Christmas in July in Sea Bright

Sunday was Christmas … in July … in Sea Bright.

If you wandered into the municipal parking lot in the borough, you’d see and hear evidence of the event — you’d hear the music and see the giant polar-themed inflatable slides and candy-centric bouncy house.

And what would Christmas in July be without Mr. and Mrs. Claus? Well, probably just a Christmas without the Clauses. But, they were there — a summery Hawiian version of the couple, that is.

Some wandered onto the beach and a few bopped on the boardwalk to the festive DJ tunes blasting.

Take a look.

— Elaine Van Develde

Skylight: Lazy, Hazy Riverfront

It was dusk. The humidity about to break, the sky down by the Navesink River in Fair Haven took on a personality all its own.

There was vivid color. There were cumulus creatures congregating. There was solitude. And, as is a fortunate status quo for those who live or grew up in the area, there was the sound of a singular boat docking and teen chatter about another “awesome” day on the river.

Yes. Awesome.

— Elaine Van Develde

A Palmy Friday in Sea Bright

They seem to be showing up everywhere. Palm trees.

No, it’s not Florida or the Caribbean. It’s Sea Bright. Maybe it’s because the skies are clearer lately that it’s more noticeable somehow, but it seems awfully palmy in Sea Bright — not that there’s anything wrong with that, as the Seinfeld saying goes.

The transplanted palms have actually been a trend on area beaches for some time now. Still, they just seemed to stick out like a sore palm (OK, corny) on Friday. Sore seems to be the right word, since they seem a bit unhealthy. And there are no coconuts!

Take a look. Do you like them or do you think Jersey should stick with a more native planting?

Red Bank Car Show Classics

If you made it to the classic car show in Red Bank on Sunday — sponsored by Liberty Hose Fire Company in memory of Bob Holiday — you likely saw the cars featured above.

They, an orange Dodge Super Bee and a Challenger, are owned by Bob’s son Joseph. In fact, if you live in the area, it’s likely you’ve seen the cars around. They’re difficult to miss. Though we’re told that the orange color choice is a popular one for the Dodges.

The reason: it’s a new version of color dubbed Hemi Orange that was popular in the 1960’s and 70’s, a Charger owner and car enthusiast tells us.

Nonetheless, former longtime Fair Havenite and RFH grad Troy Brandon caught up with “Joey” at the show and grabbed a pic of the Dodges along with a Camaro owned by Brian Penta of Tinton Falls.

Of course, he included a photo of a Liberty Hose fire truck.

Thanks to Troy Brandon for the photos! Which was your favorite classic at the show?

Canterbury Fair Fun at St. George’s-by-the-River

It’s an annual event that’s been going on for more than half a century. And Saturday marked its 67th year.

The St. George’s-by-the-River Episcopal Church Canterbury Fair was held under sunny skies on the church’s grounds.

Fun in the form of kids games, food, festivities, a petting zoo and classic white elephant sale was had by all.

Take a look at the photo gallery above for a glimpse into the day.

— Elaine Van Develde

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