A Gem in The Back Yard – The Joseph Ambler Inn

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Sometimes we need reminders of the good things in our own back yard. Twice in the past month or so Mrs. Working Stiff and I have stopped by a wonderful local inn for an after-dinner glass of wine and have enjoyed it very much each time.

The Joseph Ambler Inn offers comfortable lodging and fine dining in a historic “country manner” atmosphere. Made up of five historic buildings on 12 beautiful acres, it really is a charming place.  The various buildings gathered there evoke a feeling somewhat of a small country village, with brick walkways and lights hanging in the trees.  It is the rare weekend there, in nice weather at least, when there isn’t a wedding in progress on the grounds or in one of the several party rooms.  As a matter of fact – not all that many years ago – we had our own wedding there in one of those restored buildings.  (As a side note, our wedding was actually a cocktail party with a bonus. We sent out invitations for a cocktail party at the Joseph Ambler Inn, with a footnote stating that the cocktail party would be “immediately preceded by a brief wedding ceremony”!) read more

The Martini of the Dead

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Last weekend was a huge event, anticipated by millions, celebrated all across the country, and discussed for days in the media – the new blog post from The Working Stiff.

Today again is a much-anticipated and special day. Couples everywhere have been making romantic plans all week, looking forward to tonight.  Women especially have been excitedly waiting for tonight’s big event!  Yes – this is it!  The mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead on AMC at 9:00 tonight is nearly upon us!

I know that Mrs. Working Stiff has been very excited about the show tonight and will let nothing get in her way along those lines. I have had some fun all week with my comments such as, “oh, it’s a shame that the next debate has pre-empted The Walking Dead for this Sunday”, or “I heard on CNN that The Walking Dead has been cancelled for tonight due to that hastily organized special on the life of Antonin Scalia”.  These jokes of mine have not gone over well. read more

The Big Day is Here!

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Yes – Sunday February 7th – at last the big day is here!  Grocery stores have been selling stacks of party trays, tons of chips and salsa, all manner of custom cakes, and cases and cases of beer.   Millions of excited people are eager with anticipation for the events of today.

Yes, here it is finally, dear hundred million fans – the big event is here at last – the new weekly blog post from The Working Stiff!! (Taking deep bow.)

What – you were thinking of something else? How could you be! read more

A Festival of Gingerbread

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I wrote recently about a visit to Peddler’s Village in Lahaska, Pennsylvania, that we took a week or so before Thanksgiving. Peddler’s Village is a fun place to spend a few hours or more at any time of year and offers lots of shopping and dining options in a unique and fun atmosphere.  The fall and winter holiday season is an especially great time to visit because they do such a good job with all the seasonal decorations.

When we were there in November the village was all done up with lots of cornstalks, hay bales, and pumpkins and other colorful squash of all varieties, in the common theme of festive fall decorating. Knowing that they have an annual tradition there of hosting a competitive holiday display of gingerbread houses, I made a mental note to return in December to take that in.  (As an aside, I was hoping that a Peddler’s Village visit and seeing all those elaborate gingerbread houses would help propel The Working Stiff into the holiday spirit!  That may have worked – I feel a slight nip of the spirit creeping in!) read more

Sculpture in the Grass

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A visit to Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey

Rest assured that I have not been sneaking about the woods spying on romantic young couples!  Pictured above is an amazingly life-like metallic sculpture by painter, sculptor, and philanthropist J. Seward Johnson II.  (As in Johnson & Johnson Band-Aids.)

Johnson first conceived the idea in 1984 of a public sculpture garden where people could experience contemporary art in a relaxed and informal setting.  Construction began in 1989 on the former site of the New Jersey State Fairgrounds in Hamilton, New Jersey, and Grounds for Sculpture opened to the public in 1992.  There are over 270 works, with many by Johnson himself but also many by other well-known artists.  It is a not-for-profit public corporation that is supported by visitor’s fees, donations, and grants. read more

Halloween in Cape May, New Jersey

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I had the pleasure to be in Cape May for a few days just recently, right before Halloween. As it is the habit of the town to get all done up for holidays, so it was for that special spooky October date!  Public areas, such as the famous Washington Street Mall and the new Convention Hall area up on the promenade were festively decorated with cornstalks, pumpkins and other squash, and a fall rainbow of mums and similar flowering plants. Many home and shop owners had done the same, with some adding a skeleton or a witch hat here, a mummy there, all to help visitors get in the spooky mood. read more

Get Ready for Halloween!

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Saturday night is Halloween and I bought all the candy yesterday. Each year I go through a small debate with myself about whether I should get candy that we DON’T like in case we are stuck with it or candy that we LIKE in case we are stuck with it.   (This year I opted for candy that we like, which is actually fairly safe because we don’t really care to eat much candy anyway.)   We have hired Martha Stewart to decorate the outside of our house – NOT.  Mrs. Working Stiff did arrange some spooky decorations though, just for fun! read more

Scarecrows at The Morris Arboretum

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In a recent blog entry I told of our trip to the Morris Arboretum in Chestnut Hill last weekend. It was a beautiful fall day and what a great place to stroll around.  For at least a few weeks now there has been a special display of art and artist-themed scarecrows.  I believe the seasonal scarecrow display is a regular thing that they do there at the arboretum.   Visitors are invited to vote on their favorite scarecrows and prizes are awarded based on that voting.

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You can see in my pictures that some of the scarecrows are modeled after famous works of art, such as “The Mona Lisa”, or Klimt’s “The Kiss”, while others are modeled after the artists themselves, like Bob Ross, who did that “Joy of Painting” show on TV for years.   I’m not sure how Edward Prunerhands fits in there but it was very fun anyway.  My personal favorite was the “Where the Wild Things Are” entry, probably because I had that classic Maurice Sendak book as a kid and always treasured it.  (I still have it!)  They were all lots of fun and many of them were really well done and obviously the result of a lot of work. read more

The Morris Arboretum

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We’ve been having some fantastic early-fall weather for most of the past 2 weeks or so, if a bit on the warm side for October. Yesterday in fact was one of those days for which we occasionally have to dust off the word “glorious”.  The air was crisp and in the high 50’s for most of the day.  A brilliant blue sky was generously painted with puffy cumulous clouds that allowed ample sun to warm the body and soul and to bring out the still-rich green of the grass.  This in contrast to the many shades of the changing and falling leaves made for a great day to be outdoors in the countryside. read more

100 Best Hotels vs. Villa Rental

We just received our latest issue of Town & Country magazine. T & C is a beautiful magazine that is mostly about very rich people doing very expensive things in very expensive places while wearing very expensive clothes and watches!  We have had a subscription for about a year because it is fun to browse through and was a great deal to subscribe.

town and country 100 10152015This latest issue included a special Travel magazine (pictured) that features the cover article “100 Hotels That Will Change Your Life”.  The article is basically a list of 100 mostly very fancy or exotic resorts and hotels in all corners of the world compiled by a panel of 30 or so “experts” in exotic or specialty travel. read more