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May 6, 2011

Rocking and rolling (hills) in NJ

by Geoff Grant

New Jersey has some great little towns, and thanks to some great friends — thanks again, John & Cathy — we’ll be headed to a few of those soon on our way to spending the night at the Bernards Inn in Bernardsville.

John emailed some suggestions. First, that we get a coffee — as if Lynn and I need that suggestion — “and then go and get lost on all the winding, shade-dappled country roads between Bernardsville, Gladstone and Peapack, Chester and Mendham. It’s all rolling hills, giant estates, horse farms and small towns. Feels like a million miles from New York.

“Chester has a lively little downtown with antique shops jammed on weekends. Long Valley is shady and tiny, but has a brewery on the hill above the road that has a big patio – a nice place for an afternoon beer on a 70-degree day. Oldwick and Tewksbury Township are places that we go apple and pumpkin picking every fall, and the type of place that you go and imagine, just for a few minutes, moving to like Chevy Chase in “Funny Farm.” If you get up to Morristown, it’s much bigger than the others, but has a central green and some cool shops and restaurants. You can do some history at nearby Jockey Hollow, a national historic park where Washington housed his troops through a couple of revolutionary winters. Mendham is the home of Chris Christie. Curse him while you drive through.”

Who needs a Lonely Planet guide with friends like John, right? Oddly enough, it’s Cathy who is actually the travel agent. And by the way, who really writes “shade-dappled” in their emails?

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