Some time to reflect on past trips: A day in New Jersey

Now that my fall semester is over and 2011 is coming to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on some trips earlier this year I haven’t yet posted about.  It was a very busy semester and as it continued on, stories from summer 2011 took a back seat to trips during the fall (New York City, overnight in New Jersey, etc.).  Before I go back to those fun summer trips, I have an update on the NYC shopping trip.  With so much do to, I decided not to go on that trip after all and figured maybe I’ll get another opportunity after the semester came to an end.  So far, there’s nothing definite yet; if those plans don’t work out, I still have another theatre trip to look forward to in the spring.  One thing I’ve realized since my Oct. 14 trip to NYC is how familiar I’ve become with the Midtown area.  In fact, I know that I could find my way from near the Lincoln Tunnel (NYC side going back to NJ) to Times Square.  I never thought I’d be that comfortable with getting around NYC, so I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve had recently to go there.

Now, looking back on a few summer trips, there was June 25 when my mom, grandmother and I got together to have lunch.  Since my grandmother was staying at my aunt and uncle’s house in New Jersey for a while, we decided to go to a Red Lobster in their general area.  My mom had coupons for a particular deal at that restaurant chain, so that was the plan following a stop my grandmother needed to make at an ATM.

We then made our way through Woodbury, catching glimpses of the town’s historic architecture and buildings.  Seeing such detail made me want to come back another time for some photography.  I only had my smartphone with me that day, so I couldn’t take really good photos like I wanted.  If I did go back again, maybe I would visit the Woodbury Historical Society as well.

Trying to find the Red Lobster became an adventure that the three of us look back on and laugh about.  I sat in the front passenger seat using the GPS feature on my phone to direct my mom’s driving.  We passed the Cherry Hill Mall on our right and the Silver Diner on our left.  I typed in directions to Red Lobster locations for Cherry Hill, Deptford and Woodbury.  We went one direction, and another, and still didn’t see a Red Lobster. So we turned around once more and found ourselves on Almonesson Road.  There was a Scoopy’s Too ice cream shop on our right as we waited in line at a red light.

Suddenly a black hearse, decked out like it was Halloween, pulled up next to us in the right lane.  A black plastic or rubber spider hung from the rear-view mirror and the stripe-stockinged legs of a witch decorated a window on the driver’s side.  We weren’t sure if we were headed in the right direction, despite following what my GPS guided us to.  So my mom decided to get the driver’s attention and asked how to get to the Deptford Mall.  We had one more quick stop there before the restaurant.  The driver turned to respond and it was a young guy, maybe my age or a little younger.  He had this cool look about him, from his hair to his black shades & t-shirt.  He said we needed to go back in the opposite direction.

So when the light changed to green, our cars parted as he continued on that road and we made a left in a parking lot.  We finally arrived at the mall and someone working at the Boscov’s said that we were right near the Red Lobster.  It was just hidden by some trees, depending on what direction someone is coming from.

Two helpful people aided on our way to a Red Lobster restaurant, where we had a great meal.  For the three of us, it was our first visit to the famous seafood chain and the delicious food was well worth the wait.  My grandmother was curious about what type of tree this was, planted outside the restaurant.  I didn’t know what kind it was either, but it made for a nice accent to the restaurant’s landscaping.

Heading back to my aunt and uncle’s house, we made our through towns that had the prettiest Victorian houses and some very old churches and cemeteries.  That reminds me of one cemetery we saw in Cherry Hill while looking for the restaurant.  It was the Colestown Cemetery, which featured an unusual archway entrance under a stone gatehouse.  Near one wall of the gatehouse was a sign stating that burials dated back to 1684.  Places dating so far back always grab my attention.

Other things of interest were spotted along the last road we traveled along to drop off my grandmother.  One was a store with a large-sized mock of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.  Any representation of that lighthouse reminds us of a family favorite place, the Outer Banks.    The other place was down the same road, an old stone building with a sign on the property dating it to 1766.  I’ll have to get a better photo of it next time I see it, and possible explore it to find out more of its history.

It was a short day out, not meant for actual exploring.

However, it was an example of how a lot of random and unrelated details can come about in that time.  Sometimes, I just love going on a quick day trip and discovering new places or new info about a place.  And of course, I love writing about it and documenting what I see.

Since last summer, one of my classes in the fall was on the Beat writers of the 1950s.  One of the assignments for my classmates and I was to read Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road.”  While this particular day in New Jersey was by no means like Kerouac’s adventures in his book, I can definitely relate to that idea of going on road trips.  My eyes are always on the lookout for details to include when I go to write later on.  Besides, who doesn’t love road trips?

I’m sure that I’ll revisit those areas in NJ and have the opportunity to take more photos of historic places, dining and anything else of interest.  That’s another reason I like day trips – the possibility of going back for whatever there wasn’t originally time to see.

About caroldwyer

A freelance photographer and blogger, I'm also a non-traditional graduate of Cabrini College with a B.A. in communication, minor in English and concentration in film studies. As a student, I was a staff writer, photographer and copy editor for the Loquitur. In my final semester, I assisted in promoting campus literary events for Woodcrest Literary Magazine. I love travel, historic places, nature, wildlife and the arts. I hope to be involved in some way with one of those areas throughout my media career. Currently, I'm pursuing my M.F.A. in creative writing and publishing. Read my film blog at - and my literary blog at
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