Category Archives: Adventures

Trip to Peabody by Barbara Dexter

Trip to Peabody by Barbara Dexter

A rooster in Peabody, MA.
A bull in Peabody, MA.

Peabody is a suburb of Boston. It is on the north shore. It borders Danvers and Salem. It is 100% urban and is just off interstate 95 near the junction of route 1.  Did I say it is urban and not rural? The thought of finding these lovely statues of a rooster and a bull was like finding a gem in the middle of an urban jungle. I just had to share them with you.

Kayaking in Franklin Lakes, NJ by Barbara Dexter

Kayaking in Franklin Lakes, NJ by Barbara Dexter

You absolutely wouldn’t believe this lake is so close to interstate 287 and yet feels like you are far away from civilization. Yes, this is Franklin Lakes NJ. A well to do area that allowed me an escape after a long day at work.

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getting set

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the lake

There will be different areas of the lake and shore line as we paddle along.


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Franklin lakes is truly relaxing and scenic to kayak. If you prefer there is a trail that leads around the lake. It is great for hiking. Some people have biked it. There are even places to observe the bird life along the trail. I prefer to paddle and watch the sunset. If you go get there early, as there is limited parking. Also the area closes at dusk. You will want to be prepared to depart before the gate closes. Franklin Lakes are not the largest largest lakes, but they do boast some smooth water.

Classic Art Goes to Fruit and Fungi by Barbara Dexter

Classic Art Goes to Fruit by Barbara Dexter

Yes you heard right, classic goes to fruit and fungi. The classics like Van Gogh’s works are now appearing on fruit. Take a stroll through downtown Livingston, NJ and see for yourself.

Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” on a banana.

Van Gogh was thought to have gotten  his inspiration from a bible verse in Genesis. Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, saying, “Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon and the eleven stars bowed down to me.”Genesis 37:9.”

Picasso on a pear.

Pablo Picasso’s “Tete d’une Femme Lisant” (Head of a Woman Reading), 1953. This one is in a fitting place, across the street from the Livingston library.

Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” appearing on a mushroom.

Edvard Munch’s diary reports this about the paining. “I was walking down the road with two friends when the sun set; suddenly, the sky turned as red as blood. I stopped and leaned against the fence, feeling unspeakably tired. Tongues of fire and blood stretched over the bluish black fjord. My friends went on walking, while I lagged behind, shivering with fear. Then I heard the enormous infinite scream of nature.”

Salvador Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory” on a strawberry.

Dali described his work as a hand-painted dream photo.

In case you could not tell this is a mushroom and an strawberry.


A Brief Study of the Sky by Barbara Dexter

A Brief Study of the Sky by Barbara Dexter

As a child I was always drawn to the ever changing drama of the sky. I qould find myself staring at it for long periods of time. In fact it became somewhat of a joke to my classmates in elementary school.  It seemed as though I was the only one that was fascinated by the show that mother nature put out on a daily basis. It was of no consequence since I was determined to enjoy what I liked.  I believe the enjoyment will always continue.

The fluffy clouds that are fun to see shapes and how they move.
Do you see the lobster claw in this one?
They can make even a city look better.
Dense cloud layer.

The cloud layer provides a background that is good enough to allow the Goethals Bridge to be seen on the horizon.

There was a plane flying over head not long ago.
The clouds make the parking lot look better.
You can see the sum peeking out from behind the trees ans clouds.
I see an eagle in this one.
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Can you tell what time of day it was in this photo?
Morning over the parking lot…
Autumn sky as we prepare for halloween.
Autumn sky with the dark contrasting leaves of the tree.
What is left of the sun for the day as the sky darkens.
Does this look foreboding to you?
Dense clouds with little sun..
The dense clouds make the roadway look better.
This would be the perfect sky for all hallows eve.
Let there be light in the gloom.
Sunset with purple and blue dominating the sky.


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Can you see the sun in the clouds?

Drawing at The Stickley Museum by Barbara Dexter

Drawing at The Stickley Museum by Barbara Dexter

The Stickley Museum is in Morris Plains,NJ. There website link is I had a wonderful day of drawing at the museum. We first visited the gift shop that is conveniently situated so you have to pass through it at the start and end of your tour.  There are some exhibits that I have visited elsewhere that could learn that retail lesson.  The is situated on 30 acres and is a national historic landmark.

The main building.

When I visit places I just want to see something that captivates me. This site did just that.  Although it was a dreary day, weather wise, the rain held out long enough for me to capture the landscape in pictures and some rough sketches.

A view of the main building from the side.


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What the squirrel left.
More of what the squirrel left.
A couple of out buildings.





The main building at the Stickley Museum houses the museum and the gift shop. It is from this view that I chose to do most of my drawings.  If the weather was better there would have been time to do several landscape sketches.

Strange Mirror Woes by Barbara Dexter

Strange Mirror Woes by Barbara Dexter

Yes this is yet another place in Jersey. It is the trend coffee house. Here you can get a select choice of sandwiches, some pastry, soft serve ice cream, and of course coffee tea. The atmosphere is laid back. There are plenty of arm chairs and tables to pull up and relax. Yes there are bands that play on a weekly basis in the corner of the room they refer to as the Trend Stage.

The Trend Stage


One of the largest mirrors that I have ever seen marks the path to the rest room.

The entrance to the rest room.
One of the smallest mirrors.

One of the smallest mirrors that I have ever seen is located in the rest room. I guess they don’t want you to hang out and make yourself beautiful in the rest room at the Trend Coffee House.


New Jersey Balloon Festival by Barbara Dexter

New Jersey Balloon Festival by Barbara Dexter

It was a lovely 2 and a half hour ride to the festival.  I was expecting an additional twenty minutes for parking but just plain wow is all I can say for the traffic.  The crowd was friendly on the whole but the lines were very long for food and beverages.  Don’t try to bring your own,  as bags were searched on the way in.

The ascension of the balloons was worth the it.








For the geeks or the geek lovers at heart there were balloons in the shape of Yoda and Darth Vader.






For the folks like myself that grew up with the american diet there was the Wonder Bread balloon.


It was very picturesque and very crowded at the same time.










The New Jersey Balloon Festival continues for it’s final day of the season today. For information go to or simply get in the car and head for the Solberg Airport in Readington, NJ.


Grover Cleveland House on July 4th by Barbara Dexter

Grover Cleveland House on July 4th by Barbara Dexter

These are some photos from the ice cream social with live musical entertainment on July 4th at the Grover Cleveland House in Caldwell, NJ.

The front of the house.

Above is the Grover Cleveland House. They offer free tours every few minutes on this busy day. You are welcomed back to the house for individual tours at a more leisurely pace during their regular hours. They are closed on Mondays ans Tuesdays as well as holidays.

The address is:

Grover Cleveland Birthplace
207 Bloomfield Avenue
Caldwell, NJ  07006
Phone: (973) 226-0001

Take a step back in time and marvel at the simple life that we all long for in today’s busy society.  There was no running water in 1832 when he house was built. All water had to be hauled in from the well that is directly off the kitchen at the rear of the house.


The house was used for both business and family affairs. This limited the family’s space in the home.  Most family matters were conducted in the kitchen or the small family room to the rear of the large receiving room.

Flea circus

Celebrate the fourth with an old fashioned flea circus. This is a real humorous treat for children and adults alike.



Learn about history, present day activities, and the memorial association.





Buy a gift to help support the historical house. Don’t forget to sample from ice cream or enjoy a burger during the live musical performance.

This event is held yearly at the Grover Cleveland Birthplace on the fourth of July.

New Jersey is the land of big hair, hormones, and chromatography by Barbara Dexter

New Jersey is the land of big hair, hormones, and chromatography by Barbara Dexter

This became only too real when while attending a seminar on gas chromatography troubleshooting, a young woman walks into the auditorium with hair pointing northward at least six inches of her head pointing straight up into the sky.  Even though I don’t have an engineering degree, I find myself marveling at this structure that lasts through today’s thunderstorm without even a suggestion of frizzing. Yes, New Jersey is definitely home to big hair.

Then there is the one man chromatography shop owner. I wonder how much tenacity and networking is required to pull that feat off? He has to compete in an extremely competitive industry that regularly conducts business in the billions of dollars. This must be one of his networking opportunities, as he is dressed in a power outfit of a button down oxford and khakis. His posture is one of total comfort, though you know his heart is racing for the next big deal.

The natives are getting restless. We have been here for at least forty five minutes after the expected, published start time. The coffee with yogurt and granola are no longer or cannot possibly live up to anyone’s expectations. It is just about this time that a man walks in sporting unsightly facial hair. His chest hair is peaking out of the collar of his polo shirt. He is definitely hairy. I know for certain that my younger sister would find him attractive.

The middle aged man in the suit is next to talk. We discuss retention times and solubility in isocratic and gradient separations. Well I say that times are fast. The theory of theoretical plate counts on the columns is discussed. I day dream and wonder why I need to know the formulas? I only care that I have the ability to separate compounds of interest from cutting agents and diluents.

Yes it happens even here. The old man with the comb over has just walked in carrying his plate of food and coffee. Instead of just taking a seat in the back, he walks in front of everyone to the middle of the first row forcing the speaker to wait until he is seated.

The hairy man has now pulled up a piece of floor and is typing away on his laptop, while the suit is busy taking. I hope he is not sharing “the suit’s” information without permission.  The all of a sudden I can sense his eyes staring at me as I attempt to look away.

Yes, finally something to look at. Eye candy on two legs has just walked through the door.  He is now actively typing on his laptop next to the hairy man. “Mr. Eye-candy” is now perusing the crowd. Will he come over and introduce himself to me I wonder? Alas I must make due talking about self-tightening column nuts and ordering information with the hairy man.  What a missed opportunity.

Then there it is my opportunity to talk with “Mr. Eye-candy”, when he approaches me to ask directions to the airport. He states that he is flying home to California.  My hormones are telling me, just sneak into his luggage he will never notice. As I imagine the California coastline, I calmly explain how to get to the airport and wish him a safe trip.


A Visit to the Tranquility Zone by Barbara Dexter

A Visit to the Tranquility Zone by Barbara Dexter


Tranquility- need I say more?


After a fifty minutes of travel, I have entered the so called “Tranquility Zone.” It is so called because someone actually thought to post a sign with tranquility in the label. The front tie down securing my kayak to the front of my Forester had come loose, but not undone. I was grateful I didn’t have to pull along the road on interstate 287 to fix it. This is my first kayaking trip of the season.

A view of the reservoir and dock.


The picnic tables near the dock.


The gentle rocking of the kayak under me has already subdued my mood. I am in a section that once provided ample growing room for trees.  Apparently most of these are now partially to fully submerged under the water. Motor boats don’t usually come on this section for fear of damage to their engine propellers.

It is Friday morning and the temperature is hovering around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. It is no wonder that I am the only sole on the water. I figure, as long as I don’t fall in, I will be warm enough with my ugly fleece jacket over my life jacket. I put it over just in case I get warm. This way my life jacket will still be on when I need to take the fleece jacket off. Since I swim, but I am not the strongest swimmer, this is important.

As I sit here in my little alcove, forgotten are the events of yesterday. Well at least they don’t seem as important as they once did just hours ago.

I have a turtle that keeps surfacing for air and a yellow and black beaked, white swan for company. In the distance are the large trucks and cars as they carry their important cargo of materialistic supplies for the market place or people.

The trees on the hills surrounding the reservoir have started growing leaves as all along the ridge there are varying shades of green. At his distance some of the trees appear to look like cotton balls that have been pasted to some board as in a model train display.

My agenda is simple. I have none. IF I  feel as I want to paddle around, I do. I have a couple of books to read and of course a snack. I realized that I forgot my water at home so I had to make a detour to get some from the 7 eleven on my way here. I have a simple rule when I go out and enjoy nature. Water don’t leave home without it.

Storms clouds appear to be rolling in. It looks as though a rain shower is on the way. I guess I should paddle back.  I decide to load up my kayak and drive down to the other end of the reservoir. There are large dark clouds in the sky. I sit in my vehicle and observe an older gentlemen unload his yellow kayak and gear and proceed to start out into the water. I begin to question his sanity or do I question mine? For  I still want to be on the water even in the face of the pending storm. I decide it was the appropriate time to head home before I find myself out there in the storm.

As I drive home the storm clouds maintain their dark presence in the sky. I exit  from route 280 at the Livingston Avenue exit and there it is a lovely blue sky with white fluffy clouds.  There is apparently no evidence of mother nature’s wrath. While unloading my kayak my neighbor stated what lovely day it was to be out on the water. Well for a time it was a lovely day, I thought.