Random Places I Have Been in 2017

Well, I guess we were just in a New York State of Mind in 2017.

Trips to the Empire State included:

  • An extended “writer’s  retreat” weekend in Cooperstown in April.  It was my wife’s first time in one of my favorite places on earth.  It was also our first time doing Air B&B.  Despite coming home with a nail in my tire…it was a truly relaxing, lovely trip (and, yes, we both got some much-needed writing done).
  • A weekend getaway to NYC in June to hit up some old haunts (with a jaunt out to Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Museum).
  • A family vacation in August renting a house on Lake Seneca (first time in the Finger Lakes region) from which we watched the solar eclipse. The vacation also included day-tripping to Watkins Glen and the Canadian side of Niagara Falls (a long overdue first time there!)  The Niagara experience inspired a short-story I’m currently polishing up.

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A Visit to Tomasello Winery and Batsto Village

With a friend visiting from out of town, we decided to kill some time by taking a short drive down to Batsto Village for a casual hike on a beautiful day.  Driving down the White Horse Pike through Hammonton, the “Blueberry Capital of the World” sign was impossible not to notice.  When I mentioned there were some wineries in the area, my friend began to wonder if they made blueberry wine.  Right on cue, the unassuming and nicely appointed Tomasello Winery appeared up on the left.  Lo and behold, Tomasello Winery is famous for their fruit wines, including, of course, a very tasty blueberry wine.  The winery offers free wine tasting, a helpful and personable staff, and very affordable locally made wine.  I highly recommend it, and being a mere thirty minutes from my neck of the woods, I’ll be sure to return.  I left the winery with a bottle of their signature blueberry wine and a bottle of their vintage port.  For more, visit:  http://www.tomasellowinery.com/

Just a bit further down the White Horse Pike from the winery, we made a left onto Route 542 towards Batsto Village.  South Jersey often gets a bad wrap for its lack of scenery, but this is a beautiful stretch of well maintained farmland on the edge of the Pine Barrens that rivals any of the best “country drives.”  Nestled in the heart of Wharton State Forest, Batsto Village offers hiking trails, a beautiful lake, and historic buildings (including an old sawmill) left over from its days of iron and glass making during the 19th century.   For more, visit:  http://www.batstovillage.org/

Below are some photos I captured while walking through Batsto Village: Continue reading