The rich scent of real hickory, apple, cherry, and oak wood drifts from low smoldering fires, infusing the racks of meat above with flavor in a Southern Pride smoker. Drawing inspiration from all over the south, SuzyQue’s BBQ & Bar’s cooks apply spicy dry rubs to every ounce of meat before slow-smoking them, then diners can either enjoy it au-natural or slather plates with one of their signature sauces. Their sauces are inspired by recipes from Texas, North Carolina, and St. Louis and built upon a Vinegar, Tomato, or Molasses base. They also whip up an Orange Habanero sauce full of peppery spice.
The resulting mountains of melt-off-the-bone ribs, smoked wings, sausage, and brisket come to table alongside fine dining entrees, including rib-eye steak, fried chicken, and grilled salmon. Eight on-tap and 18 bottled beers lodge at the full bar, along with glasses of craft cocktails and wine, preparing palates for dessert and punctuating the sound of live bands, comedians, and poker games.
Nationwide Bowling orchestrates a cacophonous symphony of clanking pins and cheering bowlers at 11 modern bowling centers located throughout New Jersey. Center size varies from the Hudson-Bayonne location where 60 lanes with automatic scoring, a grill, sports bar, and arcade games accommodate armadas of bowlers to Garden Palace, which houses 16 lanes, a bar, and a snack shop. At all locations, staffers host birthday parties and corporate events and organize leagues for competitive bowlers or people who just like to chuck heavy objects as hard as they can.
CBL Fine Art upgrades abodes with custom artwork, décor, and sundries honed by the keen eye of founder Connie Lior. For more than a quarter-century, the boutique has supported artists while cultivating a wide selection of uncommon gifts, including the Lillo Studio glass heart box($35), which ably stores jewelry or sets of gold dentures. The shop also specializes in Judaica, from frosted glass Shabbat candlesticks etched with the phrase Shabbat Shalom ($30), to Kiddush cups in materials such as stainless steel, pewter, and glass ($38+). Shoppers can frame an engagement photo or cake-topper portrait within a 4"x6" wedding frame($25) and finally learn Roman numerals with a stained-glass table clock ($55). Accommodating staffers happily provide complimentary shopping counsel or gift-wrapping services, saving customers the inconvenience of wrapping presents in newspaper or old graduate dissertations.
Doing crafts, baking cookies, and reading picture books might all sound like typical camp activities, but at Spanish Camp they come with a catch: they're all conducted in Castilian Spanish. After all, complete immersion in a language is the best way for a little brain to absorb its intricacies, aside from conversing with a foreign imaginary friend. The summer- and winter-break camp sessions include seasonally appropriate activities—outdoor play in the summer and Christmas crafts in December—that teach kids Spanish vocabulary and encourage them to practice aloud. Native Spaniard Señora Isabel not only leads the camps but also gives private Spanish lessons to both kids and adults.
At Essex Equestrian Center, more than 35 horses and ponies work together with an expert team of instructors to teach riding basics. Students can choose from the disciplines of hunter, jumper, dressage, and western riding for lessons that are conducted in private or group settings. Classes take place year-round as the center features both an outdoor ring and an Olympic-size indoor arena, perfect for when the weather calls for rain or Olympic-size hail.
The beastmasters of Turtle Back Zoo fill the troughs of their squawking menagerie with the help of donations through the Adopt-an-Animal program. A framable adoption certificate commemorates the adoption of Turtle Back Zoo's endangered African penguins⎯the noble butlers of the Southern Hemisphere⎯and the donation funds fish reserves, maintenance, and medical needs. Bird-benefactors also receive a photograph of the newest, most feathered member of their family and a bumper sticker with which to emblazon vehicles with a message championing the plight of penguin expatriates. Lodged near the entrance to the zoo, the Adopt-an-Animal Honor Roll Board proclaims the names of trans-species foster parents to visitors and those studious penguins who have learned to read.