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  • Julianna Sweeney

Looking At Home As If You Were A Tourist

Living in a small town, it can be pretty easy to fall into the traps of "I'm bored" and "there's nothing to do around here."

I'm not sure what particular moment sparked the realization in my mind, but somewhere along my travels this year, I realized that I'm just traveling to the homes of other people!

Being in the same place all your life, you tend to become immune to what's around you - "The grass is greener" over there sort of thing. This was definitely the case for me! So I started thinking, "If someone were traveling to my little hometown of Stewartsville NJ, what would I tell them to do and where would I recommend for them to go?" And then, Tyler helped me take it a step further with asking "What are the things you want to do whenever we visit."

Note: Some of the places mentioned are in Pennsylvania since we live right on the border.

Thus, this master list of "things-to-do-if-you-find-yourself-in-small-town-Warren-County-NJ" was born:

Places To Eat

  • Greenwich Deli (2 mins from home) - this little hole in the wall deli is one of our go-to's. Be sure to say "hi" to George when you're there!

  • Boonton Bagels and Gourmet Deli (40 mins from home) - Tyler and I would always stop to charge in the parking lot near this place on the drive to and from each other's parents houses. Some of our all-time favorite breakfast sammies (make sure to try pork roll egg and cheese ;)

  • PicNic (50 mins from home) - some of the best tasting (and best priced) Portuguese food you'll get on this side of the big pond

  • Sette Luna (15 mins from home) - delicious authentic Italian food at a really fair price

  • Nicolosi's Pizza (10 mins from home) - if you're looking for an amazing slice of pizza, this is your place. Cash only!

  • Toby's Cup (10 mins from home)- the classic Phillipsburg hot dog joint. Simple orders only.

  • Tokyo Sushi (15 mins from home) - if you want great priced sushi without compromising on taste or quality, this is your place!

  • Stoke Coal Fire Pizza and Bar (15 mins from home) - ask for the stoke wings, trust me

  • 3rd and Ferry Fish Market (15 mins from home) - seafood done right

  • Three Oak Steakhouse (15 mins from home) - personally some of the best steak I've ever had. This place is definitely pricey though and you'll also want to dress in your Sunday best.

  • Mesa Modern Mexican (15 mins from home) - a modern take on traditional Mexican cuisine. Fairly priced and delicious!

Coffee/Breakfast/Brunch Spots

  • ThreeBirds Coffee House (15 mins from home) - some of my favorite coffee around. My go-to order is cappuccino with almond milk. The building is a beautifully renovated 1960s mini mansion. They've also got delicious locally baked bread and treats.

  • Quadrant Book Mart & Coffee House (15 mins from home) - delicious coffee and fresh breakfast from house made and locally sourced ingredients. They've also got 2 floors of old books to check out upstairs that are available for purchase!

  • The State Cafe and Grill (15 mins from home) - this place has some of the most fluffy pancakes of all time. I'd say I crave them about once a week lol. Awesome breakfast and simple coffee.

  • Diner 248 (20 mins from home) - get there early and you'll be pleasantly surprised with one of the most delicious brunches you've had

  • Arcos Pastry & Deli (1 hour from home) - one of the best Portuguese bakery and delis you'll ever see this side of the big pond

Ice Cream Shops

  • Rita's (2 mins from home) - it's a chain, but it's one of the hot spots around town

  • Home Plate Dairy (7 mins from home) - this little ice cream stand is yummy and family-owned. They're only open in the summer

  • Bank Street Creamery (15 mins from home) - this little shop is so creamy and delicious. All 120 flavors are handcrafted and rotated on a regular basis.

  • Owowcow Creamery (15 mins from home) - this ice cream shop makes handcrafted flavors that are made from scratch on the daily. They also utilize local organic and natural ingredients that support local agriculture.

  • Ice Cream Junction (7 mins from home) - Phillipsburg's own ice cream spot features Hershey's ice cream and serves up traditional ice cream creations


Attractions/Misc. Activities

  • Six Flags Great Adventure/Hurricane Harbor

  • Turtle Back Zoo

  • Atlantic City/The Boardwalk

  • Liberty State Park

  • Ellis Island

  • Cape May Historic District

  • Adventure Aquarium

  • Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum

  • Howell Living History Farm

  • Morristown Game Vault

  • Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park

  • Beaches at the Jersey Shore

  • Cape May County Park & Zoo

  • Sterling Hill Mining Museum

  • Liberty Science Center

  • Battleship New Jersey

  • Barnegat Lighthouse State Park

  • Newark Museum of Art

  • Frenchtown

  • The American Dream Mall

  • Hoboken

  • Monmouth Park Race Track

  • Jersey Shore Premium Outlets

  • The Poconos, PA

  • Easton, PA

  • Bethlehem, PA

  • Prudential Center

  • NJ Performing Arts Center

...just to name a few!

I definitely suggest trying to list as many as you can for your home base. It was such a fun and eye opening exercise. Next time anyone from home asks for fun things to do I'll send this post to them (and I'll most likely use it myself whenever I visit and don't know what to do).

Hope this helps you find some fun things to do and kick your "there's nothing to do" attitude!

Sending love always,


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