RED BANK: STATION WORK IN FINAL PHASE

rb station 1 050814The long-awaited restoration of the Red Bank train station, named for late mayor and state Supreme Court Justice Dan O’Hern, is on track to wrap up by late August, New Jersey Transit spokeswoman Nancy Snyder said Thursday. Included in the $1.6 million project are the replacement of the slate roof, repairs to the clapboard exterior and historically accurate restoration of windows and gingerbread trim. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RUMSON: LEVITTOWN ON A TABLE TOP

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Debbie Bagnell and this year’s output of gingerbread cookie houses. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

PIEHOLE logoThis time every year, Rumson’s Debbie Bagnell becomes “the gingerbread house lady,” and her dining room table is transformed into a miniature Levittown of scrumptious little abodes.

How popular are her cookies at Holy Cross, the school her kids attend? So popular that former Saturday Night Live actress and borough resident Sioban Hogan performs a sketch that parodies the trials and tribulations of going through a year without access to Bagnell’s creations.

Follow the link to the story, only on PieHole, redbankgreen‘s totally awesome food page. And be sure to check out PieHole’s Facebook page or follow its Twitter feed @RedBankPieHole for up-to-the-minute postings.

RUMSON: MEET THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE LADY

gingerbreadhouselady 3Debbie Bagnell of Rumson, aka “The Gingerbread House Lady,” at her dining room table, where she’s building more than gingerbread houses. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

gingerbreadhouselady 2Add up her past 30 or so Christmases, and Debbie Bagnell of Rumson has turned out between 1,500 and 2,000 gingerbread houses.

“I’m part elf,” says Bagnell. “I have a little notch in my ear. So, it’s magic – that’s how this all gets done,” she says, gesturing to a dining room table covered with a miniature Levittown of gingerbread houses.

PieHole spent a snowy morning at Bagnell’s holiday-decorated home getting the inside scoop on mass producing gingerbread houses.

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THE EXPRESS TRACK TO HOLIDAY TIME

img_5665112709As usual, several thousand people are expected to pack Red Bank’s Broad Street for a Holiday Express concert and overall merriment Friday night. These pix are from 2009. (Click to enlarge)

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Even hardcore humbugs and web-shopping wetblankets can agree that there’s no better time for a bit of light therapy than Black Friday.

This Friday evening, for the 17th consecutive year, Holiday Express — the all-volunteer force of musical goodwill — pulls into station stop Red Bank to perform a free outdoor concert that sounds the keynote to the annual Town Lighting ceremony.

If you’ve spent at least a year of your life in the area, you’ll know the event as the “real” kickoff to the holidays — not just in Red Bank but all around the greater ‘green. And it’s just the tip of the icicle for a sleighload slate of activities that begins in earnest this weekend.

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