I wrote of my visit to Princeton and its local orchard last fall, http://heatherpaiges.blogspot.com/2010/09/pumpkins-spiced-tattes-available-next.html but O, let me talk now of spring! Finally, after a long snowy winter, the foliage is again thick enough to cause me to miss turns as I zigzagged through rural New Jersey. I was welcomed into Terhune Orchard by innumerable dandelion patches and apple trees, pruned and flowering. The grounds were loud with geese, a mule, woolly sheep and guinea hens scurrying from curious preschoolers. The same two yellow labs reclined on the porch, the same friendly duck approached as if to be petted and one cat gave the Cat Mint (catnip in live herb form) its undivided attention (as pictured). Spring.
After sniffing herbs and wandering through blossoms, I headed to Princeton, my favorite town south of New England. There I bought an iced vanilla milk at a local coffee shop, as pregnant women should, and sipped it on a grassy lawn in the old shopping district. Inviting.
On my drive North, an old mill aside Stony Creek caught my eye. I took a narrow road that crossed a wooden bridge, the original of which had been destroyed by General Washington after the Battle of Princeton. I parked by the mill and walked into the watery woods. I call them watery woods, because the wide creek spreads thin over the forest floor creating a series of tree-studded islands that canopy the whole area. In the cool greenery, I could only hear the water spilling over the rocks, shimmering like envied jewelry, and the occasional squawk of a lone goose. Serene.