The Men’s 30-Minute Workout

Biddle Mansion

Corrections or additions?

These articles by Jamie Saxon were prepared for the October 20,

2004 issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. Corrections were made on October 26.

All rights reserved.

Best Bets

When Sara Blivaiss, general manager of the Chauncey Conference Center,

on the ETS campus, got word last April that Princeton Township had

OK’d a rezoning of the center allowing them to market their facilities

to the public, Blivaiss came up with a very clever idea to draw in

traffic. A 14-year-employee of Hilton Hotels, Blivaiss took a cue from

her last place of employment. At the

Carolina Inn, a Historic Hotel of America in Chapel Hill, North

Carolina, afternoon tea was a great tradition, which drew a steady

stream of tourists and "ladies who lunch."

"I thought afternoon tea would be a great way for the community to be

introduced to the Chauncey Conference Center," says Blivaiss, who

earned a bachelors in hotel management from UMass-Amherst in 1994.

"Anyone can stay here, just like a hotel, and no one knows this. The

average person can come have dinner in our restaurant. We have a bar

and lounge. We’re situated on 370 acres of nature – deer come up to

the window. It’s like a retreat, you walk in and you feel like you are

in a lodge, away from the big city and corporate America. Even our

corporate guests feel it’s much more relaxing."

Blivaiss worked with Chauncey’s corporate chef, Frank Rette, to come

up

with a menu that features homemade scones (served with strawberry ham

and Devonshire cream), pastries, and finger sandwiches, and Taylor’s

of Harrogate tea served in vintage-pattern china (which comes from

Replacements of Carolina, a company that also supplies the Carolina

Inn with tea china). Then she came up with her next great idea. "In

San Francisco I had seen members of the Red Hat Society having tea, so

I got online and found 50 chapters of the Society in this area and I

invited them all to our grand opening on October 7," says Blivaiss.

The idea worked and opening day was packed with members of this social

club of ladies age 50+ who meet monthly for lunch, wear red hats and

purple dresses or suits, and call their chapter founder Queen Mother.

"They all told their grown daughters about the tea, and now they’ve

started coming. I’ve already booked holiday parties and four weddings

for summer, 2005," says Blivaiss.

Tea is served in the restaurant, which has a hotel ambience (and

balcony seating in warmer weather); the Laurie House (if not booked by

a corporate group), a former hunt club and 19th-century country home

with period furniture; or the art gallery, where the art changes

monthly. We stopped in for tea at the restaurant on a recent Wednesday

afternoon and found a pleasant mix of businesswomen chatting over file

folders and palm pilots, mother-grown daughter pairings, and a few

Ladies Auxiliary types. It was all very quiet – and very civilized.

While we tried to figure out what all the different sized spoons were

for, we sampled goodies from a three-tiered etagere. Hint: There are

no teabags here, just the real thing; don’t forget to place your tea

strainer on your cup before pouring.

While Blivaiss says one of the Red Hat Ladies told her she thought the

Chauncey Tea was "one of Princeton’s best-kept secrets," Blivaiss

admits that the hardest part of the endeavor has been the servers.

"They’re scared to death of breaking the china."

Afternoon Tea at the Chauncey Conference Center, ARAMARK

Harrison Lodging, Rosedale Road. Wednesday through Saturday, 3 to 5

p.m. Reservations required, 609-921-3600. Classic Tea $15; Royal Tea

(includes a glass of

champage) $20.

Top Of Page
The Men’s 30-Minute Workout

I knew women who were getting great results at Curves and Ladies

Workout Express. I thought, why not a 30-minute workout for men?" says

Karen Donnelly, who has been an administrative assistant at Harbourton

Enterprises, a private investment/holding company at 47 Hulfish, for

19 years.

Donnelly and her husband, name, Terry Donnelly, who owns Tydyn

Limousine in Robbinsville, had talked about opening their own gym but

were wary of the financial risk. "My husband and I are total

opposites," says Donnelly, an avid fitness fanatic who played

basketball and field hockey at Nottingham High School (Class of 1984)

and did Jazzercise right up until the day her son, now 14, was born.

"My husband has a weight problem, diabetes, and other health issues. I

always loved being fit. I knew he could totally benefit from a

30-minute workout."

Donnelly went online in search of a solution for her husband, who

refused to join a traditional gym, and found Cuts Fitness for Men, a

franchise started in May, 2003, by John Gennero in Clark, New Jersey.

The Donnelly’s franchise, located in Foxmoor Shopping Center in

Robbinsville, joins 150 others already open across the country.

A certified group fitness instructor, Donnelly was at one point

teaching early morning classes at the Hamilton Y before work each day.

Then, when she was 29, she had a stroke while teaching a class. "I

passed out on the floor, and my whole right side was paralyzed for a

couple of hours. My doctor said I had the equivalent of a tire blowout

in my left brain." Fortunately, she recovered quickly. "The experience

made me who I am today. I became more involved in how the body works,"

says Donnelly.

The Cuts workout involves running a circuit of eight hydraulic

machines and six cardio fitness stations at 40-second intervals. "It’s

not difficult," says Donnelly. "You get the same results as if you’d

spent two hours at they gym." The hydraulic machines have no weights

to set, which eliminate the risk of muscle soreness, and there are no

seat adjustments. You go around three times, and every 10 minutes the

intercom cues you to stop for a heart rate check. "You work all the

major muscle groups," says Donnelly.

Cuts is also a lot less expensive than a gym. A one year membership is

$39/month a six-month membership is $49/month. Both require a one-time

$50 initiation fee. If you pay in full for one year, the fee is a rock

bottom $412.20.

So are there any women there besides Donnelly? "We have a couple of

women trainers," says Donnelly. "And a couple of them are women. Men

are funny. If I come up to them and say, what’s your (heart rate)

number, they say, `I’m fine, don’t worry about me.’ If my husband asks

them, they give him a straight answer."

Cuts Fitness for Men, 1033 Washington Boulevard, Foxmoor

Shopping Center, Robbinsville. 609-426-8777.

Top Of Page
Biddle Mansion

Nicholas Biddle graduated from Princeton University in 1801 at the age

of 15, and went on to become the nation’s most powerful early 19th

century banker. At his imposing Greek Revival home, built in 1797 on

the Delaware River in Andalusia, two miles northeast of Philadelphia,

he entertained the likes of President John Quincy Adams, Daniel

Webster, the Marquis de Lafayette, and Joseph Bonaparte, the former

king of Spain. (The current Mr. James Biddle graduated from Princeton,

Class of 1953.)

Now a historic national landmark, the Biddle Mansion is celebrating

the opening of its new shop with "Arts at Andalusia," a two-day

holiday shopping event, Saturday and Sunday, October 23 and 24, from

11 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring designers and vendors from New York,

Washington, the Main Line, and Bucks County.

"It’s more like a high-end sample sale," says David Atkinson, director

of marketing and special events at the mansion. The idea for the event

was sparked in Atkinson’s mind after he went to Italy to help redesign

a pattern of china for the house. He wanted to have it produced in the

U.S. and turned to Ann Marie Murray, who hires retired china painters

from Europe for her Bucks County studio. Atkinson then helped Murray

with her booth at the New York Gift Show, and connected with a group

of designers and vendors who wanted to put together an event. He

offered up the Biddle House.

In addition to Murray, "Arts at Andalusia" will feature the work of

Susy Chen, who lives in Dayton and designs fabric handbags with

leather trim and decorative pillows (she is also exhibiting in

Princeton at the YWCA Crafters’ Marketplace, Saturday and Sunday,

November 20 and 21); Illy Grove, who sells sterling silver necklaces,

handmade jewelry, handbags, and custom paper; Nuko International,

owned by a Freehold housewife who employs more than 200 workers in

Turkey who create exclusive colorful Turkish table linens and home

furnishings; Savoir Vivre International, owned by a Parisian

expatriate who now works out of New York and carries French wine

accessories, damask tablecloths, silverware, mirrors, picture frames,

and leather handbags; Edward Russell Decorative Accessories, purveyors

of porcelain dog plates and lamps from England; and Village Mews,

vendors of Swarovski crystal jewelry, Baltic amber necklaces, Asian

freshwater cultured pearl necklaces, stoles, and throws and silk

pillows from India.

Atkinson hopes visitors will make a day of it. "The gardens are at

their fall peak, and the house has a mile-long waterfront on the

Delaware," he says. The grounds, carefully maintained in the 19th

century tradition, include Biddle’s romantic out-buildings – a Gothic

grotto; a temple-like billiard room; and the Graperies, where hothouse

grapes were raised, now a modern-day rose garden. Boxes lunches will

be available (reservations required) and tours of "the Big House,"

which boasts American Empire and European furnishings, much of it

originally owned by Nicholas Biddle, will be given on the hour.

Arts at Andalusia, the Biddle Mansion, 1237 State Road, Andalusia,

Pennsylvania. Saturday and Sunday, October 23 and 24, 11 a.m. to 4

p.m. Gourmet boxed lunch, $25 (reservations required). 215-245-5479.

House tours, $10. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Andulusia

Foundation. Directions: 95 south, exit at Academy Road. Immediately

bear right onto Linden Avenue. At bottom of hill at traffic light,

turn left on State Road. Proceed 2.3 miles to Andalusia entrances –

first gate on right marked "Andalusia Enter" or second gate on right

marked "Andalusia Exit." Turn right on driveway and proceed to parking

area.


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