Fall 2020 08108 Collingswood

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08108 FALL 2020

Falling into the


A historic cemetery Autumn decor Borough Bites ...and more!

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Letter from the


’m certainly ready for fall, and not just because it’s my favorite season. As the leaves change and the temperature drops, it’s a sign time is still moving forward during this unprecedented year. It’s exciting to see this same progress in the borough, too, with more people out shopping, dining and enjoying life with each passing week. It’s been a slow and steady build up since the spring for Collingswood businesses, and we’re happy to report the outlook is positive for the coming seasons (page 6). Speaking of borough business districts, it won’t be long before the corn stalks and mums are back. I’ll admit, I started decorating for fall the day my calendar flipped to September. Sure, it may have technically still been summer, but it never feels too early to put out my pumpkin collection. Of course, don’t go by me. We’ve got the lowdown on autumnal decor this issue on page 16. No doubt all that fall decorating is going to make you hungry and, lucky for you, we’re talking takeout in this issue’s Borough Bites (page 8). We’re thrilled indoor dining is slowly returning, but also proud to see

how our local restaurateurs pivoted with pandemic protocol and kept safely serving up their delicious dishes through the spring and summer. Speaking of rising to a challenge, on page 14 we had the opportunity to chat with residents Nancy Lee Starrett and Audrey DiUlio, who handcrafted and donated hundreds of face masks since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. They don’t consider this feat remarkable. They just want to do their part to help. You can’t really talk about fall without bringing up the spookiest of holidays. And is there a better Halloween setting than a foggy cemetery in the middle of the night? In this issue’s Looking Back at Local History, we take a walk through Harleigh Cemetery – minus the midnight mist. Read about this beautiful locale’s back story and famous residents on page 12. Whether Halloween’s your cup of tea or you’d rather fill your mug with a pumpkin spice latte while soaking in the bright autumn sunshine, here’s to a fabulous fall in 08108!

Kristen Dowd Editor

Book Festival goes virtual


his year marks a new chapter for the Collingswood Book Festival.

Although at one point it looked like the book was closing on the 18th annual event due to the pandemic, organizers rallied to create new opportunities out of old traditions. Largely being held in the virtual realm beginning Oct. 3, the festival will once again feature authors and their works, as well as dive into discussions on diversity and social justice. “Our children’s book coordinators kind of took off with it and are putting together this amazing program,” festival chair Sharon Hackett said, noting volunteers Wanda Swanson and Lisa Steinhaeur as two of the movers and shakers for this year’s event. New this year is a Diversity Panel, which will focus on children’s books highlighting race, gender, sexual orientation and special needs. Harmonica Sunbeam from Drag Queen Story Hour will also read stories and discuss her message of love and acceptance. “What’s interesting is that when we first started there wasn’t a lot of motivation, but then we realized that there’s an opportunity to go beyond our geography and reach out

FALL 2020

around the country,” Hackett said, adding there are participants from across the United States. There is one in-person aspect of this year’s festival with the return of the popular Poetry Tent thanks to efforts by Tammy Paolino and Mary Baldwin. Planned outside the Scottish Rite Theatre, it will include children’s poetry, pandemic-themed haiku, works by South Jersey poets and a reading by Pulitzer Prize winner Gregory Pardlo. There will be a tribute to Poetry Tent founder Walt Howat, who passed away earlier this year, in addition to the announcement of the 11th annual Walt Howat Youth Poetry Contest winners. Plans are continuing to evolve, and a final schedule and links to speakers and events will be shared at www.collingswoodbookfestival.com and at the festival’s social media pages. The festival is also partnering with Inkwood Books in Haddonfield as its 2020 bookseller. After a rocky start, things are certainly looking up for the 18th annual Collingswood Book Festival. “The show is going on,” Hackett said. ■ 4

08108 FALL 2020 ISSUE








PERRY CORSETTI JR. TESSA LEONE KAREN RODIER 08108 is a publication of Newspaper Media Group, 2 Executive Campus, Suite 135 Cherry Hill, NJ 08002 (856)779-3800 x6837 sunsales@newspapermediagroup.com 08108@newspapermediagroup.com

In this Issue: Borough’s in business Borough Bites Heroes at Home Decorate for fall Keeping up with Collingswood 08108 contributors

6 8 14 16 17 18

ON THE COVER A study in architectural design, Harleigh Cemetery is the final resting place to many notable individuals, including poet Walt Whitman. Read all about it on page 12. COVER PHOTO BY JAMIE GIAMBRONE


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Taking care of business Despite challenges, borough businessowners optimistic for coming seasons BY REBECCA L. FORAND


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Collingswood’s business districts have been fighting a long battle through the COVID-19 pandemic, but with help from the borough’s administration, have survived and look forward to a thriving holiday season. When the pandemic hit the United States in March, the borough’s businesses had to rapidly change the way things were done. Restaurants were shuttered and stores had to move to online-only sales. “What we saw was a lot of businesses did this amazing pivoting,” said Cass Duffey, acting borough administrator and former director of community development. “Several were able on the turn of a dime to revamp their entire business model in a week’s time.” This change was not only difficult but could have been a death knell for hundreds of local businesses, however, the vast majority managed to survive the uncertainty and make it work as best as possible. Occasionette, a card and gift shop located on Haddon Avenue, is one such store that had to shift its entire strategy. “We pivoted to sell online very soon after we had to shut down in March,” Sara Villari, the store’s owner and creative director, said. “We had our website up and shoppable 6

within 36 hours of when we had to close, and as soon as we were allowed to do curbside pickup, we were doing that.” As the state’s recommendations for dining and shopping evolved, Collingswood’s community development team worked to ensure the storefronts and restaurants could continue to do business as best as possible. The team worked to establish a successful outdoor dining plan for the local restaurants and pushed pedestrian traffic into the street to accommodate the restaurant’s seating limitations, Duffey said. “We had this great fear that we’d see empty storefronts and businesses close,” she said. And while not every business has made it, please see BUSINESS, page 7 08108



continued from page 6

creating a heartbreaking situation for some, most of them have survived. As restrictions continue to loosen, the borough is looking to a bright future, while continuing to modify its programs to make shopping and dining attractive to the public, especially as the pivotal holiday season approaches. The Cash Mob event that normally takes place has been adapted to a “cash mob bingo” event, where participants can enter a drawing for prizes. Restaurant Week will take place with necessary modifications Oct. 18 through 23, and November’s Collingswood Cash program will continue. “I think it is cautious optimism. People are coming back out and the businesses have done a great job adapting to make it COVIDfriendly,” said Rebecca Callaway, Collingswood’s director of community development. “We need the businesses and the busi-

nesses need us. We’ve worked very hard with them to keep it safe for the people. That’s what Collingswood is all about.” Ensuring safety continues to be a main concern, and business owners are trying to maximize their services for the customer while minimizing risks. For Villari, who is opening a second Occasionette location in Collingswood, losing the sales from Mother’s Day was a huge hit, so making sure the holiday season is available for shopping is paramount, and that means everyone working together to keep safety a priority. “The only way small businesses like ours will survive through the end of the year is if we can keep our doors open,” she said. “As a small business you’re always relying on your neighbors and the people in your community to support your business. Now we are relying on people to not only shop local, but to stay safe.” ■


A store sign welcomes shoppers back to downtown Collingswood. On page 6: Outdoor dining is bustling outside Il Fiore Restaurant, with safe social distancing practices in place. Dan Foley dons his face mask as he peruses the merchandise at Inner Groove Records.

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Collingswood eateries ‘take out’ a new approach to business amid pandemic BY KELLY FLYNN After months of shutdowns and uncertainty for the restaurant industry, Gov. Phil Murphy recently gave the green light for restaurants to serve their patrons indoors in a limited capacity. But for those of us who are still leery of indoor dining, the food metropolis that is Collingswood has got you covered. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants have had to rethink their business models. For some, this means offering take-out. For others, it means implementing delivery for the first time. For all, it’s getting even more stringent with disinfecting and cleaning procedures to ensure diners the safest experience possible while enjoying their meal.

Macona BBQ Owner Cory Reuss said prior to the pandemic, Macona BBQ refused to do delivery for a simple reason. “Everyone knows barbecue is delicious, but it needs to be eaten fresh,” Reuss said. Opened in 2018, the restaurant offers barbecue with no boundaries on the menu. In order to keep things interesting, the menu changes daily with new specials that have developed a cult following, according to Reuss. The Haddon Avenue eatery already offered limited indoor seating, so the transition from dine-in service to take out only was pretty seamless for guests. Reuss said initially, business was strong when people were first sent home from work. When people thought it was just going to be a couple of short weeks at home, they were eager to spend money. Then, reality set in, and they saw a slump in sales. Reuss said their team is small, and so, at the start of the pandemic, they made it a priority to keep their doors open and their employees paid if they could. So, around four weeks into the shutdown, they decided to incorporate delivery into their business model. “We had to find new ways to keep afloat, support our employees and keep the lights on,” Reuss said. Reuss comes from a fine dining background having previously served as an executive chef with Hilton Hotels. He said they’d please see BITES, page 9 FALL 2020




continued from page 8

always put the kibosh on delivery because they feared it might compromise the integrity of their dishes. “Delivery just wasn’t something for us that was feasible as far as our creative aspect,” he said. So, when they went to formulate their delivery menu, Macona did so with dish integrity in mind. They thought about how to prevent dishes from becoming soggy, what needs to be packaged separately and how items could make it through transport. Since offering takeout, some of the most popular items have been the Texas brisket with a black pepper rub and their cornbread – made with fresh New Jersey corn. He said their specials are also in high demand because they offer something new every day. While Macona has a fairly sizable backyard space, for now, they’re limiting their services to take out and delivery. Reuss said after discussion with his staff, some members are uncomfortable with serving people, and he wants to respect his team’s comfort levels. Given the small size of his team, it hasn’t been too difficult to up their safety precautions. He said they’ve implemented more sanitizing stations and are now doing a complete wipe down in the middle of service. He said while there are certainly many negative aspects of the pandemic for the restaurant industry, the silver lining is that it’s encouraging best practices. “It’s teaching a lot of people in this industry and other industries to think of a new way of setting the bar in terms of cleanliness and health,” he said. Macona BBQ is available on Door Dash. To learn more about Macona BBQ, visit www.maconabbq.com.

Peru and Argentina. Jaramillo said when they reopened, they began offering family trays, which included entrees and desserts designed to share. She said the goal was to offer good food at a reasonable price, and it was well received, with their empanadas quickly becoming a popular item for take out. “It’s comfort food,” Jaramillo said. “It’s family food you can take home. It’s nice in that sense.” When Gov. Murphy allowed outdoor dinplease see BITES, page 10


Above left, Chef Paris Young works in the kitchen at Macona BBQ. Above, El Sitio server Chloe Ada carries a dish to waiting diners. On page 8: A colorful, refreshing ceviche from El Sitio Grill & Cafe is complemented by crisp fried plantains and crunchy corn nuts.

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Cecilia Jaramillo, co-owner of El Sitio Grill & Cafe with her husband Francisco, said the pandemic has forced them to completely rethink the way they do business. In mid-March and April, El Sitio completely shut down. In May, they made their return offering takeout orders for the first time. Jaramillo said it was a nice way to restart their business, and they were grateful to their customers for their support. El Sitio opened 10 years ago in Collingswood. Cecilia and Francisco are originally from Quito, Ecuador and their menu offers sandwiches, burgers and entrees that blend flavors from Ecuador,

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ing, they opened up their patio. However, due to capacity limits and the weather, their ability to serve patrons outdoors is quite limited. To cut costs, El Sitio is not currently open for lunch, and they’ve had to reduce the number of dishes they offer. They’ve always strictly followed health regulations, but they’ve increased their efforts in light of the virus. She said they’ve limited space between customers; diners are encouraged to look at the menu on their phones or are given a paper menu; and they’ve increased their disinfection procedures after a customer leaves a table. Some people are still afraid to dine out, and Jaramillo said she completely understands why. For that reason, they’re continuing to offer takeout as an alternative to customers. Combined, both the outdoor seating and take out orders have complemented one another to keep the business afloat. More than anything, they’re grateful to the Collingswood community who has continued to patronize and support their business during this tough time. “When you are going through a hard time, you know who the people are who care for you,” she said.

Jaramillo said they have a passion for their business, and that’s why they’ve worked hard to try to expand and keep their doors open during this time. She said that diners can taste that passion in their food. “Come and try our food because it’s a little bit different with a taste of Latin America and with a lot of love,” she said. To learn more about El Sitio or to order online, visit https://elsitiocollingswood.com.

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Their model is serving prepared gourmet food designed to be taken out and cooked at home. Offering a variety of seafood, their restaurants are known for their jumbo lump crab cakes, and Chez has prided himself on sourcing the best ingredients. “People know what to expect when they come here and that’s how we’ve grown throughout the years,” Chez said. “We’ve been in business for 23 years.” He said they buy their scallops from Cape May or New England, don’t put filler in the crab cakes and offer shrimp that are “bigger than Buicks.” “People come in who want champagne taste on a beer budget,” Chez said. “You’re not spending a lot of money, but you’re getting the best money can buy.” Given many people’s current discomfort with dining out, Bobby Chez’s takeout model quickly became appealing to those looking for restaurant quality food they could make at home. Chez said word of their food spread via word of mouth throughout the pandemic, and soon, they were seeing more and more new customers. “When this happened, people came to us and people told their friends and friends told other friends; our business has just been unbelievable,” Chez said. He said they’re utilizing the best practices Treboro Plaza, Route 130 South Gloucester City (next to Gormley’s)

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and he’s hopeful that means they’ll continue to return to Bobby Chez even when the world returns to normal one day. To learn more about Bobby Chez, visit bobbychezcrabcakes.com. ■


Bobby Chez employee Jacob Ramos takes a take-out order from customer Joyce Fleming. On page 10: Top, a platter of barbecue from Macona BBQ on Haddon Avenue. Bottom, crab cakes aren’t the only famous item at Bobby Chez – the fried tomatoes are a popular choice, too.

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to ensure everyone stays safe for both their staff and customers. All Chez employees wear masks, and everyone has their temperature taken before they can come to work. There’s also hand sanitizer throughout the kitchen for employees. Chez said while the pandemic has been unfortunate for the world, he’s grateful that it’s brought new faces their way. He said people have become acquainted with their business model,

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A look at

LOCAL HISTORY The final resting place of thousands, Harleigh Cemetery a study in architecture FALL 2020

BY MADELEINE MACCAR With fall and the spookiest of holidays getting closer as the days grow shorter, it’s a little easier to justify holding your breath as you pass by a graveyard and let long-buried superstitions get the best of you. But Collingswood’s Harleigh Cemetery has endeavored to eschew those eerie stereotypes in favor of more pastoral, vibrant scenery since its 1885 beginnings. As part of the mid-19th century rural cemetery movement, Harleigh’s very design benefited from a reaction to cities’ burialground overcrowding problems. Not just a necessary answer to a mounting dilemma, however, the movement was refined and softened by the belief that cemeteries should be welcoming park-like enclaves that invite rather than unnerve their visitors. The cemetery stretches into both Collingswood and Camden, its copses of trees, choir of birdsong and scenic walking paths more suggestive of a cross-town park than the final resting place for tens of thousands of peaceful residents tucked throughout more than 130 acres of lush, manicured growth. 12

Indeed, one peek at the cemetery’s website (harleighcemetery.com) describes it in bucolic vocabulary more traditionally associated with a public space made to invite the living. It evokes multisensory images like the peaceful susurration of rustling leaves and the warmth of the sun dappling Harleigh in the “magical fancy” of chiaroscuro interplay between light and shadow. Fountains, manicured landscapes and glimpses of the Cooper River licking at its shores all add to its natural appeal. Louis Cicalese, Harleigh Cemetery president since 2019, explains that the cemetery’s aesthetic is a reminder that life and death are simply part of a never-ending natural cycle in his president’s letter. “It has the power to turn our thoughts to a future of sweeter service here and now, as well as there and sometime, and to view with nature and with each other to make it a place of uplifting influence,” he writes. And even the array of architecture dotting the cemetery’s landscape were intended to pay tribute to those loved and gone while gently nudging along those yet to fulfill their purpose. please see HISTORY, page 13 08108


continued from page 12

“Harleigh Cemetery is a study in architectural design — and the erection of the Memorial Chapel and Mausoleum is a crowning tribute to man’s love and human devotion,” Cicalese’s letter concludes. “Truly, the works placed here, not only keep in remembrance those who have served their day, but uphold and inspire those whose hands have still their life’s work to do.” Those interred at Harleigh Cemetery offer no dearth of potential inspiration for the living in their own right. The Victorian-garden beauty that characterizes the cemetery is a visual delight, no doubt, but the veritable who’s-who of Harleigh’s eternal occupants is a silent reminder that some legacies can transcend death in a bid for the immortality of accomplishment. Renowned writer popularly accepted as the poet of democracy Walt Whitman is perhaps the most recognizable resident buried among Harleigh’s own leaves of grass. Not even 10 years after the cemetery opened, the late Camden resident’s 1892 funeral drew friends to his burial site for a public ceremony filled with readings and live music; today, Whitman’s grave is certainly one of the cem08108

etery’s most-visited destinations. Whitman is not the only notable creative soul laid to rest in Harleigh Cemetery, though he predates them by quite a margin, such as poet Nick Virgilio, who died in 1989; more recently, Philadelphia jazz drummer Charlie Rice was buried there in 2018. Rice recorded, played and toured with some of the genre’s biggest names as the Jazz Age caught on across the country, and was still performing into his 90s. The Camden born-and-raised Virgilio, meanwhile, is credited for popularizing the Japanese form of haiku poetry in the Western world; the entirety of his poem “Lily” can be read as an inscription on his headstone. But when it comes to Harleigh’s most famous residents, the politically minded dominate the list. Among them include: female labor organizer and radical activist Ella Reeve Bloor, who fought for women’s suffrage and mobilization as workers; three Civil War Union Brevet Generals, George Burling (Colonel and commander of the 6th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry — who was originally buried in Philadelphia’s Mount Vernon Cemetery), Colonel William Joyce Sewell of the 5th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry and Colonel Timothy Moore of the 34th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry; and two Supreme Court Justices, Albert Burling and Ralph Donges. A number of 19th- and early-20th-century New Jersey senators are buried at Harleigh, including Sewell and John F. Starr, as well as father-and-son pair David Baird Sr. and David Baird Jr. With so much history both behind and underneath it, it’s no wonder Harleigh Cemetery has been listed on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places since 1995. It remains a thriving part of the local landscape and has adapted to modern burial demands and advancements to keep serving its community in not only form but also function, to honor the dead while comforting the living. After all, in the words of its most famous resident, life and death are eternally “two old, simple problems ever intertwined.” ■


Harleigh Cemetery, which stretches from Collingswood through Camden to the waterfront, is the final resting place of many noteworthy names, including local dignitaries and politicians, veterans and, perhaps most well known, poet Walt Whitman. 13

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HEROES at home Collingswood women use sewing skills to help others during pandemic BY KEVIN CALLAHAN


ancy Lee Starrett and Audrey DiUlio show you can be a hero from home, too, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using their compassion and sewing machines, the two Collingswood residents made protective facemasks from their living rooms. “Back in March, when we were so impacted by COVID, I randomly posted on Facebook that I was feeling helpless and that I had a sewing machine and I wanted to help,” Starrett said, “so all my friends offered suggestions about contacting hospitals and then a friend of mine who is an ICU nurse at Cooper Hospital asked if I could sew surgical caps for her coworkers. “So that’s how it all began.” Obtaining fabrics was challenging when the retail shops were closed, but she purchased several yards of fabric online and used curbside pick up at Jo Ann Fabrics. “I made 26 surgical caps for the ICU nurses, but I kept hearing about there being such a high demand for facemasks, so I kept searching on Facebook and finally found FALL 2020

in April the PPE Sewing for COVID-19,” Starrett said about Angel Smith, the founder of the group. “I contacted her and at that point I had already start making facemasks for family and friends.” Smith, of Cinnaminson, started PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) Sewing for COVID-19 on Facebook. The group has made thousands of masks, along with mask extenders and scrub caps. “I was a member of a Collingswood-based community Facebook page, where someone mentioned the group in a post asking for sewers to join a group which was making masks for healthcare workers,” DiUlio said. “At the time, I was feeling so helpless and wanted so badly to help in a safe way, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. 14

She not only worked from her home – COVID also hit close to home for DiUlio. “A friend of mine, who is a healthcare worker, contracted COVID-19 in m i d - s p r i n g ,” said DiUlio, 34, a Content Marketing Consultant. “She and her family recovered, but I also had another friend who lost two grandparents within less than 48 hours to the virus. “It made it feel more real to me, not just something you read about in the news.” Although Starrett said she didn’t know anyone in her “immediate circle” who had COVID, that didn’t matter. “The numbers show we’re all impacted even if we don’t know someone personally, it definitely has affected everyone,” Starrett said. “I really do feel honored. I have my sewing machine that I dusted off and I dusted off my skills. It just is giving me a purpose and I’m honored to do it.” By early September, Starrett had made nearly 300 masks. please see HEROS, page 15 08108


continued from page 14

“I do them in batches, I do maybe 30 at a time,” she explained. “I do the cutting and the ironing and the sewing of the seams. I would say each one takes me from start to finish 15 to 20 minutes.” Starrett, 72, worked at Rutgers Camden University for over 30 years in numerous departments. “Because I’m retired, my world was traveling and going out for lunch and dinner with friends and family and going to the gym, going to the theater,” Starrett said. “By mid-March, that all went away, so this is giving me a purpose and I’m really honored to make a small contribution for those who put their lives at risk every day.” DiUlio feels she hasn’t done enough. “I’m so grateful that I was able to use my skills to help others, and every once in a while I wonder to myself who may have been protected from the virus thanks to a mask that I made, and I admit that’s a wonderful feeling and I can’t help but feel accomplished and proud,” DiUlio said. “But I always still wish I could do more. To this day, I refuse to charge anyone who asks me to make a mask for them. For me, this has become a donations-only thing. Even after the demand dwindled in the healthcare field, I began looking into local daycares and preschools to see if they might need masks for their teachers or backups for students or visitors who may have lost or forgotten them. I just keep feeling like I could be doing more.” By doing her bit, DiUlio has become more. “I think this has given me the confidence to feel I can make a difference no matter what the circumstances may be,” DiUlio said. “At the start, I felt hopeless as I watched things unfold in front of me, but once I sat back and really looked at the ways that I could contribute, I realized that, even in the most extreme circumstances, there will always be something I can do to help.” Starrett wants to do more. “Over the years, I volunteered a lot and I think once this is over I may look into pursuing more volunteer work, so that way it has changed me,” Starrett said. “I’ve always been socially aware so that part of me hasn’t changed, but I think I will look back into volunteering. “You can be putting your time to better use than just doing a jigsaw puzzle.” ■

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On page 14: Top, Collingswood resident Audrey DiUlio smiles at her sewing machine. DiUlio, along with fellow borough resident Nancy Lee Starrett, has made hundreds of face masks for donation since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bottom, a pile of masks sewed by Starrett. 08108

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FALL 2020

fall feeling


It’s easy to bring a touch of autumn to indoor and outdoor decor BY RACHEL SIMPSON

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FALL 2020



n just a few weeks, we will set the clocks back. For many of us, “falling back” into autumn signals the time to welcome the season both into and out of our homes. “Most people live seasonally,” Staci Greenberg said. Greenberg, of Interior & Design, LLC in Collingswood, says changes in seasons is one of the many things that influence design decisions. As most of us are spending more time than ever in our homes, many folks are looking into ways to make their space more functional and comfortable. “The money that would have been spent on traveling is being used to redesign spaces, especially home offices, closets and the most used living space,” Greenberg explained. While Greenberg follows the guiding principle that form follows function and function must come first, she happily offers customized options to clients. “It is my job to think of ways to make it work, then make it look good,” said Greenberg. Although most of Greenberg’s projects (both residential and commercial) are meant to function all year, she offers tips for welcoming fall into homes. “I suggest easy, fun and affordable ways to bring seasonal décor into the home,” said Greenberg, who asks clients what fall means to them. Is it deep colors? Is it leaves? Is it a particular fall holiday? Can it be easily swapped out like a throw on a sofa, different pillows, plants that represent fall, a bowl of leaves or a pumpkin centerpiece? Maybe slip covers or interchangeable valances? Whatever it is that says fall to her clients, Greenberg reminds them to make it easy enough to transfer everything back out with minimal effort come winter. Once the interior is complete, it can be fun to decorate your outside space as well. Michele Bracken at McNaughton’s Garden and Landscaping in Cherry Hill offers ways to spruce up the outdoors, including chimeneas for the backyard; pumpkins, straw and corn stalks for the porch; and seasonal plants such as celosia, ornamental peppers, millet, mums, pansies and kale. “We also offer crops like broccoli, cauliflower, kale and lettuce,” said Bracken, referring to great fall gardens. Outdoor Halloween decorations are also a popular choice. “We are happy to guide people through what to plant on their own,” said Bracken. “Or the landscaping department can help with ideas and design and we love helping customers with their window boxes and pots – just drop them off for a couple days and we will do the planting for you.” Both Greenberg and Bracken agree bringing fall inside and outside the home is all about comfort, function and what makes the client happy. Seasonal décor is personal, unique and should be fun and easy enough to switch over quickly when it’s time to spring ahead! ■ 08108

Keeping up with

will also pay tribute to Walt Howat, founder of the Poetry Tent who passed away earlier this year. Some events will be livestreamed, while others will be posted as videos afterward. Get all the details at www.collingswoodbookfestival.com and at the festival’s Instagram @collsbookfest and Facebook @ Collsbook.

Collingswood It’s all in the details

When it comes to your social calendar, change is … not always good. But sometimes it’s inevitable. In the event of cancelations and postponements, be sure to double check the status of the following events before attending.

Jersey Fresh Saturdays

Collingswood Farmers’ Market: The COVID-19 pandemic couldn’t take out this Saturday morning staple. Organizers pivoted to make the 2020 season viable by offering a new farm-to-car model in the spring, and then expanding to a walk-through model partway through the season. Masks and social distancing are required, and shoppers must be mindful of the one-way foot traffic. Vendors will offer all the fan favorites – produce, meats, cheeses, coffees, baked goods – and new this season are prepared foods from borough restaurants. Live music is back, too. Before you go, check out all the details at www.collingswoodmarket.com.

Saturday, Sept. 26

Run 4 Recovery 2020: In honor of September being Recovery Awareness Month, nonprofit Village Wrap, Inc., is hosting a virtual 5K starting at 10 a.m. to raise awareness of mental and substance use disorders and to celebrate those who recover. Participants are encouraged to complete the 5K “your way,” whether that means running, walking, swimming, biking or something else. It’s easy – simply register through the nonprofit’s Facebook page @villagewrap and upload a selfie with special hashtags after completion.

Friday, Oct. 2

Hotsy Totsy at the Scottish Rite: If enjoying live music on a crisp fall evening under the stars sounds like a pretty perfect night out, local indie-pop trio Hotsy Totsy playing the porch at the Scottish Rite Auditorium is your ticket to perfection. Part of the venue’s Music Lounge series and featuring musician Justin Gonzalez, attendees can bring their own lawn chairs, snacks and soft drinks to the concert. Tickets are $15. A cash bar (credit cards accepted, too) will be available. Showtime is 7 p.m., with grounds opening at 6:15 p.m. Reserve a seat by emailing mbaldwin@collingswoodarts.com. 08108

Saturday, Oct. 3

18th annual Collingswood Book Festival: While things are going to look a little – OK, a lot – different this year, festival organizers were determined to continue this longtime borough tradition, even if it meant taking most things to the virtual realm. Nearly 30 children’s authors will read from their books, Harmonica Sunbeam with Drag Queen Story Hour will perform and stay for a discussion of love and acceptance, and a pre-recorded Diversity Panel will focus on children’s books highlighting race, gender, sexual orientation and special needs. Stay in the know at www.collingswoodbookfestival. com and at the festival’s Instagram @collsbookfest and Facebook @Collsbook.

Sunday, Oct. 4

Poetry Tent at the Collingswood Book Festival: Enjoy children’s poetry, pandemic-themed haiku, new works from South Jersey poets (including Pulitzer Prize winner Gregory Pardlo) and more from 1 to 4 p.m. outside the Scottish Rite Theatre. Poets

Wednesday, Oct. 14

Virtual Town Forum: If you’ve been considering reaching out to borough officials with a question, concern or feedback, now’s your chance! Collingswood will host this forum via video conferencing platform Zoom, giving residents the chance to chat with the local governing body about public safety, public works, recreation or whatever is on their mind. More information and a link to the forum will be posted in October at www. collingswood.com. Collingswood Reads: The Collingswood Public Library’s book club members are still reading – they’ve just moved the conversation online. From 7 to 8 p.m., readers will discuss “The Nickel Boys” by Colson Whitehead. Paper copies and eBook/audiobooks are available on CloudLibrary and Overdrive (Libby App). Learn more, including how to get in on the virtual chat, at www. collingswoodlib.org. ■

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FALL 2020

Fall 2020 Issue Contributers: Kevin Callahan

Kelly Flynn

Rebecca L. Forand

Madeleine Maccar

Jamie Giambrone

Rachel Simpson

Kevin, a published author of three novels, is in his 36th year writing sports, travel and outdoor stories, focusing in and around South Jersey and Philadelphia. After 33 years writing for the Courier Post, the 58-year-old embarked on a freelance writing career with the release of his trilogy – The Black Rose, The Fish Finder and The Chess Game in 2017.

Kelly is a caffeine addict on a quest for the smoothest cup of local coffee and the most interesting local news. The journalist and editor covering the South Jersey region enjoys finding interesting people and places to highlight through her work.

Rebecca L. Forand has been a reporter and editor for more than 15 years, previously working for newspapers and magazines in Florida and London before coming home to work in New Jersey. In her free time she enjoys cooking and baking, as well as kayaking, hiking and spending as much time outdoors as possible.

Madeleine Maccar has spent the past 14 years as a word-nerd of all kinds, working as both a newspaper and magazine editor, as well as a reporter, proofreader, book reviewer, writing tutor and freelance writer. She spent five of those years working in Collingswood, which was easily the best part of the job.

Jamie loves to dance. She loves coffee, hiking and being a soccer mom. The connection she has to her community has inspired her to take a closer look at her surroundings and dive into the stories around her. This is what drives her photography; stories and unveiling them. See more of Jamie’s work at www.jamiegiambrone.com.

Rachel Simpson has a background in Public Relations and communications at both nonprofit and boutique agency organizations. A passion for writing, she has also contributed to local newspapers and magazines. When not writing, she enjoys spending time with her two children, reading and gardening at her South Jersey home.

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FALL 2020

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