Saturday, November 28, 2015

That Same Small Town in Each of Us...

I need to remember this,
So baby give me just one kiss.
And let me take a long last look
Before we say goodbye...
- Don Henley

The Missus and I shall spend this evening doing something that we try to do on an annual basis.  We shall spend time in Somerville, New Jersey as the town formally kicks off the 2015 Christmas season with its Holiday Jubilee.  If you are in the area, and you have children and/or are interested in reacquainting yourself with your inner child, then spend this evening in Downtown Somerville.  

Clydesdale Team on Main Street
Downtown Somerville - 2014

Bonnie and Clyde(sdale) 
Downtown Somerville - 2014

Margaret and Me - Division Street
Downtown Somerville - 2014
(A tree so tall it can be seen over my head!)

You can have a simply extraordinary time without feeling as if you need to wait in line to sit on Santa's lap so you can ask him for a bag of money to pay for it all.  Clydesdale horses!  Christmas trees!  What more do you need?  

Downtown Somerville is one of my favorite parts of the State of Concrete Gardens.  There are a number of restaurants, most of which are quite good, and a variety of shops and other businesses.  Margaret and I typically spend at least three or four Saturday evenings a year prowling around Main Street and - in the warm weather - sitting outside on Division Street and listening to whatever musical act happens to be performing on that particular evening.  

This evening's holiday kickoff coincides with Small Business Saturday 2015.  I am not much of a shopper but I love this particular event.  Among the many things I love about where we hang our flip-flops at the Shore is that our little town of Lake Como, as well as its geographic bookends of Belmar and Spring Lake, is dominated by small, locally-owned businesses.  Big-box stores are a ten-minute drive away - out on Route 35 -if and when you need to shop there.  Main Street, however, is an absolute delight.  A pastiche of little, stand-alone businesses owned and operated by local folks.  My favorite store in Belmar is Taylor Hardware, a fixture in the community for more than a century, and a place in which it has never taken Margaret and I more than thirty seconds to get the help we need and the tool we require for whatever we happen to be working on at home.  Belmar is also home to one of New Jersey's best, local, craft breweries, BeachHaus, which has the added bonus (for me) of being where one of Suzanne's oldest friends (from their grammar school days), Matt Knehr, works.  My favorite place in Belmar to grab breakfast is Hooked, which is located next to the train station. Family-owned and operated.  The sign outside of their front door does not advertise billions and billions served.  Instead it says, "Come In! We're Awesome!", which they are.  

No one in our household is happier about the fact that we shall be in Downtown Somerville for Small Business Saturday than Rosalita.  While Rosie never wants for treats, tonight we shall carry home with us a bag of the best snacks upon which she shall feast all year.  The Hungry Hound on Main Street is - if I may steal a line from my friends at Hooked - awesome.  If you own a dog, if you like dogs, or if you simply cried at the end of "Old Yeller" or "Marley and Me" (and you know you did), then it is a shop in which you should spend a minute or two.  The dog treats are home-baked and chock full of stuff that is good for Rosie to eat - unlike the pizza crusts for which she begs every Friday night.  Most of all, she loves the taste of them, which makes them not expensive but, instead, invaluable.  

The late, great Tip O'Neill once famously observed that, "All politics is local."  Today, let us borrow that concept and apply it to commerce.  When we help our neighbors we help ourselves.  Here's to Self-Help Saturday.  May its echo resonate through the year to come. 


1 comment:

Judith Pack said...

Enjoy your day! Sounds great. I will be celebrating Small Business Saturday by meeting my daughter in her hometown of Owego, NY. We will start the day in the newly opened Owego Kitchen. A young couple renovated a downtown building, and make most everything on the menu from scratch. This quaint town is alive and vibrant with wonderful shops and storeowners. My daughter moved to Owego several years ago when she took a job as Tioga County's only Juvenile Probation Officer, and quickly fell in love with the community. I look forward to shopping, eating and showing support for these business people. Target and Walmart can wait for another day.