A weekend in Hunterdon County


The garden at Main Street Manor, in Flemington, New Jersey.

by Linda Perney

You could do a lot worse than spend a weekend in New Jersye's Hunterdon County. This is the absolute antithesis of the notion that New Jersey is nothing but interstates and industry.

Instead, there are stone walls, deep woods, and the Delaware River itself, a perfect place to go canoeing or just plain walking along the banks. In the small river towns, shops carry everything from pricey antiques and original paintings to kitschy souvenirs. And if it's bargains you're after, there are the discount malls. The dining scene is equally varied, with fine restaurants and an equal number of fast-food establishments as well as places to get a tasty salad, sandwich, or burger.

WHERE TO STAY: Flemington is an historic town in the area, chockablock with great architecture. In town, the Main Street Manor is an exercise in Victoriana, with rooms that are decorated with floral wallpapers, old-fashioned iron bedsteads, and plenty of lace. If the weather stays warm, the front porch is a fine place to relax with a newspaper after breakfast in the carefully restored dining room. What makes it all the more appealing for New Yorkers is that you don't even have to drive to get there: Just catch the Trans-Bridge bus out of Port Authority, and get off at Liberty Village; you're then within a five-minute walk of the inn. ($125-$195; 194 Main Street Flemington, NJ; 908-782-4928)

WHERE TO EAT: For a simple lunch, pick up the makings of a picnic and head to Washington's Crossing State Park; eat lunch along the Delaware, then walk off the calories with a hike through the park.. For the most romantic dinner of all, head across the river to the Inn at Phillips Mill, on the outskirts of New Hope. If you're lucky, you'll get a seat near the fireplace on the glass-enclosed terrace, and chow down on classic French country cooking. (Expect to pay between $35 and $50 at dinner; 2590 River Road, New Hope; 215-862-9919)

WHERE TO EAT: For a simple lunch, pick up the makings of a picnic and head to Washington's Crossing State Park; eat lunch along the Delaware, then walk off the calories with a hike through the park.. For the most romantic dinner of all, head across the river to the Inn at Phillips Mill, on the outskirts of New Hope. If you're lucky, you'll get a seat near the fireplace on the glass-enclosed terrace, and chow down on classic French country cooking. (Expect to pay between $35 and $50 at dinner; 2590 River Road, New Hope; 215-862-9919)

WHAT TO DO: Plan a trip to Duke Farms, once the country estate of heiress Doris Duke, with its gardens -- including an Japanese garden -- and greenhouses (80 Route 206 South, Hillsborough, New Jersey; 908-722-3700). Shoppers can check out the stores and galleries in Lambertville for antiques, books, jewelry, and unusual clothing, and cross the Delaware into New Hope for even more shopping. In Flemington itself, there are the discount stores at Liberty Village, in case you're looking for a bargain. There are more bargains at the Flemington Glass Outlet, which has great prices on crystal, cut glass, and some dishware.

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