Category Archives: Local Life

A look, in photos, of latest area events, local everyday people and places.

The R-FH Weekend: Spaghetti Dinner, St. Patrick’s Day Parade & More

The upcoming weekend in the Rumson-Fair Haven area is flush with fun, festivity, remembrance and tradition.

To start, on Saturday  …

• It’s been a longtime tradition of the Fair Haven Volunteer Fire Company — the annual Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser.

The sauce and meatballs are prepared under the tutelage of 85-year-old Angelo DePonti, a Red Bank friend of Fair Haven who has been a social member of the fire company for 25 years.

“I was born to cook and I love sharing my recipe and food with so many,” Angelo says.


The meal of spaghetti and meatballs, salad Italian bread, soft drinks and homemade desserts is made and served by firemen, Ladies’ Auxiliary members and fire cadets.

The dinner, from 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturday at the firehouse on River Road,  is BYOB and costs $10 for adults and $5 for children. Oh, and take-out is available.


• Later on Saturday night, as a prelude to Sunday’s Rumson St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the parade’s Investiture Cocktail Reception fundraiser from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at The Salt Creek Grille in Rumson.

Tickets are $75. The price includes cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

And on Sunday …

• The third annual Rumson St. Patrick’s Day Parade marches into town beginning at 1 p.m.

The parade lines up at Victory Park and then proceeds east on River Road for about 1 mile to Piping Rock Park.

Last year, police estimated that there was a crowd of roughly 7,000.

• Also on Sunday, from 3 to 5 p.m. RFHers may pay their respects to former RFH teacher and coach Hal Lorme.

The service is being held from 3 to 5 p.m., with a prayer service at 4:30, at the Thompson Memorial Home, 310 Broad Street, Red Bank.

A Little Retro RFH Baseball

RFH Class of '78 friends play some casual catch have some laughs. Photo/George Day
RFH Class of ’78 friends play some casual catch have some laughs.
Photo/George Day

Our Retro Pic of the (George) Day honors the memory of former RFH Coach Hal Lorme in an unofficial sports way.

In this photo taken in the 1970s, a few RFH Class of ’78 pals were caught just clowning around on the field — nothing of the varsity level going on here, just a little fun playing some casual catch.

Not only does this glimpse into the past honor Coach Lorme’s love of baseball, but there’s a hint of wrestling in here, too — all in fun.

RIP Coach Lorme. Thanks for some fun times and hearty competition at RFH.

Many thanks, again, to George Day for this and many of the photos in Coach Lorme’s memorial slideshow.

Retro Gull on the Beach


Seagull om Sea Bright Beach in the fall of 2014. Photo/Elaine Van Develde
Seagull om Sea Bright Beach in the fall of 2014.
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

Our Retro Pic of the Day focuses on a gull on the beach in Sea Bright.

The intent of this pic is to get Rumson-Fair Haven people all ready for the warm weather ahead — of course.

What’s your favorite spot at the beach and what are you looking forward to most once the sun hits the shore?


A Warm Winter Tiki Haven

By Elaine Van Develde

Aloha! The Foundation of Fair Haven has gone from Oktoberfest lederhosen and beer steins to hula skirts and leis with its newest fundraiser — the first annual Tiki Haven.

Locals gathered at the Knights of Columbus hall in Fair Haven on Saturday for an evening of luau food and festivities. Most everyone came dressed for the occasion in one way or another; and while gathering for “some tropical fun,” people participated in a super 50/50, auctions, games and dancing for a $50 donation to The Foundation of Fair Haven for Future Fair Haven Days.

The photo booth in the food and dancing room revealed some interesting visitors.

Food was provided by Red Bank Flavour. Local businesses provided baskets for the raffles and auctions; and Jake’s Surf Shop, a Sea Bright business owned by an RFH graduate, donated sweatshirts to the Tiki Toss game.

Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect caught a glimpse into the evening with lots of photos. Check out the above slideshow set to tropical music for a look. Make sure you click on the icon in the lower right corner of the video to enlarge to full screen!


Serving Up Soul Food for the Soul

By Elaine Van Develde

It was good for the soul. A comforting scent of collard greens, pigs’ feet, chicken and fish filled the air. And there was a hearty helping of Fair Haven families rooted in the borough since the 19th century connecting.

It was Saturday afternoon’s Fisk AME Chapel Soul Food Dinner at the church in Fair Haven.

“We sold out!” one of the organizers cheered. “Seventy dinners!”

That was only a couple of hours after they opened the doors. They were proud and the food was not the only reason why.

The Fisk AME Chapel congregation has been steeped in Fair Haven history since 1858. Named after Civil War hero General Clinton B. Fisk, a “devout Methodist” and champion of civil rights, the first Fisk Chapel in Fair Haven was where Bicentennial Hall now stands.

Before that, the congregation had a church on River Road near what is now the Shrewsbury Yacht Club — then dubbed the Bethel AME Church (congregation).

Fisk, a Union officer, ran President Lincoln’s Freedman’s Bureau when the Civil War ended. He championed equal rights laws for African-Americans and education focusing on special courses about those rights. He ended up living in Rumson.

“Soon after the Civil War and his arrival in Rumson, New Jersey, General Clinton B. Fisk became very interested in the local Black community at Fair Haven village,” a narrative on Facebook compiled by Stacy Harris (a descendent of the well-known Rileys and Browns) said. “Many of his servants were Blacks, and Fisk apparently won the admiration and respect of these employees.”

After a fire destroyed the original Bethel church in 1875 and those in the black community, many of whom were some of Fair Haven’s founding fathers, were forced to make their way to Red Bank to worship, Fisk made sure a chapel was built to quell the difficulty of commuting.

Right before the church was built, he was also instrumental in having what was a school for black children on Fisk Street. It was known for many years as the Youth Center. After the end of segregation, Youth Center was used for kindergarten.

Kids were walked there to school on a rope. But, that’s a whole other story.

Fisk Street Chapel’s Rev. Thomas Johnson was very proud on Saturday, as were all the participating congregants and guests who made the Soul Food Dinner a Success.

Take a look at the photos in the above gallery for a glimpse into the event. Recognize anyone? It’s a pretty sure bet you do, if you’ve lived in the area for any length of time.  

A Ducky Two River Exhibition in Rumson

Saturday was a very ducky day in Rumson.

Live ducks were out wandering around by the river banks at Victory Park. Then there were myriad decoys, photos, drawings, paintings — all things ducky, otherwise bird-inspired, sporty and collectible — at Forrestdale School as the Two River Exhibition of Sporting Collectible Art held its second annual event all day.

Rumson Police Chief Scott Paterson was honorary chairman of the show; and he had a couple of special family members by his side.

Take a look at our slideshow for a glimpse into the event. Don’t forget to click on the icon in the lower right corner of the video to enlarge!

Slideshow and photos by Elaine Van Develde

Retro Tiki, Anyone?

A snow-capped Donovan's Reef Tiki Bar the winter after Hurricane Sandy Photo/Elaine Van Develde
A snow-capped Donovan’s Reef Tiki Bar the winter after Hurricane Sandy
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

Our Retro Pic of the Day is a sort of retro prequel (oxymoronic as that is) to the Tiki Haven fundraiser in Fair Haven on Saturday.

This shot is of what was left of the Tiki Bar at the iconic Donovan’s Reef in Sea Bright in the winter of 2012 right after Hurricane Sandy flattened the bar. It was the summer spot where all Rumson-Fair Haven area people flocked for some Tiki fun, sun, food and drink.

Donovan’s was expected to reopen last summer, but that did not happen.

This summer? That’s what the word is.

RFH Retro Show Time

Rehearsal for Plaza Suite circa 1975. Photo/RFH yearbook
Rehearsal for Plaza Suite circa 1975.
Photo/RFH yearbook

Our Retro Pic of the Day honors, in a small way, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) shows.

This shot is a yearbook picture of yours truly, your editor, in rehearsal for Plaza Suite circa 1976.

The co-star was a very nice guy, who dropped five pages worth of lines.

No problem. It was a wonderful experience. Thanks to Dan Olshansky for dropping those lines. It made this editor a better actor.

Cheers to the cast of Young Frankenstein!

One Special Retro ‘Fair’ Lady


Sally Van Develde at the Fair Haven Firemen's Fair in 1969.
Sally Van Develde at the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair in 1969.

Our Retro Pic of the Day serves as a special birthday card to a special fair lady — this editor’s mom, Sally Van Develde.

Today would have been her 92nd birthday. She and her husband Bill moved themselves and their two girls to Fair Haven in 1965, made it their home and quickly fell in love with the town, its people and a couple of unassuming volunteer organizations — like the Fair Haven Fire Department.

They passed on that love of their community to their children. That is why this site, Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect, is dedicated to them.

Chatting and catching up  in the Acme was also one of Sally Van Develde’s favorite things to do. Everyone knew her. Hearing “You’ll never guess who I saw in the Acme today …” was about as comforting as the smell of a good cup of coffee wafting upstairs with the sound of chatter and laughter in the kitchen when friends stopped by to see her.

Seen in this photo, sent by Fair Haven Fire Department life member Ray Bennett, Sally is seen working at one of her earlier Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair nights in 1969.

President of the Fair Haven Fire Department’s Ladies Auxiliary many times over, she later became known as the Grab Bag Booth balloon lady.

In this photo, she is manning the  popcorn popper  in what is now called the Out Back, where all the goodies, like hot dogs, burgers, fries, cotton candy and ice cream are made and served.

Thank you for the gift of raising us here, Sally Van Develde! Happy birthday. You are remembered every single day with every bit of work that’s done on this site.

Fair Haven Dock Wrapped in a Snow Blanket

The snow started falling again on Saturday afternoon. And down at the Fair Haven Dock, the Navesink River had transformed into a blanket of snow against an white-out backdrop.

The scene was nothing but a big snow blanket to keep dock die-hards warm with some down-by-the-river serenity.

Take a look at our gallery for a glimpse into the snowy scene. Just click on any photo and scroll. Enjoy and stay warm!

Retro Rumson St. Paddy’s Parade

The first Rumson St. Patrick's Day Parade in 2013. Photo/Elaine Van Develde
The first Rumson St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 2013.
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

Our Retro Pic of the Day serves as a reminder that Sunday marks the start of fundraising events for the third annual Rumson St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

This photo captures a scene at the first St. Paddy’s Day parade that focuses on the marching troupe of the Monmouth County Sons of Ireland.

Know anyone?

The first of fundraisers is tomorrow at Val’s Tavern in Rumson from 1 to 5 p.m. There will be music by Kevin Feehan & Friends. The $10 donation at the door includes music, buffet and bag pipers.