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4 places to get scared in Central Jersey

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 10/18/17

Halloween may be falling on a Tuesday this year, but for fans of everything that’s creepy, chilling and gruesome, all that means is that we have two solid weekends left to celebrate one of America’s favorite holidays.

Here in Central Jersey, we have plenty of haunted attractions lurking in the darkness, armed with fake blood, costumed monsters and bloodcurdling screams. If you’re ready to get your annual dose of Halloween scares, check out these local haunted attractions for a hair-raising good time.

Courtesy of Norz Hill Farm

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Zombies run amok for laser tag at Schaefer Farms

Usually, there’s not much you can do to redeem yourself after being scared silly by zombies at Schaefer Farms’ Schaefer’s Frightfest in Flemington, which includes a haunted hayride, a walk of terror, a haunted corn maze and the Carnival of Chaos.

However, thanks to zombie laser tag at Bullseye Virtual Combat, an outdoor laser tag arena at the farm, you can seek revenge on those pesky flesh-eating monsters.

“This game is a complement to Schaefer Farms’ haunted attractions,” said Vic Pellegrini, who opened Bullseye Virtual Combat last year. “People want to take revenge on all the things that scared them. Now, they can fight back.”

~Courtesy of Bullseye Virtual Combat

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Lambertville-New Hope app showcases area happenings

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 10/9/17

LAMBERTVILLE – With fall in full swing, Lambertville and New Hope are budding with visitors looking for a place to hike, bike, shop or even just enjoy a night out are heading to the popular Central Jersey-Pennsylvania destination.

And now, thanks to the Lambertville-New Hope app, which can be downloaded by visiting mycj.co/2xbeK8w or by searching for “Lambertville-New Hope” in the app store on your phone or tablet, visitors can browse every event, restaurant, shop, business and even parking lot right from their devices.

“It’s a who, what, where, when and how all in one spot on the thing that everyone has in their hand,” said Marianne Romano, founder of Mountaintop Marketing and creator of the app.

~Courtesy of Mountaintop Marketing

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Where to celebrate Oktoberfest in Central Jersey

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 10/2/17

Although Central Jersey may be much more than a short drive away from Munich for the city’s annual Oktoberfest celebration, there’s no reason to hop a flight to enjoy authentic German beer, food and music because our region will be holding Oktoberfest celebrations throughout the month.

Whether you’re a full-blooded German or you just want to grab a bite of some bratwurst and schnitzel, check out these Oktoberfests happening right around the corner.

~Gannett file photo

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6 things to do on a fall day in Hunterdon County

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 9/25/17

As the leaves change colors and the air cools from the humid, summer weather, there’s no better place to experience the fall season than in Hunterdon County, which is nestled on the banks of the Delaware River and surrounded by rolling hills, locally owned shops and historic eateries.

If summer has you missing long weekends away, then head to Hunterdon County and check out some of these fun activities in this varied spot.

No need to head to the city for a five-star meal — Lambertville Station Restaurant features locally grown and sourced ingredients served in a restored 19th-century train station overlooking the Delaware River. (Courtesy of Lambertville Station)

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Rare wines from around the world offered at Bernards Inn tasting

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 9/18/17

The Bernards Inn, a luxury boutique hotel and restaurant, is known for its extensive wine collection — with more than 1,500 varieties in its cellar, the ever-changing wine list is a must-see for any Central Jersey wine lover.

Now, once again, the semiannual Around the World Tasting will allow these wine lovers to try more than 100 wines from some of the most celebrated wine regions in the world encompassed on the award-winning wine list, which has brought home wine awards year after year.

Courtesy of Bernards Inn

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NJ’s culinary stars unite to benefit autistic adults

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 7/7/17

It’s no secret that New Jersey’s farms are some of the best — as every resident (and foodie) knows, we can get some truly mouthwatering produce, meat, milk, cheese, eggs, bread and more right here in the Garden State from farmers we know by first name.

Oasis Farms, operated by Oasis Therapeutic Life Centers, a public charity founded in 2007, is one of those such farms — with locations in Middletown, the properties are full of goats grazing, fields flush with vegetables and fruits, hens roaming, a wood-burning oven where pizzas and breads are baked and artwork and fine crafts on display.

The one difference between Oasis Farms and other Garden State farms is that throughout the spaces, visitors will notice students everywhere, tending to farm chores and practicing the life arts, since Oasis Farms houses 22 autistic adults who live and work on the 21 acres, as well as on an additional leased 20 acres, to help them excel at meaningful work and community interaction.

Oasis Farms is a working farm for autistic adults to live and work at. (Photo courtesy of Oasis Farms)

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Tea rooms offer trip back to Victorian era

These days, many of us are used to enjoying our tea after rushing out the door with it in the morning and then sipping on it as we sit in typical bumper-to-bumper New Jersey traffic.

However, thanks to local tea rooms, some tea drinkers are now taking their tea to Victorian digs where they can sample homemade teas in an elegant, refined environment.

“Visiting a tea room is an experience,” said Kathleen Hippeli, owner of One Steep at a Thyme, an intimate Jamesburg tea shop that offers a two-hour tea service by reservation only four days a week at two seatings per day. “You come in and enjoy the ambiance of a Victorian home, have a seven-course tea service over two hours and enjoy a simpler way of being social.”

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Work in tourism? Meet other pros with Skal group

In a working world filled with people employed in industries such as finance, medicine and more, sometimes those working in hospitality and travel can be left feeling a bit on the outskirts.

However, if you become a member of Skal International, the largest professional travel and tourism organization in the world with approximately 450 clubs in 85 countries, you certainly won’t feel that way for long.

That’s because the Northern New Jersey chapter of Skal International (NNJSI), which has monthly meetings usually on the second Tuesday of the month at centrally located venues (such as at the Spanish Tavern in Mountainside, the location of its Sept. 12 meeting), costs about $45 a person from 7 to 9 p.m. and is filled with about 50 local leaders in the tourism world looking to promote goodwill and friendship among those in the travel industry.

~Courtesy of Skal International

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Simply Jerk is Monroe culinary diamond in the rough

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 8/21/17

If you are one of the many people that call Monroe your home — at least from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at one of the township’s many corporate complexes — you’re probably aware that the local dining options are a bit lacking.

However, Simply Jerk Jamaican Grill, a quaint counter-serve eatery that can seat about 30 people in its colorful, tropical digs, is known as a roadside diamond in the rough with its authentic Jamaican cuisine run by the White family.

“It’s kind of a cultural wasteland here, and for many people, this is their first time having Jamaican food in the States,” said Rahsheid White, vice president of marketing and business development at Simply Jerk who lives in Howell and is son of owner Newell White and executive chef Eleith White, who live in Millstone.

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