Thursday, July 14, 2011

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

I recently introduced my daughter to the movie The Sound of Music. Well, by introduced I mean I ordered it on Netflix and we watched half of it. (So far.) We've talked about getting it since I sometimes sing Do-Re,-Mi to her when she is going to bed and wanted her to hear Julie Andrews sing it. (Of course, the daring, heart-pounding escape from the Nazis might not make for the most restful bed-time thoughts, now that I think of it. But, like I said -- we haven't gotten to that part yet.)

In the meantime, the movie has made me think about that other sweet song, "These Are a Few of My Favorite Things."

With summer winding down here, I decided to compile this little list of a few of our favorite things in northern New Jersey.

Made With Love - downtown Jersey City. We adore this little gem of a bakery on Newark Ave. Last year, in fact, I threw a little dinner party for myself there (it was my birthday) and created my own, ultimate "Girls Night Out." The bakery uses all organic ingredients and everything tastes wonderful. This year I also ordered buttermilk scones for my daughter's class for a special event and the owner and head baker delivered them herself, fresh from the oven, right to the school! We are hoping someday they will introduce gluten-free products to their lineup, like this place.

Van Saun County Park - Paramus (tucked away off Route 3). This park has it all and is worth the drive from Jersey City or Hoboken. They have a beautiful old-fashioned carousel, a large zoo, an irresistable choo choo train that runs around the outside of the zoo, a large playground area -- and, wait for it: pony rides! It's awesome. This week my daughter is doing a "pony camp" there and it's been a lot of fun, especially today when she demonstrated her skills and trotted with a pony named Finn (with a counselor jogging alongside them.) You can easily spend a day here.

River view Park and Washington Heights Park - Palisade Ave., and Central Ave, respectively. We have to represent, since we live in the Heights! Both of these parks have been renovated. Riverview has spectacular views of Manhattan, room to run around and play soccer, and a nice sized playground. (The very steep slide here is a family favorite.) There's also a community garden tucked in one corner (near Ogden) which is definitely worth checking out. On Sundays there is a newly established Farmer's Market. Washington Park recently underwent a massive overhaul; it boasts all new tennis courts, a large area with picnic tables, and one of the biggest playgrounds anywhere -- including a small toddler area and a fun, large climbing structure that looks like a barn, plus plenty of slides. It's also got a big sprinkler park. We used to drive to Hoboken for sprinklers, but now we don't have to. Both parks have vibrant park associations.

The Clearview Cinema in Hoboken. Just down the viaduct running from Jersey City to the north end of Hoboken, this relatively new theater is convenient and usually has at least one kid movies playing.

The public libraries. The beautiful Main Library in Jersey City is a frequent stop for us, but did you know that Jersey City residents can get a special sticker added to their library card which gives us privileges to the Hoboken library? Both libraries are near parks, so it's an easy little outing to combine a trip to pick up books and play outside. Plus, the Hoboken library has a very large children's room which is fun to explore, especially if your kids have already checked out the kid's room in the Jersey City branch.