Thanks to advances in mapping technology (“Street View” in Google Maps can take you almost anywhere) and the invention of the GPS, you can technically find most of these places on a map…but they’re all unique, lesser known New Jersey gems. If you’re local, you may know about a few, but I’m hoping you discover something new.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Museum Of Early Trades & Crafts - 9 Main Street, Madison
This charming museum preserves the past in a unique way. Learn all about life in New Jersey, with a focus on the skills needed to survive - like woodworking, farming, pottery making and more. See tools of the trade and enjoy interactive programs for both children and adults.
2. Yankee Doodle Tap Room - 10 Palmer Square E, Princeton
The Nassau Inn is a lovely place to stay, but perhaps lovelier is its on-site restaurant. The Yankee Doodle Tap Room is loaded with history and is home to the world's largest Norman Rockwell mural.
3. Statue Of Liberty Replica - 10 High Street, Butler
Why is there an 8-foot Statue Of Liberty standing on the balcony of Butler's police station? It may have something to do with the fact that the town's namesake, Richard Butler, was good friends with the statue's builder and designer - Frederic August Bartholdi. The rubber magnate also raised money to construct Lady Liberty's base.
4. Diggerland XL - 100 Pinedge Drive, West Berlin
I've mentioned Diggerland in the past, but you probably haven't heard of its newest attraction. Diggerland XL is made especially for adults, offering full size, unrestricted construction equipment. You'll get 1 on 1 instruction from a heavy machinery foreman... and the ride of your life. Of course, this is also an amazing place to take kids, and they're even offering a Boyscout overnight in April.
5. Ballantine House - 49 Washington Street, Newark
Part of the Newark Museum, this 1885 home is a National Historic Landmark. It features a mix of galleries and restored rooms and is an absolute delight during the holiday season. Step back in time and enjoy a historically accurate 19th century Christmas.
6. Howling Woods Farm - 1371 W Veterans Highway, Jackson
I've already sung the praises of Lakota Wolf Preserve, but we've got another incredible rescue in the Garden State. Howling Woods Farm is home to stunning wolf/dog hybrids, some of which are up for adoption. Guests are able to interact with these beautiful animals and even pose for pictures. Tours are available by appointment only and they are able to accommodate groups.
7. Winslow Junction - Spring Road, Winslow Township
Just minutes from Hammonton, the blueberry capital of the world, lies an eerie train graveyard. Featured in "The Station Agent," this was a bustling depot until 1922, when a tragic accident killed 7 and injured dozens. There are train cars scattered about, in various states of disrepair.
8. Grover Cleveland Birthplace & Museum - 207 Bloomfield Avenue, Caldwell
You'll find the nation's largest collection of Grover Cleveland artifacts right here in New Jersey. This state historic site is open year-round (Wednesday-Sunday), free of charge and offers informative tours that will delight any history buff. See Grover Cleveland's crib, learn about his life and play authentic 1830s games. A fun fact about Grover Cleveland... Grover was his middle name. Visit this house museum to find out his first. (Okay, it's Stephen...but, you should still visit.)
9. Aviation Hall Of Fame - 400 Fred Wehran Drive, Teterboro
You may be familiar with the aviation museum at Naval Air Station Wildwood, but you may not yet know about this intriguing museum tucked away behind a local airport. Learn all about the technology behind and history of flight and get up close to aircraft. Visit during an open cockpit day for a truly unique experience, book a party or take a scouting group for an overnight they won't forget.
10. Pub 199 - 199 Howard Boulevard, Mount Arlington
This dining-hall style eatery decked out in hunting trophies isn't anything fancy... but it IS delicious and affordable. All the seafood is fresh, portions are generous, the king crab is epic and the service is spectacular. Reviewers can't stop raving about this seafood spot - see why for yourself. One visit and you'll be...hooked.
11. Peters Valley School Of Craft - 19 Kuhn Road, Layton
What started as a small artist’s colony decades ago grew into a spectacular non-profit, managed in part by the National Park Service. Peters Valley offers classes covering eight different disciplines, helping to preserve history and fine craftsmanship. Enjoy a self guided studio tour or visit to the gallery - they're free from May - September. An open house on May 7th will also feature live music and artist demonstrations.
12. The Biggest Buddha In The Western Hemisphere - 4299 Route 27, Princeton
This stunning sculpture located at the New Jersey Buddhist Vihara and Meditation Center is believed to be the largest statue of Buddha in America and all of the western hemisphere. They encourage visitors of all faiths and offer classes in Buddhism, guided meditations and a variety of celebrations.
What other unique, lesser-known attractions would you add to this list? For more to explore, check out this list of
12 Roadside Attractions In New Jersey.