When hard-working New York entrepreneurs want to relax they head to New Jersey. Mostly they go to the Jersey Shore. Vito “Don Vito” Genovese was no exception. Vito took his hard-earned money and invested it in an estate in the northernmost shore town: Middletown Township. Within the estate, Vito created a majestic botanical garden, featuring dozens of species of trees, a massive rose garden, a koi pond, a frog pond, and terraced gardens featuring pools, waterfalls, and a volcano.
That’s right: a volcano. Not a real volcano of course, but a model of the famous Mount Vesuvius in Italy.
I’ve seen this Grimace-shaped stack of rocks a dozen or more times and never thought it was a volcano. A horribly misshapen barbecue or kiln perhaps. But now I can see it. It doesn’t really look like Mount Vesuvius, but that isn’t something I would ever say to Don Vito.
But in the context of the beauty of the gardens, it’s pretty alright.
Did I mention the volcano has a side hatch? A hidey-hole? A place to put stooges who say it doesn’t look like the real Mount Vesuvius?
It’s also worth mentioning that I discovered that the volcano was a volcano thanks to the Roadside America app, which is the best app of all, and one of a handful of reasons to own an iPhone.
Also, important to note that the volcano is located in Deep Cut Gardens, which is now owned by the County of Monmouth. Go see it.