There is plenty to see in New Jersey by simply driving aimlessly. The beautiful fall colors, rambling creeks, picturesque lakes, and extensive pine forests are natural wonders. Although developement has eaten up many of my old haunts, citizens of New Jersey are buying up land to preserve the natural beauty. While not necessarily beautiful, below are some of the places I visited during my stay. Many of them involve rich memories from childhood.
Atco Dragway (now Atco Raceway):
Atco was a regular Sunday experience for me as a kid. My dad would take my older brother and me for the entire. I particularly remember seeing the Hemi Under Glass and Little Red Wagon wheelstanders, along with innumerable national, and local, hot shots. Atco was recently updated with a new tower, better electronics and an off-road motocross track. It was a treat to see all rear-wheel drive cars competing on the quarter-mile--very unlike the heavy import bias of Southern California strips. www.atcorace.com
Sally Starr was a Philadelphia area, after-school TV show hostess on station WFIL (Wiffle). Affectionately known as "Our Gal Sal", Starr would engage youngsters for hours, day after day between showing Popeye cartoons and Three Stooges shorts. She was genuine, sweet, and endearing, attributes rarely found in todays television landscape. We happened upon her 5th Street Pizza restaurant while looking for Atco Dragway. The food was great. She's a South Jersey legend. www.SallyStarr.net
Berlin Farmers Market:
At the intersection of Jackson and the White Horse Pike lay a South Jersey landmark, the Berlin Farmers Market, or Berlin Mart for short. A variety of established vendors offer up everything from evening dresses to civil war bullets and local delicacies. For a rich sensory experience you must partake from the clam bar, located adjacent to the tire store.
New Jersey has 11 state lighthouses open to the public. "Old Barney", located on the northern tip of Long Beach Island is one of the best looking traditional lighthouses in New Jersey. the exhibit was closed when we arrived but the looming edifice, the second tallest lighthouse in the US, is a beautiful sight to behold. First commissioned in 1859. www.barnlight.com
Ron Jon's Surf Shop:
You don't have to be a surfer to know Ron Jon's, but you would probably recognize their trademark oriental script logo. Well known for their surf gear, around the world, it all started at Long Beach Island, New Jersey. www.ronjons.com
Cherry Hill High School East:
Where SCREAM began. Academically, CHHSE was, and still may be, ranked in the top 5% of the country. Our class of 1976 was one of the largest graduating classes. Guirarist Mark sat next to me in Freshman year. Our mutual interest in things artistic and musical laid the foundation for our friendship. It wasn't until Sophmore year that the seeds of SCREAM would begin to take root. Friends, John (drums) and Joe (guitar) made it a band. We cut class to play in the courtyard. Our most notable gig was a Polish wedding, attended by one of our high school math teachers. I signed their guest book with a big S-C-R-E-A-M. The accordian polka band they were expecting, cancelled at the last minute and asked SCREAM if we would stand in for them. They were polite, if not entertained.
Paul Reed Smith Guitars:
Holy cow! A couple hours from New Jersey, but well worth the trip. If you play electric guitar you should know PRS. American-made in Stevensville, Maryland, they represent premium quality guitars and beautiful workmanship. Our tour of the current facilities made it impossible to look at any guitar the same way again. There was a family-run atmosphere among the hundreds of crafters working there. Check out their new Mira guitar. www.prsguitars.com