Jersey Jaunt (May 17 - 20, 2013)

Friday, May 17, 2013
My New Jersey story starts a few months ago.  Once upon a time there existed a hairdresser named Heather.  Heather loved her life traveling on the road creating amazing hair styles for Ingrid Michaelson and her band members, but she really dreamed of living in one spot with her love - her anchor.  Possessed with a boatload of creativity and a dream, Heather started an IndieGoGo campaign to raise the funds to start this salon (which she would call The Anchor).  Packages included the promise of massages, hairstyles, and/or artwork.  One package was an acoustic concert limited to 50 people to be played in the hair salon after its grand opening. The artists would include Ingrid Michaelson, Allie Moss, and Bess Rogers.

After the campaign launched, Allie Moss, a folksy singer-song writer whose music I adore, posted that she would be playing at this concert.  I couldn't believe what an amazing experience those lucky 50 people would be getting.  Three of my favorite singers playing an acoustic set to 50 select individuals?  How lucky would they be to get to be there for that!?!  I clicked on the link and started investigating further. The Anchor Salon was a yet to be created hair salon in Shrewsbury, New Jersey. Could I justify going?  I polled the Facebook world.

The comments quickly started rolling in.  Supporters said, "of course you can justify it."  Kris said it wasn't just a concert, it was a story.  And then my friend Carol mentioned how close Shrewsbury was to their house and offered a ride from the airport and a place to stay.  She even said that Clark (her husband) and she would like to go!

This is the story of how I found myself on a flight to New Jersey one mid-May day. Talk about a fantastic weekend!

Kim and Carol picked me up from Newark Airport and took me to Five Guys for dinner.  I'd never met Kim in person, but I felt like we were old friends.  It was so great to get to know a bit more about her and dinner was yummy.  After dropping us off, Carol, Clark, and I stayed up and chatted until the wee hours of the night.

Saturday, May 18, 2013
Saturday morning, we all went over to Marlene's for brunch.  I got to meet a bunch of the people I've been chatting with for ages on Facebook and feel like I know but finally got to meet them in person.

Thank you Nancy, Jenna, Megan, David, Kim, Adam, Leah, Alex, Melissa, Shane, Carol, Clark, and Marlene for the fantastic company and yummy eats!  I can't believe that out of all of the photographers in our group, we didn't get a group photo.

After a while, some of the group left for a birthday party.  Marlene, Carol, Clark, and I headed to Asbury Park for a walk on the newly rebuilt boardwalk.

Flat Ellen at Asbury Park

How much does it cost to rent this place?

Clark at Asbury Park
I had never been to Asbury Park, but it felt super familiar thanks to the many photographs of my friends.  One of my favorite series taken there was by Alex of Idalia Photography called A Ballerina in Asbury Park.

We didn't see a ballerina, but we did see a lavishly decked out bride and bridal party.

The boardwalk was rather empty, but it was still filled with character.

Photo of Kristy, Skitler, Flat Ellen, Marlene, and Clark taken by Carol

Photo of Kristy, Carol, Flat Ellen, and Marlene taken by Clark

After wandering down the boardwalk and seeing some old Bruce Springsteen haunts, we headed back to drop off Marlene.

Dinner for the evening was at an excellent New Jersey tradition called Fed's.  They have the crispiest pizza in existence.  Super tasty!

Soon after, we were heading to Shrewsbury for our concert.

What does one expect of a concert in a beauty parlor?  I didn't know.  Where would they be?  Would they only play two songs?  The questions were endless.  While waiting for the concert to begin, people were encouraged to eat and grab something to drink.  The food had been prepared by a local caterer, the salon owner, the musicians, and the parents of the musicians.  There were some excellent Greek choices.

While waiting downstairs for the band to come on, we got into a conversation with Allie Moss's mother.  She started telling us stories about how from a very young age, two even, she had perfect pitch.  She also told us tales about how Allie did not get the talent from her.  From a very young age, Allie would ask her mother not to sing to her.  " sing mommy, no sing."  The stories (and her mother) very endearing.

After speaking to her mother, I ran up to the restroom before the show.  I was directly behind Bess Rogers in line!  I couldn't believe it.  Turns out she was waiting on Ingrid who was in the restroom.  At one point, we heard a large crash.  They just kept asking if she was okay.  She was fine luckily.

When the band was about to come on, Carol pulled us to the front and put me in a primo position to be directly in front of Bess Rogers through the entire show.  There was nobody in front of me and the three amazingly talented ladies in front of me.  I could have touched them I was so close.

The show was incredibly conversational and filled with witty banter that made you feel like you were witness to a friendly rehearsal.

The set list was sitting at my feet.  Magical evening!!!

Best of all, they all took turns singing songs.  Allie had the lead to start the evening off.

Allie Moss

Then Bess Rogers sang The Anchor (appropriate, right?).

Bess Rogers

Third was Ingrid's turn.

Ingrid Michealson

They all took turns singing backup for each other.

The setlist was as follows:
Allie's song - Melancholy Astronautic Man
Bess's song - The Anchor
Ingrid's song - Parachute

Allie's song - Corner
Bess's song - What We Want
Ingrid's song - Blood Brothers

Allie's song - Dig
Bess's song - Water and Dirt
Ingrid's song - Maybe
Ingrid's song - The Way I Am
Cover song - Bye Bye Love

With two songs left to play, they held a raffle.  They raffled off a few items, but our very own Clark won the best item of all - two makeup bags handmade by Allie Moss!  She filled the bags with hair bands she made herself and an autographed cd.  Carol and Clark are so nice and kind...they split the winnings.  They gave me one of the makeup bags and some of the hair ties.  Clark is a big music fan, so he kept the cd (you should see his collection).  Carol got the other hair ties and other bag.

At the end of the show, I was able to get my photo with and have a conversation with Allie and Bess!  They were the kindest and most gracious artists!  They all sounded so good during the entire show too.  Fantastically talented women!

Photos by Clark and Carol

Sunday, May 19, 2013
We had a delayed start to the day due to the rain, but we got to go to Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ.  The artist who created the majority of the sculptures in the park is from the Johnson & Johnson wealth.

I finally got to meet Michael of Marlene and Michael.  He was exactly like everyone always described.  Incredible people!

Marlene and Michael
Michael, Carol, Marlene, and Clark
Michael takes in an explanatory flick at the Visitor's Center.

Marlene gets up close and personal

Carol isn't afraid of the local flora.

The park was the perfect combination of genuinely good art and quirk.  I quite enjoyed it despite the mist and drizzle.

Sculptures climb the walls

Loved the realistic sculptures

The landscaping was lush and colorful.

Most of the flowers were real.

Parts of the park felt like you had entered an entirely different world.

Much of the park had a focus on recreating painted art pieces and converting them to 3D.

This artist was painting the sculpture above on his canvas.

Carol turned a few of us into art as well

There was a large focus on couples.

Really fond of the sculptures.  There were just too many to capture them all.

Luckily, before we left, we were able to get two of the resident peacocks to pose for us.

That evening I got to hang out with Kim, Adam, Leah, and Alex again.  Clark cooked dinner for us.  Spectacular!

Monday, May 20, 2013
Kim was nice enough to offer to take me to the bus station in Freehold today so I could miss rush hour commuting.  It was super nice to get to converse with her one last time before heading to Astoria.

I got on the Freehold bus to Port Authority then got the N to Astoria.  I went one stop too far, however, and, had to walk 1.2 miles to my aunt's house.  When I got to her place, I was sweaty and sticky, but I had a great visit regardless and a nice dinner at The Jackson Hole with my Uncle Nick, Aunt Alice, and cousins Nicky and Danny.

I adore my Aunt Alice!

Cousins Danny, Kristy, and Nicky - always awesome to get together

Uncle Nick is forever a good sport.  The poor guy had to hold my jacket and purse.

1 Response
  1. Kris McCoy Says:

    This was a cool post. I think I enjoy reading your blog more when I haven't been on the trip with you. Of course, I enjoy going on the trips more than I enjoy reading blogs though.