The Keyport GardenWalk Is Back At The Bayshore

Artwork by 2018 Keyport GardenWalk Art Contest winner Billy Green

Artwork by 2018 Keyport GardenWalk Art Contest winner Billy Green

Come with your walking shoes on, your cameras loaded and your appetites ready.

For the seventh year running, the Keyport GardenWalk will attract thousands of enthusiasts to the private and public gardens of this charming town on the southwest corner of the Raritan Bayshore. The event takes place over two days on June 2nd and 3rd from 11am to 3pm and is free to everyone. Visitors should give themselves plenty of time to browse the many dozens of gardens on display. A number of the gardeners of previous GardenWalks have cultivated their gardens once again for this annual event. Indeed, the annual preparation for this event marks the beginning of the gardening season for many of them.

“We are nothing without our generous gardeners,” says Keyport GardenWalk chair, Clare Skeen.

There are many gardeners who are willing to do so year after year and every year there are new resident gardeners who put their homes and gardens on display. The gardens that you will see vary from the sublime to the eclectic and the plants, shrubs and trees within them vary from indigenous to exotic.

The resident gardeners are always willing to discuss their gardens with visitors and some welcome them with soft drinks, light fare and even some live music.

“Our visitors marvel at the generosity of our gardeners and the variety of the gardens,” Skeen adds, “(The visitors) also really appreciate the fact that 99% of our gardens are designed, planted and maintained by the gardeners themselves.”

Photo by Jr. Photographer “Lo” – age 9

The seed for the GardenWalk was planted 8 years ago when Ms. Skeen read an article about the GardenWalk in Buffalo, New York, in the June/July 2010 edition of Horticulture magazine. She then brought the concept to the Keyport Garden Club. From there, the Keyport GardenWalk started to grow from concept to reality. According to Skeen, the organizers of GardenWalk Buffalo “were very generous in their advice” to the Keyport Garden Club members that organized the event. In order to prepare and plan accordingly, the Club decided that the first GardenWalk in Keyport would be in 2012. Since then, the event has grown to be a top tourist attraction, attracting 3,100 visitors to the historic Borough of Keyport in 2017 alone.

Visitors from as far as Dusselberg, Germany have previously visited the dozens of public and privately owned gardens as they walked, biked or took a complimentary pedicab ride through the picturesque borough which is scattered with Victorian-era homes and buildings that add to the charm and appeal of the day.

In addition to walking the gardens, visitors can attend morning GardenTalks at Keyport Borough Hall on topics that include “Gardens of the Cotswolds – Inspirations and Lessons” presented by Kirsty Dougherty of Noble Garden Tours and local garden designer, Erin Koberle and “Backyard Birds and Beyond” presented by photographer and birder, Ed Norman.

Photos by Jr. Photographer “Lo” – age 9

The day will go by quick, and you may not get through all of the gardens on in one day. You can stay overnight at any of the local hotels, but don’t leave town without visiting one of Keyport’s renowned restaurants for a late lunch, dinner and a drink. Vendors from near and far have inquired if they could set up at the GardenWalk, but the response is always, “Thank you for your interest but we want visitors shopping in our year round shops and eating at our restaurants,” Skeen states. The organizers resolute to keep the interests of the local businesses and restaurants in town at the forefront. Local businesses and restaurants are “incredibly supportive of our Club and, in particular, this event,” Skeen adds.

The Keyport GardenWalk is uniquely suited to provide a wonderful opportunity for visitors to support the local businesses in town. It attracts thousands of folks from near and far, and for that reason, Local Joan supports this event and gives it a grade A+.

When you arrive at the Keyport GardenWalk event, be sure to make your way down to the Keyport waterfront gazebo – that is where the Keyport GardenWalk headquarters is. They will have all of the information you will need to start your tour of the gardens of Keyport.

For information on planning your visit to Keyport on June 2nd and 3rd, you can visit the Keyport GardenWalk website which has directions, hotel information and general information about the Borough of Keyport.


Long Branch Rook Run Raises Money For Children’s Cancer Fund

Rook Run Start

Rook Run Director Joshua Ballard signaling the start of the race on the Long Branch boardwalk.

Rook Coffee Roasters, a locally owned business that Local Joan profiled earlier this year, held its 1st Annual Rook Run in Long Branch on November 8, 2014. First place overall went to Victor Vientos of New York City, with a time of 16:23.7. The first female finisher was Chelsea Callan of Ocean Grove, NJ, with 17:57.4.

1076 people participated in the 5K, and it raised $69,200 for The Valerie Fund, which supports comprehensive health care for children with cancer and blood disorders.

We wanted to do something that would help kids in our community,” says Rook co-owner Shawn Kingsley. “The Valerie Fund stood out as the shining star among the group.”

Run director with Rook founders and Valerie Fund children

Joshua Ballard (second from l) and Rook Coffee founders Shawn Kingsley & Holly Migliaccio (at right), meeting The Valerie Fund children Francesca (far left) and Zippy (center). Photo courtesy of Rook.

logo for Valerie Fund

The Valerie Fund is named after Valerie Goldstein, who died of cancer in 1976.Ed Goldstein, founder of The Valerie Fund, said it treats more than 4,000 kids a year, and “No one is turned away.”

Ed and Sue Goldstein started the Valerie Fund to honor their daughter Valerie’s memory and to provide local alternatives to treatment outside of Philadelphia and New York City. The nonprofit is based in Maplewood and has seven locations, including Monmouth Medical Center, Long Branch.

The top team fundraising team was “Olive Rook,” which raised $7080! Its name says it all.

“We’re doing it to use our brand in a positive way,” says co-owner Holly Migliaccio.

The race was held on the Great Lawn section of the Long Branch boardwalk.

The rest of the winners:

Top 3 Men

1. Victor Vientos (16:23.7)

2. Matthew Grogan (16:33.5)

3. Joe Pawlish (16:46.5)

Top 3 Women

1. Chelsea Callan (17:57.4)

Chelsea Callan

Top Woman’s finisher, Chelsea Callan of Ocean Grove. Photo courtesy of Rook Coffee Roasters.

2. Katie Desiere (19:25.8)

3. Allison McQuillen (19:36.0)

Under 14: Nick Hanlon (19:23.7) & Catherine DeSousa (20:33.9)

14-24: Lee Colvin (17:51.5) & Grace Wells (20:32.4)

25-34: Chris Kessler (16:50.4) & Nicole Corre (20:20.1)

35-44: Alejandro Sanchez (17:18.8) & Heather Schlisserman (21:49.5)

45-54: Michael Metlitz (19:47.3) & Cindy Lauer (22:19.9)

55-64: Larry Butynski (20:36.7) & Jan Farnung-Krause (25:05.3)

65+: Ted Freeman (27:47.9) & Ceil Langa (31:29.8)


Local and Green: Perfect Together?

Are you a “deep green? Do you wake up every morning thinking: ‘What can I do?’”

Most of us are “lazy greens,” says Shel Horowitz, whose mission is to “make green sexy” and to help environmental sustainability go mainstream.

At the Green Festival in New York, Horowitz extolled the financial advantages of green practices for business owners. Horowitz authored “Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green” with Jay Conrad Levinson, author of the bestselling “Guerrilla Marketing” series.

“It isn’t just good for the planet–it’s great for your bottom line.” Citing data from the Big Green Opportunity report, a study of small business owners who were divided into “three shades of green,” Horowitz notes that the greenest segments of industries across the economy are growing rapidly, and systematically taking market share from the conventional economy.

Shel Horowitz

Shel Horowitz addressing business owners at the Green Festival in New York City.

Seventy-five percent of survey respondents who offer green products or services saw an increase in sales of those products and services during the down economy, from 2008-2011. The green building segment grew during the official recession, and now represents 38 percent of new housing starts.

Local Joan recently spoke with Horowitz about how businesses can be part of a “circular, closed loop,” in which trash and shipping bills are slashed by purchasing locally, then reusing and recycling.

Your waste is somebody else’s asset, he notes. “We can do this. We know so much more than 30 years ago. Business has contributed to the problems and can be a big part of the solution.”

How can a mainstream business be green?

The definition is not limited to niche markets such as solar energy and vegan foods. A green business is any business whose policies and products demonstrate care for the earth, says Horowitz, which translates into tangible human benefits.

The lazy greens “will only live sustainably if we make it easy for them. So make it convenient and market not on the basis of should, but on the basis of benefit to people,” he advises.

“It’s in the community’s self interest to take care of its environment. Talk about values everyone has: clean air and water, reducing asthma, cost and durability.”

“If you’re eating local food, you’re eating food that’s not being trucked thousands of miles and you’re supporting local farmers,” he notes. “[Economic activity] is not just buying and selling, it’s the manufacturing and disposal of a product after it’s used. It’s mostly a linear progression ending in a landfill which creates more waste.”

Wasting resources is costly, he explains. “Seven percent of electricity is wasted in transport and 144 million pounds of food are being thrown away daily. That’s a crime. Green is only more expensive if you look at the short term. We pay for those costs in other ways–health and longevity and taxes.”


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