Friday, February 17, 2012

Almost "houseless"!

We are hopefully being released from the prison we call New Jersey, very soon, if all goes as planned on FEBRUARY 22! That is our closing date for the sale of our house in Neptune, NJ.  The sale price is $225,000. We are paying $6560. in property taxes a year. That is about $540. PER MONTH. Just to pay taxes on the house!!!!
Our lot is a 100' x 75' corner lot. 1800 square foot home. RIDICULOUS!
Our house was listed at $239,000. in November 2011. We are VERY FORTUNATE that with 60+ homes for sale in the 1 square mile area of Shark River Hills (Neptune Twp), we sold our house in 3 months.

We are enjoying Sandy Creek Park. We have a very private site at the end of the park and surrounded by B.A. Steinhagen Lake.
Our Site #35 is where the tent icon is.
No sewer hook up (dump station)
Large sites, spread apart.
Bathrooms ok
No laundry
Camp Hosts nice
Verizon internet works great
Verizon & AT&T cell phones work.
Lots of Armadillos scurrying around.
Dogs allowed, plenty of open areas to tie out without tangling.

Elija's Cafe in Jasper, TX: My rating 2 out of 5

Elijah's Cafe on Urbanspoon

This is not a "cafe" but a moderately priced family restaurant. Read mixed reviews, but on the whole was rated well.
Upon entering was greeted by hostess and asked if we wanted table or booth, which was nice. Many times when there is only a party of two, a booth is not an option, since it can seat 4 people. 
We were given a basket of warm rolls with whipped butter that seemed to have honey or some kind of sweet ingredient added. Rolls were just packaged type, but were fluffy, warm and good, especially with the whipped butter.
Placed our order of  appetizer sampler consisting of fried zucchini, mushrooms, & onion rings for $9.95. For dinner, I ordered Grilled Catfish & Scott ordered Granny Fay's Meatloaf.

Wait 10 minutes...

                            Wait 20 minutes... Waitress asks if we'd like more rolls & cornbread. Yes, please.
                                                         Wait 30 minutes....No bread brought, but we did finally get our HUGE appetizer AND our dinner salad AT THE SAME TIME.  But unfortunately, huge does not mean good. With the appetizer were two dipping sauces. Your average ranch and honey mustard. The breading on all the fried items seems to be the same blah taste. I felt like I was just eating fried flour over veggies. Scott seemed to like it better than I did. I only ate a few of each and didn't want to waste the calories or my appetite on these bland items. Would not order again.
Scott enjoyed his large house salad with a lot of variety of ingredients. I had a Cesar salad. Basically romaine lettuce, with what tasted to me like RANCH dressing, and shredded cheese on top. Would not order again.

Wait 10 minutes....again asked if we'd like more rolls & cornbread. Yes, please. Still never received them after the first offering. In the meantime, we have piled our salad plates & bread basket at the end of the table. This was never cleared away no matter how many times our waitress passed by.

                              Wait 20 minutes....thank goodness we brought books to read. No plates cleared, no bread brought (never did get a chance to try the cornbread), no apologies.

We gave up.  Got up to pay at the register for what we did eat. Long line to be seated and to pay. This gave us a chance to discuss with other patrons, their experience. The people who came in AFTER us, received their order before us, but it was the wrong order. They ordered Chicken Fried Steak and received Chicken Fried Chicken. Luckily, no one seemed to get angry about the terrible experience. We asked the hostess if they were shorthanded and she said that 2 out of 3 cooks called out. This on VALENTINE'S DAY too! 
Although the waitress was pleasant, we felt even with all the confusion, she should have remembered to bring more bread, if for nothing else, but to keep us occupied while waiting for our meal.  Our waitress also never apologized or explained the situation.  I did make a point to give her a partial tip, since it wasn't her fault we didn't receive our meal.

So it is unfair to to really rate this restaurant by our experience. If you don't have enough help, there's only so much 1 chef can do to make up for 2 not present.


Smitty's Smokehouse in Jasper, TX. Our rating 4 out of 5

Smitty's Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

We ordered take out. Very casual dining room.
Smitty's also sells various jar items, such as jellies and relish, etc. They have samples open to try.

I ordered Combo meal with 2 meats & 2 sides for $10.95 Meats were ribs & smoked sausage. Sides were potato salad & dirty rice.
Scott ordered Combo meal with 3 meats & 2 sides for $11.95. Meats were ribs, brisket, & smoked chicken. Sides were baked beans & twice baked potatoes.

Ribs: Very good, moist and not a lot of fat. Nice smokey flavor with a subtle rub on the outside. Would order again.
Smoked sausage: Excellent. Not sure what kind of sausage, sort of like a kielbasa, but with more flavor & substance. Just a little bite and some snap. Would order again.
Smoked chicken: Good. Smokey taste and not too dry. Take it or leave it.
Brisket: Good. Moist. Would probably not order again. I don't think we like brisket in general.
Potato salad: Very good. Flavor was really good. I just didn't like the consistency which seemed to be cut potatoes & mashed potatoes. Would order again.
Dirty rice: Very good. Was "real" rice, not instant. Very nice combo of flavors with some bite to it. Would order again.
Baked beans: Good. Seemed to be doctored up canned beans. Would probably order again, if I want beans.
Twice baked potato: Very good. Served in a small container, not in it's skin with the meat of potato added back in.  This was more liked smashed potatoes with skin. Sounds bad, but actually quite good. Would order again.
Pinto Beans: Nothing special, but still good.
Blackberry Cobbler: Excellent, maybe a little too sweet.
Pecan pie: Good. Since this is my first time trying Pecan Pie, I was pleasantly surprised.  I thought it was just going to be a gooey, overly sweet filling. This was very nice. Filling sweet, but not overpowering. Plenty of flavorful pecans on top. Crust pretty good also.
We plan to make another stop here for more sausage & ribs, before we leave Jasper, TX.
Blackberry Preserves: Smitty's sells jarred dips, pickles and jams. We tried their Blackberry Preserves. No flavor at all. Just tastes like sugar berry taste at all.

In researching this area, there really isn't much to do as far as tourist areas. 
Seems since entering Texas, we've had more rainy days than clear days. There doesn't seem to be many trails at this park. So we've been basically staying inside and just enjoying relaxed days of reading, tv watching, web surfing, etc.  The dogs have been really good about just relaxing inside also.


  1. Hi ,

    Your first posts just appeared on Urbanspoon! Check it out:

    I encourage you to claim your blog, which allows you to add a picture and change some settings. The blog photo shows up next to your posts wherever they appear on Urbanspoon. Here's how to claim:

    - Make sure you're logged into Urbanspoon

    - Go to your blog page on our site:

    - Click "Claim your blog" in the left sidebar

    After you submit it, we may contact you to verify your claim. Check your spam email folder if your claim hasn't gone through in a day or two. You'll also find some interesting badges and widgets on your Urbanspoon blog page - look in the right sidebar.

    Let me know if you have any questions.


  2. Thanks, Debbie! I just approved your blog claim. Now your Urbanspoon profile picture is displayed on your blog page. You can upload a blog-specific photo if you prefer, and can change a few other blog settings there. Also, if you vote for a restaurant that you've reviewed on your blog, we now show your vote next to your post everywhere on our site.



Our Travels