Fair Haven Business Buds Gather

It was a traditional gathering of friends in business in Fair Haven.

Wednesday marked the annual Fair Haven Business Association’s annual barbecue.

Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect paid a visit to the festivities among friends, some of whom have been in business in the borough for a long time.

Ferguson Dental Care and Boxwood Gardens Florist and Gifts hosted the meeting/party, with the good doctor (dentist), Paul Ferguson, at the grill.

Besides longtime Fair Haven business Boxwood and Ferguson Dental business leaders, folks from, ForeFront, Two River Computer, Coastal Decor and DeFalco Pools made appearances.

Check out the photo gallery above for a glimpse into the gathering. Do you know who’s who?

Holy Cross Church: A Look at its Expansion From Start to Near Finish

Here’s Holy Cross Church. Here’s its steeple. Open the doors … Well, not quite yet.

By the looks of things and according to the word around town, the Rumson church will be ready for its people (or parishioners) by the summer.

And it looks that way.

With the foundation of the 1885 church restoration/expansion blessed on Nov. 3, 2013, after the project broke ground that spring, construction was slated for completion by the end of 2014. While it has looked very close to finished for several months, a look back from its groundbreaking to now shows the progress and latest refinements.

The church project has been a contentious one from the start, tainted by the scandal of its leader in the early 2000s, Rev. Joseph Hughes, who pleaded guilty to embezzling millions from the church and its revamp fundraising coffers.

Then there were battles over the size of the expansion of what was a small, white-shingled 1885 church the expansion of which is being tailored to recreate the original design of Charles Keely.

For fundraising sponsorship offers, check out the church’s website by clicking here.

— Photos and story/Elaine Van Develde


Springing into the Sea Bright Firemen’s Fair

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It’s a sure sign of spring when the Sea Bright Firemen’s Fair starts.

And spring was in the air on the first night of the longtime area tradition Thursday.

The fair continues through Sunday: Friday, from 5 p.m. to midnight; Saturday, from 4 p.m. to midnight; Sunday, from 2 to 9 p.m.

Take a look at the photo gallery above for a glimpse into opening night of the fair. 


Sea Bright Farmers Market Back in Season

By Elaine Van Develde

The Sea Bright Farmers Market is back in season and the goods are ripe for the picking.

In addition to the old favorites — Picklelicious, Fair Mountain Coffee Roasters, Harvest Moon Farm, Holly Jolly Jams, Neshanic Valley Beekeepers, Baker’s Bounty and Franklin Soapworks — there are also some small family-owned farm vendors that have joined in the second year of the outdoor locally grown, organically crafted shopping tradition in the Sea Bright Municipal Parking lot from 2 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays.

Those new additions include organic goodies, like Asian produce, herbs, free-range and grass-fed meats, farm fresh cheeses and  from Green Duchess , Central Valley and Holly Hill and Harvest Moon farms. DIVE was also there offering some samples of corn and clam chowder.

Continue reading Sea Bright Farmers Market Back in Season

Sea Bright Stairway to Donovan’s?

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It’s May. Countdown to Memorial Day weekend has begun and the unofficial start of summer is not far off. But whether or not Donovan’s Reef will make its comeback with summer is not yet clear.

The lot of the iconic Sea Bright spot has been cleared. The Hurricane Sandy-ravaged bungalow is gone. That all happened, after a static period, in December of last year.

Last word, according to Donovan’s Facebook page, was in February of this year. In answer to a patron’s query of whether or not the bar would be back and exactly when, ownership said, “Yes. Things are moving forward, just don’t have specifics yet!”

Since then, not a word. Only speculation. After Sandy, there was a time when a sale was pending. Then that changed. And in the summer of 2013, owners were saying that it would be back in 2014.

Plans for a larger Donovan’s, replete with on-beach Tiki bars and tree houses, were approved, after some delay, in 2014. And there was a plan to at least partially open with Tiki bars on the beach that year, as a teaser.

A Tiki bar and thatch umbrella have remained on the beach since.

The cleared lot and sea wall are fenced in. Small remnants of the original Donovan’s remain. And there’s a relatively new staircase over the sea wall to the beach, where Donovan’s deck and staircase to the beach was before Sandy. Another staircase is a few feet away for beach access.

One of the owners, Dr. Robert Carducci, died in February of 2014. The other is Bob Phillips.

Phillips was not reachable for comment.

There have been rumors of sales bandied back and forth for years.

But, as of now, the above gallery offers a glimpse into its present state — looking far from ready for an end of May, or even summer, opening.

Could that change?

Rumson-Fair Haven Restrospect will keep you updated. 

— Elaine Van Develde

Flavour Festival Fun

The sun was out on Sunday and so were plenty of people — at Red Bank’s International Flavour Festival.

There were craft and food booths galore and plenty of music.

Take a look at the above slideshow for a glimpse into the day. Enjoy!

Fair Haven Shore Signs of Spring

The temperature may have plummeted a bit, but spring has just about sprung on the banks of the Navesink River in Fair Haven.

Tree leaves and blossoms have or are just about to bloom. The tide has been low, boats being readied for the season and waters calm.

It’s the perfect time for a walk down by the river.

Take a look at why Fair Havenites treasure their river time and memories. 

You may purchase photos from this gallery, but may not publish them anywhere. They are copyrighted.

— Photos by Elaine Van Develde/Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect

Fire: Rumson VNA Show House Up in Smoke


The historic Rumson mansion known as Blithewald was all set for a Saturday Gatsby-themed gala to kick-off its month-long feature as the Visiting Nurse Association’s (VNA) fifth Stately Homes by-the-Sea Designer Show House — until a fire ravaged it.

The 19th century home to the Widener family, at 76 Buena Vista Ave., went up in flames on the upper floors and roof area at about 12:55 p.m., according to first responders at the scene.

As of 3:45 p.m., firefighters from several surrounding towns and beyond — Rumson, Fair Haven, Middletown, Red Bank, Little Silver, Sea Bright, Highlands, Atlantic Highlands, Shrewsbury and Asbury Park — were still arriving at what was still considered an active fire.

Smoke could still be seen billowing from the roof and upstairs. And firefighters were still on the scene at about 7 p.m.

There were no reported injuries, authorities said.

Fair Haven Fire Department thanked Tinton Falls Fire Co. No. 1 for covering Fair Haven while its firemen assisted at the Rumson fire.

The VNA released the following statement in the late afternoon:

Today, Blithewald, the house that designers, staff and volunteers have been preparing for the fifth edition of the Stately Homes by-the-Sea Designer Show House event to benefit VNA Health Group, caught fire and sustained heavy damage. The cause is unknown and we thankfully have heard of no injuries to anyone at this point.

We are tremendously grateful to the first responders and to our staff members and volunteers who were on the scene to respond to the emergency.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the first responders and the homeowners as they assess the damage.

Blithewald, a historic treasure from the Gilded Age, was the setting for the fifth edition of the Stately Homes by-the-Sea Designer Show House. Proceeds of tours and the Preview Gala were to benefit VNA Health Group.

We will provide updates about the Stately Homes-by-the-Sea Preview Gala that was scheduled for Saturday, April 25th and the opening of the Show House tours, which were scheduled to begin on April 28, 2015 as information becomes available.

This is a breaking news story. Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect will add information as it becomes available. 

 — Elaine Van Develde

RFH Rowing Sprouts with Spring

With advent of spring, RFH Rowing and RFH Varsity Crew activity has sprouted.

The “competitive scholastic high school” crew program, sponsored by Rumson and Fair Haven boroughs, launched some of its seasonal start-up at its Victory Park home base in Rumson on Tuesday.

Continue reading RFH Rowing Sprouts with Spring

Rumson Signs of Spring


Spring has sprung in the Rumson-Fair Haven area.

The sun was out on Monday and so were the kids at Victory Park in Rumson.

As the temperature hit near 70 degrees, the mood escalated along with it.

Take a look at the slideshow above for a glimpse into the afternoon down by the Navesink River at the park.

Day is Done: Sunset for Patrolman Henne

After being posthumously promoted from Fair Haven Police Department Special Officer Class II to Patrolman at his wake on Friday night, the final radio call for Robert J. Henne, badge # 37, was made. And his new badge number was retired.

The patrolman was laid to rest on Saturday. The sunset that chilly night at the Fair Haven Dock in Henne’s hometown was as warm and serene as the smile of the officer etched in the memory of so many. RIP, Patrolman Henne.

A memorial tribute to Robert J. Henne will follow.