Wednesday, September 9
This summer while visiting my family in New Jersey, we took a day trip to Warwick, NY. I love that cute little town and try to discover something new each time we go. This summer we happened upon the Warwick Valley Olive Oil Co., which opened up earlier this year.
This beautiful shop is a balsamic vinegar and olive oil tap room. I had never visited a tap room prior to our visit to Warwick and quickly fell in love. I love high-quality olive oils, a love that flourished while living in the Bay Area near McEvoy Ranch.
Balsamic vinegar is another ingredient that I was fairly clueless about until I had the chance to try a really high-quality vinegar. Several years ago I went to the Fancy Food Show with my dear friend Vanessa Druckman. In the “Italy” section of the expo there were several balsamic vinegar companies. One of the vendors had us taste his most expensive vinegar (p.s. you can really spend a lot of money on vinegar, in case you were looking for a way to spend a lot of money). I can’t even explain how amazingly delicious that spoonful of balsamic vinegar was. Otherworldly, my friends.
As you can imagine, a balsamic vinegar and olive oil tap room was right up my alley! I was drinking oil and vinegars left and right! The balsamic vinegar flavors were especially fun, from cherry to peach to chocolate! I ended up buying the grapefruit vinegar as well as a bottle of Italian olive oil that was pressed in May 2015.
The kids did surprisingly well in the store with us, and my girls really enjoyed trying the balsamic vinegars. That said, it was a good thing Grandma was there to read stories while my sister-in-law Cora and I reveled in the oil and vinegar. For some reason the kids didn’t think that the tap room was quite as fun as I did. Strange.
The bottom line is this…if you have a chance to visit a tap room, do it! It is really a unique and fun experience. No, really, it IS fun. I swear!
Tuesday, July 22
My parents recently moved to northern New Jersey, very close to the New York border. It is absolutely beautiful where they live, complete with rolling green hills as far as the eye can see. This is the third summer that we’ve visited them at their new home but the first summer that we made two really great discoveries – Dairy Swirl in Vernon, New Jersey and the little town of Warwick, New York.
First, let’s talk ice cream. Dairy Swirl is literally five minutes from my parents’ home but, for some reason, we never went until this year. And that is a crime because it is awesome. They serve homemade ice cream in all kinds of wonderful flavors that are creative but make total sense. You know, nothing crazy, just all completely wonderful combinations of ingredients. And just outside the shop there are these giant rocks embedded in the side of the hill that are perfect for sliding. The kids could have stayed there all day. If you’re ever in northern New Jersey near Vernon, be sure to stop in!
After you hit the Dairy Swirl, keep driving north about 30 minutes to the town of Warwick, NY. Again, I don’t know why we never ventured to Warwick before but I’m so glad that we did! The town is adorable, with lots of little shops and restaurants, a cute town green where they play live music on the weekends, farmstands and more. I can only imagine how beautiful it is in the fall when the leaves are aflame!
My dad and I spent a few hours in Warwick with all three kids, so we kept the visit simple: lunch, dessert and a visit to the local bookstore. After lunch at Eddie’s Roadhouse (the filet sliders were awesome, the ribeye steak was just okay according to my dad), we hopped over to Corbett’s Cookie Bar Kitchen, where we had a really fun chat with the owners. They’ve been open about a year and only serve cookie bars. I love talking to small business owners who are so passionate about what they do – I really admire them because I am too chicken to do anything like that! The carmelita was our favorite flavor – it was like taking a big bite out of the best cookie dough. And the Mexican brownie was my other favorite. One bar is enough for 2-3 people, by the way, so pace yourself!
After stuffing ourselves silly, we took the kids to Ye Olde Warwick Book Shoppe. This bookstore is tiny and like a maze of book shelves, which I love. The kids’ section is tucked in a back corner and the kids and I spent a lot of time back there. Basically, we loved it.
Quick side note: another 10 minutes north there is an even smaller town called Sugar Loaf that also has some really cute shops, where you can buy things like handmade candles and soaps.
So, this fall when you east coasters are wondering where you should take a drive to enjoy the leaves, head over to the Warwick Valley. You can’t go wrong! (For that matter it was perfectly fun in the summer, too!)