Do you find yourself daydreaming about the long weekend? Are you gearing up for a fantastic Memorial Day? Does the unofficial start of summer have your mind adrift thinking of sun, surf, and your toes in the sand? If your answer is yes, then this post is for you! It won’t be long before families make their annual pilgrimage to New Jersey's famed shoreline to kick off summer 2017. Before you make a break for the beach, I've come up with a handful of fun things to do to jazz up your weekend and add to your fun-in-the-sun agenda.
While I look forward to summer days spent at the Jersey Shore, I can get a bit impatient waiting in Parkway traffic to get there. The last couple of years, Brant and I have chosen to spend our time in other places to ring in the start of summer. Don't get me wrong, I long all year for the smell of saltwater in my hair and the unbelievable sunsets on Long Beach Island, but these days, in an effort to stay out of the hustle and bustle, Brant and I have found adventure in a handful of places in and around the tristate area.
I probably have mentioned that I am a walking conundrum. I love the fast pace movement of the city but also enjoy retiring to my quite home base. That said, Brant and I have put together a list of places to visit that satisfy both lifestyles. For the last few Memorial Day Weekends we have chosen to spend a night or two in NYC. We find that the city empties on major summer holidays and we are left with mid-town Manhattan all to ourselves. I remember a few years ago walking down Madison Avenue and not seeing a single soul for two blocks! Can you imagine? What's better is that you have your pick of restaurants and bars with practically no wait time. We also like to stroll through Washington Square Park in the Village and grab ice cream along the way or stop for a drink and side of oysters at the Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant. And while you are there you can expect to pay very little for a hotel room! Check out the app Hotel Tonight for great deals and definitely make sure to utilize OpenTable for reservations.
If the city isn't for you, then take a drive to Lambertville. Brant and I have enjoyed many afternoons walking around the downtown, crossing the New Hope- Lambertville Bridge which spans the beautiful Delaware River. There is so much to do... think hiking, antique shopping, art galleries, and lots of great restaurants nestled on the River. And while you are there make sure to check out New Hope which boasts beautiful parks, a winery, and more!
If you are headed south, make a pitstop in Princeton! It is one of my absolute favorites and for good reason; it was the location where my husband and I met and got engaged. I feel like it is my second home and I love to wander the downtown. If you are looking for something fun and different, I'd highly recommend taking the drive. For one, Princeton is so historic. If history is what you seek, check out Battlefield State Park or the Princeton Cemetery (which is every bit as beautiful as the downtown). While you are there check out the burial site of President Grover Cleveland and the third Vice President of the United States Aaron Burr Jr. If you like to hike or want to take in scenic views, Carnegie Lake is one of my all time favorite spots. If you so desire, kayak rentals are available. If you aren't a fan of the water, bring your bike and go for a ride along the river.
Also, If you are a foodie (like me) then check out the downtown. With the selection that Princeton boasts it's no doubt you will find something to get your tastebuds watering. Once you have filled up on good eats take a walk around Princeton University campus and stop in Small World Coffee and grab yourself a latte. Trust, you'll thank me afterward.
And finally, if your weekend plans do in fact bring you to the beach add the following to your list of possibilities...
Wildwoods International Kite Festival- May 26-29: Set up chairs on the beach and enjoy the largest kite festival in North America.
Bradley Beach Memorial Day Weekend Festival- May 27-29: Food, drink and craft vendors set up on the Ocean Avenue Promenade for the three-day festival. Honor our servicemen and women at Saturday’s parade at 10 am. Jam out with live entertainment from Marel Hidalgo & The Stone Feather Band (Sat), Gas House Gorillas (Sun) and The VooDUDES (Mon).
Jersey Shore Food Truck Festival- May 27-29: Bring your appetite to this festival featuring 40 mouthwatering trucks serving treats including empanadas, egg rolls, clams casino, lobster rolls, pierogies and cobbler. Watch live racing at the Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport and listen to country music deejayed by Rockin’ Thunder 106.3 FM. Times and prices: Sat & Sun, 11 am-5:30 pm; Mon, 11:30 am-5:30 pm; $5.
Wherever your travels take you, I hope you make it a good one! Cheers!