An Almost Engagement At The Twin Lights

If Patti Swick weren’t such a fireball of energy and enthusiasm, her fiancé Dan Feehan could have proposed exactly the way he wanted….in one of the towers of the Twin Lights. As it is, the Twin Lights State Historic Site and its beautiful grounds are so important to this couple that they drove to Highlands from their Linden home specifically to have their engagement photos taken here.

It all started more than 10 years ago when Patti started working at a deli and catering business near her home in Linden. Dan was already working there, and almost instantly, the pair felt a connection of friendship. Even when Dan bought the deli and catering company, the two became friends and started dating. That was nine years ago.

Driving to various places along the shore, Dan and Patti found themselves always drawn to
the Twin Lights. There was something about it that held their attention and charm. So much so that when Dan knew he wanted to marry Patti, he planned to bring her to their favorite place, climb one of the towers, and propose to her at the top, looking out over the Atlantic Ocean.

But Patti, who has undergraduate and graduate degrees from Kean University, Dominican University and Georgian Court University and is a third grade teacher, is obviously a woman on the go. Busy with her career as well as other activities, such as serving as Vice President of the Kean University Alumni Association as well as being active in other organizations and school groups, she saved time for Dan and herself to still drive down the shore. In the meantime, Dan sold his successful deli business and is currently a restaurant consultant and managing his own catering business.

The date was set for Jan. 8 of last year for Dan to propose. He wanted to ask that all important question at the top of the Twin Lights. He and Patti were going to a friend’s baby’s Baptism and thought they could stop at Nicholas Creamery for ice cream and after that, visit the Twin Lights.

But Patti was too tired and wanted to go directly home instead. Back at home, Patti’s grandfather was outside by the car. He lives with Patti and Dan, and Dan, concerned he was outside, ushered him into the house. Patti went next door to get her dog from her mom’s house to bring him back home. In the house, with Grandpa settled and the dog lying quietly, it was a very excited and by now frustrated Dan who asked his beloved if she could just stand still for 30 seconds. And as Patti tells it,  “I turned around and he was down on bended knee next to our couch. It was the most perfect proposal because it was just us in our home with no interruptions.”

So the engagement did not take place at the top of the Twin Lights as Dan had hoped. But because the site was so important to them both, they drove back down to take photos both inside and outside the museum, as well as a few overlooking Sandy Hook and the ocean. “It was the perfect engagement shoot. We had the fortune of being able to climb both towers and actually used one of them in our engagement shoot.”

The wedding is set for Oct. 13 of this year at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church in Linden, where Patti and Dan both attended the grammar school, although it was years apart. The reception will be at the Palace at Somerset Park.

For now, while Patti is sorry her active lifestyle didn’t allow for Dan to carry out his engagement plans at the site they both love, she explains “ Dan is an extremely selfless person, helping whoever needs it and putting others needs before himself. He never questioned when my Grandpa became sick and needed to move in with us, doing whatever he could to help out.

He has such a big heart and he never fails to make me laugh. While I’m a very type A person, he is more laid back and never fails to ground me when I take on too much or just need support.” Dan, on the other hand, understands why his own plan for proposal could not happen. He says he is primarily attracted to Patti because she is “ compassionate, caring, and resolute.” He likes how Patti  “has  always been by my side, even when I didn’t ask for help or wasn’t looking for it.

I love her sense of humor, even her bad puns, which are a constant.”  And he loves that once she starts a project, she sees it through until the end. Quite simply, he smiles, “she makes sure everyone is taken care of.”

As for the Twin Lights? It will always be a special place for both of them, and a reminder every time they climb a tower or enjoy a picnic lunch on the front lawn or pick up a gift or souvenir in the gift shop, “it has always been a very special place in both their hearts.”

The Twin Lights grounds are open every day from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM for visits, whether or not an engagement or wedding is planned.

Check our website for building and tower climb hours call (732) 872-1814 or follow the Twin Lights Historical Society on Facebook.
The Twin Lights State Historic Site is owned and operated by the New Jersey Department of
Environmental Protection, Division of Parks, Forestry & Historic Sites (“NJ Parks”.)

Nick Wood, RIS-History, the full time NJ Parks Curator at the site, offers private tours by appointment for a small fee (so worth it!).

The Twin Lights Historical Society is the officially recognized friends group for NJ Parks at the Twin Lights. The role and purpose of the society at the site is to support and assist NJ Parks in its operations and exhibit development through financial support as well as volunteer services  at the site. The Society invests all donations, memberships and proceeds from the Twin Lights Museum Store to improve visitor experience and online public relations, including new exhibits, paid internships for local high school and college students, as well as special projects.

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