New Jersey has a treasure trove of delightful secrets, just waiting to be discovered. I did my research and tried to find some of the most interesting, spread throughout the state. If you’re a regular reader, you may recognize a few, but I’ve included several secrets that have not yet been featured – a few I just unearthed myself!
1. A secret garden hidden between highways
These gorgeous gardens are located in New Brunswick, just minutes from the Turnpike and nestled under Route 1 exit ramps. Rutgers Gardens are home to America's second largest collection of holly, and they have their own farmers market featuring some of the freshest fruit in Jersey.
2. Sinatra's Towel
Located in White House Sub Shop in Atlantic City, enjoy a spectacular sandwich, celebrity memorabilia and famous guests.
3. Women's Federation Monument
This beautiful tower overlooks the Hudson River from atop the Palisades Cliffs. It commemorates the role of the New Jersey Women's Federation in preserving the natural beauty of the cliffs. It is a scenic spot, perfect for picnics and photo opportunities.
4. The Haddonfield dinosaur
The first full dinosaur skeleton to be found in North America was discovered in 1858 in Haddonfield. While the skeleton is on display in Philadelphia, Downtown Haddonfield offers a life-size model, along with great places to dine and shop!
5. New Jersey Craft Beer Club
Yearly membership usually costs $25, but is being offered now for just $15. Perks include discounts at bars, clubs, pubs and liquor stores - you can even save on food. Deals range from $1 off a drink to 10% off your order.
6. The world's oldest magic shop
Once owned by Houdini, Martinka has been in business for over 130 years. They operate as a shop and museum, offering autographs, tricks and memorabilia. Guests are welcome to buy, sell or simply explore the Midland Park store during business hours: 12 - 5:30, Tuesday through Friday.
7. Windmill Hot Dogs
Delicious dogs, a unique building and just minutes from the beach in Long Branch!
8. Hackensack River Eco-Cruises
The Hackensack River may seem like a strange spot for a cruise, but you're sure to be surprised by the wildlife and beautiful scenery!
9. The secret menu at Jersey Mike's
Though this shop isn't just a Jersey chain, it got its start in Manasquan, and there are 49 locations in the state. Try the Cancro Special, with roast beef, provolone, and pepperoni, all grilled and toasted until the cheese is melted. Yum!
10. Sybil's Cave
Located in Hoboken, this cave was once a popular tourist attraction, but is now gated off. Still, the site has some interesting history - an unsolved murder here inspired Edgar Allen Poe's "The Mystery of Marie Roget." Though the cave is closed, you can still see the exterior while walking along the waterfront.
11. Duke Farms
This gorgeous estate in Hillsborough is free to the public and offers a wide range of activities - walk the gardens, hunt for a geocache, stop at the cafe or participate in the bike share program!
12. Coffee that's out of this world
If you're a regular reader, you're probably aware of the Grover's Mill alien invasion scare of 1938. I've covered the monument in a previous article, but recently discovered this alien-themed coffee shop. It's dedicated to the Halloween radio broadcast of War of the Worlds, which people mistakenly took as fact.
I’ve lived in New Jersey all my life, but I’m sure there are many secrets I have yet to discover. Do you know of any incredible shops, restaurants, museums or attractions? Share your favorites in the comments for part two!