New Jersey Fellowship of Pipe Smokers
As much as we enjoy all our virtual friends, there is nothing quite like an in-person gathering for a pipe club meeting. Whether it’s to try new pipe tobaccos, swap acquisition stories, or just commune with others who share your passion, there isn’t another experience quite like it. Read on to learn about The New Jersey Fellowship of Pipe Smokers.
The New Jersey Fellowship of Pipe Smokers began in 2008 when the club’s President, Crystal Cahill, and her husband began exploring the forums and decided to invite some of their online friends to meet up at the Montecristo Lounge at J.R. Cigar in Whippany, New Jersey. The next person to show up was a fellow female pipe smoker, Liz, who is now the club’s Vice President and the rest, as they say, was history.
I sat down to talk with Crystal, just prior to International Pipe Smoking Day, to talk about learning from others, managing themes and tasting tobaccos.
Pipe Club Spotlight: NJFPS
Crystal, before we start talking about your club, tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got started smoking a pipe.
I’ve been smoking for about 10 years. It actually started out as a joke. My husband was becoming a little obsessed with his new hobby, going on and on constantly about his smoking pipe and how much he enjoyed it.
I picked one up and started carrying it around as a joke. A few days later we went to a pipe shop and ended up picking out four pipes. They were all supposed to be for him, but I ended up keeping two of them for myself.
Fast forward a few years and we now have about 80 pipes between the two of us. It’s become one of our favorite things to do together. Being a part of the fellowship has really educated me about different tobaccos and pipe makers. It has enhanced our enjoyment tremendously.
That’s really cool! I don’t get to talk to many other women who smoke a pipe, yet you have two in your club. I’m a little jealous! How would you describe your club, how do you think having women involved makes your club unique?
I’ve definitely got the biggest mouth! That’s why they made me President! Liz and I make a pretty good team keeping things organized, but we’re a pretty informal group.
Our fellowship is pretty informal. We meet on the second Thursday of every month except in February when we meet on International Pipe Smoking Day. We start about six with some food and then we tend to all share the different tobaccos we brought.
It’s fun to sample some of the different blends that other people bring. I started with Aromatics, as many people do, and probably wouldn’t have moved into VaPers or English blends if it wasn’t for the stuff others were bringing in to our meet ups.
We like to do themes for days like Christmas or Ugliest Pipe for Halloween. We always have raffles or contests for International Pipe Smoking Day, but otherwise we keep it laid back and casual.
That sounds like a lot of fun! Are there any not-so-fun or challenging aspects to running a pipe club?
Not too many. We do have some logistical issues because we only have the one place to go where we can smoke regularly and the seating can sometimes be a nightmare. Otherwise, keeping it informal avoids any of the complications of dues or rules.
Makes sense. Do you have any advice for new groups just starting out or people who want to start their own club?
When we first got started I enjoyed receiving a few tips from a gentleman called Pipe Stud and I think it’s good advice for anyone starting out:
- Put the word out.
- Don’t worry about how many people show up! Just keep putting the word out.
- Don’t get fancy!
- Just enjoy the time, it’s a party not a business meeting.
That sounds like great advice Crystal! So where can people interested in NJFPS find you?
They can contact The New Jersey Fellowship of Pipe Smokers on Facebook and join our group orfollow Crystal Bern on YouTube and leave me a message. Or, you’re always welcome to show up at J.R. Cigar’s Montecristo Lounge in Whippany, New Jersey on the second Thursday of every month except March. We’ll always be there to welcome a fellow pipe smoker.
Are you a part of a pipe club? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.