Sayen House & Gardens is a charming estate and botanical garden located in Hamilton, NJ. While the house is now used primarily for weddings, the grounds are open to all and make for a delightful stroll on a nice day. The estate was created in 1912, when Frederick Sayen, owner of the nearby Mercer Rubber … Continue reading Stop and Smell the Flowers→
The Laurie Chauncey Trail (“LCT”) is a gorgeous, 2 mile loop around the fringes of the ETS Campus. It stands next to the Ettl Farm Trail (“EFT”), a second loop, which adds some scenic variations and another mile or so of hiking. Both trails track along Stony Brook, a fairly considerable stream that drains much of Hopewell Township and Princeton before joining up with the Millstone in West Windsor. These trails are relatively flat with just enough undulation to be interesting.
On May 16, 2015, we’ll be joining the Trenton Council of Civic Associations for a “small plate” restaurant crawl through Chambersburg, sampling the best of the Latino Revival, as well as some of the area’s wondrous Italian food and richly flavored Jamaican cuisine. Each of the twelve restaurants we will visit will be serving a special menu of appetizer sized small plates (for $3-$5), featuring the best of their menu. Tickets to the event are $10/adult at the day of the event, and $7 in advance (kids under 12 can get a free ticket with the purchase of an adult ticket–and uniformed police, fire, EMS, and Dept of Corrections officers will also be given free tickets). Tickets will give you parking assistance, a guidebook and map of the restaurants, and access to those special small plates. You can explore on your own or travel as a group, and you can visit the restaurants for lunch and dinner anytime between 11AM-8PM. Any profits from ticket sales will be donated to a local charity. If you haven’t tried gooey pupusas, pillowy sopes and huaraches, fragrant callaloo, and luscious Trenton guacamole, this is your chance. It’s not your momma’s Italian food (except here, which is exactly your momma’s Italian food!).
For beginning to intermediate hikers, Hacklebarney gives you a taste of what wilderness hiking is all about. The Park is truly beautiful, with trails that overlook tiny, pristine brooks that still support wild native trout (the brook trout), and descend through dense woods towards the Black River. Kids will love the streams and the rock formations. (Driving time is a little over an hour; rated Beginner to Intermediate depending on the trails you select)
Hartshorne Woods is a magical place for walking or mountain biking (or fishing or birding), located on the highest coastal escarpment on the Atlantic seaboard south of Maine. A little over an hour from Trenton, east of Red Bank, and opposite Sandy Hook, it makes a wonderful half-day excursion in its own right, or combined with a half-day at the beach. Kids will love the lush terrain so close to the ocean, and the military anachronisms such as the WWII pillboxes (Driving time is about 75 minutes; Rated Intermediate for cumulative elevation gain)
Bowman’s Hill has changed my life. Truly. If you read these pages at all regularly, you know I am an avid outdoorsman and hiker. But until I spent a couple of hours getting a guided tour of the Preserve in mid-April, I’d never focused on wildflowers. Now, whenever I go out for a walk (which is often) I can’t get them out of my consciousness. (Driving time is about 25 minutes; suitable for Beginner walkers)
Part of the Monmouth County Park System, Clayton Park is an easy 25-minute shot from Trenton (off I-195 Exit 11). It’s absolutely lovely, featuring 8 miles of trails through a mixed habitat of mature hardwood forest, wetlands, and fields. The topography is rolling hills…there’s no more than a hundred feet or so of elevation gain at any one climb, but you can string together a few of those climbs to improve the aerobic value. More popular as a MTB trail than as a hiking trail, but both activites are lovely. (Driving time is just about 30 minutes, Rated for Beginner to Intermediate cyclists or hikers depending on where you go).
What’s the closest place to Trenton to get in a reasonable hike? The answer’s simple: Washington Crossing State Park (the NJ Park, not its counterpart on the PA side). It’s only about 8 miles from downtown, a straight shot up Rt. 29 (or you can cycle up the D&R canal, if you’re truly ambitious). (Driving time is about 15 minutes; Rated for beginner to intermediate hikers depending on where you go).
It’s the weekend, and you’ve been sitting like a slug for too long. You want a walk in the country, but your mother-in-law is coming over for dinner, and you’ve really only got an hour. What can you do? Walk the Levees! (No driving required as this walk is in town; Rated for Beginner walkers)