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Advanced Knee Pain Treatment in Vail Homes, NJ

Are you experiencing knee pain symptoms such as popping, clicking, bone-on-bone grinding, achiness, or sharp stabs? You're not alone in this journey. Knee pain affects nearly 25% of adults in the United States, causing discomfort, swelling, and chronic pain that can hinder everyday activities like childcare, walking, and exercise. Shockingly, recent statistics from The American Academy of Family Physicians indicate a 65% increase in diagnosed knee pain cases.

In a world where invasive surgeries and prescription painkillers are often the default solutions, it's crucial to explore the effective non-invasive options that are available. These alternative treatments provide relief without the associated risks of surgery.

Today, many doctors still recommend invasive surgeries and prescription painkillers rather than exploring non-invasive options. While those treatments are needed in some circumstances, there are alternative treatments available that can help you overcome knee pain without needing to go under the knife.

NJ Sports Spine and Wellness' advanced knee pain treatment in Vail Homes, NJ gives men and women suffering from knee pain hope. Instead of relying on surgery, our team of doctors and physical therapists use non-invasive, highly effective treatments to help heal prevalent conditions such as:

Service Areas

Arthritis

Soft tissue injury

ACL tears

MCL tears

Patella dislocation

Misalignment of the kneecap

Patella tendonitis

Jumper's knee

Osgood Schlatter's Disease

Knee

With the right treatment,

many people can reduce their pain and improve their function, allowing them to return to normal daily activities. Plus, by taking preventative measures and seeking prompt care from our team, it's possible to reduce your risk of developing chronic knee pain and other painful knee conditions. If you've been searching for a non-invasive way to eliminate knee pain and get back to an active life, your journey to recovery starts here.

Let's take a closer look at some of the knee pain treatments available at NJ Sports Spine and Wellness, which all serve as great alternatives to knee replacement surgery.

Physical Therapy:

Optimizing Musculoskeletal Health with Conservative Care

The field of Physical Therapy (PT) aims to rehabilitate individuals who have experienced injury, illness, or disability by restoring their mobility and function. Physical therapists cater to patients of various ages and capabilities, ranging from young athletes to senior citizens, in order to help them surpass physical limitations and improve their standard of living with advanced knee pain treatment in Vail Homes, NJ.

At NJ Sports Spine and Wellness, our physical therapy program was founded on a patient-centric philosophy, where physical therapists work closely with patients to get a deep understanding of their goals, preferences, and capabilities. In doing so, they can create a tailor-made treatment strategy to address their unique knee pain with the goal of avoiding a knee replacement. Treatment may involve exercises that are therapeutic in nature and can include:

  • Joint mobilizations
  • Soft tissue mobilization using cupping
  • Graston technique
  • Soft tissue massage
  • Stretching of associated muscle groups

Joint Mobilization for Knee Pain

This unique knee pain solution involves physical therapists using skilled manual therapy techniques to help improve your joint range of motion while simultaneously reducing your knee pain.

During joint mobilization, a physical therapist applies targeted pressures or forces to a joint in specific directions to improve its mobility. The intensity of the force applied can vary, and it is adjusted based on the patient's comfort level. Joint mobilization is generally pain-free.

STM

Soft Tissue Mobilization (STM)

Soft Tissue Mobilization is a manual therapy technique that involves stretching and applying deep pressure to rigid muscle tissue. This helps to relax muscle tension and move fluids that are trapped in the tissues that cause pain and inflammation. This effective form of physical therapy is often used as an advanced knee pain treatment in Vail Homes, NJ for treating knee strains, knee sprains, knee pain, and more.

Graston

The Graston Technique

The Graston Technique involves the use of handheld instruments to identify and break up scar tissue through specialized massage. During a Graston Technique session, physical therapists use convex and concave tools for cross-friction massage, which involves rubbing or brushing against the grain of the scar tissue. This process re-introduces small amounts of trauma to the affected area. In some cases, this process temporarily causes inflammation, which can actually boost the amount and rate of blood flow in the knee. This process helps initiate and promote the healing process so you can get back to a normal life.

Massage

Soft Tissue Massage

Soft tissue massage is a less intense form of massage than it's deep-tissue relative. Instead of focusing on slow and firm strokes to reach the deep layers of muscles and tissues, this massage technique uses a variety of pressures, depths, and durations. Soft tissue massage is helpful in alleviating different types of knee aches, pains, and injuries. Soft tissue massages can also help reduce stress, improve circulation, and promote relaxation.

Advanced Mechanics and Technology:

The Future of Knee Pain Therapy

While knee pain is a common symptom that affects millions of Americans every year, no two cases of knee pain are ever exactly alike. Some types of knee injuries require non-traditional solutions. At New Jersey Sports Spine and Wellness, we offer a range of treatments that leverage mechanics and technology to help patients recover from injuries while treating inflammation and pain as well as resolve the root cause of the pain.

AlterAlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill

The AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill is equipped with NASA Differential Air Pressure (DAP) technology, which is a precise air calibration system that uses the user's actual body weight to enhance rehabilitation and training. By utilizing a pressurized air chamber, the AlterG allows patients and athletes to move without any pain or restrictions.

This advanced knee pain treatment in Vail Homes, NJ uniformly reduces gravitational load and body weight up to 80% in precise 1% increments. The results can be incredible, with patients reporting benefits such as:

  • Restoring and building of knee strength
  • Restored range of motion in the knee
  • Better balance
  • Improved knee function
  • More

What Makes the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill So Effective?

The AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill can monitor various metrics such as speed, gait pattern, stride length, and weight distribution. With real-time feedback and video monitoring, your rehabilitation team can promptly and accurately identify issues and pain points or monitor your progress throughout your knee pain rehabilitation journey.

One of the key benefits of this cutting-edge equipment is that it replicates natural walking and movement patterns without the artificial feel that hydrotherapy or harnesses create. This makes it an excellent choice for faster recovery after knee injuries or surgeries, as it allows for early mobilization while also preserving strength. Furthermore, it is ideal for sports recovery as athletes can use it for physical conditioning maintenance.

Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Vail Homes, NJ
Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Vail Homes, NJ

Low-Level Laser Therapy

Our advanced treatment modalities for knee pain include laser therapy, which harnesses the revolutionary power of light through photobiomodulation (PBM). LiteCureâ„¢ low-level laser therapy is available for acute and chronic types of knee pain and can be hugely beneficial when coupled with physical therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic care, and sports recovery care.

Understanding Photobiomodulation (PBM)

PBM is a medical treatment that harnesses the power of light to stimulate the body's natural healing abilities. The photons from the light penetrate deep into the tissue and interact with mitochondria, which results in a boost in energy production. This interaction sets off a biological chain reaction that increases cellular metabolism. Utilizing low-level light therapy has been shown to:

  • Alleviate knee pain
  • Speed up tissue healing
  • Promote overall health and wellness
  • Expedite knee pain injury recovery
Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Vail Homes, NJ

Exclusive Access to

Pain Management Professionals

At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, we know that every patient requires a personalized approach to chronic knee pain and condition management. Sometimes, our patients need access to pain management professionals, who can offer relief in conjunction with physical therapy and other solutions like low-level laser therapy.

Two of the most common services we offer for pain management includes acupuncture which can assist in avoiding knee replacement surgery.

Acupuncture is a common treatment for knee pain that involves inserting thin needles into specific points in your knee. This ancient Chinese medicine has gained popularity in Western culture due to its effectiveness in treating various conditions with minimal side effects.

Acupuncture works by stimulating the nervous system to release various biochemicals, including endorphins and other neurotransmitters. The release of these chemicals helps to reduce inflammation, decrease pain perception, and improve overall blood circulation.

Multiple studies have shown that acupuncture can be effective in treating knee pain caused by a variety of conditions, including osteoarthritis and injuries related to physical activity like running. Acupuncture can also help reduce inflammation, improve muscle function, and decrease pain perception, making it a viable treatment on its own or as an addition to traditional treatment methods like physical therapy.

When undergoing acupuncture, a professional acupuncturist will insert thin needles into specific acupoints on the skin. These needles are left in place for roughly 20 to 30 minutes and may be gently stimulated for an enhanced effect. Patients might experience a slight tingle or warmth at the needle insertion site, but overall, acupuncture is considered a painless procedure.

Acupuncture has been a trusted and effective treatment option for thousands of years. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes acupuncture as a legitimate form of healthcare, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has even funded research studies to explore its efficacy for a range of medical conditions. To learn more about acupuncture for knee pain, contact NJSSW today.

Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Vail Homes, NJ

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a common treatment for knee pain that involves inserting thin needles into specific points in your knee. This ancient Chinese medicine has gained popularity in Western culture due to its effectiveness in treating various conditions with minimal side effects.

Acupuncture works by stimulating the nervous system to release various biochemicals, including endorphins and other neurotransmitters. The release of these chemicals helps to reduce inflammation, decrease pain perception, and improve overall blood circulation.

Multiple studies have shown that acupuncture can be effective in treating knee pain caused by a variety of conditions, including osteoarthritis and injuries related to physical activity like running. Acupuncture can also help reduce inflammation, improve muscle function, and decrease pain perception, making it a viable treatment on its own or as an addition to traditional treatment methods like physical therapy.

Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Vail Homes, NJ

What Happens During Acupuncture Therapy for Knee Pain?

When undergoing acupuncture, a professional acupuncturist will insert thin needles into specific acupoints on the skin. These needles are left in place for roughly 20 to 30 minutes and may be gently stimulated for an enhanced effect. Patients might experience a slight tingle or warmth at the needle insertion site, but overall, acupuncture is considered a painless procedure.

Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Vail Homes, NJ

Is Acupuncture Actually Effective for Knee Pain?

Acupuncture has been a trusted and effective treatment option for thousands of years. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes acupuncture as a legitimate form of healthcare, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has even funded research studies to explore its efficacy for a range of medical conditions. To learn more about acupuncture for knee pain, contact NJSSW today.

Avoid Knee Replacements with Advanced Knee Pain Treatment in Vail Homes, NJ

Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Vail Homes, NJ

When it comes to knee pain therapies and treatments, getting a knee replacement should be last on your list. Why put your body through such trauma if you haven't tried other non-invasive treatment options? Whether you're an athlete trying to work through a knee injury or you're over 65 and are dealing with osteoarthritis, NJ Sports Spine and Wellness can help.

It all starts with an introductory consultation at our office in Matawan or Marlboro. During your first visit, we'll talk to you about your knee pain symptoms, the goals you have in mind, and the advanced knee pain treatments available to you at our practice. From there, it's only a matter of time before you get back to a healthy, active lifestyle.

Every day you wait can worsen your knee condition. Contact us today and let our team help get you on the road to recovery and life with painful knees.

Latest News in Vail Homes, NJ

Vail skier death was from accidental hanging according to initial investigation

Eagle County coroner rules death an accidentJason Varnish, 46, of Short Hills, New Jersey, died Thursday of positional asphyxia while riding Chair 37 in Vail’s Blue Sky Basin, according to the Eagle County coroner.Coroner Kara Bettis said the death has been ruled an accident.Bettis, in a text, wrote: “We are still investigating how this whole situation happened. According to our initial investigation, the deceased slipped through the seat of the chair lift and his ski coat got caught up in the chair. The co...

Eagle County coroner rules death an accident

Jason Varnish, 46, of Short Hills, New Jersey, died Thursday of positional asphyxia while riding Chair 37 in Vail’s Blue Sky Basin, according to the Eagle County coroner.

Coroner Kara Bettis said the death has been ruled an accident.

Bettis, in a text, wrote: “We are still investigating how this whole situation happened. According to our initial investigation, the deceased slipped through the seat of the chair lift and his ski coat got caught up in the chair. The coat ended up going up around his head and neck area putting his neck in a position that compromised his airway.”

Bettis said that the chairlift’s folding seat was in the upright position, according to witnesses, instead of being folded down so riders could sit on it, leaving an open area which one could fall through if they did not notice the seat was not in place.

Skiers in the area witnessed CPR being performed on Varnish at the base of Chair 37. Blue Sky Basin was closed for about 24 hours following the incident, re-opening Friday around 11:30 a.m.

Numerous questions

Questions on the incident Friday were being referred to Bettis, who, after releasing the details of her initial investigation, referred questions to the Eagle County Sheriff’s Department.

The Sheriff’s Department then referred questions to Vail Resorts, which issued the following statement:

“Vail Mountain confirms a serious incident that took place yesterday involving a 46-year-old man from New Jersey. The incident occurred when the guest attempted to load the Skyline Express lift (Chair 37). Vail Mountain Ski Patrol responded to the incident and performed CPR and emergency care on scene before the guest was transported to Vail Health, where he was pronounced deceased.

“We take all incidents seriously and are conducting a full investigation.

“The lift has been thoroughly inspected and is operating normally.

“’Vail Mountain and the entire Vail Resorts family express our sincere condolences and extend our support to the guest’s family and friends,’ said Beth Howard, chief operating officer.”

Similar circumstances to 2009 incident

Skiers mourning Varnish on Thursday were quick to remember a similar incident from 2009 on the same chairlift when a man found himself suspended upside down, pantless, in Blue Sky Basin.

The story went viral when the truTV website thesmokinggun.com picked it up, using the memorable headline “Skier suffers exposure.”

The man in the 2009 incident had also slipped through seat of the chairlift, which was not folded down properly, reported witness Marty Odom.

—Vail Daily Editor Nate Peterson contributed to this report

Alfred Vail School Welcomes New Principal

This post was contributed by a community member. The views expressed here are the author's own.SchoolsJanet Kellman takes on the challenge.Dw. Dunphy, Neighbor|Updated Wed, Aug 25, 2010 at 11:40 am ETOn Sept. 7, students at Alfred Vail School will meet their new principal.Janet Kellman succeeds Anita Barber, wh...

This post was contributed by a community member. The views expressed here are the author's own.

Schools

Janet Kellman takes on the challenge.

Dw. Dunphy, Neighbor

|Updated Wed, Aug 25, 2010 at 11:40 am ET

On Sept. 7, students at Alfred Vail School will meet their new principal.

Janet Kellman succeeds Anita Barber, who retired after 40 years. The run-up to this year's semester has been, in Kellman's words, "hectic, but not chaotic."

Kellman's prior duty was as principal of the Lamont, Lamont Annex and Lafayette elementary schools in Bound Brook. She has been an educator since 1991, a career track she said "is near and dear to my heart. I truly believe I was born and called to do this."

The path to being a principal started out in a much different manner. Although she always wanted to be a teacher, Kellman said she was discouraged initially by her sister, a great influence in her life. Kellman changed course and went on to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in management and economics at Ithaca College in New York, and used those skills in various positions with A&S Department Stores and Sharp Electronics.

Fate intervened after the birth of her first child in 1989 when, after extended periods of working from home and on a limited schedule, Kellman recognized her first love was still education and chose to pursue this as her life's work. She went on to receive a master's in early childhood education from Adelphi University.

Education is a path Kellman feels she would always have found, regardless of circumstances, she said.

While having a background in the managerial sector is a useful skill set, Kellman is quick to add, "[The educational training] programs offered now have a nice blend of those same skills. People entering the field of education really understand the concept of management now."

Find out what's happening in Morristownwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

She also said her previous work has enabled her to become a force within the educational structure, recognizing the value of motivating people and of collaborative decision-making.

"It has worked very well for me," Kellman said.

"Her experience as an educational leader, her track record of successful professional development initiatives and strong interpersonal skills made her stand out from among a pool of highly-qualified applicants," Superintendent Thomas Ficarra said of Kellman.

"The process of selecting a new principal starts with the applications submitted to the human resources department," said Mary Donohoe, director of public relations for the Morris School District. "The applications go before a committee comprised of the administration, parents and teachers. After they've made their selection, it goes to the superintendent."

From there, a sight visit was made with Kellman at the Bound Brook school for further evaluation. Finally, Ficarra made his decision.

Kellman said she's honored to be asked to fill Barber's "huge shoes."

For 2010/2011 school year, Kellman said, she'll need to first evaluate what is working in the school and what needs improvement, while making certain that the vision of the district's educational goals is being implemented.

This first year's priority will be that of getting to know her staff, her students and the Morristown community. She said her main intention is to make sure all the children and the staff have a safe learning and working environment.

Also, Kellman is impressed by Morristown in general.

"It's the richness of cultural diversity here. Everyone has something to bring to the table," she said.

Kellman said even as the Morris School District—like other school systems throughout the state—faces difficult financial times, the district will persevere.

"Great teachers have the capacity to turn nothing into something. That's why you want to attract the finest, most passionate teachers into the system," Kellman said.

Kellman currently lives in East Brunswick and plans to commute to the Alfred Vail School this year, after which she may choose to move to the area, a life change she has discussed with her husband. Moving now is not a consideration, as she has no intention of uprooting her daughter, currently in her final year of high school.

Kellman said she doesn't mind the nearly hour-long commute, as she appreciates the time for reflection. She also takes the coming autumn weather into account.

"It's going to be lovely," she said.

The views expressed in this post are the author's own. Want to post on Patch?

More from Morristown

Miss Kansas interview: Theresa Vail is more than just her tattoos (video)

VIDEO: Meet Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail, sat for an interview with The Star-Ledger on Thursday at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City and shared a few of her thoughts. Watch to see what she had to say about being the first contestant to reveal a body tattoo during the swim suit competition, speaking Chinese, and why event organizers wouldn't let her perform archery during the Miss America talent compe...

VIDEO: Meet Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail, sat for an interview with The Star-Ledger on Thursday at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City and shared a few of her thoughts. Watch to see what she had to say about being the first contestant to reveal a body tattoo during the swim suit competition, speaking Chinese, and why event organizers wouldn't let her perform archery during the Miss America talent competition. Video by Mike Roy/The Star-Ledger

When she was just 10 years old, Theresa Vail felt like dying.

She was bullied, she says, and her mind turned to suicide.

"I nearly took my own life," says Vail. Now 22, she finds herself on a national stage, being critiqued for something she says helped her climb out of that despair. As Miss Kansas, she's made waves for deciding not to cover the large tattoo on her right side, a rendering of the "Serenity Prayer." When she was 10, she didn't know all the words, she says, but the ethos was the same. She wanted peace.

On Tuesday, at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall, she became what pageant officials assumed was the first contestant to reveal a tattoo so prominently during competition — in the swimsuit portion.

Actually, says Vail, she doesn't agree with anyone that would get inked just because it looks good to them, and calls herself "conservative." Purely ornamental tattoos just aren't her thing.

"Why put something on your body that means nothing?" says Vail. She wore a white pantsuit to her private interview with the judges, and last night, a gown that covered one of her two tattoos, the larger one of that caused a bit of a commotion.

"I don't think they're taboo anymore," she says. "It's 2013. Half the girls have tattoos, they're just choosing to cover them." She says showing her tattoos is actually quite reasonable, considering the "target age group" of the pageant, teens and women who are 17 to 24 years old.

Vail, who's in the Kansas Army National Guard, wanted to bring her archery skill to the Miss America stage — "archery has never been done, either," she says — but the pageant wouldn't permit her to do so. Apparently the insurance involved doesn't quite match that of a production like "America's Got Talent."

So she switched to opera singing. By the sound of her high-powered "Nessun Dorma" performance last night, she's wholeheartedly embraced the genre.

"Tell me no and I go 'head and do it," she says. Vail hasn't won in any of the preliminary categories so far, but speaks clearly about her drive.

"When I set my mind to something, I give it my all."

She also speaks Chinese, which is one of her majors at Kansas State University. The other is chemistry. Her ultimate goal is to become a prosthetic dentist and chief in the Army Corps.

"It was either that or becoming a nun," she says, matter-of-factly. One who, yes, would also have tattoos.

She says her father, a dentist in the Army and solider for 33 years, inspired her path. Vail's smaller tattoo, on her left shoulder, is of the U.S. Army Dental Corps insignia.

Next up for Miss Kansas in the last round of preliminaries tonight — the onstage question. If this week is any indication, it's looking like Vail won't be at a loss for an answer.

The Miss America pageant airs live from Boardwalk Hall 9 p.m. Sunday on ABC.

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NJ's most romantic restaurants

Looking for a romantic restaurant ? North Jersey has a slew of terrific restaurants for you and your honey to enjoy one another. .Here's a list of the most romantic restaurants in North Jersey.Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen, MorristownFrom the outside, Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen looks like a tux-and-gown kind of place. After all, this Italian Renaissance palazzo was once AT&T President Theodore Vail's home and art gallery. But while it may look grand with enough marble to fill a small Italian q...

Looking for a romantic restaurant ? North Jersey has a slew of terrific restaurants for you and your honey to enjoy one another. .

Here's a list of the most romantic restaurants in North Jersey.

Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen, Morristown

From the outside, Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen looks like a tux-and-gown kind of place. After all, this Italian Renaissance palazzo was once AT&T President Theodore Vail's home and art gallery. But while it may look grand with enough marble to fill a small Italian quarry, this three-level extravaganza with beer hall, oyster bar, cocktail lounge and fine-dine seafood restaurant.is refreshingly welcoming and surprisingly unpretentious — and romantic of course (dim lights, fireplaces, fresh flowers, and...marble).

Get dressed up, if you'd like, or dress biz casual to dine on celery root lasagna, bourbon-glazed pork ribs and a burger at the Rathskeller beer hall (and enjoy a live band); a house-made charcuterie platter and cheese board at the Vail Bar as well as the Oyster Bar; and squid ink garganelli, butter-basted lobster and Denver leg of venison at its white tablecloth second-floor dining room, daPesca (by far the most romantic room; just walking up the grand staircase to it can make you feel lovey-dovey).

Have a cocktail or two, a nice bottle of wine (owner Chris Cannon is a wine guru who is a whiz at finding really good affordable bottles), and sit back, relax and enjoy.

Go: 110 South St., Morristown; 973-644-3180, jockeyhollowbarandkitchen.com.

The Grand Café, Morristown

Starched pink tablecloths with matching folded napkins. Fresh-cut flowers. Upholstered chairs. Crystal chandelier, darling wall sconces, thick carpeting and floor-to-ceiling plush drapery. The dining room of this longtime French restaurant would not be out of place in a French chateau. Only at this elegant old-world space there's no risk of feeling intimidated. Proud hosts Desmond and Alice Lloyd, who have been running this restaurant right off the Morristown Green for 38 years, are experts at making guests feel right at home.

While the menu is primarily French — sautéed foie gras, steak tartare, mussels Provencal and grilled sirloin au poivre — there are dishes with lots of American and Asian touches throughout it, like pan-seared tuna on a bed of soba noodles, breast of Peking duck with sticky rice and pan-roasted Angus filet-mignon with celery root purée.

Get yourself a bottle of wine, too. It not only goes well with the food but the atmosphere; residents of chateaus do not drink Coke with dinner.

Elia, East Rutherford

Think dining on a Greek island would be romantic? Save yourself the plane fare and snag a table at Elia, a stunning modern Greek restaurant that opened nearly two years ago. It took Rutherford native Annamaria Adinolfi and her mother Anna Rosati four months to transform the space that had housed four-decades-old East Rutherford institution Park & Orchard into a striking, airy, whitewashed setting with Carrara marble bar and a big open kitchen. The furniture was all handmade in Greece; the wall art and knickknacks hail from Greece too.

The fish (fresh, whole, and charcoal grilled) are the stars of the menu from European sea bass to Mediterranean dorado. Too difficult to decide on one dessert? Get Elia's tasting dessert board. It may be a bit pricey — $30 — but how happy it will make your sweet tooths is priceless.

Ivy Inn, Hasbrouck Heights

There's no better word to describe the Ivy Inn than romantic. This near century-and-a-half old rambling house exudes romance — even from the curb. Ivy, white lights, darling awnings. And that ooh-la-la romantic feeling doesn't end at the door; inside there's piano music, a roaring fireplace, brick walls, fresh-cut flowers. As for the food? It's not the draw here, though when The Record's reviewer last dined at the Ivy Inn, she appreciated the desserts.

Café Matisse, Rutherford

Any wonder Valentine's Day is the biggest night for Café Matisse. This enchanting beauty of a restaurant, with lovely colorful paintings and walls, whimsical chandeliers, starched white tablecloths and tasteful window dressings, year after year has been voted by numerous media outlets as one the most romantic restaurants — and not only in North Jersey or New Jersey, but the nation. Diners of Open Table, the online reservation service, have repeatedly named Café Matisse one of the "100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America."

As for the food? Café Matisse is the only restaurant in Bergen to have received a four-star review from The Record — twice to boot.

Ho-Ho-Kus Inn, Ho-Ho-Kus

Vaulted ceilings. Marble fireplaces. Classic moulding. Soaring windows. If your idea of romantic is dining in a beautifully restored two-century-old structure, head to the Ho-Ho-Kus Inn. Established in 1790, the Inn, once known as The Mansion House, consists of five distinct rooms: Chateau, Hermitage, Tap, Zabriskie, and Wine Room (formerly the Crystal Room, which recently got a makeover).

There's a a room to suit every taste.

Go: 1 E. Franklin Turnpike, Ho-Ho-Kus; 201-445-4115, hohokusinn.com.

Saddle River Inn, Saddle River

What is it about well-preserved old places that make our hearts flutter? The Saddle River Inn, housed in a beautifully restored 1840s barn that once operated as a saw mill and basket weaving factory, shows its age the way a fine wine does: with good taste and class. The woods are dark, the linen starched, and the staff professional. But no food lover goes to a restaurant for decor alone. The food here is stellar; Bring a bottle of your favorite wine — nearly everyone else does. This is the kind of place you want to enjoy a good wine with a fine, expertly prepared meal.

Haven Riverfront Restaurant & Bar, Edgewater

When a restaurant is located a mere 20 feet from the Hudson River, you can presume it's going to draw many to it. Haven's floor-to-ceiling windows afford its diners stunning views of those big buildings on the other side of the river, and even the bridge that connects North Jersey with New York City. The decor is modern. The bar is lively. The colors are soft. And the chairs are comfortable. So linger over dinner as you stare at that spectacular view across the river.

Café Panache, Ramsey

Few restaurants last five years let alone nearly 37 years. There are reasons for Café Panache's longevity: good food (the restaurant received 3½ out of 4 stars from The Record) and charming decor. The front room, which founding chef Kevin Kohler (he passed away a year ago and now his very capable protegé Michael Matonti heads the kitched) added a decade ago, is flooded with sunlight, thanks to multiple tall windows. The main dining room sports warm hues. Both have an elegant look, courtesy of white tablecloths, fresh-cut flowers and long-stemmed wine glasses. The food is seasonal and deftly prepared. It's a BYOB, so bring a bottle of wine along or, better yet, Champagne. You've got your love to drink to.

Sear House, Closter

Ultra-modern, this two-story steakhouse is stunning, with a tall ceiling and tall windows, a zen-like water wall, a cozy fire pit, beautiful walnut burl and mahogany wood, and a drop-dead-gorgeous back-lit honey onyx bar. As for the eats? In a word: porterhouse. A few more: rib-eye, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and Colorado lamb chops.

Tattooed Miss America contestant Theresa Vail is first to show ink during pageant

miss-kansas-tattoo.jpgOne of two visible tattoos on Ms. Kansas, Theresa Vail, during the preliminary round of the swimsuit competition Tuesday in Atlantic City.(Aristide Economopoulos/The Star-Ledger)ATLANTIC CITY — She isn't the only one with a tattoo.Miss Montana, for instance, has a big bold one on her foot, with a cross and an inscription.But ...

miss-kansas-tattoo.jpg

One of two visible tattoos on Ms. Kansas, Theresa Vail, during the preliminary round of the swimsuit competition Tuesday in Atlantic City.

(Aristide Economopoulos/The Star-Ledger)

ATLANTIC CITY — She isn't the only one with a tattoo.

Miss Montana, for instance, has a big bold one on her foot, with a cross and an inscription.

But Theresa Vail's ink was front and center last night at the first round of Miss America preliminaries. Exposing a tattoo seemed a far cry from the pageant queens of old who came to visit, like BeBe Shopp, from 1948, who once, it was reported, told media she didn't think bikinis were appropriate for American women.

Between Vail's red bikini, on her right side, spanning her ribs and hip, is the "Serenity Prayer," written in a sizable series of vintage font.

She is Miss Kansas, and while she wasn't there to wear them — the ladies will don their parade shoes Saturday — her plain tan boots also stood out in a table of glitzy, glittery heels yesterday at a preview for the

Vail, 22, joined the Kansas Army National Guard at 17, lists her employment as being in the medical detachment, and has double majored in Chinese and chemistry at Kansas State University.

Her pageant platform: "Empowering Women; Overcoming Stereotypes and Breaking Barriers."

Her career goal? "To become a prosthodontist for the Army" (prosthetic dentist). Vail did not win her turn at the swimsuit category.

Vail is believed to be the first contestant in a major pageant to display ink.

The senior at Kansas State University has one other tattoo: An insignia for the U.S. Army Dental Corps on her left shoulder.

the "Serenity Prayer" helped her get through her adolescent years when she was bullied, leading her to get the tattoo. She said she added the military tattoo because she's always had "a strong passion for service."

"My whole platform is empowering women to overcome stereotypes and break barriers, Vail wrote on her blog. "What a hypocrite I would be if I covered my ink. How can I tell other women to be fearless and true to themselves if I can't do the same? I am who I am, tattoos and all."

She is the second service member to compete in Miss America, following Miss Utah Jill Stevens in 2007, who was a combat medic in Afghanistan.

Sharon Pearce, president of the Miss America Organization, says organizers were aware that Vail wouldn't be covering her tattoos. Pearce didn't think it was a problem.

"We believe each contestant definitely has the ability to show their individuality," she says. "We're happy to support them."

Chelsea Rick, Miss Mississippi, won the swimsuit competition on the same night that Vail strutted the stage in her bikini.

"I just expected that she was going to cover them up," says Rick, who wore a black and gold bikini. She thinks Vail is just representing herself by choosing not to cover something so permanent. Besides, she says, if Vail covered the ink now and won the title, she would have to do it all the time.

Mario Barth, owner of Starlight Tattoo shops in Rochelle Park, Belleville and Las Vegas, and the producer of the Inked Out tattoo convention taking place this weekend at the Meadowlands Expo Center in Secaucus, calls body art "the ultimate statement of self-expression."

It's a natural choice, he says, for a woman to share her tatoos on a national stage.

"I think it's a great thing that they're showing it and on such a big competition," says Barth. Plus, he says, by showing her tattoos in such a visible and large way, Vail is actually reflecting the chosen adornments of many women in 2013, in the United States and elsewhere.

"The biggest trend currently in the last year is that 75 percent of the clients are females and that all of them go for very large-scale tattoos," he says. "Angelina Jolie can show it on the red carpet, then Miss America can show it on the show."

Pearce says the mission of the pageant is to view the women in totality and not fixate on one detail.

Miss Alabama is one contestant whose very name, Chandler Champion, has drawn attention. Talking about Vail's body art, she lit up.

"She's such a cool girl," said Champion, eyes wide. "She's so full of surprises."

Star-Ledger staff writer Jeff Goldman contributed to this report.

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