Fall is officially here! If you are a fall lover, great! But for those of you who may not share the same warm and fuzzy feelings (think pumpkin spice and cashmere), we’re here to remind you that the fun doesn’t stop just because the leaves change color. Read on for a list of things to do this fall in NJ that won’t make the end of summer seem so bad.
Visit the Grounds for Sculpture | 80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton Township
(Photo credit: @groundsforsculpture)
Nestled in the town of Hamilton lies this 42-acre sculpture park and museum. You don’t want to miss an opportunity to take a stroll through the life-size sculptures and lush gardens this property has to offer. Due to the current climate, Grounds for Sculpture requires visitors to buy tickets and reserve a time to visit in advance, which can be done on the Grounds’ website.
Hit a Few at Topgolf | 1013 US-1, Edison
(Photo credit: @topgolf)
That’s right, all you golfers out there don’t have to stop hitting the ball just because summer is over. Even if you’ve never swung a club in your life, Topgolf is all about the experience. With three levels of putting lounges to take advantage of, grab your pals, set up in your designated lounge area, order some food and drinks, and hit a few just for the hell of it.
View the Van Vleck Houses and Gardens | 21 Van Vleck Street, Montclair
We already know that Montclair is full of top-notch things to do and places to dine so it’s no surprise that Montclair also contains beautiful gardens and homes. Three generations of the Van Vleck family lived on this property through the past century and in 1993, the family gave it to the Montclair Foundation. Now, you can explore this oasis daily from 9AM-6PM free of cost, while adhering to all social distancing guidelines.
Drive Around at RPM Raceway | 99 Caven Point Road, Jersey City
(Photo credit: @rpmraceway)
Although the name says raceway, Race Play More has it all. From racing to virtual reality simulators to hundreds of arcade games, there is so much to do here. Nervous about staying safe during the pandemic? RPM has an extensive safety plan that you can view here.
Go Apple or Pumpkin Picking
Jersey is known for its farms (hello Jersey corn and tomatoes) and in the fall, we look forward to picking apples and pumpkins galore. There are a ton of amazing orchards to visit that are an easy drive from Essex County. We’ll get you started with Demarest Farms 244 Werimus Road, Hillsdale; Riamede Farm 122 Oakdale Road, Chester; and Melick’s Town Farm 170 Oldwick Road, Oldwick, to name a few. For a comprehensive list of places that offer pumpkin and apple picking in North Jersey, see here.
Take a Bird Walk
Did you know that the local parks in Essex County are home to hundreds of species of birds combined? This is the perfect chance to get outdoors and explore nature right outside of your front door. Nothing quite like bird watching while walking through the changing leaves.
Tour a Winery
There is nothing quite like throwing on a chunky sweater and felt hat to go sip on some of your favorite locally-crafted wines at one of New Jersey’s many vineyards. In under two hours from Essex County, you can get to wineries like Make Wine with Us, 21 Curie Avenue, Wallington; Tomasello Winery, 1 Alstede Farms Lane, Chester; and Laurita Winery, 85 Archertown Road, New Egypt, to have yourselves a day in the vineyards. Looking for something a little more out of the box than your typical winery tour? Pour and Pedal is a great alternative that involves biking around to various vineyard stops. See all of the NJ locations here.
Hike Through the Fall Foliage
With fall comes the perfect opportunity to see the leaves change and watch the lush greens turn to fiery oranges firsthand. Whether you’re looking for an easy stroll or a challenging hike, consider visiting one of the many hiking trails near Essex County. Palisades Interstate Park is a quick 20-minute trip and boasts an impressive panoramic view of the Hudson River. Only 40 minutes away is Cheesequake State Park which offers a variety of trails for hikers of all levels. Finally, although a bit further, Ramapo Mountain State Forest can be found just an hour from EC, and trust us, the five-mile route is second to none, taking hikers along the Ramapo Lake and through the ruins of the Van Slyke Castle. These views are not to be missed!
Go Ice Skating
Don’t worry, we’re not rushing you into winter. But for those that love the magic of ice skating no matter the season, there are certain locales that offer ice skating as early as September. Roosevelt Park Family Skating Rink, 1 Pine Drive, Edison, and Ice House Skating Rink, 111 Midtown Bridge Approach, Hackensack, are two such spots. Due to COVID-19, these rinks are not yet open but check in before visiting from September and on for more details. See here for a guide to ice skating rinks in North Jersey and New York City.
Visit an Outdoor Brewery or Beer Garden
This one speaks for itself. For those who prefer beer to vino, hit up one of the outdoor breweries and beer gardens in the area. Hoboken Girl has already rounded up the best spots for you here but some of our faves include Montclair Brewery, Ghost Hawk Brewery, and Newark Local Beer, to name a few.