It's admittedly a bit cheesy to do the list of things we're thankful for ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. But after the year we've had—an earthquake, a hurricane (and tropical storm), an October snowstorm, and a lake that has risen and fallen more than the Bertrand Island rollercoaster—it seems like maybe expressing gratitude for some little things is a good call. There's no rhyme or reason to this list; they're all things that have crossed my path in recent weeks and months that I figure deserve a little shout out. And if you have anything to add, go for it. There's always room for more gratitude.
A true lake matriarch.
Marion "Mimi" Rosevear turned 100 on Tuesday. ONE HUNDRED. She has been a fixture at Lake Hopatcong for more than a century (and her beloved Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club clubhouse only predates her by one year!). In addition to 100 years of being a wonderful person, she is the matriarch of a family that continues to be active around the lake community.
Lakeside residents do great things, and the lake community supports them.
Look at the Bill Bulger annual swim, which raises money for charity every year; this year, Bulger raised funds on behalf of Kyle O'Brien, a Hopatcong boy with cancer. And his wasn't the only event to help local kids—charity dinners, concerts, wine tastings, dunk tanks, softball games, and more have taken place over recent months to support O'Brien and fellow Hopatcong boy Brandon Vanderhoof. When local kids need support, the community steps up.
That's also the case with broader efforts to eradicate cancer and other disease. Just last month, local lake resident Kim Kadimik and her daughter, Natashia, participated in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, alongside fellow antique and classic boat owners. Both completed the two day walk, which consisted of 26.2 miles on Saturday and 13.1 miles on Sunday, with a camp out on Randall's Island in between. Kim and Natashia raised over $5,000 toward the fight against breast cancer. They were part of a team of nine women called “Woodies for Boobies” – a team of wood boat enthusiasts fighting against breast cancer. All nine women complete the two day walk and the team as a whole raised nearly $20,000.
Rescue pets give so much love—love that might only be matched by what Wendy Ciardi gives back to them as she works on the Hopatcong Pound Project. Every few weeks, there's another fundraiser for the project, which is going to provide a shiny new facility for the animals in the Hopatcong Pound, and—hopefully—result in more of them finding loving homes. Not only does Wendy work tirelessly for these animals; the community gives back time after time.
I could go on and on, not only because of the number of great charitable organizations out there, but also because the community doesn't hesitate to support them.
Celebrating history—and his story.
Someday, Marty Kane's name will be included in a list alongside Hudson Maxim, Joe Cook, and other lake icons. Kane has a day job that doesn't have anything to do with Lake Hopatcong history, but you wouldn't know that by the time he puts into preserving memories, artifacts, and photographs of the lake's rich history. And he isn't paid a penny for his efforts. If you haven't already, stop in during the Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum open hours on Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. (for another four weeks). Or go to the museum's presentation this Saturday, which focuses on Garret Hobart and the glory of Breslin Park (for information, click here.)
Year-round lake activities.
Just look at the variety of events that have taken place in recent months to realize what a diverse collection of interests are represented on Lake Hopatcong. Aquapalooza drew hundreds of motorboats for a day of swimming and partying on the water. The Garden State Wakeoff brought in dozens of wakeboarders, despite the impending arrival of Hurricane Irene. Our swim teams at Lake Forest Yacht Club and Shore Hills Country Club had wonderful seasons. The Knee Deep Club just set a new record for a catfish catch (kudos, Jim Welsh!). The Mountain Lakes Crew Club practices here, and wins regattas all over. Fleet sailors and junior sailors at the Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club are not only competing on the lake, they're going off to other venues and coming home with trophies. The LHYC Paddlers and Living Adventures in NJ find new things in their regular kayak trips in the lake's coves and canals. And before we know it, you'll see ice fishermen, skaters, cross-country skiers, and DN boats dotting the ice-covered lake. The recreation never ends.
If you live on Lake Hopatcong, you're never far from an opportunity to enjoy good music from local bands. Throughout the week, Pavinci Italian Grill has musical theme nights, and Castaways Tavern has live bands, many of them local acts, every weekend. Mason Street Pub is always hopping with great live musical acts, too. Just down the road, the Stanhope House draws big live performances as well, such as Subcommittee (the jazz-punk-rock-reggae band that is part of its rescheduled Halloween bash on Dec. 3.) Karaoke, Latin dancing, acoustic tunes, or rocking-the-house down bands—they're all here. (We try to let you know about them in our weekly newsletter; if you don't already subscribe, scroll to the bottom of our homepage to add your name to the mailing list.)
Awesome food, goods, and services.
Just look at the outpouring of responses we got for our "Best of Lake Hopatcong 2011" poll this summer. Nearly 250 of you snail-mailed in ballots to vote (we promise to make it easier with an electronic ballot next year!). If you didn't see the results, check them out here. No shortage of excellent businesses, and new ones keep popping up every year.
So cheers to another year of being grateful for all Lake Hopatcong has to offer us. It may be rough around the edges, but when it comes to a confluence of people, nature, and commerce, we're all pretty blessed with what we've got. Though maybe we could do with fewer visits from Mother Nature. One earthquake per century is probably more than enough; though I'd have to check with Mimi Rosevear to be sure.