’s work.






Next Saturday (January 19th) they’re showing a film ‘Asbury Park Musical Memories,’ with 1930’s through 1970’s dealing with what is was like to be in Asbury during that time. There’s a three year plan and the ultimate goal is to move to a 30,000 square foot “architecturally significant building, at the Crossroads on Lake Avenue.”

I like the notion that Asbury Park has a sister city in Italy, Casalgrande, giving it even more of an international flavor. The mayor of Casalgrande, Andrea Rossi was here in September and is coming back in May. Indeed the Asbury Park connections grow. So does the dream for global musical relevance and awareness.  John Cavanaugh, official photographer of the Stone Pony since 2000 and Light of Day since 1998 spoke about his contributions of photography and memorabilia on display which constitute phase one. The Heritage Foundation is looking for financial and materials donations and loans of art, photography and memorabilia.  More phase one activity includes an Asbury Park Musical Story Teller series where there are live performances as well. Soon Black History Month, Jazz month and a new artist’s series.





The hours are Friday 12-7  Saturday 12-8 (except 12-10pm during First Saturday events)  Sunday 12-6pm.

Of course during the summer they’ll expand to seven days.

And then Kimmee Masi, operator of Confections of a Rock Star, on Cookman Avenue  invited guests to a feast of cupcakes and confections. I grabbed (inconspicuously, I assumed) a chocolate cup cake.  She saw me. I exclaimed as I consumed in one festive satisfying bite, “wow, wow, wow.”  She said, “Only three wows?”  I brought one more “wow” to auditory channels.

I timed myself. I walked around gazing and reminiscing for 44.4 minutes. It was magic to be there. It was only the first day. Oh and the front door is only 44 feet away from the historic Upstage Club. I like that too.

Asbury Park Musical Heritage Foundation   708 Cookman Avenue Asbury Park   732-775-8900

Calvin Schwartz






Garden State Wine Growers Association  Episode 1 “Traditional and Modern” – [Video] Garden State Wine Growers Association Episode 1 “Traditional and Modern” – [Video](0)

Garden State Wine Growers Association  Episode 1 “Traditional and Modern” – [Video]


New Jersey Wines ~ Savor the Experience!

More than two hundred years ago, London’s Royal Society of the Arts recognized two New Jersey vintners for their success in producing the first bottles of quality wine derived from colonial agriculture. Today New Jersey’s wineries continue the tradition of producing high quality wines. But New Jersey’s 40+ wineries offer more than just nationally and internationally acclaimed wines, they offer a total wine experience.

Savor New Jersey’s award-winning wines at wineries nestled amid rolling hills and breathtaking scenery. Sample the wines and taste the quality for yourself. Browse the gift shops and tour the winery to see how and where the wine is made.

Plan a day and tour several wineries on the New Jersey Wine Trails. Or plan your next family gathering, corporate event or wedding at one of the many beautiful wineries that host events. Arrange your visits around the many events which New Jersey wineries host throughout the year, including blue-grass festivals, jazz festivals, fireworks, outdoor barbecues and more.

To find out more about New Jersey wine and wineries, click on the headings to the top and tour our website. Visit our New Jersey wineries soon to savor the experience for yourself!

The Search for Perfect Pizza is Like Searching for the Perfect Wave: Sea Bright Pizza, NJ. By Calvin Schwartz The Search for Perfect Pizza is Like Searching for the Perfect Wave: Sea Bright Pizza, NJ. By Calvin Schwartz(0)

The Search for Perfect Pizza is Like Searching for the Perfect Wave: Sea Bright Pizza, NJ. By Calvin Schwartz

August 10, 2012




Back in 1966, I was in college studying at Rutgers, worrying about Southeast Asia and developing a fascination with a surfing movie called ‘The Endless Summer.’ Director Bruce Brown followed two surfers as they travelled around the world looking for that perfect wave and places to surf. After seeing the movie, I wanted a surf board and a Corvette convertible to cruise Ocean Avenue up and down the Jersey shore. Thing is, I’ve still never surfed ( I don’t even venture much into the oceans since I saw ‘Jaws’ in 1975) but I’ve now harnessed that energy of searching and longing for the perfect wave and cruising all of Jersey’s Ocean Avenues to more relevant pursuits like finding the perfect pizza for my journalistic home base at NJ Discover. And my first stop coincidentally a few weeks ago was on Ocean Avenue at Sea Bright Pizza in Sea Bright, New Jersey.





There were pre-existing energies blowing in the wind meaning I had heard a lot of positivity about Sea Bright Pizza. Cosmic forces and alignments were at play as well. Could it be my pizza discovery journey would begin and end in an opening of the door and crossing the threshold at Sea Bright Pizza?

Cono Trezza is Sea Bright Pizza and a friendly affable accommodating personna at that. Early on during my time there, I realized that Cono is an artist. He came to America 32 years ago from Italy. (The last 10 years here in Jersey). Now I didn’t waste time; I had to get to the sauce (even on the side). Some years ago, recreationally speaking, I travelled around North Jersey with dear friends Fred and Frank (also from Italy) in pursuit of the best sauce we could find. (Fred called sauce, gravy). So as I explained to Cono, I needed a quick ‘sauce’ fix. The sauce was euphoric and worth any kind of trip from anywhere in New Jersey and way beyond. “Where did the sauce recipe come from,” I asked. “From my grandmother,” Cono proudly stated. “Everything from my grandmother.”





Cono came from a town south of Naples and his grandfather named him. His shop is new having just moved from literally next door on Ocean Avenue. It is old world, warm, artistic and appetizing. Of course BYOB. It was time to journalistically plunge into my work. Cono’s egg-plant and margherita pizzas are his personal favorites which I liked too much. I was sampling a pizza plethora. Don’t let me forget the crust. I like the expression, “tastes like cake.” It does.



There was a relatively new creation that was simply sumptuous (a word borrowed from the movie ‘Norma Rae’); carmelized onion and basil. I’m an old movie guy as well. So let me describe this creation by saying ‘Heaven Can Wait.’  Another artistic creation with chicken moved a musical friend of mine to say how perfect this was for those with heavy duty munchies.

How often in journalistic history do you go out on an initial quest for discovery of the best pizza and find Joe DiMaggio or Michelangelo on the first go around. So I hit a DiMaggio homerun and found that quintessential artist in Cono at Sea Bright Pizza. And when I finished this heavenly pizza assignment, I walked outside and inhaled Jersey shore Atlantic Ocean air.  A word came to mind, ‘nirvana.’

Sea Bright Pizza  1066 Ocean Ave    Sea Bright, NJ 07760



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