A Perfect Fall Weekend
The weather was gorgeous, the leaves were turning into the beautiful red and gold hues of the season, and indoors Friday night, I enjoyed a fabulous concert by Melissa Etheridge.
As fall weekends go, this most recent one was near the top of my list for perfection. After enjoying the incredible Melissa E. on Friday night at Caesars, the next day I was off to my favorite festival of the fall, the Chatsworth Cranberry Festival in the official “Capital of the Pine Barrens.”
While you can take the fastest route and travel on the Garden State Parkway to get to Chatsworth, the scenic route is one of the most beautiful drives you can take in the state. Taking the White Horse Pike to Philadelphia Ave. in Egg Harbor, you turn right onto Philly Ave. and within minutes you are on the wood-lined country road Route 563 going from Atlantic to Burlington County. You get to cross the lovely Green Bank Bridge and wind past a lake, and as you get closer to Chatsworth, you drive past the cranberry bogs.
While the town of Chatsworth has a population of approximately 2000, during the two days of the Cranberry Fest, previous estimates have been as high as 100,000 or so people enjoying the numerous vendors, food stands and free wine samples. There’s cranberry ice cream, Craisin sticky buns, cranberry pumpkin breads and muffins, cranberry hot sauce and lots of other cranberry-laced goods.
There is also music by the country Bullseye Band and booths featuring animal rescue groups. The Howling Woods Farm brought a trio of wolves for photo-ops; get for picture taken with a wolf for a $10 donation. Pictured is Sampson, who is huge but is a gentle giant. I opted to buy a T-shirt as my donation.
Later in the day I took Route 532 a few miles west to hit Route 206, picked up apples and pumpkins at a roadside stand and had lunch at my favorite diner, the Red Lion. The cream of crab soup was spectacular.
Then it was time to drive home via 206 and use all my willpower not to stop at the Red Barn and purchase one of their Penza’s fruit or pumpkin pies, the best I’ve ever tasted. I already had my Craisin buns so that would have been sugar overkill.
Once again I rejoiced at the beauty of New Jersey and the wonderful opportunities afforded us for both the exciting concerts and nightlife in Atlantic City, and the wilds of the country that beckon just miles beyond the casino glitz.