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Picturesque places to visit for weekend getaway

by Staff

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During the slow winter months, it’s easy for life to feel bleak and our day-to-day responsibilities to feel monotonous. While it might not be realistic to drop everything and plan a big last-minute trip to get away from it all, you can consider taking a weekend trip to another town in New Jersey.

With 130 miles of beaches, ski resorts in our state’s mountains, a vast amount of state parks and an abundance of history, you’re sure to find a place that fits your fancy for a staycation.

If you need a break from looking at the same four walls day-in and day-out, here are five picturesque New Jersey towns to plan a weekend trip to, and places to stay, food to eat and things to do once you get there.

Cape May

Tucked away at the southern most end of New Jersey is Cape May, a quaint town known for its historic Victorian-era architecture and pristine beaches. Considered the nation’s oldest seashore resort and deemed a National Historic Landmark for preservation of its Victorian past, Cape May is the perfect spot for a weekend trip. While busiest during the summer months, Cape May’s off-season gives the perfect opportunity for visitors to explore its charm in a more relaxed format.

Where to stay: There are an abundance of hotels and resorts, as well as bed and breakfasts, in Cape May. You can stay at places like Angel of the Sea for $109 a night, The Inn of Cape May for $159 a night, Montreal Beach Resort for $103 a night or the Grand Hotel of Cape May for $108 a night, among other places.

Where to eat: For breakfast and lunch, you can stop by George’s Place or The Mad Batter Restaurant and Bar. For dinner, you can check out The Lobster House Restaurant, Lucky Bones Back Water Grille or the Washington Inn.

What to do: Browse shops along the historic Cape May walk mall, explore the residential streets of Victorian homes, stop by one of the nearby breweries — like Cape May Brewing Co. and Cold Spring Brewery — or take a trolley tour, led by a knowledgeable tour guide.

Lambertville

Lambertville is a small historic town that rungs along the Delaware River in Hunterdon County. Known for its historic Victorian-era homes and commercial buildings, open green spaces and extensive river views, Lambertville has grown to be a year-round destination for visitors.

Where to stay: You can stay at Lambertville Station Restaurant and Inn for $161 a night, the Lambertville House for $218 a night or the Chimney Hill Estate Inn for $165 a night.

Where to eat: For breakfast and lunch, stop by Full Moon Café, Under the Moon Café or Hash House. For dinner, visit the Lambertville Station Restaurant, The Hawke or Anton’s at the Swan.

What to do: Stop by one of Lambertville’s many antique stores, like The People’s Store Antiques and Design Center or Bridge Street Antiques. You can take a walk on the New Hope-Lambertville Bridge, which crosses the Delaware River and the New Jersey-Pennsylvania State Line.

Clinton

Located along the South Branch of the Raritan River, Clinton is a small picturesque community known for its Victorian-style buildings and charming downtown. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995, Clinton is known for its history of milling and maintains remnants of its early beginnings.

Where to stay: You can stay at TownePlace Suites by Marriott Clinton for $110 a night, the Neighbour House Bed & Breakfast for $110 a night or Hampton Inn Clinton for $108 a night.

Where to eat: For breakfast and lunch, stop by Towne Restaurant or Clinton Station Diner. For dinner, visit Dora’s Restaurant, Finnagel’s, The River Mill View or The Clinton House.

What to do: Stop by the Red Mill Museum Village and the Hunterdon Art Museum to explore the town’s history. Go shopping along Clinton’s Main Street, or stroll along the town’s residential streets and explore their historic homes.

Frenchtown

Another small town that runs along the Delaware River in Hunterdon County, Frenchtown is an eclectic town that combines a cultural art community with a historic background. The town is known for its specialty shops, river activities, art galleries and Victorian-era architecture.

Where to stay: You can stay at The National Hotel in Frenchtown for $179 a night or the Widow McCrea house for anywhere from $145 to $365 a night, depending on the room.

Where to eat: For breakfast and lunch, stop by Frenchtown Café, Frenchtown Fresh or Perfect Day Café. For dinner, visit fiona’s, Napoli Pizza & Italian Restaurant or Bamboo House.

What to do: Go shopping at specialty shops that line Bridge and Race Streets, such as the Sunbeam General Store or The Frenchtown Bookshop, or visit one of Frenchtown’s many antique shops. You can also explore the D&R Canal State Park, which runs along the Delaware River.

Princeton

While Princeton is a bustling hub for University life and events, the area offers visitors the intimacy of a small town and an abundance of cultural richness through small businesses. Known as one of the country’s most historic communities, Princeton is filled with historic landmarks, like Princeton Battlefield State Park, the Albert Einstein house, Nassau Hall and St. Paul’s Catholic Church. The Yankee Doodle Tap Room has a mural painted by Norman Rockwell. You’ll also find cobblestone streets and brick Tudor Revival buildings.

Where to stay: You can stay at the Princeton Marriott at Forrestal for $181 a night, the Inn at Glencairn Princeton for $219 a night or The Peacock Inn for $240 a night.

Where to eat: For breakfast and lunch, stop by PJ’s Pancake House, the Princetonian Diner, Midpoint Breakfast and Grill or The Pastry & Coffee Room. For dinner, visit Winberie’s Restaurant & Bar, The Meeting House, Agricola Eatery or the Witherspoon Grill.

What to do: Explore the picturesque Princeton University campus, and stop by famous spots like the Princeton University Art Museum and the Princeton University Chapel. You can also shop along Princeton’s quiet downtown area, or walk along the historic Princeton Battlefield State Park.

Maddie McGay is the real estate reporter for NorthJersey.com and The Record, covering all things worth celebrating about living in North Jersey. Find her on Instagram @maddiemcgay, on X @maddiemcgayy, and sign up for her North Jersey Living newsletter. Do you have a tip, trend or terrific house she should know about? Email her at MMcGay@gannett.com.

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