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Focus: Docked & Shadow Chasing

Punxsutawney Phil and Groundhog Day be damned! There’s more than a foreboding forecast lurking behind shadows.

Yes, that buck-toothed rodent popped out of his hole in the ground to see his shadow this morning, giving that signature six-week extension of winter to weary warmth seekers. Cold, dismal shadow be damned.

Even if you’re not a brighter side seeker, you know that shadows can also be a reminder that where they are cast there is light. If you follow the shadow, you’re bound to find light dancing all around it — respite rays.

Like the kid who superstitiously side-stepped the cracks in the sidewalk, the shadow chaser won’t disturb the beauty in the reflective shadow until he becomes a part of it.

And, one way or another, when you step into the light in that cozy hometown niche, there’s always a picturesque shadow to see, cast and become.

So, sometimes chasing the shadow is reaching for the dream in a day. That’s how it always seems for a Fair Haven kid at heart down at the Fair Haven Dock. Always casting …

Take a look at the above gallery and dream on (and don’t forget to CLICK on one photo to enlarge and scroll.) Enjoy!

— Photos/Elaine Van Develde

There will be plenty of shadows to see in the next several sunny, crisp cold snap giving way to a little warmth. Here’s the weather forecast through the weekend and into next week from the National Weather Service …

Focus: New Year River Daze Imprint

Shrewsbury River in Rumson
Photo/Doug Borden

Sometimes it seems as if a river view is a window to heaven … on Earth.

And as the sunny late December view ushers in a new year, it offers clarity. The clarity of the beauty of home — where you can feel infinite peace emanating from a living Rumson landscape. A landscape that breathes a sigh of contentment. A landscape that beckons you at low tide into its rising tide of tranquility. The comfort of quiet solitude in its good company.

It’s always good company — the river, its inlets and marshland. It’s where all the gentlest elements meet for a nurturing hug and reflection. This time it’s the sun, the blue sky, traveled clouds mirroring in a small looking glass pool of water. The way it all looks back, casting the most golden of glows on wet sand that holds each mark of where many walks of life have been, gone and settled.

It’s a new year. Time to set out to leave more footprints, make your marks — marks of walking toward the satiety of that clear, peaceful view in your own back yard. Marks that stay. Marks emblazoned, emboldened by the sun. Marks in that sand that go out with the tide to wash up on another’s shore, leaving the grains of goodness that were once imprints.

Happy New Year.

River inlet view in Rumson
Photo/Doug Borden

Warmer days are ahead for the first week of 2023, albeit with a bit of dampness …

**Thanks to RFH alum Doug Borden for these spectacular river views!**

Focus: Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge Close-Up & Travel Advisory

The Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge replacement is well underway. Here’s a photo gallery from a bit earlier in the fall and the latest update on construction directly from Monmouth County officials, including a travel advisory for Rumson-Fair Haven and Sea Bright area residents …

(Click on one of the photos in the above gallery to enlarge and scroll for an interesting close-up view of the activity and the original bridge.)

The following is bridge replacement activity, by area, for the week of Dec. 19. All work is scheduled for Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., weather permitting.

In Rumson and Sea Bright …

  • Two bridge pile deliveries are scheduled per day, Monday through Thursday.
  • Uniformed police will assist with traffic control during the deliveries.
  • Deliveries may now be scheduled between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. and will continue to avoid school drop off and pick up times. If the schedule changes based on field conditions, delivery may occur after 3:30 p.m..
  • For safe passage of all, the traffic delivery pattern involves temporary disruption of vehicle and pedestrian movement over the bridge and may affect traffic flow on Ocean Avenue (Route 36) in Sea Bright and Rumson Road (CR 520) in Rumson.
    • During staging of the pile deliveries, vehicle traffic across the bridge will be alternated in the westbound lane and the eastbound sidewalk will be closed.
    • During lifting and moving of the bridge pile to the trestle in the river, both travel lanes and sidewalks will be closed for approximately 10 minutes.
  • Additional bridge pile deliveries are anticipated every week, weather permitting.  With each delivery, vehicles and pedestrians may expect temporary lane and sidewalk closures as noted above.
  • Bridge openings for marine traffic will not be affected by the pile deliveries.

In Rumson …

  • Rumson Road will continue with one lane in each direction until further notice.
  • Flaggers or police officers may assist with traffic control during movement of construction equipment.

On the Shrewsbury River …

  • Work activity will continue in the water south of the bridge on both sides of the river.
  • The navigational channel width has been reduced from 75 to 65 feet. The reduction is expected to remain in effect until the fall of 2023.

Scene Around: Where’s the Fire, Santa?

Where’s the fire, Santa? Or were you just out for a joy ride on the big white truck? Prospective answers are questionable in the face of the Santa sighting on Friday in Fair Haven.

The answers? Well, they say that once a year, Santa parks his reindeer-drawn sleigh at the Fair Haven Firehouse and hitches a ride on the flashing, blaring firetruck to greet all the good boys and girls in town and kick off holiday festivities and a tree lighting.

Everyone accepts it as fact. And considering the joyous holiday mayhem overriding usual inquiring little minds that won’t quit, no kid ever really wondered why he couldn’t just ride that sleigh a few blocks down the street. I mean, he had already made it all the way from that North Pole. What’s a few blocks more? Something’s elfin-like mysterious about this firehouse/fire truck affinity of ol’ Saint Nick’s.

Then there’s his obvious friendship with the firefighters (ahem, as witnessed in the featured photo). Hmmmmm …

Yeah, yeah, he sees and knows all. But, what’s the Santa deal with being sleighed by all things fire company?

OK. Suspicions of decades’ long Santa and his magic firefighter connection pretty much point to one thing: In his spare time, Santa’s a fireman. Well, he’s at least a firemen groupie.

My mother always told me that the firehouse and firetruck Santa we saw around town before Christmas was an elf subbing for the real deal. Na. Sorry, Mom. I think the other deduction is more on target. Ho, no? Ho, yes!

And, hey, kids, should the suspicion be true, it’s a double the Santa pleasure for you. Let’s face it, between the trucks, the firehouse, the reindeer, the suits (fire and red) and the lights, sirens and action, there’s nothing more magical.

Oh, right. There’s the volunteer spirit and smile. Wait. Does Santa stay at the firehouse until it’s time for more of those traditional photos there? Molly Pitcher? Hmmmm …

Cheers to the Santa spirit! And thanks to the fire company elves for capturing the moments.

— Photos/FHFD media

Focus: Fall for a River Anchor of Warmth

Whatever anchors your heart and floats your boat — like a crisp, sun-kissed fall day down by the river in Fair Haven.

Doesn’t matter if the boat floats. The heart fits. And it’s always anchored at the river for the soul of a Rumson-Fair Haven area kid. No matter what, when the sun’s rays warm the chill in the fall air, it’s always a reminder of what berths and soothes while cradling the heart in the warm embrace of a lapping tide down by the river.

It’s a toasty harbor, whether or not the sails are set. The boat, the heart, knows where home is — and it snuggles in, as the cold disappears with a memory and a dream of what there is “no place like.”

The sun is due to cast its rays this week, shining on the best of pre-winter moments …

Here’s the weather forecast for this week, courtesy of the National Weather Service:

An R-FH Area Veterans’ Homage

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Our annual Veterans Day tribute (Click on the right corner icon to enlarge and the arrow of the above slideshow. WAIT for it to upload and play. Click one of the photos in the above gallery to enlarge and scroll.)

Their faces are the faces at the core of a close-knit community. Some have passed. Some are still with us. They are cherished. They are veterans.

They were and are neighbors, dads, and just plain friendly faces around the Rumson-Fair Haven area towns.

They served. They fought for freedom.

They lived and still do live their lives with hometown pride, honor and respect. They were, they are founding fathers, friends. They were, they are cornerstones of the sense of community that is the Rumson-Fair Haven area.

The gift of their legacies bears no upscale real estate market value. They passed along a love of country and community that is priceless.

Thank you, on Veterans Day, to the veterans of the area who have passed and those who are still with us. You are cherished, honored.

Take a look at some of their faces and remember the legacy they carry.

— Elaine Van Develde

— Photos, courtesy of families of the Rumson-Fair Haven area.

Focus: Falling for Sun-Drenched River Time

Sunny days and Mondays are a great way to start the week — especially in the fall with some river time in Rumson tossed in.

With river time, along the Navesink River, it’s all about warmth. Soaking up the sun while getting a soothing embrace from the river is the coziest it gets. Always a homecoming.

There’s nothing like the soul taking a dip in the sun-drenched riverfront. Falling for it all on a fall day. Never shaking off an ounce of its healing power. Taking it in, holding it for a lifetime.

There are more sunny fall river days to come this week. Take a look at the forecast from the National Weather Service

Focus: Halloween Decoration Drive-By

Halloween is in the air — and on lawns — in the Rumson-Fair Haven area.

All you have to do is take a drive to get into the spirit — or crash into a few out of amazement, shock or fright. Do try this at home. Just leave the crashing part out and take in the sights of the creepy, kooky, mysterious, spooky and altogether ooky decorations around the towns, as the Addams Family title song says.

Continue reading Focus: Halloween Decoration Drive-By

Focus: Celebrating Fair Haven History in a Pastor’s Retirement

“If you’re gonna worry, don’t pray. And if you’re gonna pray, don’t worry.”

Following his own advice, Fair Haven Fisk Chapel A.M.E. Church Rev. Thomas Johnson will tell you that he never did much worrying. In fact, if you you’ve ever even known him for a minute, you likely haven’t seen a scowl or worried furrow on his brow. Just a bright smile that speaks self-proclaimed countless blessings.

Continue reading Focus: Celebrating Fair Haven History in a Pastor’s Retirement

Scene Around: Rom-Com Filming Action in Fair Haven

It’s not every day that a movie cast and crew come to film in Fair Haven. Just today.

All was set up and rolling to film portions of the romantic comedy (Rom-Com) Which Brings Me to You at the Columbus Club on Fair Haven Road. Scenes for the film have been shot in other towns in the area — Rumson, Red Bank, Highlands and Keansburg.

According to IMBd, it’s about “two romantic burnouts (who) meet at a wedding and almost hook up in the coatroom before putting the brakes on. They agree to exchange candid confessions about their pasts on the off chance that this might be the real thing.”

Starring Genevieve Angelson, Lucy Hale and Nat Wolff and directed by Peter Hutchings, Fair Haven Mayor Josh Halpern caught the above scenes and posted them on social media, saying …

“How cool is it of the Columbus Club to accommodate the cast and crew of the movie Which Brings Me To You … As always, Fair Haven is in the center of it all. Can’t wait to see the results on the big screen!”

And that’s what was scene around in the Rumson-Fair Haven area today.

Thanks to the mayor for the photos.

Focus: Falling for Sea Bright Beach Solitude

Sometimes it’s all about you … the sun, the sand and the sea.

And that sometime is now. There’s no better time for soaking up some sacred solitude than a sunny fall seashore kind of day. The kind of day when that solitary sit-down, stroll or swing casts a welcome shadow of sunny serenity — always bringing you home with some beach time in Sea Bright.

Call it self-absorbed and soak it all up. It’s that time. Time to fall for yourself — into that seascape time capsule. The one that keeps you forever beached at home.

And the weather forecast calls for that time early this week. Here it is, courtesy of the National Weather Service …

— Photos/Elaine Van Develde

** Click on one in the above gallery to enlarge and scroll. Enjoy! **