Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I had a whole other stream of thought for this month’s blogpost—and then last week's horrible events unfolded. Like many who saw the news reports, I was brought to tears by the senseless loss of life, unimaginable suffering that so many will now face, and the absolutely devastating aftereffects to innocent bystanders that have yet to be determined. Pete and I lived through 9/11 when we called New York City home, and our thoughts and prayers were and continue to be, with the city of Boston, those who lost their lives, and those who sustained injuries and whose lives are forever changed. 

Image courtesy of www.10News.com
Just like during 9/11, so many first responders risked everything and ran towards the blast. And in addition to them, there were also volunteers and bystanders who put themselves at risk and did the same, helping the wounded, helping in whatever way they could. And then a few days ago, I listened. I stopped what I was doing and actually listened, as the interfaith service in Boston offered words of comfort to everyone present, and the overarching theme that no act of terrorism will deter the city of Boston from standing up and rebuilding with renewed vigor, a community united and strong.

Well, this weekend, we saw the end of a long 24 hours of law enforcement activity, culminating in the death of “Suspect #1” and the capture of “Suspect #2.”  There are so many questions buzzing everywhere, with the “Why?” being the most common one.  It’s just incredible.

It’s harder still to look out from the lobby of The National Hotel, in peaceful, idyllic Frenchtown, NJ, and imagine the horrifying events that took place this last week in Boston.  On Sunday, as I stood outside of the main Restaurant & Bar, gazing at the beautiful cars that were driving past, the lovely, sunny day that had come our way, I realized that in the end, this is the day we needed; a day of normalcy, a day to run errands, to take the kids to the park or to visit friends, a day to let our guard down and take in the beauty that surrounds us.  We are truly lucky to live in this little hidden gem of a town, that’s just an hour and a half from New York City or Philadelphia.  This is the escape that I used to long for when I lived elsewhere, and now that I live in this area, it’s still the “escape” that helps me put things into perspective.

And it’s not that Frenchtown is such a sleepy town; by no means.  There’s a lot happening in town every single week this spring.  For example, "Les Pluies d'Avril," or "April Showers" in Frenchtown, is designed to help local residents and visitors alike celebrate spring through numerous festivities.  For example:
  • Every weekend:  A Community Garden of Frenchtown booth will be set up on Race Street with Spring Flowers available, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.  Donations will be accepted for the flowers to benefit the Garden.  
  • Wednesday, April 23rd:  In honor of World Book Night, the Book Garden will be giving away books at different locations.
  • Wednesday, April 23rd:  Ladies Night at The National Hotel with 1/2 priced drinks, 5 - 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, April 24th:  A local area favorite of musicians and artists, now in its 3rd year, Open Mic Night at The National Hotel, 9 p.m. - closing.
  • Saturday, April 27th:  Poetry comes to Frenchtown in honor of National Poetry Month, with poetry readings throughout the town in different shops and restaurants.
  • Saturday, April 27th:  David Turner entertains The National Hotel's Rathskeller Pub patrons, 9 - 11 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 27th & Sunday, April 28th:  Enter to win a one-of-a-kind hand-painted Blue Fish Bag.
  • Sunday, April 28th:  Chris Bauer performs at The National Hotel's Restaurant & Bar, 5 - 7 p.m.
  • And much more at other shops in town, including, Designs for Tranquility, Paddle Creek Frenchtown, and Yellow Dog Pet Supply.
Perhaps this is the respite that we needed—at least, that I needed—to clear my mind and to enjoy the day.  Sunday's performance by Dennis Mascarone, at The National Hotel was a real treat.  And we got such great feedback from our guests, not just about the music, but also about our new spring menu.  Our guests have even shared on our facebook page, how thrilled they are about the different ingredients and succulent flavors our executive chef, Lisa Frederick, has woven into it.  For example:
  • Ahi Tuna Sliders (Corriander Crusted Grilled Ahi Tuna, Mint-Marinated Cucumber, Spicy Pepperade, Mint Aïoli, Fresh-Baked Slider Rolls)
  • Lamb Kofta Sliders (3 Moroccan-Spiced Lamb Sliders, Pickled Red Onions & Preserved Aïoli, Fresh-Baked Slider Rolls)
  • Lentil Burger - Vegetarian (Ground Lentil Patty, Traditional Indian Dahl Spices & Cilantro Coconut Chutney)
  • The ‘Raw’ Wrap - Vegan (Ground Walnuts, Fresh Vegetables in a Bib lettuce Wrap, Avocado, Red Onions, Cucumber, Tomato, Lemon Sumac Vinaigrette)
  • Wild Boar Chops (10 oz. Pan-Roasted Wild Boar with a Cherry & Chili Gastrique, Smoked Onion Mashed Potatoes, Choice of Vegetable)
  • Cardamom & Coriander Fish (Market-Fresh Fish Crusted with Cardamom & Coriander over Ginger-Coconut Broth, Kaffir Lime & Summer Squash, topped with Grilled Scallions)
  • And much more--check it out online, or just come by and have a taste for yourself!
Equally exciting are the activities that recently took place, including the celebration of the 150th Open Mic Night, a terrific fundraising night by the Frenchtown Lions Club (that helps the community in our very own area), as well as other events and programs.  Every week there is something to do in Frenchtown and the surrounding Hunterdon County and Bucks County areas—and every week, there’s something fun planned at TheNational Hotel.


Ringing Rocks Park

From hiking in the recently preserved Horseshoe Bend Park right outside of Frenchtown, to enjoying other natural attractions across the Delaware River (e.g., Ringing Rocks Park), to simply taking a leisurely walk down the 
Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park (or towpath running parallel to the Delaware River), Frenchtown is central to a host of ideas and activities that will help any visitor unwind and relax—or invigorate and recharge “the batteries.” 
Photo Courtesy of www.frenchtownboro.com 
Stay tuned for more ways to enjoy spring, because there's a lot that the community is planning, including the start of Frenchtown's Second Saturdays in May, filled with music.  And beginning in June, Frenchtown will launch a weekly Farmer's Market at the 4 Kingwood Avenue parking lot.
Photo Courtesy of Bob Mulcahy
Pete and I continue to be in awe of the area’s natural beauty; we don’t tire of it.  And that’s nothing in comparison to the lovely people of Frenchtown, who go out of their way to be helpful and welcoming.  It is these individuals that make the town what it is.  Some, are still working to help those devastated by the aftereffects of Superstorm Sandy, oh so many months ago.  I loved reading the article about local Frenchtown resident, Bob Mulcahy, and seeing the webclip as to how he and his fishing buddies are continuing to help those in need.  

We hope that you will continue to visit this little corner of the world and make a point to stop by The NationalHotel to join us for dinner, drinks, special events, become a member of our monthly National Wine Clubsign up for our e-newsletter, and/or even prolong your visit to Frenchtown by making it an overnight or multi-night stay with us.  For information, please continue to leave comments here, email me, visit our website, call us at 908.996.3200, or:
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Thank you for your continued support and patronage.