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Posts Tagged ‘magical mystery tour’

Every now and then I like to organize a MMT – A Magical Mystery Tour with my husband and sometimes with friends too.  Last week I surprised Peter and our two friends, Rosemarie and Murray with an early morning adventure outside of the City.  We left a 8:00AM, with my husband repeating dire warnings about rush hour traffic.  I told him we were headed across the George Washington Bridge and that’s when they knew we were leaving the island ( you know New Yorker’s).

There was lots of guessing along the way and as the signs for the Delaware Water Gap grew more frequent, everyone was really wondering just how far were we going?  It took us about an hour and a half and we were in Columbia, NJ.  Our directions took us up a steep hill and into some very rural woodsy area – we arrived at the Lakata Wolf Preserve. 

Timber Wolves

Timber Wolves

We were fortunate that the day was chilly and was drizzling on and off because there were only 8 of us scheduled for the morning tour and that made it like our very own private experience.  We were shuttled up into the huge preserve area where 4 packs of wolves reside, each in their own 10 acre compound. 

Jim, who runs the preserve with his wife Becky, was our guide.  He told us SO MANY interesting details about the wolves both in general as a species but also with anecdotes about many of his “kids”.  The wolves there have all been raised in captivity and believe it or not, they come running as he calls out their names.  Of course that fact that they know he has dog treats on him doesn’t hurt because wolves can scent for 2 miles!  The wolves are beautiful; There are Timber Wolves, Arctic Wolves and British Colombian Black Wolves.  Their luminous yellow eyes capture your attention as they study you while you’re admiring them.  The Arctic Wolves have beautiful white coats (although better not to be seen my dear) and are the least social of the packs.  They kept their distance for the most part only coming to the fence for a treat.

And they howl!! Peter and Murray attempted a wolf howl to see if any of the packs would respond but they weren’t fooled.  Jim gave out one long howl and one by one each pack began to howl.  That was AMAZING to hear!  Wolves do not howl at the moon – they do point their noses up in the air so that their howl will travel further and louder.  Howling is used for many different reasons and in different voices.  If you were a wolf you’d know whether or not the howl was meant to signal you to come and join me or if it was meant to scare you off and make the pack sound like there were more of them than you thought or should attempt to take on!

Wolf packs are structured with an Alpha male and a Beta male and as with most animal species it is the most fit that survive.  The alpha male always eats first and wolves will eat all they can at any time because they don’t know where their next meal is coming from;  hence they are on the move all the time looking for game.  These wolves are well-fed mostly with deer meat.  Jim tosses in big chunks of frozen deer meat for each one of the wolves.  By having it frozen when it lands in their den area, the alpha will take his and by the time he makes any headway into it, the others have had a chance to grab their portion and each retreats to their own corner to chow down.

I could go on and on about all the super facts and information I learned on this visit but I would rather you experience it yourself.  The link to their website is http://www.lakotawolf.com/.  There is also a store, which is as you would expect, exceptional.  Artifacts and highly unusual items fill this place and it feels like you are in a movie set for a Trading Post.  The women who run it are delightful. 

Murray Head took all of the photos in this blog.  He had a wonderful time doing so, only lamenting that the wire fence was messing up his shots!

Serious Staring

Serious Staring

Arctic Wolf

Arctic Wolf

Poised To Catch A Treat

Poised To Catch A Treat

“Can You Hear Me Now”

Oh My What Big Teeth You Have

Oh My What Big Teeth You Have

Stretching

Stretching

Nuzzling

Nuzzling

“Begging” for a treat

Guarding

Guarding

A Wolf At Rest

A Wolf At Rest

Beautiful To Behold

Beautiful To Behold

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Some of my readers know all about my Magical Mystery Tours because they have been included on them.  However, for those of you who are thinking “Whoa there, is this about LSD or shroom tea”, the answer is no, nothing of the sort.  A Magical Mystery Tour is an adventure,  a trip to a place you never knew about and it could practically be in your back yard.  An MMT is guaranteed to be a surprise to those invited along and sure to please.

My first Magical Mystery Tour was to take my husband on a trip to Journal Square in Jersey City.  I told him to meet me at Macy’s on 34th St.  Then I led him down a side street and into a large building that housed (of all things) The Manhattan Mall. That was his first shock because he had never heard of this place sitting around the corner from Herald Square. It was merely a decoy trip – we went up an escalator, walked past some stores that you couldn’t imagine being there and then down another escalator to the first floor and down again!  The second escalator down brought us into a subway station.  I led him over to the PATH train section and we bought ticket to board a train to New Jersey.  At this point he was getting nervous;  after all, it was night time and I was taking him to New Jersey!  We got off the train at Journal Square and the station looked large and unfamiliar – not like the subway stations we were used to in Manhattan.  I led him out of the station, across a large open  space where all the stores were closed (it was a little off-putting) and then across a wide main street.  He still didn’t “see” where we were headed until we were almost on top of it.  There, in all its faded glory stood a Loew’s Movie Palace.  We paid a mere $6.00 each and entered in a world of glory days gone by.  I had never been in a movie palace before, they didn’t exist where I grew up.  It was magnificent even in its state of disheveled rehabilitation.  Peter marveled that this treasure still existed and that it was slowly and painstakingly being brought  back to its former glory.

Lowe's Jersey Movie Palace

Lowe’s Jersey Movie Palace

We repeated that trip a few times, bringing unsuspecting friends on their own MMT and relishing their surprise and joy at discovering this treasure.  Since then over the years I’ve taken Peter on other Magical Mystery Tours and we just returned home  from the latest;

Today we went to a secret bookshop in Manhattan!  And it was in our neighborhood and who knew?  Well actually I knew  about it because Gail, my own secret sourcer-er, sent me an article about a secret bookshop about a year ago.  She even suggested that it would make a great Magical Mystery Tour. A man was running a bookshop out of an apartment.  It was on the Upper East Side and not exactly legal.  It was his own apartment at one time, that is until the books began to overrun the place;  he had owned a book store down the street but lost the lease and moved his inventory into his home.  He also continued to indulge in one of his passions – buying books!  Eventually the apartment became a warehouse for his books and his continued purchases.

I did research and finally found out his name but not his address.  I looked up a couple of articles written about him but they  always omitted his name and whereabouts WHICH is exactly what I’m going to do!  I found a phone number and periodically called and left messages to no avail – I never got a return call.  I tracked down the author of one of the articles and she gave me his email address, so of course I wrote, but never got a reply.  A month or so ago, Gail found out that he was on FB and I should look up his page and “LIKE” it and maybe send him a message there.  I did and WOWIE – after a month I received a reply.  I was shocked and thrilled!  He gave me his hours, his address and his cell phone number!  Oh boy, I was in business now!

BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS

BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS

I made an appointment for this afternoon and marked our calendar with MMT so Peter would keep the afternoon free!  Well, walking over there and not knowing exactly what to expect was a little scary.  But I rang the bell with unmarked (yes) name and we were buzzed in.  This is what we saw!  We were warmly greeted by _______ and welcomed to his idiosyncratic bookshop.  Books, books, books and more books!  Books on shelves, books in bookcases, books piled on tables, books piled on the floor, books on top of books – it was a melange of mysteries, a passel of paperbacks, a bounty of biographies, and chock full of fiction!  A literary paradise, a candy store for bibliophiles. 

We spent over an hour just gazing at shelves and grazing through the titles.  We didn’t buy anything today but will certainly return, perhaps even to participate in one of his “salons”.  There’s no need for advertising, this place is strictly WOM.

I’m sure you’re intrigued and are dying to know where this secret place is but I have to tell you, my lips are sealed!

MORE BOOKS

MORE BOOKS

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