Jenn's Journey North: A Tour of Boston with the Freewalkers

Boston Marathon finish line; and the end of the Tour of Boston! Credits: Jennifer Popper
Map of 2nd Annual Walking Tour of Boston with the Freewalkers
Mark, from South Africa, showed us how to operate a drone Credits: Jennifer Popper
Jamaica Pond
Jamaica Pond
Wonder Spice Cafe in Jamaica Plain
Introductions and overview of the walk Credits: Jennifer Popper
Introductions and overview of the walk Credits: Jennifer Popper
Sand Sculpting Festival at Revere Beach Credits: Jennifer Popper
Sand Sculpting Festival at Revere Beach Credits: Jennifer Popper
Sand Sculpting Festival at Revere Beach; the U.S.S. Constitution Credits: Jennifer Popper
Sand Sculpting Festival at Revere Beach; this one caught my eye because CDMSmith was where Michael worked. His company has an office in Cambridge. Credits: Jennifer Popper
Sand Sculpting Festival at Revere Beach Credits: Jennifer Popper
Belle Isle Salt Marsh Credits: Jennifer Popper
Leo and Paul at Belle Isle Salt Marsh Credits: Jennifer Popper
Credits: Jennifer Popper
Credits: Jennifer Popper
Noodle Pier Credits: Jennifer Popper
Credits: Jennifer Popper
Credits: Jennifer Popper
Downeast Cider in East Boston Credits: Jennifer Popper
Freewalkers at Downeast Cider
Freewalkers selfie at Downeast Cider - left to right, Jenn Popper, Risa Olinsky, Paul Kiczek, Fran Price Credits: Jennifer Popper
KO Catering and Piees Credits: Jennifer Popper
Paul Kiczek can really hula hoop! Credits: Jennifer Popper
Credits: Jennifer Popper
On the East Coast Greenway! Credits: Jennifer Popper
Sculptures at Boston Women's Memorial Credits: Jennifer Popper
Sculptures at Boston Women's Memorial Credits: Jennifer Popper
Jenn Popper and Rachel Hanks - Go, Orange! Credits: Jennifer Popper
Paul Kiczek and Risa Olinsky
Paul Kiczek and Jacqui Hunter
Left to right: Tom, Paul Kiczek, and Cory Storch

This past weekend I made a quick trip to Boston to participate in a walk around the city with some of the folks from the Freewalkers walking group.  You may recall that the non-profit organization is one of the recipients of donations made towards my 2018 walk.

On Friday morning, four of us piled into a minivan in New Jersey, and headed up to Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, where we would stay with Fran, the leader of the tour we would take the next day.  

An early evening arrival left us time to unpack our packed vehicle, chat over a ‘welcome’ glass of wine, and take a spin around the nearby pond.  It was just what we needed to stretch our legs after a long road trip.  The 1.5 mile walk around Jamaica Pond, which is one of the six Emerald Necklace parks, green space that "connects people and nature, just as landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted intended when he designed it more than 100 years ago," worked out the kinks.

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Along the way, we met Mark, who is from South Africa.  He demonstrated how to fly his drone, which hung gracefully above the water relaying beautiful shots of the sailboats dotting the pond.  A drone owner for just a few weeks, he's quickly learned where not to fly!

Walk complete, we freshened up for dinner.  The group had a delicious meal at Wonder Spice Cafe, indulging and enjoying spicy Thai and Cambodian dishes.

We got an early morning start on Saturday, our leader directing us to the subway, or ‘the T,’ so we could arrive before other walkers at Revere Beach.  The day's 12-plus mile walk route would have us meander near ocean, marsh and beach, and end near Copley Square. 

Once everyone had arrived, board members gave an overview of what the Freewalkers group is all about, and the Jenn’s Journey North walk got a shout out; at different points during the day, walkers asked me where, when, and how I will make my trek next year.

Introductions complete, Fran, our fearless leader, talked to the group about what to expect to see on our day-long adventure, including the Sand Sculpting Festival, the birds at Belle Isle salt water marsh, Piers Park, and a walk along the Charles River Basin through Paul Revere, North Point and Esplanade parks.  Somewhere in there we would enter the East Coast Greenway, the route I will follow from Cranford, New Jersey’s Nomahegan Park to Gouldsboro, Maine in 2018.

Some memorable moments of the day, on top of meeting new friends, included:

  • A chance encounter with Leo and Paul at the salt marsh.  Despite some trouble speaking due to having suffered a stroke, Leo is a walking encyclopedia of nature facts and is eager to talk!
  • Generous samples at Downeast Cider in East Boston, followed by a snack at KO Catering and Pies.
  • Garlic to buy and try at Eastie Farm.
  • The #ROLLFORROB fundraiser for Rob Pontes at the Lynch Family Skate Park; Pontes, a skateboard industry icon, is battling ALS.
  • The Charlestown Bells, an interactive musical sculpture by Paul Matisse, the grandson of French painter Henri Matisse.

The Freewalkers' second annual walking tour of the city ended at the Boston Marathon finish line near Copley Square.  It had been a long, hot and humid day, with finishers raising a glass at Sólás Irish Pub.

As she lives in the Boston vicinity, I was fortunate enough to convince friend and sorority sister, Rachel, from Syracuse University to meet us at Sólás.  It’s been twenty-seven years since we’ve met face to face, but thanks to social media, we have been able to keep up with each other’s lives despite the miles between us.  The reunion was fun, and included hugs all around!

Our group’s adventure ended on Sunday morning after an informative sightseeing tour of Jamaica Plain that included churches, architecture, murals, and a walk through a Latin festival that was just getting started.

I’m already planning my next visit along New England's East Coast Greenway - stay tuned!

Interested in recreating the walk?  Check out the full itinerary HEREpdf.

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TAPinto Bloomfield's Kevin Knight among Nutley Jaycee's Distinguished Service Honorees

March 19, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ - The Nutley Jaycees wil hold the 47th annual Distinguished Service Awards Wednesday evening, April 12 at the Valley Regency in Clifton.

This year's awardees are:

Outstanding Young Man

Michael J. Nevin

Civic Affairs

Janet Canonico


Robyn Powell


Kevin Knight

Public Health and  Safety

Thomas Nicolette

The ...

Happy St. Patrick's Day from is a network of more than 70 franchised online local newspapers in New Jersey and New York with more than 7M readers during the last year. We provide original local news reporting 24/7 for the communities we serve, as well as a full-service events calendar, real estate listings, business directory, classifieds, and much, much more. Readers can receive FREE enews at ...

Upcoming Events


Thu, March 22, 7:00 PM

Cedar Grove High School, Cedar Grove

Orange Invitational Volleyball Tournament ...

Education Food & Drink Giving Back Other Sports

Fri, March 23, 6:30 PM

Parks and Recreation Department , Nutley

Nutley Crew Beefsteak/Tricky Tray

Food & Drink Sports


Fri, March 23, 7:00 PM

West Orange High School , West Orange

WOHS Band Council Presents: A Concert for the ...

Arts & Entertainment Education Health & Wellness


Sat, March 24, 10:00 AM

Military Park, Newark

#NeverAgain March For Our Lives

Government Health & Wellness


Sat, March 24, 7:30 PM

Livingston High School, Livingston

Livingston Symphony Orchestra: "Water. water.

Arts & Entertainment


Mon, March 26, 7:00 PM

Hospital Auditorium, Glen Ridge

Tour of the Birthing Center

Health & Wellness

Bloomfield Police Blotter February 19 - 25, 2018

March 2, 2018

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - The following police blotter has been issued by Lt. Anthony Sisco of the Bloomfield Police Department.


2/19/18 – Officers dispatched to Modells (224 Bloomfield Ave) on a report of shoplifting. Complainant (Modells employee) observed an Unknown Black Male suspect place (2) “Nike” hooded sweatshirts and batting gloves (total value ...

Student-Led March for Our Lives to Take Place in Montclair, Mar. 24

March 19, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ - Montclair and surrounding-area students are planning to participate in a movement called 'March for Our Lives' taking place on Saturday, March 24. Part of a nationwide movement to pass common-sense gun legislation in America, the students plan on gathering in several places across the state of New Jersey, including Montclair, Maplewood, Paterson, Union and ...

Man Dies from South Orange House Fire on Sunday

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - A man has died from a house fire on Warwick Avenue in South Orange on Sunday afternoon, stated Thomas Fennelly, Essex County Chief Assistant Prosecutor.

The fire, which began about 2 p.m. was contained by about 5 p.m., and required mutual aid from fire departments in neighboring towns, according to firefighters at the scene.

Springfield Fire Department Delivers Baby on West I-78

March 21, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - On March 20, 2018 at 8:14 a.m. the Springfield Fire Department was dispatched to Route 78 Westbound near milepost 50.2 for a report of a woman in labor on the side of the road.  

Captain Mastroeni (Unit 2) & Chief Palumbo (Unit 1) were the first units to arrive on scene, and quickly recognized that the woman would be unable to make it to the hospital in time for ...

Floating Classroom Will Help Roxbury Kids Embrace 'Their' Lake Hopatcong

ROXBURY, NJ – There are plenty of kids living in Roxbury who’ve never been on Lake Hopatcong, says lake buff Marty Kane. He’s even confident many don’t realize their town borders the big lake.

That’s one of the reasons Kane, chairman of the Lake Hopatcong Foundation Board of Trustees, is bubbling with excitement about the upcoming launch of the ...

Avon Loses Its Last ‘Grand’ Hotel to the Claw of an Excavator

March 18, 2018

AVON-BY-THE-SEA, NJ — In less than two days, an Avon-by-the-Sea landmark that stood for 130 years was reduced to a huge pile of rubble. The Norwood Inn no longer stands on the corner of Norwood and Second Avenues — the last of the stately hotels that once graced the streets of Avon.

As onlookers gathered around the demolition site on March 15 and March 16, an excavator clawed its ...

#Enough Nutley High School Walkout: By Students, for Students

March 16, 2018

To the Editor:

Disgusted by federal inaction, devastated by the Parkland shooting, and determined to see real change, students around the country walked out of class at 10 a.m. on March 14th, one month after the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Students of Nutley High School also protested, in solidarity with students from over 3000 other schools ...

Parkland What...Parkland Where...Parkland Wow!

Thinking of the 17 angels that lost their lives lost one month ago. Thinking of the injured that are still fighting to heal. Thinking of the #MSDSTRONGstudents, teachers and staff that had their innocence taken from them. Thinking of a community that draws strength from each other as we all try to move forward after the tragic events of Feb 14.

Parkland what...... Parkland where.......

How Can Sports Therapy Loosen Up Winter Muscles?

Whether you are new to the gym or a seasoned athlete, the winter weather can affect your body. In these cold conditions, muscles are forced to work harder to complete tasks. This extra effort can result in muscle soreness and damage to tissue. While you may not be able to avoid the cold, preventive measure can help avoid discomfort and injury. Learning and implementing sports therapy techniques, ...

Pro Staff Institute announces partnership with Uber Health

NUTLEY, NJ - Pro Staff Institute is proud to announce their participation in Uber Health, a new transportation program designed to provide transportation to patients. Pro Staff Institute is the first physical therapy center in the nation to leverage Uber Health, and joins over other 100 health care organizations in the U.S., including hospitals, clinics, rehab centers and senior care ...

Bloomfield Bengals Athletic Update February 19, 2018

Indoor track competed at the Group IV Championships and two athletes advanced to the Meet of Champions. Kaela Edwards broke her own school record in the 55-meter hurdles finishing second. La’Shan White finished an impressive 5th in the 400-meter run outrunning his number 10 seed.  

 Wrestling competed at the District 9 Championship. Two Bengals advanced to the Region ...

Bloomfield Bengals Athletic Update February 12, 2018

 Boys Basketball faced Barringer in a round of 16 match up in the ECT and won by a decisive score of 67-40. Junior Mike Ramos joined the 1000 point club for his career with a 29 point effort.

 Bowling added Essex County Championships for both the Boys and Girls to their already impressive resumes. The Boys County title is their first since the 2002-03 season while the Girls ...

The Jaffe Briefing - March 21, 2018


STATEWIDE - Utility companies are dragging themselves back into the war room this morning, preparing for another day of downed wires, public scorn and mounting pressure from the governor's office to magically keep all the lights on. One would assume the utilities are still trying to patch up fragile networks from the back-to-back nor'easters that ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)


In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...

Ian Hockley Visits New Jersey to Introduce Program to Empower Youth

This week I am taking a departure from book reviewing to share an important program that has been introduced to New Jersey this week by Mr. Ian Hockley, founder of the Dylan's Wings of Change Foundation. On December 14, 2012, Hockley's five year old son, an autistic child named Dylan, was gunned down in his classroom in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Dylan, a shy and adorable ...

Lilli DeJong by Janet Benton

Lilli De Jong by Janet Benton (Doubleday, 2017)


“It's said that every woman's painful labor is God's punishment. Eve ate an apple, and God pours wrath on every mother. So the Bible tells it.” (p.320)

The story of Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden, which is the Biblical explanation for the extreme pains of childbirth, casts women in the role of ...

Mountainside Medical Center Offers New 24/7 Senior Mental Health Helpline

March 21, 2018

Montclair, NJ -- Mountainside Medical Center has established a 24/7 Senior Intervention Helpline to address the behavioral health concerns of area residents age 65 and older.  Seniors in distress, along with authorized caregivers for the elderly who aren’t sure where to turn for help, are urged to call (973) 429-6073 whenever assistance from the hospital’s team of specially ...

Boy Scout of America’s Prepared For Life Dinner Features Captain Mark Kelly

The Northern New Jersey Council of the Boy Scout of America’s Fourth Annual Prepared for Life, Friends of Scouting Dinner will feature NASA space mission commander and American hero Captain Mark Kelly.

The event will be held on April 24 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Venetian in Garfield, 546 River Dr. The event starts with a reception hour at 6 p.m.

Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center Presents:Ron Guidry Book Signing, Apr. 3

Ron Guidry, known as "Gator" and "Louisiana Lightning" to his teammates, quickly rose in 1977 to become the ace of the Yankees' stellar pitching staff, helping the team regarded as one of the most famous and controversial in Yankees history to win two World Series championships. 

Join us on Tuesday, April 3 for a signing of Guidry's new ...

4th Wall Announces Auditions for FUN HOME

4th Wall Theatre, a non-union NJ theatre company, will hold open auditions for all roles in the final production of its 2017-18 season, FUN HOME, with music by Jeanine Tesori, book and lyrics by Lisa Kron, and based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel. 4th Wall’s production will be directed by Kate Swan with music direction by Markus Grae-Hauck. The show will be presented at ...


- Mar 14, 2018
Past Deputy Grand Marshall of St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Merchant Marine veteran James J.
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- Feb 28, 2018
John Genitempo, The “Silver Fox”, of Nutley, passed away on Wednesday February 28, 2018 ...
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