Monday, April 07, 2008

Best of the Roxiticus Valley (Mendham, Chester, Bernardsville, Far Hills, NJ) Updated April 2008

Since we moved out here in October 2003, I've been looking for all sorts of local things -- restaurants, activities for kids, home improvements, etc. Since I've found answers to some of my questions, I've decided to post them here in case someone else may find it useful....who knows whether Roxiticus Desperate Housewives will show up when someone Googles "Mendham, NJ"??

Tell them all that Roxiticus Desperate Housewives sent you....

Best Places to Eat:

The Bernards Inn ( in Bernardsville.

Sammy's Ye Olde Cider Mill in Mendham NJ: or click here for the Roxiticus Desperate Housewives review of Sammy's.

Black Horse Tavern in Mendham NJ:

Limestone Cafe ( in Peapack. Limestone doesn't seem to have their own web site, but the link is to a review. Phone number is 908) 234-1475.

Grill 73 ( in Bernardsville.

Pierre's ( -- Morristown address, feels like Bernardsville to me. About twice a year, Rex & I get a bunch of friends together and take a table of ten at one of the Pierre's wine dinners....the summer seafood dinner is a favorite, as well as several dinners focused on a vineyard (Justin) or region (New Zealand, Argentinian Malbecs). The Roxiticus Desperate Housewives tend to get a bit rowdy and offend the more civilized clientele.

Pluckemin Inn ( in Pluckemin. Note that Plucky's Tavern, their casual side, used to be a total dive bar with sawdust on the floor and real men.

Vine ( in Basking Ridge.


56 Degrees ( in Bernardsville, NJ.

Stirling Fine Wine ( in Stirling, NJ. Stirling Fine Wines has a Red Tag Sale about four times a year. We went to Stirling's Red Tag Sale in November 2007 and on Groundhog's Day in February 2008 and stocked up.

Wine Library ( in Springfield, NJ.

Wine List ( in Summit, NJ.

Cake Lady:
People are always asking us about our "cake lady" -- Carol Falcone, who does all of our fancy (and delicious) birthday cakes. So here's a link to her web site, As You Like It Cakes, in Far Hills, NJ:
Her phone number is 908-626-0693. I have now given you one of my best-kept secrets. Just remember to tell her the Roxiticus Desperate Housewives sent you.....

Cakes, cookies, crumb cake, croissants, lots of baked treats at CocoLuxe Fine Pastries 161 Main Street in Peapack, NJ. Here's a link to their web site, or you can reach them by phone: (908) 781-5554.

Carl Posey of Grillmasters in Bedminster, NJ does all of our Roxiticus Sunset parties. Here's a link to his web site, which always seems to be under construction: In case that doesn't work, Carl Posey and Grillmasters can be reached by phone: (908) 719-3334.

Meat Market:
Go see Louie for an awesome steak or rack of lamb at the Chester Meat Market: 27 W Main Street, Chester, NJ. Phone: (908) 879-7523. Here's a link to my Chester Meat Market pictorial.

Since we haven't tried Perrotti's Butcher Shop and Prepared Foods in Far Hills, NJ, we cannot yet offer our Roxiticus Desperate Housekeeping Seal of Approval. However, we did want to let our readers know that there's a new butcher shop in Far Hills, NJ. M&M Perrotti's is located in the Far Hills Center, next to Country Curtains (probably in the sadly missed Romo Books location), 27 Route 202 South. Phone: (908) 306-8806. Hours are Monday-Wednesday & Friday from 9:00am to 6:00pm, Thursday from 9:00am to 7:00pm, Saturday from 8:00am to 4:00pm, closed Sunday. In order for Perrotti's to be valuable to Rex and me, they'll need to stay open until at least 6:30pm on weeknights so we can stop by on our way home from NYC.

Local Reading:
Bernardsville News:

Observer-Tribune (Mendham-Chester):

Doctors and Dentists:

Somerset Pediatric Group in Bedminster: (908) 470-1124

Dr. David Matthews at Far Hills Dental Care:

Nutritionist: Rex started seeing Nutritionist Corinne Bush (at the Far Hills Pharmacy) in August 2007. Since then, he has lost over 25 pounds, has a six-pack set of abs, and has his blood sugar and blood pressure under control.

Va-Jay-Jay: Dr. Matthew Iammatteo, 111 Madison Avenue, Morristown, NJ. Phone: (973) 971-9950.

Other Local Services:

Custom Mirrors and Glass:

Back at the end of January, I needed someone to install a custom mirror wall in our basement fitness room and I found Basking Ridge Glass & Mirror. They came the same day to do the measurements, and promise to complete the job within a week. They don't have a web site, but their phone number is (908) 766-9199. February 4: The mirrors are here, the mirrors are here! Thanks to Basking Ridge Glass & Mirror, I now have an amazing mirrored fitness/ballet room in my basement. So well done I wish I could take a picture for you....but I'm afraid I'm not smart enough to take a picture of a mirror that would come out half as nice as it looks in my basement.


Joseph D'Apolito & Son (includes a random little shop with ties and other men's clothes): 16 Peapack Road, Far Hills. Phone: (908) 234-0399

Monetti's Tailoring: 104 Mine Brook Road, Bernardsville, NJ. Phone: (908) 766-4847

Jane's Tailoring & Dressmaking: 20 Olcott Square, Bernardsville, NJ. Phone: (908) 766-5363

Somerset Hills Handyman:


Reissman Plumbing: (908) 879-5530. They don't have a web site, but give them a call!

Our Realtor:

Ann Tannen, a great realtor with the patience of a saint, spent 2 years searching Bernardsville, NJ and Mendham, NJ and helped us to find our dream home in the Roxiticus Valley. Here's a link to Ann Tannen's Realty Executives web site: Before Roxiticus Desperate Housewives and our Best of Mendham, Chester, Bernardsville, NJ directories existed, Ann was our only resource for a handyman, tailor, pre-school, etc. Give Ann Tannen a call at (908) 221-9900 and tell her the Roxiticus Desperate Housewives sent you.


So you've decided to join us here in the Roxiticus Valley (Mendham, Bernardsville, Chester, Peapack-Gladstone, Far Hills, NJ). Give Padded Wagon a call at (973) 335-5055 or visit their web site ( and have them move you here from wherever you are. Leave a comment on the Roxiticus Desperate Housewives blog and we'll try to line you up with some friends.

I hope the next few sections don't get me labelled as a "mommy blogger." Eew.

Early Childhood Education (Age 2 - 5):
In the "better late than never" category: For anyone in the Mendham, NJ/Chester, NJ area looking for a terrific pre-school ("early childhood education"), we're done here but we had a great bunch of years (age 2 through 5) at Westmont Montessori. An amazing experience not just for our kids but for the adult friendships that started there and continue on.

Kid Birthday Parties:

Back in January, we had a birthday party at Mennen Sports Arena ( in Morristown. A perfect ice skating venue for a party of 30 kids and about 10 skating adults.

Other good times we've had include Randolph Rock Climbing ( and Randolph Gymnastics (

Mr. Ray ( sings great kid music (roughly age 2 through 5) that adults can listen to without pain. He does a lot of live shows in the area, is available for private parties, and you can buy his CDs online.

Kid Stuff:
There's not a lot of kid stuff right in town in Mendham, NJ, but my older daughter just had a great time with her Brownie troop at Pastime Bowling Lanes in Mendham, NJ. It is a cute little place, with only four lanes. One of our friends has planned her daughter's birthday party there in April, so I will report back on Pastime Lanes as a kid party venue.

Be sure to check out my New Post on Summer Camp 2008.

Fun Stuff for Kids to Do:
Little Musicmakers (, from babies to about age 4.

West Morris YMCA ( -- all ages. We've used it for toddler
gymnastics, toddler swim lessons, and several summers with the Backyard Pool Program (private lessons in your own pool)

Annie's Playhouse ( -- acting, singing, musical theatre stuff, including summer camp. Starts around age 5, on up to teenagers. Summer camp for all ages. Phone: (908) 658- 3002.

Garden State Ballet ( -- with a branch in Randolph, NJ, GSB starts ballet classes around age 4 and continues through high school.

Randolph Gymnastics ( -- in addition to birthday parties, Randolphy Gymnastics is the best place for weekly gymnastics classes from about age 4 up through high school.

I just signed up both of my girls for another 8-week session at Pavan's Munchkin Tennis Academy at the Fox Chase Tennis Club. Phone: (908) 879-5231. Pavan Patel is great with the kids and just introduced a new, European approach ("serve, rally, score") for developing high level junior tennis players (aged 10 and under) involving red, orange, and green balls that are different sizes and "speeds." Pavan is also running a tennis camp this summer at Fox Chase Tennis for 9 weeks starting June 23rd. It looks like kids can sign up for as many weeks as they want...we're going to try it for one week in August.

Awesome family fun at the Somerset County, NJ 4-H Fair: I believe the Somerset County 4-H Fair is touted as the biggest free family fair this side of the Mississippi. It started in 1948, and I've been going since about 1971. There are still no admission or parking fees, no midway or carnival rides. Instead you'll find kids aged 6 to 18 and their horses, dogs, sheep, cows, other pets, projects and activities. The Somerset County 4-H Fair recognizes the accomplishments of 1,000 Somerset County 4-H members and is a showcase for visitors to see a wide variety of 4-H projects in action. Dates for 2008 are Wednesday, August 13th through Friday, August 15th.

Pumpkin picking at Alstede Farm in Chester, NJ:

Back when my girls were at Westmont Montessori School, the class went on a tour of Valley Shepherd Creamery in Long Valley, NJ. You don't need to be part of a school can bring your kids and come out to the farm to see ewes and lambs grazing in the pastures. Watch them milk the ewes on a special rotating milking parlor, and see how they hand make artisan sheep milk cheeses and yummy 'Ewe-gurt'. Take a hayride through the pastures to the cheese aging cave in the hillside of Long Valley. Finish it up by buying all your favorite sheep cheeses at the Valley Shepherd Creamery shop! Valley Shepherd Creamery is located at 50 Fairmount Rd in Long Valley, NJ. Phone: 908-876-3200

Best toy store: Toys With Love, in Chester, NJ:

Chester Schools Science Fair: Chester hosts one of the largest annual Science Fairs in the statewith over 500 students presenting more than 400 projects. It is open to students in grades K-8 living in Chester Boro or Chester Township, NJ. This year's science fair was held on Saturday, March 1st. Can't wait to hear about all the fun from our friends in Chester.

Charity Begins at Home:
Visiting Nurses ( take cash donations as well as all sorts of new and used goods (clothing, computers, toys) for their rummage sale, twice a year (May/October) in Far Hills. The 2008 VNA Rummage Sale in Far Hills, NJ is scheduled for Friday, May 2nd through Sunday, May 4th.

Morristown Memorial Hospital ( While we'd rather not end up in the hospital, we've always felt like we've been in good hands when we've come here. We've been involved with donations to the Goryeb Children's Hospital, the new Gagnon Heart Hospital, and the opportunity to honor nurses.

Bridge of Books ( a great way to share used children's books with kids who need them the most yet have the least access to books.

Salvation Army (, 95 Spring Street in Morristown. Phone is (973) 539-2700. I had some lightly used kids clothing and spent a lot of time trying to find a local charity that didn't want only brand new. The Salvation Army is happy to accept clothing in good condition to help out local families.

Somerset Medical Center: Charity begins at home (and a good time is had by all) at the Far Hills Race Meeting to benefit Somerset Medical Center: I've only been once (October 2007), the sun was shining, the horses were running, the beer was flowing, the kids were playing in the mud, and I'll hope the weather repeats in October 2008.

Hey, Where Did You Get That Great Nanny?

We've had two great nannies, and used two different agencies:
Choice Care (
A Choice Nanny (

For temporary child care (I used them on our nanny's maternity leave) or one-offs (evenings, weekends, a day off from school), you'll find In A Pinch at

I also used a national online service ( to find a local babysitter when we traveled to Baltimore. It worked out well in Baltimore, and I've remained a member (at $9.95/month) in case I can't get one of my usual teenage babysitters on a weekend.

Things We Love That Aren't Soooo Local:

Suzie Hot Sauce (in New Hope, PA and online):