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!
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
Merrill Creek Reservoir (15 mins from home)
Musconetcong Gorge Loop Trailhead (15 mins from home)
Gollub Park (20 mins from home)
Riegelsville Walking/Bike Trail (20 mins from home)
Natural Lands' Mariton Wildlife Sanctuary (15 mins from home)
Roaring Rock Park (20 mins from home)
Cherry Creek Crossing Loop Trail (25 mins from home)
Mt Tammany Red Dot Trail (25 mins from home)
Voorhees State Park (30 mins)
Jenny Jump State Forest (36 mins from home)
Hacklebarney State Park (42 mins from home)
Stephens State Park (30 mins from home)
Washington Crossing State Park (1 hour from home)
Kittatinny Valley State Park (40 mins from home)
Liberty State Park (1 hour from home)
Six Flags Great Adventure/Hurricane Harbor
Turtle Back Zoo
Atlantic City/The Boardwalk
Liberty State Park
Cape May Historic District
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
The American Dream Mall
Monmouth Park Race Track
Jersey Shore Premium Outlets
The Poconos, PA
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,