Posts tagged ‘Crystal Springs Resort’
This year’s NJ Wine & Food Festival at Crystal Springs Resort was an amazing time, including the Wine Cellar Dinner with Guest of Honor Chef José Andrés, the five-course Top Chefs & Top Wines Dinner, a variety of exciting seminars, the spotlight Grand Tasting and a Roaring 1920s-themed after-party! Browse photo highlights of the event by clicking here, and watch some of our favorite moments in the video recap below!
Crystal Springs Resort is waiting for you
By MARIA MARINO
When a new year begins, most people generally resolve to live healthier or be more productive. This might mean eating better and getting in shape, or gaining career success and achieving more in the workplace. Believe it or not, one way to help with both of these ambitions is to take a vacation.
So go ahead – plan that ski weekend, spa getaway or golf escape in 2013 – and don’t feel guilty. Here’s why:
Some may subconsciously think of a break as slacking off, but studies show vacationing leads to quite the opposite. Time to yourself relieves common health issues associated with burnout, while rejuvenating you to perform better on the job. That will make you (and your boss) much happier.
Last month, the Wall Street Journal tweeted, “In 2010, Americans left 424 million vacation days on the table. To reduce stress, take your vacation.” The publication linked to an article that provided tips for treating medical symptoms of overworked employees, and was part of the At Work blog’s “Ten-Point Plan for 2013,” which identifies strategies for career advancement this year.
Forbes recently cited a survey concluding that 57 percent of salaried workers in the U.S. don’t take all of their allotted time off. If you’re one of them, figure out what’s holding you back. Afraid you’ll miss something important in the office or fall behind on your tasks? Experts urge to let it go, as the negative effects of putting off a vacation are highly counterproductive in the long run.
Now that you know vacations aren’t only a privilege, but actually encouraged by companies who want to see the best results out of their staff, what will you do to unwind? You don’t always have to book a flight or travel far. For instance, Crystal Springs Resort is only about an hour from New York City but boasts top-rated lodging options and an endless supply of activities to choose from.
Keep in mind a break doesn’t always have to be for an extended period of time either. According to Expedia’s 2012 “Vacation Deprivation Survey,” Americans leave an average of two vacation days unused each year. Because many employers don’t allow paid time off to roll over into a new year, this is often a waste, especially when two days is more than enough for a long weekend at nearby destinations like Crystal Springs.
So if you think you don’t have enough time to visit somewhere special, think again! Log on to TheCrystalSpringsResort.com or call 973-827-5996 for more information or to book an overnight stay.
A New Year’s party is never complete without popping a fantastic bottle of bubbly, and the sommeliers at Crystal Springs Resort have just announced which Champagnes will be served at two of their most exciting venues: the tropical Biosphere atrium and four-star Restaurant Latour.
The Biosphere bash will be the hottest New Year’s Eve scene outside Times Square, featuring passed hors d’oeuvres, open bar, specialty liquor tents and DJ entertainment – all within the spectacular setting that is the indoor pool complex. But the Champagne toast at midnight is sure to be the highlight of the event, when guests get to enjoy a glass of Taittinger, Cuvée Prestige.
Taittinger is one of the oldest Champagne houses in France, known for producing wines with elegance and creamy richness. This one, made of 40 percent Chardonnay grapes, is a delicate non-vintage with flavors of fresh fruit and honey.
Meanwhile, guests at Restaurant Latour have their choice of four-course and seven-course prix fixe dinners, each with the option to include wine pairings direct from the Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning cellar since 2006. Sophisticated palates will appreciate the menus’ decadence, and a special treat awaits with Champagne brought in just for this evening: Jacquesson, Cuvée No. 732.
This complex and full-bodied wine is a mix of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. An assemblage based on the 2004 vintage, the final product is blended with reserves from multiple previous harvests, giving it remarkable character.
Click here for the full line-up of Crystal Springs Resort New Year’s Eve celebrations, including details on overnight packages. Cheers to a safe and happy 2013!
*Photos courtesy of Google Images.
By MARIA MARINO
It seems nothing scares Joe Bellantoni. When asked if he felt afraid to race in the recent New York City Ironman Competition, one of only five blind out of 2500 total triathletes, the chief financial officer of Crystal Springs Resort simply answered, “No. I was prepared.”
The Ironman is a grueling test of physical and mental strength, requiring participants to swim in open water for 2.4 miles, bike for 112 miles, and run a marathon of 26.2 miles. For most people in the world, this feat would be considered impossible. For Bellantoni, who was blinded in a disastrous 2007 car accident and almost didn’t live to tell the tale, anything is possible.
Participants in the Ironman had to face a variety of obstacles on a particularly difficult course, such as the treacherous Hudson River and long stairwells leading on and off the George Washington Bridge. Bellantoni did it all – and in complete darkness – with guide Mike Erstad right next to him.
Failure to finish before midnight on Aug. 12 would have resulted in disqualification. That wasn’t an option for Bellantoni, not when he and his wife Denise had trained for months leading up to the 7 a.m. start on Aug. 11.
“I was nervous,” Denise said. “It was a nail-biter to the end. I was crying because I didn’t know if he was going to make it. But he did!” Bellantoni crossed the Riverside Park finish line at 11:22 p.m.
“I definitely felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment,” he explained. “The energy at the finish line was just amazing. I rolled through a crowd of hundreds of people cheering and screaming. Those last ten feet or so, it really sunk in.”
After running the 2012 Boston Marathon in April, Bellantoni began his training for the Ironman. “To get ready for a race like this, you really have to put the time in. It’s hard to fit it all into your schedule, but it worked out very well because I was able to do everything right at Minerals.”
Minerals Sports Club is just down the road from Bellantoni’s office in Hardyston. Utilizing the Minerals facilities, he was able to run, bike, lift and swim in one central location. Weekday workouts averaged three hours per day while weekend workouts lasted about five to eight hours.
Describing himself as an amateur swimmer, getting in the pool was Bellantoni’s first order of business. Denise was by his side, giving him pointers she found on YouTube and directing drills. Then the couple attended spinning classes two to three times a week, in addition to their running and weight-lifting routines.
“The instructors at Minerals are very motivating and personable. They make it fun there,” Denise said.
As strenuous as the Ironman competition was, Bellantoni says he would do it again. Since recovering from the nearly fatal accident that blinded him, he has lived by one recurring theme: moving forward. Returning to New York for his sixth marathon race this November, he won’t let fear (or anything else) stand in his way.
Just as the loud speaker announced when crossing the finish line: “Joe Bellantoni, you are an Ironman. Congratulations.”
*Photos courtesy of Denise Bellantoni.
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When it comes to farming nowadays, the right way isn’t always the easiest. Local fifth generation farmer Jim Vough knows this all too well. He is tasked with turning Sammis Farms in Vernon, NJ into a 100 percent organic farm that in 2013 will supply fresh produce to the restaurants of Crystal Springs Resort.
“It’s not easy to be organic around here, unless you really put a lot of effort into it,” said Vough. “Organic is not the norm. You’re growing naturally, transforming from traditional agriculture. It’s a little more intensive, but worth it.”
Crystal Springs’ Executive Sous Chef Florian Wehrli is excited to have the crops of Sammis Farms literally at his fingertips next year. “Vegetables don’t ship well,” according to Wehrli. “It will be so nice to get produce right from the farm. Not only is that convenient and cost-effective, but also better for our customers who will experience the freshest, highest quality food available.”
With organic gardening, Vough has to have the soil prepared ahead of time and spent the summer testing how various crops would grow. He dismisses any type of spray chemicals. “Gardening requires constant attention,” Vough explained. “You can’t just spray and walk away. We don’t want to harm local wildlife or affect the water supply.”
Vough is also adamant about “making plants happy.” For instance, he plans on mixing his own compost, brewing it into a tea and treating it as a liquid fertilizer. Hay will be used as mulch, corn plastic will battle weeds, and an organically-approved clay will deter insects. “The goal will be to grow super healthy plants that can defend themselves.”
These careful farming techniques will lay the foundation for nutritional and delectable gourmet meals created by Crystal Springs Resort chefs, and you will certainly taste the difference.
A spectacular dinner took place in the award-winning Wine Cellar of Restaurant Latour on July 19th, featuring some of the world’s most sought-after labels. The value of the bottles of wine together totaled over $50,000 and paired perfectly with a custom menu (pictured below) prepared by Chef de Latour John Benjamin. Owner Gene Mulvihill was in attendance and this special meal did not disappoint.
Crystal Springs’ Executive Chef Michael Weisshaupt called the gathering “amazing.” He said, “There is no dinner I have ever seen with better wines than this one tonight.”
Sommelier Susanne Lerescu shared her thoughts on the event: “To me this was a serious dinner. In fact, I would call it a once-in-a-lifetime dinner. To taste all these wines in one night is a sommelier’s dream and as good as it gets. These are some of the very best wines ever produced (pictured below) and most people don’t even get to try one bottle in their lifetime.”
“The 1929 Latour was opened, tasted and poured immediately. An 83-year-old wine doesn’t need to be decanted, since it is now delicate and fragile,” explained Lerescu. “Many times I compare wine to us humans – after living a full lifetime, you don’t want to play rough anymore. So we just caressed the glass the wine was in and slowly took in the light aromas it offered, subtle notes of dried fruit and a little cedar; but when sipping the wine I was surprised about the dried cherry flavor it offered, the little hint of tobacco leaves and the balance it showed. The finish was so smooth and surprisingly long. I like to be surprised by a wine and this 1929 Chateau Latour did just that!”
Rooms in the wine cellar can be rented out for private parties for all occasions. Call 973-827-5996 ext. 3 to reserve.
Pop…fizz…bubble. New Year’s cheer is often symbolized by an elegant flute or coupe of Champagne, but you’d be surprised how many holiday party goers are actually toasting with it’s cousin – sparkling wine. True Champagne is exclusively from the Champagne region of France.
We caught up with Susanne Lerescu, Sommelier for the Wine Cellar, to talk about the different types of Champagnes. The takeaway? An incredible education on Champagne and two exceptional recommendations to ring in the New Year:
Henri Billiot, “Cuvee Julie”, Reims, Champagne, NV
This producer owns about 5 hectares of vines in Ambonnay, which is considered one of the best towns for Champagne. What Montrachet is for Burgundy, Ambonnay is for Champagne!
This particular Champagne has equal parts of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and does not see malolactic fermentation. The wines are fermented in enameled steel tanks and are not fined or filtered, so you get a lot of pure fruit flavors.
The nose is more on the herbaceous side with dill and cucumber aromas, which is pretty different. Susanne recommends pairing this Champagne with Oysters, Lox and Shrimp, and notes, “If you like interesting Champagne that drinks easy and is not too dry – this is the one.”
Henri Goutorbe, “Special Club”, Vallee de la Marne, 2002
This producer has been producing this estate bottled Champagne in Ay since the late 1940s. Ay is a grand cru village (the highest designation) and home to some amazing Champagne.
The wines are all fermented in stainless steel and malolactic fermentation is taking place.
This champagne uses two grapes – 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. The Champagne is aged for 8 years at the estate before it is distributed.
The nose is more subtle, while you get a lot of complexity on the palate. “This Champagne drinks like a big white wine with just a few bubbles and would be nice to drink throughout the evening,” says Susanne.
Both of these Champagnes are from small producers, so you’ll have a hard time picking them up at a local wine shop. Instead, you’re more likely to find these Champagnes on select wine lists, like our very own Restaurant Latour,
Cheers to a bubble-filled holiday! Happy New Year!
Fall Festivities Include Harvest Weekends, Golftoberfest and Chili Cook-Off
Set amidst a brilliant mountainscape with amazing views spanning three states, Crystal Springs Resort is Northern New Jersey’s premier fall foliage vacation destination. Just 47 miles from Manhattan, the luxurious Grand Cascades Lodge, family-friendly Minerals Resort & Spa or the recreation-rich Mountain Creek lodging options offer leaf-peepers cozy accommodations and abundant world-class amenities, including seven renowned golf courses, Wine Spectator’s Grand Award-winning Restaurant Latour and 100,000+ bottle Wine Cellar, two full-service spas and tropical Biosphere Pool Complex.
Whether traveling with a friend, loved one or the whole family, Crystal Springs Resort offers guests more autumn activities than they could shake a leaf at, including:
Harvest Weekends at Minerals Resort & Spa
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays now through October 31st
Guests will start their weekend off with a taste of fall at the complimentary apple cider reception on Friday and Saturday evenings, with the Minerals activity director at the ready to assist travelers with day trips to nearby farms for apple and pumpkin picking and tours of local wineries. Recreation-seeking families will enjoy resort-planned activities, including mountain top hikes and canoeing, make-your-own caramel apples, pumpkin decorating, face painting and more.
Now through October 31st
Golfers at all 7 award-winning Crystal Springs Golf Courses will enjoy traditional German beer and Bavarian treats, such as bratwurst, knockwurst, weisswurst, German pretzels and potato leek soup. For a special treat, the Chefs have planned a pig roast every Saturday and Sunday.
Columbus Day Weekend Specials
October 7th – 10th
A long, leisure-filled holiday weekend awaits guests who take advantage of the Columbus Day Special – reserve Saturday and Sunday and receive 50% off Friday or Monday. The savings don’t stop there. The Crystal Springs Country Club will host their annual Columbus Day Sale October 8th – 10th. Golfers, skiers and snowboarders can cash in on huge holiday savings on all the best gear, apparel and accessories.
Autumn Extravaganza Craft Fair at Minerals Resort & Spa
October 16th ~ 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
It’s never too early to start shopping for the holidays. Crafters, artists and artisans will display and sell their home-made items, including candles, jewelry, home gifts, clothing accessories and more.
Halloween Weekend at Minerals Resort & Spa
October 28th – 30th
Spooktacular haunted hayrides, pumpkin painting, psychic, scary movies, séance, costume parties and more.
Seasonal Spa Services
Spa goers and hotel guests will delight in a pampering treat at Crystal Springs Resort’s award-winning Elements Spa or Reflections Spa. Fall is the perfect season to indulge in a Pumpkin Aromatherapy Massage, exfoliate with an Autumn Facial Pumpkin Enzyme Mask, rehydrate with a Milk and Honey Moisture Wrap or soften and soothe dry and tired hands and feet with a Milk and Honey Manicure and Pedicure.
The James Beard Foundation has invited Restaurant Latour to return to the Beard House in New York City on Thursday, September 22 at 7:00 PM, where Chef de Latour John Benjamin, Executive Chef Michael Weisshaupt and Executive Sous Chef Florian Wehrli will prepare a Rare Italian Wine Dinner for guests.
The menu, “dalla terra a un morso” or “a bite out of the earth”, features ingredients used in celebratory events all throughout Italy. Wine Director Robby Younes and Sommelier Susanne Lerescu will pair the evening’s Italian-inspired cuisine with rare Italian wines from our award-winning, 100,000+ bottle Wine Cellar.
Photos from the event will be shared on the Crystal Springs Resort Facebook page.
Courses are not always bastions of biodiversity. Covering about 40,000 acres of New Jersey, golf courses are an important part of the landscape, and these days course managers are getting serious about their role as land stewards.
Crystal Springs Golf Resort is comprised of seven public courses in Sussex County. The courses were carved from farmland, forests, limestone ridges, and spring-fed wetlands – hallmarks of the New Jersey Skylands. As those habitats get whittled away by development, the remaining lands become ever more critical to the survival of wildlife and the health of our soils, water, and air.
The Wildlife Action Plan (WAP) is designed to help us all make effective land management choices for wildlife – whether we have postage-stamp backyards, larger suburban lots, or responsibility for hundreds of acres.
Crystal Springs falls on the larger end of that spectrum, and they’ve been tackling the laundry list of WAP actions to keep their holdings alive with wildlife both common and rare. At their Ballyowen course in Hardyston, for example, Crystal Springs maintains a mosaic of “no-mow” grassland amongst the golf greens. In 2006 they also planted native warm-season grasses in an adjacent farm field. As well as reducing labor and adding to the course’s Celtic flair, these areas provide a combined 60 acres of shelter, nesting, and foraging grounds for grassland birds like the bobolink (a threatened species), which are now regular residents at Ballyowen.
Two other courses contain large wetland areas that are home to rare species. With help from state and federal agencies, Crystal Springs has plugged old agricultural ditches that had drained wetlands for decades, removed invasive plants that were choking their open “emergent” habitats, and planted a small woodland buffer around an amphibian breeding pool. Work is ongoing to safeguard habitat for bog turtles, a federally listed species with a special stronghold in northwestern NJ.
Most recently, Crystal Springs offered up 600+ acres of forest land for bat habitat and research. Crystal Springs has a mix of forests, floodplains, and wetlands that is attractive to forest bats like the federally endangered Indiana myotis, who roost and raise their young under the bark of dead or dying trees. An assortment of artificial roosts were installed in one section of forest this fall as part of a pilot project, and Crystal Springs staff will be girdling select trees to provide a greater array of natural roosting options for bats.
While they could have taken a much different tack, Crystal Springs’ ownership and staff have embraced their role as endangered species caretakers. Superintendent Brad Sparta and grounds manager Craig Worts deserve special kudos for moving these projects along. A number of partners have provided guidance and funding, including the NJ Endangered and Nongame Species Program, US Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, GoNative! consulting, Audubon International, and the Conserve Wildlife Foundation.
Check out the things you can do for wildlife in your area: www.njfishandwildlife.com/ensp/waphome.htm. Or contact us to feature your project!