Get out of the kitchen! And forget the novels. Who really needs 50 Shades of Grey when you can enjoy the sybaritic pleasures of the table in public! Grab a notebook, or perhaps a stack of post-its, to make tasting notes and dive into your cookbook collection this summer.
7. Brookdale Park
This Olmstead designed county park straddles the Montclair-Bloomfield border and is host to concerts, fireworks and great art festivals. Park benches located throughout the park offer great vistas or places of quiet repose. The park is large so there is sure to be a place that’s just right.
6. The lawn of the Montclair Art Museum
This beautiful outdoor space features sculptures and well- tended lawns. There’s a concrete picnic table just off the parking lot that is one of my favorite places to read a good cookbook, and with Whole Foods just across the street my inspiration can be fulfilled quickly.
5. Church Street Montclair
The sidewalk cafes and benches alongside the garden planters are calling out to you. Enjoying a coffee as the fragrances from the cafes waft through the air is a foodie paradise.
4. Edgemont Park
Located on Valley Road in Upper Montclair, Edgemont Park offers both shady and sunny locations for reading. Something about being alongside water always feeds the soul.
3.The Essex County Rose Garden at Brookdale Park
This special place merits its own listing. Located near the Grove Street entrance of Brookdale Park the Rose Garden has several benches surrounding the gardens in both sunny and shady locations. In the summer months a gentle perfume fills the air.
2. The Van Vleck Gardens.
Most people don’t realize that the gardens are open to the public and don’t require a permit or reservations to be used. Benches, a pergola, lawns and secret gardens make this a hidden gem just waiting to be discovered. It’s not uncommon to find visitors spread a blanket and dine al fresco on one of the many lawns.
1. That awesome chair at Watchung Booksellers
Located in the Children’s Room, the Green Wing Chair is by far the best place to read a cookbook in Montclair. Think about it – there is an almost endless supply of reading material all around you! On a recent visit I found myself diving into a collection of vegan cookbooks (who knew Vegan could be so good!). I also discovered the children’s cookbook section: many of the books contain recipes that are way better than the offerings of the TV people. My most recent visit became one of over an hour – I was lost in a collection of gluten free titles. I’m not gluten free but found myself impressed with the variety of flavors both savory and sweet. I went home with two books about which I’ll write at a later date (I’m still taste testing the recipes). The only thing that stopped me from spending the rest of the day digging through the international titles was the knowledge that my parking meter was about to expire.
While indulging I also discovered Lost Children: A Charity Anthology: to benefit PROTECT and Children 1st. The collection includes a work by local author Thomas Pluck. While not a cookbook, the idea that my cookbook wanderlust led to the discovery of a work that benefits children feeds my soul in ways I could not have imagined. Having such a work feature a local author was an added plus.
Did I mention how much I love that chair!