Looking for places to visit within a 2-3 hour drive from Northern New Jersey? Here are some places that my husband and I have visited over the past years that we enjoyed. Most of these places are appropriate for adults and children ages 8 and above (though I have included a few for the preschool set). Have a great time!!
Grover Cleveland Birthplace—Caldwell, NJ (clevelandbirthplace.org)—Come see the birthplace of the 22nd and 24th president of the United States. Interesting place to spend an hour or so.
Imagine That—Florham Park, NJ (imaginethatmuseum.com)—an indoor, interactive children’s museum with model trains, play supermarket, helicopter, fire truck, car, pirate ship, etc. Good for preschoolers. Teaneck Residents: You can sign up for free passes from the Teaneck Public Library.
Morris Museum—Morristown, NJ (morrismuseum.org)—a small museum with interesting exhibits and a theater. This summer there are two special exhibits: Toothpick World by Stan Munro (buildings such as Yankee Stadium, the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal and more all made out of toothpicks) and a large electric model train exhibit.
Morristown National Park—Morristown, NJ (nps.gov/morr & morristourism.org)—If you’d like to see where George Washington and his army spent the winter of 1779-’80, this is the place. I haven’t been here in many years, but I remember three main sights: Jockey Hollow (where the soldiers camped out), Ford Mansion (Washington’s headquarters) and Fort Nonsense.
Sterling Hill Mining Museum—Ogdensburg, NJ (sterlinghillminingmuseum.org)—This is an old zinc mine that has been made visitor friendly. You actually go down into the mine and see how the zinc was extracted. The “Rainbow Room” of fluorescent rocks is amazing. Underneath it is a constant 50 degrees—a nice, cool place on a hot summer day.
New Jersey State Capitol (njleg.state.nj.us)—seat of the government of the state of New Jersey. Come find out the source of the names of many of the streets in West Englewood.
World War II Memorial—two walls full of pictures and timelines of the war in Europe and the war in the Pacific (did you know that German U-boats were sunk off the coast of NJ?).
Old Barracks Museum (barracks.org)—originally built to house British soldiers fighting the French and Indian War, they later became the winter quarters for the British soldiers during the Revolutionary War. Learn all about how Washington turned defeat into victory when he attacked the soldiers in December of 1776.
Trenton Thunder (trentonthunder.com)—a NY Yankees AA team—lots of fun if you like baseball.
Howe Caverns (Howecaverns.com)—about a half hour drive from downtown Albany. The tour and boat ride are awesome—a real natural wonder.
Hudson Valley (hudsonrivervalley.com)
Gomez Mill House—Marlboro, NY (Gomez.org)—the oldest Jewish home still standing in America, it was the winter home of the Gomez family from NYC (think the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue).
Hyde Park—Hyde Park, NY (historichydepark.org)—Home of Franklin Roosevelt. He was the 32nd president of the U.S., elected four times. The FDR Presidential Library and Museum are here. There are wonderful exhibits about his life and career in public service.
Kedem Winery Tasting Room—Marlboro, NY (kedemwinery.com)—you can taste various Kedem wines here. Check the website to see if there are any coupons to be used to purchase wine.
Prospect Hill Orchards and other Pick-Your-Own Orchards—Milton, NY -We went peach picking at Prospect Hill, but they also have cherries, pears and apples. There are also places to pick strawberries and blueberries. Check to see what is in season.
Once Upon a Treetop—Plainview, NY (onceuponatreetop.com)—an interactive children’s museum/indoor playground. No food allowed inside, but Hunki’s, a kosher pizza restaurant, is not too far away.
Sagamore Hill—Oyster Bay, NY (nps.gov/sahi/inde.htm)—home of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the U.S. He was a naturalist, soldier, hunter and politician, and his home reflects his varied interests.
Flight 93 Memorial—Shanksville, PA (nps.gov.fini)—this is where United Flight 93 crashed on 9/11, brought down by the passengers overpowering the terrorists. While not worth a trip just to see this, if you are going west and can stop by, it is quite moving. It tells the chronology of what happened that day as well as little biographies of the passengers and crew. There are grave markers for all of them.
Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm—Stroudsburg, PA (quietvalley.org)—what makes this farm from the 1800s so unique is that the interpreters all portray members of the family who lived on this farm. You really feel like a visitor in their homes as they go about their daily lives. There is a wagon ride and farm animals and activities to participate in.
Mashantucket Pequot Museum—Mashantucket, CT (pequotmuseum.org) (adjacent to the Foxwoods Casino property)—the best museum about Native Americans you can find. You can walk through a 1600s Native American village, see a film about the war between the Pequot Indians and the new English settlers, view an interactive diorama of a winter hunt and more.
Mystic Aquarium—Mystic, CT (mysticaquarium.org)
Mystic Seaport: The Museum of America and the Sea—Mystic, CT (mysticseaport.org)—a re-creation of what this seaside community was like in the 1800s. Besides the shops and buildings, you can go on actual ships and boats. Lots of hands-on activities and demonstrations.
Niantic Book Barn—Niantic, CT (bookbarnniantic.com)—Bring old books that you want to get rid of and use the credits (or just buy) used books here. They have EVERYTHING, either in the barn or at one of their two storefront stores in downtown Niantic.
Battleship Cove—Fall River, MA (Battleshipcove.org)—has a variety of decommissioned World War II battleships, submarine, PT boats and more that you can explore.
Lizzie Borden House—Fall River, MA (lizzie-borden.com)—see the house and learn the background of this 1892 murder mystery—did Lizzie murder her parents or not?
Old Sturbridge Village—Sturbridge, MA (OSV.ORG)—a Restoration Village of life in the 1830s. One of the best!