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The Gateway

The Gateway

We’ll start at the top. Culturally diverse and influenced by its proximity to glitzy Manhattan, the Gateway Region spans northeastern New Jersey. It’s just a train ride to NYC from most towns in the area, meaning that you can combine a city escape with some of the Gateway’s own attractions (the region is a hotbed for colonial history lovers especially).

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Do: Visit the clifftop park and Revolutionary War encampment at Fort Lee Historic Park, just south of the George Washington Bridge. Historical reenactments offer immersive, kid-friendly fun, and plenty of picnic areas come with skyline views. You can also tour Washington’s headquarters at Morristown National Historic Park. Or step inside one of America’s greatest minds at Thomas Edison’s home and laboratory.

Stay: The Castle at Skylands Manor in Ringwood is a grand 54-room Tudor Revival manse surrounded by gardens. Timbered walls, stone chimneys and a lakeview chapel make this inn feel like a fairy tale. No wonder it’s a popular place for weddings.

 

 

Skylands

Skylands

Welcome to the country. The Skylands region in northwest New Jersey is rugged, a collection of state parks and rivers that bisect rolling farmland. With pristine forests and hiking trails aplenty all within a day’s drive of New York City, it’s an outdoorsy paradise.

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Do: Hit the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge for birdwatching, Worthington National Forest for camping, or the Appalachian Trail along Sunrise Mountain and High Point (it’s a strenuous hike to 1800 feet above sea level!) High Point State Park has a lake and miles of walking, biking, and cross-country-ski trails. For a change of pace, visit the area’s many farms and vineyards. Pick fresh produce, sample local wines, or pop into Tassot Apiaries for fresh honey. Who knew New Jersey could be so wild and bountiful?

Stay: The Whistling Swan Inn in Stanhope is all Victorian elegance, handily providing hybrid and mountain bikes for guest use on nearby trails, plus a Tesla charging station for your other ride.

You may gasp at the in-room goodies found at Tamaracks Country Villa, from a majestic copper soaking tub in the Atelier Artist’s Studio to the round Florentine fireplace of the Davanzatti Library.

 

Delaware River

Delaware River

Sure, there’s plenty more historical sites along New Jersey’s southwestern side. (This is where Washington crossed the river, after all.) But here too are stylish, elegant B&Bs just beyond the Philadelphia city limits, found in small towns with upscale shops and culture.

Do: With its namesake university at its core, Princeton is itself the focal point of the area. Catch a music or dance performance, tour a gallery or sculpture garden, or shop the local bookstores and boutiques. Just 15 minutes away in bucolic Hopewell (some call it the Vermont of New Jersey), spend a day hunting for high-end antiques before a bite at award-winning Brick Farm Tavern. Or cross the river into art-crazy and eclectic New Hope.

Stay: Right in Princeton, the Inn at Glencairn is a meticulously redone manor known for its five modern rooms and decadent three-course breakfasts that end with java truffles.

The 19th-century stone farmhouse of the Chimney Hill Estate Inn is packed with amenities, from complimentary wine and cheese in the fireside sun room to a baby grand piano in the luxurious living room.

 

 

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The Jersey Shore

The Jersey Shore

Say it like a local: You don't go to the shore, you go down the Shore.

New Jersey's crown jewel remains its 130 miles of Atlantic coastline, spanning from Sandy Hook to Cape May, much of it public beach, is home to sunbathers and surfers, birdwatchers and cardsharps. The region is broken up into three main sections: Greater Atlantic City; the northern shore; and the southern shore. Each has its own exceptional vibe but together they make up the undisputed crown jewel of Jersey.

 

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Atlantic City

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It’s the Las Vegas of the East, but with a decidedly saltier air. The neon lights and ching-ching-ching of slot machines draw crowds to Atlantic City’s casinos. Yet if your interests are more “boardwalk” than “blackjack,” A.C. still has you covered. Its historical promenade is lined with attractions, arcades, shows, and shops. No trip down the Shore is complete without snagging a box of saltwater taffy. Fralinger’s is still the creme de la creme in A.C.

The Carisbrooke Inn is just two miles away, close to the casino action but well-placed in clean, quaint Ventnor. Guests rave about the evening reception with homemade goodies like fresh fruit gelato.

 

 

Shore Region

Shore Region

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Rows of brightly colored beach umbrellas, stretching as far as the eye can see. Boardwalk fries. Airbrushed tee shirts. Midway games. This is iconic Jersey Shore, from family-friendly Point Pleasant and Seaside Heights to Asbury Park -- of Bruce Springsteen fame -- to the many other beaches spanning Monmouth and Ocean counties. There’s more than just waves here: On rainy days, check out quirky spots like the vintage Silverball Pinball Museum and Jenkinson’s Aquarium.

The Majestic Hotel is located in Ocean Grove, minutes from Asbury Park. All the rooms are airy and contemporary, but only the penthouse suite has 360-degree views, a private balcony, and kitchenette -- great for family getaways.

Point Pleasant’s top option is The Tower Cottage, a romantic and refined Queen Anne. It’s a short five-block walk from the NJT that links you directly to Penn Station!

 

Southern Shore

Southern Shore

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The Mission Inn is one of BedandBreakfast.com’s most reviewed properties, and one glance tells you why. Expect al fresco living, from the pergola to the patio, with hand-painted murals and intricate tilework, sweeping verandas and Spanish Mission style throughout.

If you want to walk right out to the beach, the Rhythm of the Sea is your spot in the sun. Beachfront guest rooms? Check. Sun-soaked front porch? Check. Warm service and hot breakfasts from innkeepers Wolfgang and Robyn? Check and check.

 

 

 

—by Dara Continenza

 

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