I can’t think of many places that feel as wonderful as the home of my dear friends Y & J in New Jersey. It’s been a while since I visited but, apart from some beautiful new bathrooms  – Y is a French interior designer, and some covetable art, it feels and looks exactly like their home always does. Warm, welcoming, super chic, and full of Basset Hounds.

Long term LLG readers will know all about my time in Colts Neck as I stayed there for some months back in 2009. Finchley the Basset Hound puppy came to live with the boys that summer, and it’s hard to compute that my tiny puppy foot warmer is now nine years old. NINE YEARS OLD. That’s him looking rather elder statesman above. In the background is Beauregarde, his half brother. (It’s quite hard trying to pose for pictures with two single-minded Hounds whose minds are in opposite directions.)

I caught the NJ Transit from Penn to Aberdeen-Matawan a week ago last Saturday on a gloomy, grey Manhattan morning. I do love a double decker train. We whisked down the side of New Jersey, passing industrial facilities, small towns and, of course, the Ocean.

I failed to find J in the car park. I was looking for either his Tesla or an SUV. However, right in front of me was a beautiful 1970s Mercedes 450.

I kept on scanning, only to suddenly realise that the dapper tweed clad gentleman in the aviators standing next to the car was indeed J. And that was my ride.


Sunglasses: Stella & Dot Miramar
(currently in sale £57.99 reduced from £115)
Coat: COS Navy Wool Coat £225
Earrings: Oliver Bonas Shawnee Double Circle Hoop Earrings
(currently in sale £14 reduced from £18)

And so to the ranch, resplendent in the autumnal sunshine that had evaded Manhattan.

The boys are so extra that they even have a topiary wall for their mailbox.

The warmest of Basset-y welcomes awaited me.

We immediately headed out to Holmdel Park for a walk

Navy Midi Dress: Marks & Spencer £49.99
Green Army Jacket: GAP (in sale, was £69.95, now £41.99)
Black Leather Camera Case: Jas MB (gifted long ago)
Aviator Sunglasses: Roland Mouret (at The Outnet)
Performance Walking Socks: Sock Shop
Studded Rubber Ankle Boots:  (gifted long ago)
(Sadly no longer made. Similar at Hunter, of course, here, and at J Crew US here)

Of course there was a visit to my beloved Delicious Orchards for supplies.

As well as every apple product under the sun, from doughnut and pies to fritters, and cookies, there were all the pumpkins and squashes that any self-respecting NJ household would require for their autumnal doorstep decorations.

Not forgetting the forest of chrysanthemums.

Back home the dogs were recovering from their exercise on their allotted sofa. (IKEA for the dogs)

On Sunday morning Rach took the train from Manhattan to join us all for brunch. Y made proper oeufs brouille, there was grilled asparagus, and sauteed mushrooms and, the piece de resistance, J’s first ever loaf of homemade sourdough, using Vanessa Kimball’s wonderful Sourdough School book, and a starter he purchased on Etsy. Truly the internet is a wonderful thing. Almost as wonderful as J’s sourdough: I ate three pieces of it toasted. (I’m not supposed to eat wheat at the moment and this is the only bread I’ve eaten in a year that hasn’t made me sick.)

After lunch we set off on a constitutional to work off the sourdough. I do love checking out American homes, especially around Halloween. Spot the spider on the one below.

Question: who was walking whom?

More canine exhaustion ensued. I think it’s fair to say that Beau is a big fan of Rach;s

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