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NFT: Travel advice request re traveling in west Jersey

BlueLou'sBack : 7/11/2019 7:43 pm
by car along the Delaware Water gap. Longish query...

I earlier mentioned a 2 week vacation for my wife, teen daughters and I when we will stay mostly in Monticello NY where we have free digs for 2 weeks. Got good suggestions for the area re hiking/canoeing, Bethel Woods Performing Arts Center, Woodstock Museum, and found cool local playhouse for summer stock too - Forestburgh Playhouse. All local enough.

But teenage girls are driven to very specific "have to gos" and the main one right now seems to be Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ, which is a fair haul from Monticello and the Catskills.

There isn't any choice as far as the destination for that day and likely well into the night, so we'll be pooped and stay overnight somewhere reasonably close to Jackson. My wife's idea was we head to the Jersey shore somewhere. But I am thinking, why not head west a bit and stay closer to the Delaware river someplace (maybe Princeton, show the girls the campus the next day?) and then drive back along the Delaware Water gap as far as possible. Looking at google maps, adding both Delaware Water Gap and Frenchtown NJ as "destinations" en route between Monticello and Jackson, it makes the journey ~ 4 hours instead of 3, but we skirt very far from the NYC metro area that I know well, and amble along roads I haven't traveled since I was maybe 10 years old.

Maybe it's a way to satisfy different desires? The destination of 6 Flags for my teens, the journey through a beautiful part of the country for my wife and I?

Any thoughts on this? We will rent a reasonable vehicle for the whole trip - likely a Ford Escape - so we are comfortable enough for the drive, and in any case stopping wherever the location grabs us seems like the whole point of avoiding the larger faster freeway paths between Monticello and Jackson. Also, just one way, on our return, after spending the night in a hotel or B& B somewhere in NJ.

Would it be a big advantage to rent a real 4x4 like a Jeep Wrangler to off road at will during this trip?

Any and all advice greatly appreciated, and as usual TIA.
Are you staying in Jersey  
Diver_Down : 7/11/2019 7:49 pm : link
or crossing over to PA? If you are staying in Jersey (Water Gap area) and you want to head off-road, then check out Worthington State Forest. The drive up to Crater Lake is awesome with plenty of stop along the way to stretch your legs. You will need 4WD to get to Crater Lake.
Rt611 is a pretty rd.....along rive.  
George from PA : 7/11/2019 7:57 pm : link
Washington crossing....has some cool historical sites....New Hope is a very cute town.

Might want to look into Dorney Park wildwater kingdom as be a decent option instead of 6 flags. Even Hersheypark which is better then both might even be about the same distance
I live near there  
10thAve : 7/11/2019 7:58 pm : link
About 25 minutes west of Great Adventure in Robbinsville. That’s a good plan you have there. There are hotels close to GA on route 130 (20-25 minutes) but if you wanted an Airbnb maybe check out Lambertville. If your doing that trip some places to consider checking out,

Yardley, PA just over the Delaware from Trenton. A really good restaurant called Charcoal, and a brewery called The Vault that also has good food.

In Robbinsville, NJ - where I live - you have two of the oldest pizza joints in the US that moved out of Trenton - Papa’s and Delorenzo’s. Both are well-known for their tomato pies.

If you don’t stay in Lambertville I’d definitely check it out still, along with New Hope just across the Delaware.

Princeton is also a good place to visit or stay. Obviously the university is really nice, and for eating check out Mistral and Agricola, both farm to table type places. Blue Point Grill for really good seafood. Elements for higher end fine dining, and Halo Pub for great ice cream.

There is nothing to see in Jackson.

And I don’t think it’s necessary to rent anything for off roading.

I know you’re a food guy so trying to give recommendations that would be up your alley as well.
I don't know exactly where Monticello, NY  
pjcas18 : 7/11/2019 8:01 pm : link
is, but based on Catskills in your post I'm going to guess it's probably almost equidistant to Six Flags, New England in Agawam, MA and Six Flags Great Adventure in NJ.

I would go to MA if the kids don't care too much which one they go to, just to avoid the hell hole traffic around New Jersey.

going from the Catskills to Six Flags New England is a nice drive where you can go through the Berkshires or make that your stopping point for an overnight near Jiminy Peak or Lake Otis.

just a suggestion. I don't think Six Flags NE is quite as good as NJ, but my kids like it.
RE: Are you staying in Jersey  
BlueLou'sBack : 7/11/2019 8:01 pm : link
In comment 14496949 Diver_Down said:
Quote:
or crossing over to PA? If you are staying in Jersey (Water Gap area) and you want to head off-road, then check out Worthington State Forest. The drive up to Crater Lake is awesome with plenty of stop along the way to stretch your legs. You will need 4WD to get to Crater Lake.


I don't know which route to take, but am seeking suggestions - which you just gave me IF we rent a capable 4x4 like a Wrangler...
RE: Rt611 is a pretty rd.....along rive.  
BlueLou'sBack : 7/11/2019 8:08 pm : link
In comment 14496955 George from PA said:
Quote:
Washington crossing....has some cool historical sites....New Hope is a very cute town.

Might want to look into Dorney Park wildwater kingdom as be a decent option instead of 6 flags. Even Hersheypark which is better then both might even be about the same distance


You think Hershey park is better than 6 Flags GA? My wife said the teenagers expressed a desire to visit BOTH amusement parks, and she nixed them on it pretty much even before I got my chance to say no way to 2 huge amusement parks in 2 weeks, with lots of driving to both.

The kids seem stuck on 6 Flags to some extent, but who knows I may be able to bargain them away to Hershey park instead...
10thAVE, Robbinsville is where at least one of the hotels near 6 Flags  
BlueLou'sBack : 7/11/2019 8:15 pm : link
but west of it towards the river was recommended by TripAdvisor.

Appreciate all the detail and attention to food although we'll probably be eating out at lower budget stops when we do eat out, and eat well when I am doing the cooking at our vacation condo.

Now I need to look back at your suggestions and investigate more to see if I have a question.

Once many years ago but as an adult I had a fantastic dinner at a place called The Frenchtown Inn (I think that was it.) Modern American food, similar to the type I made as a young chef in CA.

An extra question - what's the season for Shad roe? I think it's late Spring and over well before mid August.
Dorney Park off 78  
Giant John : 7/11/2019 8:34 pm : link
In eastern PA may be an alternative?
Bluelou  
10thAve : 7/11/2019 8:34 pm : link
The shad run is in April/May I believe.

If you’re staying in one of those hotels in Robbinsville I’d recommend pizza at Papa’s or Delorenzo’s, if you need to eat and pizza is agreed upon. Those are highway hotels but are nice, new and convenient to GA. More picturesque west of there but a further drive from GA.
RE: Bluelou  
BlueLou'sBack : 7/11/2019 8:52 pm : link
In comment 14496987 10thAve said:
Quote:
The shad run is in April/May I believe.

If you’re staying in one of those hotels in Robbinsville I’d recommend pizza at Papa’s or Delorenzo’s, if you need to eat and pizza is agreed upon. Those are highway hotels but are nice, new and convenient to GA. More picturesque west of there but a further drive from GA.


I searched TripAdvisor for (regular) BnB's in the areas of both Lambertsville, New Hope, and other towns in that area, but considering we'll probably get back from 6 Flags late at night and only stay overnight, the expense wouldn't be worth it for a nice room we barely occupy and a great breakfast compare to a hotel chain.

AirBnB maybe, but again for one night prolly not worth it with the add on fees. Best bet for the situation is prolly just a decent 2 star hotel with a quad room of 2 queen beds. If they have a workout room I can use up the hour plus I'll likely wake up before anyone else in a spin or stair climb.

Princeton appeals for the chance to tour the campus. I've never been, but was a Columbia Alum myself, so interesting to compare. Maybe my daughters will start studying again if they find it appealing. Not much reason for high occupancy rates mid August in Princeton, I imagine.

Of course my gals LOVE a good pizza.
Pretty sure you're right about the Shad.  
BlueLou'sBack : 7/11/2019 8:56 pm : link
Oh well. Pizza when we're out, steaks/burgers mostly at the condo.

There's likely a brewpub worth stopping in for lunch along the way. Pennsylvania, years ago when I lived there one year, was way ahead of the curve of most states for microbreweries of quality.
RE: RE: Bluelou  
10thAve : 7/11/2019 9:02 pm : link
In comment 14497002 BlueLou'sBack said:
Quote:
In comment 14496987 10thAve said:


Quote:


The shad run is in April/May I believe.

If you’re staying in one of those hotels in Robbinsville I’d recommend pizza at Papa’s or Delorenzo’s, if you need to eat and pizza is agreed upon. Those are highway hotels but are nice, new and convenient to GA. More picturesque west of there but a further drive from GA.



I searched TripAdvisor for (regular) BnB's in the areas of both Lambertsville, New Hope, and other towns in that area, but considering we'll probably get back from 6 Flags late at night and only stay overnight, the expense wouldn't be worth it for a nice room we barely occupy and a great breakfast compare to a hotel chain.

AirBnB maybe, but again for one night prolly not worth it with the add on fees. Best bet for the situation is prolly just a decent 2 star hotel with a quad room of 2 queen beds. If they have a workout room I can use up the hour plus I'll likely wake up before anyone else in a spin or stair climb.

Princeton appeals for the chance to tour the campus. I've never been, but was a Columbia Alum myself, so interesting to compare. Maybe my daughters will start studying again if they find it appealing. Not much reason for high occupancy rates mid August in Princeton, I imagine.

Of course my gals LOVE a good pizza.


Princeton is about 40-45 minutes from Great Adventure, while the Robbinsville hotels are about half of that. So depending on when you leave GA you’ll need to keep that in mind too. You can always stay closer to GA then hit Princeton on the way home the next day. Or if you leave GA earlier in the day you can give stay in Princeton too. Really can’t go wrong either way.
As an  
KeoweeFan : 7/11/2019 9:03 pm : link
who used to frequent the Gap on canoe trips, the park area has now been consumed by the highway and would be a disappointing destination by car (other than a ten second photo op.)

Look to the other nearby recommendations in the area for attractions. Penn and NJ have many sites worth visiting, but they have spoiled the Gap.
RE: As an  
BlueLou'sBack : 7/11/2019 9:25 pm : link
In comment 14497013 KeoweeFan said:
Quote:
who used to frequent the Gap on canoe trips, the park area has now been consumed by the highway and would be a disappointing destination by car (other than a ten second photo op.)

Look to the other nearby recommendations in the area for attractions. Penn and NJ have many sites worth visiting, but they have spoiled the Gap.


I gather you mean literally the DWG national Recreation Area? Well, my memories of it are too far away and brief to have a firm standard for comparison between its current and former states... My kids and wife won't be disappointed in that way either. We are going kayaking in the Upper Delaware River areas in New York State, so I hope that hasn't been equally corrupted. Keep in mind they grew up mostly in Israel, which means a waterfall of any magnitude (and they have both been to and awed by Niagara Falls) is a delight for them. Not to mention rivers like the Delaware or Hudson or Susquahana are unreal for them in a way, along with the lush green of the east coast woodlands.

I guess once we hone in on it we'll pick one or two good short hikes at most if you think the area has been that degraded. At least we'll keep our eyes out for warnings about such.
Lambertville Station Inn & Restaurant  
BocaGene : 7/11/2019 10:58 pm : link
Good food, DK about Inn but across the bridge is New Hope. Maybe a twofer?
BlueLou,  
smshmth8690 : 7/11/2019 11:56 pm : link
If you are in the area, DeLorenzo's is the stop you have to make for pizza. (tomato pie) I try to make a couple of trips there a year. They do 2 things, and do them right. Salad, and Pizza.
RE: BlueLou,  
BlueLou'sBack : 7/12/2019 2:40 am : link
In comment 14497079 smshmth8690 said:
Quote:
If you are in the area, DeLorenzo's is the stop you have to make for pizza. (tomato pie) I try to make a couple of trips there a year. They do 2 things, and do them right. Salad, and Pizza.


Which one? The Robbinsville location called De Lorezo's Tomato Pies? That I gather is the original that moved from Trenton...
RE: RE: As an  
Diver_Down : 7/12/2019 6:51 am : link
In comment 14497029 BlueLou'sBack said:
Quote:
In comment 14497013 KeoweeFan said:


Quote:


who used to frequent the Gap on canoe trips, the park area has now been consumed by the highway and would be a disappointing destination by car (other than a ten second photo op.)

Look to the other nearby recommendations in the area for attractions. Penn and NJ have many sites worth visiting, but they have spoiled the Gap.



I gather you mean literally the DWG national Recreation Area? Well, my memories of it are too far away and brief to have a firm standard for comparison between its current and former states... My kids and wife won't be disappointed in that way either. We are going kayaking in the Upper Delaware River areas in New York State, so I hope that hasn't been equally corrupted. Keep in mind they grew up mostly in Israel, which means a waterfall of any magnitude (and they have both been to and awed by Niagara Falls) is a delight for them. Not to mention rivers like the Delaware or Hudson or Susquahana are unreal for them in a way, along with the lush green of the east coast woodlands.

I guess once we hone in on it we'll pick one or two good short hikes at most if you think the area has been that degraded. At least we'll keep our eyes out for warnings about such.


I have to disagree with Keowee. While I80 dominates the landscape in the immediate area, you can drive 10 minutes from the interstate and be in lost in wilderness. Just take my Worthington State Forest recommendation as an example. The Old Mine Road is the very last exit before leaving Jersey and entering PA. The lower part is paved. Drive 10 minutes on Old Mine Rd and you'll swear you hear banjos playing in the distance.

If your girls would be amazed by waterfalls and you don't want to go the 4WD route, hop over to the PA side and head up 209. Bushkill falls is a great stop to stretch the legs and take in the glory of mother nature.
If traveling along the DE water Gap  
Bubba : 7/12/2019 6:56 am : link
check out the Lakota Wolf Preserve. Wolves, foxes, bobcats in a natural setting. Pretty kool.
Make sure you get your shots,  
GiantsUA : 7/12/2019 7:19 am : link
CDC site has list of what shots you should get.
RE: Dorney Park off 78  
I Love Clams Casino : 7/12/2019 8:44 am : link
In comment 14496986 Giant John said:
Quote:
In eastern PA may be an alternative?


Dorney is disgusting IMHO
Hershey Park...  
magnum4413 : 7/12/2019 9:52 am : link
is much better than great adventure and it isn't even a comparison.

I live 20 minutes from GA and never go there.

I second Bushkill falls  
giants#1 : 7/12/2019 10:12 am : link
though it could get crowded there. They have multiple hiking loops that range from "never hiked before" to intermediate with beautiful waterfalls and paths along the river(?).
RE: RE: BlueLou,  
smshmth8690 : 7/12/2019 10:37 am : link
In comment 14497086 BlueLou'sBack said:
Quote:
In comment 14497079 smshmth8690 said:


Quote:


If you are in the area, DeLorenzo's is the stop you have to make for pizza. (tomato pie) I try to make a couple of trips there a year. They do 2 things, and do them right. Salad, and Pizza.



Which one? The Robbinsville location called De Lorezo's Tomato Pies? That I gather is the original that moved from Trenton...


Yes, that's the one.
Growing up in Clinton NJ  
slov72 : 7/12/2019 11:01 am : link
and living now near Phillipsburg NJ, I know these areas well. I would recommend taking 29 north from Trenton and visiting Lambertville and Stockton, there is also a small canal museum and Washington's crossing in this area before you reach Frenchtown. I believe the Frenchtown inn still exists although I have also not eaten there is some time. North of Frenchtown you will run into Easton and Phillipsburg which are both kind of run down, although Easton city center is having a revival. North of there it is harder to get back to river on anything resembling a major road until you reach Route 46, from there you will run up to Route 80 where you will enter the DWG central.... right before the route 80 bridge there is a tiny exit onto a one lane road that travels north along the Jersey side of the river.... I think this is called river road or old mine road. This is a pretty rustic road that will take you into the heard of Worthington forest and is an amazing ride through the wilderness but is very slow. From here I haven't gone much further north. FYI though Hershey park is a much nicer theme park than Six flags (cleaner, more themed, family friendly), but six flags has more thrilling rides and bigger coasters. Enjoy your trip.
Princeton  
GF1080 : 7/12/2019 11:01 am : link
If you end up in Princeton and want pizza there I recommend Conte's on Witherspoon Ave. Great old school joint with awesome thin crust pies. Bent Spoon for ice cream over Halo. Bent Spoon is cash only.
RE: I second Bushkill falls  
slov72 : 7/12/2019 11:02 am : link
In comment 14497218 giants#1 said:
Quote:
though it could get crowded there. They have multiple hiking loops that range from "never hiked before" to intermediate with beautiful waterfalls and paths along the river(?).


Thirded.... absolutely beautiful place, we make a trip up every fall. The waterfall is truly beautiful and the wooden bridges and scaffolding gets you amazing views.
I can't help with the travel advise  
fireitup77 : 7/12/2019 11:22 am : link
but I can give you a breakdown on each of the parks. My daughter and I love roller coasters and have been to all four parks listed above.

If it's the rides that you are looking for than go to Six Flags in NJ. They have the best roller coasters of the four parks listed. Now the park itself isn't as nice as Hersey but the rides are better.

Six Flags in MA is a smaller version of the one in NJ and doesn't have the best roller coasters.

Hersey is the nicest of the parks and has a lot to do around the park. Their rides again don't measure up to Six Flags in NJ.

Now Dorney Park is a fun place. It's a combination amusement park and water park. Not as many roller coasters as Six Flags but the water park is nice.

If you are going to do two I would recommend Hersey and Dorney as they are closer together. You could do them on back to back days.

Have fun!
The drive up NJ29 is nice  
T in NJ : 7/12/2019 12:45 pm : link
You can take I-195 west to NJ-29 in Trenton, then head north. You'll pass through Washington's Crossing, Lambertville, Stockton, and Frenchtown to name a few towns. Lambertville is across from New Hope and gives you the best mix of small shops and restaurants as well as a few inns to stay the night.

There are a few B&B's in Frenchtown and Milford, as well as restaurants. Once you are in this area, I'd recommend going over to Pennsylvania and going up PA 611 through Easton to at least Stroudsburg. Its a very scenic drive.
Concerning off-roading  
T in NJ : 7/12/2019 12:48 pm : link
There aren't very many, if any, public places that you could do real off roading along the Delaware.
If frenchtown makes it on the agenda  
kennyd : 7/12/2019 1:39 pm : link
don't bother with the frenchtown inn. It's better days a LONG behind it. Drinks and snacks on the porch of the National hotel is a good stop. They are right down the block from each (actually the whole town is about two blocks long)
Wow - tons of GREAT recs, thanks all!  
BlueLou'sBack : 7/12/2019 2:44 pm : link
Hiking around Bushkill Falls is going on our vaycay calendar for sure.

Still considering dropping six flags GA for Hersheypark, but have to sell it to my kids...

If SFGA stays on the list, will leave the park for early dinner at 4-5 PM or so, then return to the park since Robbinsville is fairly close.

My guess is we will stay almost till closing at SFGA, 9:30 pm, so any food after that will be only a light bite. Maybe find a pub in Robbinsville area where I suspect we'll find a hotel...

A visit to the Princeton campus would be right after breakfast the next morning, on the way up to the DWG NRA.
After reading all comments carefully, I am sure my  
BlueLou'sBack : 7/12/2019 2:52 pm : link
teens want the craziest rides possible so SFGA remains the destination amusement park.

That's what they are into and want and the first day (amusement park and great pizza) is for them. The return home and the hiking and DWG and waterfall stuff is for all of us, and my wife has already thumbed up the idea. Hopefully we find a nice brewpub or inn for lunch along the way, or even for dinner before we return to Monticello.
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