MADISON, NJ – What could be better than strolling through downtown Madison on a cool fall Saturday? Oct. 1 started off with just what we need… a positive, fun-filled opportunity to meet and greet friends, family and newcomers to town. 
Streets were overflowing with tents and tables, flocks of area residents, including kids in strollers, dogs on leashes and music from rock to country along Central Avenue to Waverly Place. 
Plenty of local businesses and booster groups were out in force, ranging from the Madison Soccer Club to the Public Library, Mama C’s Catering to the Beer Garden, which was sponsored by Madison Downtown Development Corporation. 

Bottle Hill Day is a great time to discover new shops in town, meet candidates for office and sample all kinds of food, from Hoagies to hamburgers to lemonade. You can literally eat your way through town.  
For gourmet cooks, or just us ordinary ones, Bridge Kitchenware has opened at 17 Waverly Place. Owners Steven and Kathy Bridge said their shop was located in New York City’s Chinatown for 65 years, but has now found a nifty tucked-away spot in downtown Madison.  They’re also a major web-based company, Kathy Bridge said the company is one of only two recommended in Travel and Leisure Magazine and was a favorite of Julia Child and other professional chefs. The shop is two-thirds open, with everything from wire whisks to pots and pans and an assortment of utensils. 
Another shop that is attracting discerning buyers is Blush Boutique at 12 Waverly Place.  Madison resident Stephanie Crowley purchased the shop four years ago, an outgrowth of her embroidery interests that just kept expanding. She now carries an assortment of women’s clothing, including IT Jeans made in California, with an easy, comfortable fit. She brings dresses in from a Brooklyn designer, in subtle prints along the lines of Diane von Furstenberg. Crowley said she’s careful not to duplicate brands carried at the Short Hills Mall, but looks for styles you’re not likely to find in the bigger stores. An eye-catching idea for a bridal shower or personal gift is a nifty apron with pockets for mitts, which can be embroidered with the person’s name. 
Right next door is European Elegance at 10 Waverly Place. Owner Donna Milza has run this intriguing shop for over five years. Buyers and browsers will find a wealth of classy dinnerware.  The shop has a spacious feel, but is filled with exotic bath soaps, candles, pottery and all sorts of home and gift ideas.   
Across Main Street on Central Avenue is Wild Things, which has actually been in Madison for 20 years, but six years at its present location.  Owner Elyce E. Bavos attracts plenty of shoppers with her fun-filled space of Halloween and holiday knick-knacks, greeting cards, scarves, jewelry and fancy silk purses with ruffles in assorted colors for only $14.95. 
Even if you’re not tempted to buy a sweatshirt or sample a slice of Rocco’s pizza, Madison’s annual Bottle Hill Day is a terrific way to remember what it’s like to stroll through a real, walkable downtown.