My writing projects…

These days, my writing projects are very educationally-focused.  While travel writing is still a dream and passion of mine, my other passion – teaching – is demanding front and center stage.

If you’d like, you can keep up with them on my blog that is designed for students and parents: http://missmorrisblog.wordpress.com/ or this blog that is designed for fellow educators:  http://todayinschool.wordpress.com/.

The summer promises time to travel (both in and out of state), so there will be plenty more to write about then!

~Melissa
The Jersey Girl

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Picture Perfect: Good Morning, Sunshine

Whenever I’m traveling, having a moment or two by myself to soak in everything around me is especially appreciated and quite honestly, can make up some of the most memorable moments of a trip.  These are the moments when I get to take out my journal and reflect on where I’ve been, what I’ve seen, and who I’ve met.  These are the moments when I get to take out my camera and capture where I really am when I travel.

"Good Morning, Sunshine" The sun rises in Central NJ.

While in New Jersey, I try to do the same things.  Here is a photo I took the other morning (with my new Samsung Fascinate) just before work, when mine was one of a few cars in the parking lot, the sun was still coming up, and the whole day lay brightly ahead…

~Melissa
The Jersey Girl

Happy Birthday, Jersey Girl!

One year ago today (in Florence, Italy – of all places!) The Jersey Girl site was launched!

Though there have been some obstacles along this journey, I have really enjoyed working on the site and consider the first year to be a success.  (And what are obstacles anyway, if they aren’t reminders of just how badly you want to get where you’re going?)

As I hoped, I’ve learned new things about my home state, met new people, tried new foods, saw new sites, and have been able to share these things here.  Hundreds of people (from NJ, the US, and the world) now follow The Jersey Girl through email subscriptions, facebook, and twitter.

I came across this hat while shopping at a flea market in the mountains of Italy last summer...right after I decided to launch the blog.

To take a look back at some of this year’s adventures, visit the Jersey Girl List.

I’m looking forward to more exciting New Jersey travels and sharing another year with you!

Stay tuned for upcoming stories about the Sandy Hook Lighthouse, Langosta Lounge, and Don Guerrazzi.

~Melissa
The Jersey Girl

A trip to the Paterson Great Falls

I’m very happy to report that my dad (photographer, Jeffrey Morris) was able to accompany me on a trip to the Paterson Great Falls!

Having lived in New Jersey his whole life, my dad has traveled through most of the state at least once.  He is a wealth of knowledge about New Jersey history and has taken beautiful photographs around the state over the years.  He suggested the Great Falls as a place I needed to visit because he’s been there several times and knows it is both rich in history and a great place to take pictures.

With my parents at the Paterson Great Falls.

My mom was able to join us too, and we had a really fun time.

I will be posting our Paterson Great Falls visit soon!

~Melissa
The Jersey Girl

Colonial Park, Franklin Township

Thankfully, the weather cooperated very nicely yesterday!

Colonial Park, Franklin Township

Colonial Park, Franklin Township

When I arrived at Colonial Park around 8 o’clock in the morning, there were already plenty of other people there, walking their dogs, sitting and chatting with friends on benches, or exercising.  (The latter is what I should have really been doing myself!)

I packed a bag with the map of the park, my camera, voice recorder, pen and paper, a novel, and some snacks.  Because I had the map ahead of time, I had a general sense of where I was going.  I parked my car near the entrance to the Lois Howe Nature Trail.  Until recently, I have not been much of a hiker.  My first true hiking experience was the nearly seven mile hike through the Cinque Terre in Italy earlier this summer (not a bad first hike, if I say so). The idea of intentionally setting out to explore a trail in the woods is still a new notion of mine, and so I carried a bit of trepidation with me as I started the trail.  The ground was damp and increasingly growing hotter with the intense morning sun.  It was a lot buggier than I had thought it might be.  Normally bugs don’t bother with me.  These did.  So, it took me a few seconds to become accustomed to walking with them landing on me every now and then.  I think one of them actually bit me above my right knee.  Pretty soon though, none of that mattered. Continue reading

The first day of the journey…

It has taken a few days, but I am back on New Jersey time and successfully sleeping through the night again.  The first few days back from my trip to Italy, I felt as if I had forgotten how to sleep! My mind was wide awake with the exciting memories of the trip as well as the invigorating prospect of beginning this travel project here in New Jersey.  I was worried that it was only me who was having an extraordinarily difficult time getting sufficient sleep, but one of the girls that I traveled to Italy with assured me that she had a similar experience the first few days back.  I suppose that jet lag is a small price to pay for the opportunity to travel abroad.  Please note that I am by no means complaining, just sharing.

On the other hand, having the above-mentioned jet lag, I didn’t get the chance to explore New Jersey the way that I had hoped to this week.  Tomorrow is already Friday, and though it signifies the end of the week, it will be the beginning of my New Jersey journey (even if I have to take a brief hiatus because am leaving the state and the country again next week).  I would have loved to begin the journey earlier, but since I am a big believer in “everything happening for a reason” (and if you continue to follow this blog, you will no doubt see that theme come up quite often), Friday feels like the perfect day to begin.

I’ve selected Colonial Park in Franklin Township to be the first stop on this journey.  I want to bring you to this park for a few specific reasons:  1) it is not that far from my house (and to be honest, with a car that has been in the shop more days than it has been on the road the last few weeks, and an expired inspection sticker due to an unfortunate incident related to my bold attempt to master online banking, I think it is best not to travel too far from home, 2) my fabulous photographer (who is also my father, by the way) may or may not be able to accompany me tomorrow…so if need be, I am pretty confident that I can handle the photographs of the park on my own (though I’d much rather he be with me), and 3) there is actually a substantial amount of information available about the park online, so I’ve been able to research what I want to do when I get there.  Oh, and 4) going to the park is free.

I checked the weather forecast for tomorrow and it looks like it will be partly cloudy for most of the day.  That’s just fine with me just as long as the rain we’ve been having the last few days takes a break!

And, we’re off…