New Jersey isn’t known for its skiing. We haven’t had a wide selection of great ski towns over the years (think Telluride and Stowe) but we do have Vernon. Thousands of visitors flock to Mountain Creek each year, many overlooking the town it calls home. You may be surprised to learn that Vernon has more to offer than the Burger King on NJ-94. Here are a few reasons to take a trip to Vernon.
1. The Skiing
The most obvious reason to visit a ski town is the skiing. Skiing at Vernon's Mountain Creek does not disappoint. You'll find 167 skiable acres across 4 mountain peaks and opportunities for night skiing as the park is fully lighted. Enjoy dozens of trails including several in the terrain park where you can try your hand at jumps and tricks. The winter season also offers a snow tubing park, one of the largest in North America.
2. Year-Round Fun
You don't need to wait until winter to visit Vernon, there's plenty to enjoy year-round. Adventures include a water park, mountain biking, zipline tours, golfing and a brand new treetop ropes course.
3. The Resort
Crystal Springs Resort is a little slice of paradise in the Garden State. The epitome of luxury, it offers two world-class lodging options, two spas, nine restaurants, six golf courses, a sports club, horseback riding, adventure center and some of the most spectacular pools you've ever seen. With several event spaces, this is the perfect place to have a wedding and then enjoy a honeymoon. Why fly out to Hawaii when we've got all of this right in New Jersey?
One doesn't need to be a guest to enjoy all this resort has to offer. The resort's Restaurant Latour has one of the best wine cellars in the world and free tours are available. Visit between June 16th and 18th for an unforgettable beer and food festival. Sample some of the state's best craft beers, take a hot air balloon ride, eat as much BBQ as you can handle and take part in unique games like "human foosball."
4. Local Lodging
Just minutes from all the hustle and bustle of Mountain Creek and Crystal Springs, you'll find Alpine Haus Bed & Breakfast. A charming getaway, sip some wine on the porch and relax in this historic home (or spectacular carriage house). Enjoy a bountiful breakfast with your stay and packages that include in-room massages.
5. The Scenery
Vernon may just be one of the prettiest places in New Jersey (though there are so many). Enjoy mountains and valleys along the Appalachian Trail.
6. The Parks
Vernon Township is home to much of Waywayanda State Park, which offers hiking, biking, boating, swimming, fishing, camping and more. You'll also find the Hamburg Mountain Wildlife Management Area and the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge here.
7. The Challenge
Vernon Township has issued a challenge. Your mission should you choose to accept it? Log 50 miles on Vernon trails between now and October 3rd. Hike, bike, run or walk, just be sure to document your journey. Participation is free and includes a cap and certificate of completion. Be sure to register, and send in your trail log when you're done. You can also submit photos to be displayed in the municipal building. For a more advanced challenge, take a "Next Level" adventure which is something like a self-guided scavenger hunt. It's fun!
8. The Farm
Heaven Hill Farm is a picturesque place that offers a gorgeous garden center, farmers market, food court, bakery, gift shop, wine tastings and ice cream. The locally grown honey is a favorite at the farmers market and children love the activity area.
9. The Stables
Legends Riding Stables offers scenic trail rides and lessons 5 days a week (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays) year-round. Take a relaxing adventure on horseback while enjoying the wooded surroundings.
10. The Food
In addition to the famed Restaurant Latour, Vernon has some pretty amazing restaurants. There are plenty to choose from, but I'll focus on three favorites. Pictured is the Mixing Bowl Restaurant; enjoy a varied menu in a historic setting with unbelievable prices. The family-friendly eatery offers a welcoming atmosphere, budget friendly lunch specials, build your own omelettes and the option to dine in or take out. Scully's Tavern and Grill serves up great food and drinks with seasonal outdoor dining and a tiki bar. You'll also find lawn games and live entertainment on weekends (weather permitting). If you're craving Asian cuisine, head to Ming's for hibachi and a sushi bar.
Did you realize that there was so much to do other than ski in Vernon, New Jersey? For more on Restaurant Latour and its award-winning wine cellar, check out
this article. For more on mountaintop zipline adventures, click here.