RUMSON: LEVITTOWN ON A TABLE TOP

gingerbreadhouselady 1

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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RUMSON: A CHURCH’S EARTHLY REALM

rumson holy cross 090313Stripped of its white shingles and reduced to little more than its steeple, Holy Cross Church in Rumson appeared to blend into its temporary burnt-ochre surroundings Tuesday evening.

Built in 1886, the structure is in the midst of major renovations and an expansion. (Click to enlarge)

RUMSON: CHURCH HALVED FOR A TRIPLING

Contractors have sheared away more than half of the original 1886 Holy Cross Church in Rumson as part of a massive remodeling that will boost the number of seats from the present 220 to 648. Architectural renderings of the planned addition may be viewed here. (Click to enlarge)

RUMSON PARENTS TEE UP PRIEST OVER FIRING

Tearful students gather around dismissed teacher Bernadette Davis, above. Father Michael Manning taunted sign-waving protesters, below. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Long-simmering tensions at Rumson’s Holy Cross parish boiled over into public Thursday as dozens of parents and children rallied to denounce the dismissal of a beloved teacher and to label their pastor an unchecked “tyrant.”

“He’s cold, he’s heartless,” Locust resident Pat Gross, a 30-year parishoner, said of Father Michael Manning, who has led the church for six years. “He thinks he’s a dictator. He doesn’t like to be challenged or confronted.”

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DONE GOOD: TURKEY-TIME POTS AND TROTS

holiday-express-1A packed-greenhouse crowd at Sickles Market raised $72,500 last Friday night for Holiday Express, the rolling musical extravaganza that brings good cheer this time of year to 50 or so audiences. (Photo by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

Done2A great American (Patrick Henry? Paul Bunyan? Leo Gorcey?) once observed, “They also Done Good, who stand and wait.” And as most of us wait here in the all-clear zone between the chaos of Halloweelection Day and the holiday hyperdrive heralded by Black Friday, we remind you that November continues to offer more than a few ways in which to Do Good.

It could be as easy as contributing a couple of bucks or some nonperishable items to any of the many food banks that operate year-round on the greater Red Bank green. A donation to an area toy drive. Or a helping hand for your neighborhood school, church and youth organization to help others, simply by attending (and having a blast at) one of the fun events scheduled for the days and weeks to come.

We’ve got a few recommendations right around the corner, so pass the candied yams and dig on in.

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GET READY TO KEEL OVER IN THE KITCHEN

rumson-kitchenThis Rumson kitchen is one of five stops on the tour.

Admit it: Two-story foyers, sweeping stairways and high-end family entertainment suites just don’t do it for you.

No, You’re you’re one of those people who enters a home for the first time tuned to the sound of water splashing in a stainless steel sink, of utensil drawers being dug through, and the soft kiss of a refrigerator door opening.

That’s right, you’re a kitchen design junkie.

Well, the parents at Holy Cross School in Rumson have got your number.

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