A: Leave Newark, lol.
Honestly though, we decided to skip out on day two of the convention portion of KCON based on how clustery it was the day prior. It was like 90 degrees that day too and I could only think of several things less appealing than being in a crowded parking lot with thousands of people. (Also, we learned after the fact that this year’s KCON had nearly doubled in attendance from last year’s; thanks BTS…?)
Henry found some place for breakfast called Maple Leaf Diner, and it definitely wasn’t in Newark. It was in a town called Maplewood so you can already picture how adorable it was. Chooch gave him directions there since he was hoarding Henry’s phone for Pokemon reasons, and that was hilarious because Henry HATES not being in charge of directions. We had to drive through some really nice and upscale areas to get to this place, and it was a nice change from the bail shop-lined streets and boarded-up windows near our “hotel.”
I had a breakfast wrap and a fruit cup that was…actually good. I was anticipating a cracked-cup with like, 4 grapes and two slivers of hard and flavorless cantaloupe, but no! It was a grand variety of pineapples and melons and berries. Chooch got chocolate chip pancakes and couldn’t finish so Henry and I grudgingly helped him.
(The pancakes were good too and I am such a Persnickety Pancaker.)
I don’t know what Henry got.
The street that Maple Leaf was on definitely looked like some place I’d frequent if I lived in the area: lots of cute little boutiques and casual restaurants, almost had a seaside-vibe to it.
We had briefly considered going back to NYC for the day but all I kept thinking about was something going awry and us not making it back in time for the concert that night. I was too nervous and superstitious to chance it, and we figured we could always just visit again when we’re back in Newark for the BTS concert in September. That being decided, I whipped open my trusty Roadside America app and, after Henry vetoed 85 of my suggestions, we settled on the Morris Museum in Morristown, NJ because they have a large Guinness-owned music box exhibit.
And you peeps know how much me loves me music boxes! (Sorry, I just got done doing Lucky Charms commercial porn voice-overs for
me my side gig.)
But first, we had some time kill before the museum opened so we drove out to Staten State Park so I could see the Statue of Liberty but from a SAFE DISTANCE because I’m terrified of her.
Don’t ask, OK? This isn’t a motherfucking AMA.
(LOL j/k. Please ask me anything you want, anytime! I am starving for interaction.)
Who knew some park in NJ would have such a great view? Anyone with a basic knowledge of maps and geography. Duh.
The first picture I took, Chooch was flipping off Lady Liberty and I was like, “Chooch! It’s not her fault, it’s Trump’s!” and he was like, “Oh yeah” and then admitted that I was starting to make him feel scared of the Statue of Liberty too. THE BEST MOM.
For as sweltering as it was that day, it really was nice to take a leisurely stroll next to whatever that water is. Chooch and I ganged up on Henry as usual and I almost peed my pants, so that was cool.
Seriously, though! HARROWING. Even as a kid, I never had any desire to visit her. Can you still go inside her?! Henry said he didn’t think so, but I unsubscribed from the Statue of Liberty newsletter back in the 90s so I’m way out of the loop.
I can’t remember if I already posted these but it’s me and my fam and we don’t take many group pics so deal with it.
Chooch is That Guy who wears last year’s festival shirt to this year’s festival. I was going to make some kind of uppity Coachella comparison but then I remembered that no one wears COTTON T-SHIRTS to Coachella. They’re all made of FOIL and BANANALEAVES.
(To be fair, when I went to Coachella in 2004, those stupid ruffle skirts that Paris Hilton always wore back then that were super popular so almost every girl was wearing one of those and like, a bikini top and Uggs. I can’t even remember what I wore because: rage blackout. But it definitely wasn’t that.)
After getting our fill of The Great Outdoors, we headed some other direction* to Morristown.
*(LOOK THIS ISN’T THE MAPQUEST BLOG OK.)
I received a Pro Tip from the Roadside America app: everyday at 2PM, there is a LIVE DEMO in the music box and animaton gallery, so we planned our arrival around this.
Admission was very reasonable. $10 for us adults and $7 for Chooch. After I gave her my clearly-not-NJ zip code, the girl at the desk asked me where I heard of the museum.
“Roadside America,” I said over top of the melancholy melody of Henry’s sigh.
“Oh!” she said, “that’s cool.” She seemed moderately intrigued by this but also kind of sad that I didn’t say, like, Mr. Roger’s or something.
Anyway, please enjoy some glimpses inside the Morris, which out to be an extremely worthwhile visit!
Chooch and I are obsessed with Burger art now. And not just for the nudity!
LOL @ Henry pretending like he cares about art. I wonder if he ever did any fingerpaintings for his mom when he was in THE SERVICE?! I just called him in the room to ask him and he walked away without answering so the clear answer here is NO HE MADE MACARONI ART.
When the museum has it all.
We headed over to the Guinness exhibition about 30 minutes before the live presentation was slated to start and I was immediately enraptured. My grandparents’ house was full of music boxes of all sorts — none of the super elaborate ones, but they had a nice collection of inlaid music boxes from Sorrento and Zurich; it was one of the many things they liked to collect. Not to mention the more traditional one in the Clown Room that played Send in the Clowns, natch.
This particular collection was donated by the estate of Murtogh Guinness—yes, of THAT Guinness family. He developed a love for music boxes of all types at an early age, after his mom gave him one as a gift. (OMG what types of things is Chooch going to start hoarding?!) He also collected automaton, moving mechanical devices made in imitation of a human being. Right up my alley!
Oh, to have this in my house!
There were several parts of the exhibit that were interactive and hands-on, so Chooch and Henry were busy.
This one was my favorite!!
Anyway, the curator started the presentation precisely at 2 and it was wonderful. He was extremely knowledgeable and even if I didn’t have any prior interest to things of this nature, I think I still would have been captivated. I mean, even Henry seemed like was paying attention and not looking at his Pinterest app.
Chooch kind of zoned out but he’s 12 and he sucks, so.
I wanted to talk to to the curator afterward to see if he’s ever been to the Bayernhof, but one of the guys in the small group that had gathered for the show (THERE’S ALWAYS ONE) was glued to his side afterward, yakking his ear off about calliopes so I eventually gave up. Thanks, Guy.
Chooch was happy because he got to use a hole puncher and make a song.
Before we left, we went into the basement, where you can view part of an additional 700+ items left by Mr. Guinness. That’s a double-stuffed nightmare for some people, but I was like licking the glass.
No I wasn’t, that’s unsanitary.
Highly recommend this place if you’re ever in the area! Just try to plan to be there at 2 for the free show!
Afterward, we were going to get ice cream but the place Chooch chose (because there was a Pokemon there or something) was in a super sketchy area (because it was close to our “hotel” lol), really dark inside, and definitely a front so we pocketed the ice cream idea for later.
AND THAT WAS THE FIRST HALF OF OUR SUNDAY IN NOT-NEWARK.