With Apologies to Bruce Springsteen:
I come from central New Jersey
where sister when you’re bored
They bring you up to meet in shops where you’d eat
But now there’s social distance and I can’t meet with my friends
I drove out of this borough to where the state line ends
I drove down to the river
And along the river I rode
Oh down to the river I drove
In my red convertible
on twisty winding lanes
I traveled through new jersey, and I was grateful for the lack of rain
The sun shone down so brightly
my heart began to soar
No traffic delays no tolls to pay
No sand dunes, no windy shore
That day I drove down to the river
And along the river I rode
Oh down to the river I drove
I woke up completely cranky on Saturday. I don’t know why. My suspicion is that I was going through challah withdrawal. Every Friday night since March 13 (with the exception of Passover of course) I have had a fresh-baked challah, courtesy of my brother-in-law. As I mentioned before, he’d had a fever for 2 days last week, so we did not all get together for dinner. No challah!!!! I can’t think of any other reason why I’d wake up cranky on a beautiful Saturday morning.
I tried to work my way around the ‘crank’. I took care of the cats, finished a book. I wanted to work in the garden but it was sooooo humid!!!! A real NJ summer day. Temperature expected to get up in the 80s and humid humid humid. I was hoping that maybe I could find some outdoor event but of course everything is still cancelled. I tried to “accomplish” something so I’d feel less cranky. I ironed ALL of my tops that needed ironing. That made me feel self-righteous as well as productive. Back in the old days, children, people use to work in OFFICES (a collection of rooms and desks and chairs in a building). When we worked in an office, we used to have to wear nice clothes, because other people would see us – head to toe – NOT just see our head and shoulders. Back in those days, my husband used to do all the ironing. I would do all the laundry (washing and putting away clean folded clothes) and he would do all the ironing and folding of clean clothes. When the Change occurred, and people no longer worked in offices, people stopped wearing nice clothes for work. Since my husband only has phone calls, and never F2F visits or even video conferencing, he didn’t need nice clothes. He stopped doing the ironing. While this was fine for him, it did ultimately leave ME without any nice presentable (ironed) tops. I was lucky that the iron still functioned. I’ve already written about my difficulties with the iron. THIS time I made sure I had plenty of water to keep the beast hot. 🙂
I was so empowered by the ironing that I felt I could tackle changing the battery on the phone line box. I don’t feel like taking a picture of it. I don’t know what it’s called. It’s where all the phone lines come into the house, and it has a battery in it. For several months now the battery warning light has been on, the replace battery light has been on, and periodically the unit emits a piercing beep. My brother-in-law came by to look at it a few weeks ago to help me figure out what battery I needed to order. I ordered it, it came and it sat there, next to the unit. That didn’t seem to be sufficient because the unit kept beeping and the lights stayed on. Finally I opened the unit but the battery had weird-looking connections so I shut it again and left the battery a little closer. Saturday morning I decided to be brave and strong. I changed the battery. The red warning lights all turned off and there hasn’t been a beep since then. 🙂 Victory!
I was still cranky. It was hot and humid but I figured by this time of day (it was after noon)the beaches would be full. I NEEDED to MOVE. I didn’t really care where I went, as long as it was away. I grabbed my beach bag (which has towels, and hats and stuff for being out in the sun) and got in the convertible. 🙂 Top down. 😀 I headed west, towards the Delaware River. It’s not the shore, but it’s a nice drive (if you don’t take the highways) and maybe, just maybe, something along the river would be open. I was craving a chick cocktail. There is a restaurant in New Hope, PA (The Landing) that makes great cocktails.
The drive was wonderful. I wasn’t too hot because of the moving air. It doesn’t feel humid when the air is moving past you. When I got to Hopewell, I saw that one of the restaurants appeared to be serving food in front of the firehouse. I’d met a woman who lived across from that restaurant and we’ve texted a time or two. I texted her to see if she wanted to meet at the firehouse. I figured I could always turn around and go back if she wanted to get together. As long as I was stopped, I texted friends in Titusville to see if they wanted to meet up along the river, since I was nearly there. Well the friend from Hopewell now lives in Pennington (not all that far but she’d only just moved and was still trying to bring order to her life) and the friends from Titusville were all the way NORTH with family. 🙂 No matter – I kept heading west.
I crossed the river in Lambertville, into New Hope, PA. New Hope looked very open to me. As I crossed the bridge I could see folks at the outdoor tables of The Landing. People were walking along the main street, and shops were open. I could see people dining at other outdoor tables. I almost stopped – I actually pulled over into a parking spot. Then I decided that if I GOT a cocktail, I really shouldn’t keep driving the twisty, winding 2-lane roads I love. I didn’t feel like shopping alone, either. To be honest – it was simply wonderful driving the car, looking at the countryside, the trees, the canal, the river. Besides, trying to find a legal parking spot in New Hope is nearly impossible. I pulled out of the spot I was in (it wasn’t legal but I hadn’t turned off the car) and got back on the road. For those who know the area, I was driving north on Rt 32. I got up to Dilly’s Corner, which has the bridge back across the river to Stockton. I turned onto the bridge and noticed Dilly’s was OPEN! When I reached Stockton I turned around, because I thought a chocolate milkshake would be perfect. I drove BACK to Dilly’s. They were only taking online orders or phone calls. I had my phone with me, but it seemed like an awful lot of work for a milkshake. Got back in the car and went back over the bridge, and headed north on Rt 29.
You can really see the river between the trees from that part of the road. It was lovely. I passed a small parking area for accessing the river. It was full. I passed another one – Bull’s Island Recreation Area. I thought – why not stop? I turned around and went back and parked the car. It was LOVELY. There is a boat launch, access to the Delaware & Raritan canal, forest, and a pedestrian bridge to PA. Of course the bathrooms and recreation area and visitor center were all closed due to covid19. There WAS a park ranger sitting at the entrance. Poor fellow – even in the shade it was a bit humid. The boat launch into the river was closed, but there was a smaller launch into the canal. I saw a couple sitting in chairs, near the canal. They’d obviously come for the day – chairs, books, food. What a brilliant idea. It could have been me – I carry folding chairs and a table in the car. 🙂
The pedestrian bridge was great. It is the Lumberville-Raven Rock Pedestrian Bridge. It says it is toll-supported but I saw no toll. 🙂 I guess that means that tolls on other roads and bridges help support this one. I could stand in the middle and stare at the water. I did that. It worked, because when I closed my eyes that night to go to sleep, what I saw was the river. *huge smile* Across the bridge is the Black Bass Hotel with dining. I could see folks at the outdoor tables. It looked lovely. We’ll have to get back there and enjoy some fine dining ourselves. I relaxed, took pictures, and then got back in the car. I was trying to decide if I should continue north up to the Delaware Water Gap or if I should begin to head east towards home. I’d been out for about 2.5 hours at that point and while I wanted to keep going, I knew that sooner or later I was going to need a bio break. Furthermore it was a good 40 minutes or so to the Gap, at least the way I was going. From the Gap it’s an hour back home IF I take the highway and I was trying to avoid getting on any highways.
I continued up to Frenchtown, which also looked somewhat open, although not as open as New Hope. (Lambertville did NOT look open.) After Frenchtown I cut east, heading towards Whitehouse Station. I did cheat finally at Whitehouse Station and got on the highway to head home. All in all, by the time I got home, I’d spent 4 wonderful hours out in the fresh air and sunshine, enjoying New Jersey. AND I saw my first butterfly of the season!
3 thoughts on “Down to the River”
It really does sound lovely. Maybe another time. (I mean, it wasn’t a Downton Abbey marathon or anything….)
Ohmygosh I love those canals so much!!!! I want to take a kayak out on it.