On Saturday, November 11, 2017, the New Jersey chapter of the Alfa Romeo Owner’s Club (AROC) held its Fall Foliage Driving Tour, starting at Fullerton Alfa Romeo in Bridgewater, and ending at Duke Farms in Hillsborough.
The day dawned sunny but quite cold, with sunrise temps below freezing. The wind, which had been a factor the previous day, was all but nonexistent, which made the cold more tolerable. The thermometer moderated as the day progressed, and it turned out to be a beautiful day for a driving tour.
The dealer did a great job hosting us in the a.m., with plenty of coffee, bagels, and other breakfast treats available. Early arrivals were there before 9:30, and during the subsequent hour, 17 cars and close to 30 attendees streamed in. While there, we enjoyed alternating our gazes between the new Giulia sedans & Stelvio SUVs, and the classic Alfas parked outside.
After a brief driver’s meeting, we were off and running. Our first leg had us heading north/northwest, through Oldwick and Long Valley. After an hour on the road, we arrived at our planned rest stop in Chester NJ. The intent was to give participants a chance to wander the streets of this quaint town, filled with antique shops, bakeries, and the like. But true to the Italian spirit, almost everyone stayed in the parking lot, hovered around our Milanese metal, and swapped stories (mostly lies about horsepower).
By 12:30, the second leg of the drive began, and we were on the road again, now headed back south. We briefly doubled back on Lamington Road (Route 523), then turned south/southeast, through Whitehouse Station and Readington. We arrived at Duke Farms exactly at 1:30, which was a good thing, as our catered luncheon was scheduled to start at that time. By complete coincidence, the second leg was also an hour’s length. Both drives were blessed with relatively light traffic, colorful autumnal leaves, lots of sunshine, and no breakdowns.
Duke Farms is the property formerly owned by tobacco heiress Doris Duke, and it has quite the history. As an aside to this driving tour blog post, if you’re ever in the area, it’s worth stopping by.
The café staff, led by Debbie, went overboard with our catered meal. We walked in to find a smorgasbord of sandwiches, wraps, salads, fruit, plus cookies and coffee. A section of the dining room was reserved for us, and we continued to catch up with old friends and/or make new ones, all while stuffing our faces.
Our chapter president, Enrico, declared the event a success, and there was widespread agreement among the chapter members. Based on today’s turnout, we are all counting on AROC’s NJ Chapter to hold more such events in 2018.
(Special thanks to my wife Margaretanne for accompanying me, and taking all the on-the-road photos.)
All photographs copyright © 2017 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.
FUN FACT OF THE WEEK
The original name of the company we know today as “Alfa Romeo” was A.L.F.A., which is an acronym. In Italian, it stands for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili, which translates as “Anonymous Lombardy (Region) Manufacturer (of) Automobiles”.
During World War I, an industrialist named Nicola Romeo took over control of A.L.F.A., which was then in liquidation. He immodestly changed the name of the company to Alfa Romeo, with “Alfa” no longer an acronym. A recession during the 1920’s forced Romeo out of the company, but the name change stayed.
None of this stops people from continuing to spell the car name as “Alpha” (as if the car were Greek!).
4 thoughts on “NJ Alfa Club Fall Foliage Driving Tour, November 11, 2017”
By any chance, is Richard familiar or related to the Reina family that lived in Plainfield (Saverio and Margherita)? If so, please let me know. Margherita was my maternal grandmother’s younger sister
Hi Armando, no, sorry, the only relatives in this country who share my last name are my immediate family. But thanks for reading the blog! Best regards, Richard
Grazie. Btw, is the GT Jr in the pictures your car? I currently don’t own any Alfas. In the past, I had a Duetto, and for a brief time in 1973 had a heavily modified ’66 GTV – twin plug head! Sold it because I needed money to go to med school. Then had an ’83 GTV 6, ’87 Milano Verde (one of the first sold in the US) and finally a ’91 164 S. Due to the lack of reliable service near me, was forced to divest….peccato….Was fortunate while in college to work at a garage and got my hands dirty on some really nice Alfas. At the time, I would go to Englewood Cliffs to the Alfa headquarters to pick up special order parts. Thanks again for the info.
The green GT 1300 Junior is mine. There is an almost identical car in black which is owned by another Alfa club member. I’ve been to the Alfa HQ in Englewood Cliffs multiple times. Your service story is, sadly, all too typical for the marque, and I fear that it may be affecting sales of new vehicles too. Time will tell, but I wish them luck! Thanks again for your input, it is appreciated.