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Make My Day

I consider myself a multitude of contrasts (not contradictions).  I thrive off the vibrancy of urban living but when I hit the country something comes out in me…Maybe its the air, or the possibility of adventure. I find myself craving a walking stick, a fishing rod, or my army knife. Today… a trusty Browning shotgun.

A lot of people are moving out to the burbs these days…. More space, a great place to raise a family.  I enjoyed my time touring the Dutch inspired farmhouses and colonials of Wyckoff and Franklin Lakes, but we wanted to know what the area has to offer besides well manicured lawns and charming archtiecture.

                                Wyckoff Charmer

Stately Franklin Lakes

                                Statley Franklin Lakes

I was seeking a genuine country experince. Our mindset is that there is always an adventure around the corner waiting to be discovered… You just have to explore.

With an active day ahead of us, we made a pit stop at the Franklin Lakes Country Cafe. It was just what I was looking for… oozing with quaint charm, a table of cops, waitresses chatting with the local regulars, Americana covering the walls. A turkey club a fountain root beer and we were off.

Country Deli

                               Country Cafe’

Next up, The Skylands Manor in Ringwood State Park.  Designed by architect John Russell Pope for a prominent 5th Avenue family. The Tutor Revival mansion built in the early 1920’s was purposely constructed to appear centuries old.

                               All stone was quarried on th Estate

As you approach the manor from the immucaletly sculpted gardens and terrace you appreciate the grandeur of America’s gilded age.

Although we were running a bit behind The Bourne Explore was invited inside for a quick tour that came dangeroulsy close to an episode of wedding crashers.

                               New American Oak Stairs Swiss/Bavarian Stained Glass

As we tiptoed around the busy wedding staff, making our way through the paneled hallways and grand banquet areas we discovered a gem, the Venetian Breakfast Room… gleaming  marble sun-kisssed through antique leaded glass, it is truly majestic.  I felt as if I was a character in The Great Gatsby.

The Skylands Manor provides one of the most stunning backdrops for an affair this Event Planner has seen in a while.

Just a short drive away in the parks Shepard Lake Recreation Area is the closest shooting range to NYC, Thunder Mountain.

Family owned and operated by Rob and Lisa Landberg. Rob’s mother Ruth, a world champion shooter and member of the Skeet Shooting Hall of Fame was behind the counter on the day of our visit. My guide for the day Josh, got me acquainted with the gun and my stance.

Amanda Bourne Shooting Trap

As I stepped in the box my nerves faded away.  Just me and the mountains in the distance, I called out “pull” squinting on the soaring bird. It felt strangely exhilarating to watch as the fluorescent clay target dissipated in the country air. My inner tomboy completely free…I knew this wouldn’t be my last visit to Thunder Mountain.

I am sucker for anything farm. I love shopping at farmers markets. I always pull over at road side stands. Before heading home we stopped off in Wycoff to visit a working family farm and fresh produce market. What better way to learn about an area than sampling its local bounty…

At Abma’s Farm its not about embracing the latest trends, “all organic” “farm to table”, “hormone free”– that’s just how they have been doing things for 80 years and four generations.

Produce is picked daily and sold out of a historic Dutch barn from the 1790’s. There is outdoor dining for those who can’t wait to sample their “from scratch” baked pies. Family friendly, they even have their own petting zoo for the kids.

Petting Zoo

                              Adults Too!

As we left the market and headed home I reflected on our day. I was inspired by all the incredible people we met who have built their livelihoods around family and community.

Often times what we are looking for is right under our nose. Other times we may have to “Make” it happen ourselves. With an open mind and a little creativity I was able to find the country experience I was seeking… In the suburbs 20 miles outside NYC.


Satisfy your senses,
Amanda (follow me on Twitter!)

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One Response to “Make My Day”
  1. smelly Melly says:

    You look hot in these pictures… and now I want to take a road trip….

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