New Jersey is famous for their beaches and boardwalks. But Hunterdon County is a naturally stunning destination west of the turnpike that has quietly remained a secret to travelers. But the word is starting to get out.
Recently named a “Top Hidden Travel Destination in America,” Hunterdon County in central western New Jersey, is a getaway-worthy destination set against a rolling countryside landscape. Here you’ll find charming historic towns, scenic trails, antique shops, museums, elegant inns, and total relaxation.
Hunterdon County’s acres of preserved mountains, forests, meandering rivers, and dreamy waterfalls make it the perfect spot to explore the outdoors and reconnect with nature. Hiking, biking, and kayaking are all game.
If you’re more into edible exploration, there’s a passionate farm-to-table dining scene here. A rural wonderland with over 1400 farms, including the world’s largest chile pepper farm, Hunterdon County’s restaurants, gourmet shops, farmers’ markets and stands, wineries, breweries, and festivals will keep you infinitely happy.
After a recent trip, we’re going to share a taste of what there is to do in beautiful Hunterdon County and why it’s one of New Jersey’s best-kept secrets.
💡 Get ready to pack your bags and see why we’re hooked on Hunterdon County, New Jersey. But first, a few facts about Hunterdon County.
Where is Hunterdon County Located?
Hunterdon County lies in the Western Central part of New Jersey and is roughly 60 miles from NYC and Philadelphia.
Some popular towns include Flemington and Clinton. In the western part of the county towns that run along the Delaware River include Frenchtown, Stockton, Milford, and Lambertville.
Its southernmost town, Lambertville, is a quick ride over the bridge from New Hope, PA, and less than 90 minutes from Wilmington, Delaware. The Delaware River runs along its western side, acting as a border to neighboring Pennsylvania.
The Scenery: Hunterdon County is mostly rural with beautiful rolling countryside with 15 mountains, forests, rivers, rolling hills, and rivers.
If you love the outdoors, you’ll find Hunterdon’s landscape stunning.
Here are a few highlights from our trip to Hunterdon County!
Flemington, New Jersey
Dating back to the 1700’s, today Flemington is a lively, artsy place with preserved history around every corner. Travel + Leisure recently named Flemington as one of the best small towns in New Jersey.
Where is Flemington, NJ Located?: Flemington is in the heart of Hunterdon County and is also the county seat.
The Scoop: Here you can wander Flemington’s historic, charming downtown surrounded by stately homes and ornate Victorian architecture, where 65% of the buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1756 and now a museum, you can even tour the home and gardens of Flemington’s founder, Samuel Fleming.
With several unique attractions, all within Flemington’s 1.4 square miles, it makes a perfect destination for a day trip or staycation.
Things to Do in Flemington
We started our visit at Flemington’s historic Stangl Factory, a preserved pottery factory with roots dating back to 1814. Once renowned for its dishes and collectible bird figurines, the factory now has a new life.
50 Stangl Rd, Flemington, NJ 08822
Stangl Factory’s renovated historic buildings and kilns were central to the way of life here for almost two centuries. And they still are. Today it’s an art and culture district home to a variety of shops, places to eat, a yoga studio, and a world-renowned psychic.
Sip gourmet coffee in an old kiln at the unique local favorite Factory Fuel Co., or grab a So-Cal-inspired lunch at Blue Fish Grill. Afterward, get lost in the impressive and mesmerizing award-winning abstract artworks at the eclectic Kev Von Holt Gallery.
On Saturdays at Stangl Factory, starting at 9 am, don’t miss the year-round indoor farmers’ market featuring over 30 local artisanal vendors.
Flemington also hosts a variety of exciting events throughout the year. At the annual Corn, Tomato, and Beer Festival in August festival, goers can enjoy farm-to-table dishes featuring Jersey’s best produce (corn + tomatoes of course) and sample local craft brews in a beer garden.
Make your way over to Flemington’s Main Street to shop their wonderful boutiques and antique stores with one-of-a-kind finds.
You’ll lose time exploring all the decades of treasures in Ye Olde Antique & Curiosity Shop. Then head to Fat Farm Antiques across the street and you’ll find more time-worn novelties like vintage signs, antique decoys and lures, tools, toys and more lining the walls of a historic home.
For more nostalgia, every other Saturday in the summer, check out the Flemington Auto Show, where you can stroll along Main Street and see a gleaming collection of hot rods and restored antique and classic cars with other car enthusiasts.
True Crime Fact: Flemington became internationally famous in 1935 when its courthouse held the Lindbergh baby kidnapping trial. Today, true crime fans can tour the Hunterdon County Courthouse on Main Street and see the original courtroom and exhibits from one of America’s most famous trials.
Where to Eat & Drink in Flemington
For a small town, Flemington is a place foodies will love. One trip wasn’t enough time to experience it all, but that leaves us something to look forward to on our next visit.
Here are a few must-try places in Flemington:
The Kombucha Bar
6 Bloomfield Ave, Flemington, NJ 08822
If you get thirsty, pop into The Kombucha Bar, where you can sample bubbly probiotic-rich fermented tea beverages in a variety of yummy flavors like RoseBiscus and Blueberry Pomegranate. Take a growler to go.
Humdoo Ice Cream
20 Stangl Rd, Flemington, NJ 08822
What started as a girl with an ice cream dream is now an adorable ice cream shop selling over 30 rotating flavors of hand-crafted ice cream in a log cabin. The ice cream is luscious. Find it next to Stangl Factory. Their Banana Cream Pie flavor is scrumptious.
Matt’s Red Rooster Grill
22 Bloomfield Ave, Flemington, NJ 08822
Ask any Hunterdon County local for a restaurant recommendation, and the award-winning Matt’s Red Rooster Grill will be at the top of their list. The food isn’t just good, it’s incredible.
With a relaxed, upscale casual vibe, in a Victorian home, at Matt’s Red Rooster Grill, owner, and Chef Matt McPherson offers New American dishes featuring fresh, seasonal, and locally available ingredients and a creative menu where Matt’s wood-fired grill is the star of the show.
Matt’s Victorian-covered porch is romantic, but in the dining room, you’ll get a front-row seat to the dancing flames and action in the open kitchen.
Highlights of our meal were the Griggstown Farm Deviled Eggs, topped with sliced Ahi tuna over a wasabi whipped yolk, sprinkled with sesame seeds and finished with a soy glaze. Also, a perfectly fried soft shell crab appetizer served on buttery grilled avocado toast. It was so good it revived my love of soft shells.
The Rocket Salad was a delicious mix of arugula, spinach, quinoa, creamy goat cheese, and roasted beets, tossed in a zesty lemon poppy seed vinaigrette.
If you’re in the mood for seafood, try the generously portioned CrabMeat Stuffed Trout, with lemon thyme brown butter. For special, the seafood cioppino was a delicious medley of fresh clams, shrimp, and mussels, in a red sauce over perfectly cooked pappardelle.
To end on a sweet note, don’t miss the creamy bread pudding or rich and decadent chocolate-covered peanut butter bomb.
Matt’s is a BYOB and there are no corkage fees, but they serve delicious wines from the local award-winning Unionville winery.
Clinton, New Jersey
With incredible views of the South Branch Raritan River and filled with landmarks and historic architecture, you can easily spend a day strolling through museums, shopping small, and dining your way through this charming town.
Where is it?: Clinton, New Jersey, is in the northwest part of Hunterdon County right off I-78 (exit 15).
The Scoop: This quaint and historic riverside village with adorable boutiques and great little restaurants is a delightfully compact (and easily walkable) Main Street with some wonderful attractions in a small radius.
- Free parking is available on the street and in public lots off Main Street. It’s the perfect place for a day trip or a quick getaway.
Start your day in Clinton exploring The Red Mill Museum Village, one of New Jersey’s most iconic historical landmarks.
The Red Mill Museum Village
56 Main St, Clinton, NJ 08809
Dating back to 1810 and in operation until 1928, this four-story mill served several roles over the years, including a wool processing plant, a textile mill, a peach basket factory, and a graphite and talc factory. It was once also home to the Mulligan quarry.
A central part of Clinton’s history, today you can take a self-guided tour and explore the restored mill and its outbuildings spread over 10 acres which include a one-room schoolhouse, a log cabin, a blacksmith shop, dynamite shed, carriage shed, lime kiln, and over 40,000 artifacts. You’ll learn about the Red Mill, the history of the surrounding area, and what life was like for the locals centuries ago.
The museum regularly holds a variety of events throughout the year. We were lucky to visit on the day of their British Car Show. Throughout the summer check out their Music at the Mill Concert Series with a variety of performers, food, and drinks, or the Corvette Show in August.
Tip: Admission for adults is $10, but head to the third floor of the museum for million-dollar views of the river, Main Street Bridge, and the Hunterdon Art Museum.
Take a step back in time and walk (or drive) over one of the last remaining truss bridges in the U.S.
Main Street Historic Bridge
Main St, Clinton, NJ 08809
They don’t make them like this anymore. Erected in 1870, and made of wrought and cast iron, Clinton’s Main Street Bridge is a style of bridge called a pony Pratt truss bridge no longer made. Beautifully ornate and considered a marvel in engineering, this bridge was once part of the old route for the New Jersey Turnpike.
Today it connects Clinton’s Main Street shops and the Hunterdon Art Museum on one side of the river and the Red Mill Museum Village on the other. Standing on this historic bridge and taking in panoramic views of the South Branch Raritan River, its dam and historic Clinton are like something out of a painting.
Stroll over to the Hunterdon Art Museum (HAM), where you can attend a fun event or get inspired by their rotating collection of contemporary art exhibits in a renovated 1836 stone mill.
Hunterdon Art Museum
7 Lower Center St, Clinton, NJ 08809
Dubbed a “center for art, craft & design” the Hunterdon Art Museum’s permanent collection includes drawings, paintings, and photographs dating from the 1930s on with local and international modern artists including Salvador Dali, Mark DiSuvero, Alex Katz, Ann Steele Marsh, Faith Ringgold and more.
Plan to visit on Friday evenings in the summer from 6-9 pm for ArtBar on the Terrace, where you can enjoy craft cocktails under the museum’s outdoor tents overlooking the river. The museum’s bar serves cocktails, wine, beer, and seltzers, but you’re welcome to bring dinner or snacks to enjoy.
Live music from Clinton’s summer “Come Together Friday Night Music Festival” starts at 7 pm.
Hunterdon County Wineries
Winemaking in New Jersey has been on the rise and in Hunterdon County you’ll find stunning vineyards and impressive wines.
Here are a few places where you can spend a day touring beautiful vineyards, learning about the craft of winemaking, or indulging in a wine tasting to discover your new favorite bottle.
9 Rocktown Rd, Ringoes, NJ 08551
Nestled down a long driveway surrounded by preserved rolling farmland and vineyards, Unionville Vineyards makes wine from grapes they grow on four local farms with 300 acres of preserved farmland. There’s magic happening here. And it’s not going unnoticed.
Unionville is currently the only New Jersey winery to be awarded several 90+ point scores from three of the top authorities on wine: Wine Enthusiast, Wine Advocate, and James Suckling.
According to Unionville’s general manager John Cifelli, “East Coast wineries struggle to even get these critics to try their bottles, let alone award them 90 or better.” It’s because the wines are that good.
Single vineyard Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Rhone-inspired blends are Unionville’s specialty. To get a taste of their portfolio, head to Unionville’s tasting room and wine shop upstairs in their renovated rustic barn.
Start with a friendly guided wine flight at the bar and then grab a bottle or glass to enjoy at a table overlooking the winery’s fermenting tanks or take it outside and relax on the grounds.
Each summer Unionville hosts the Sourland Mountain Fest to benefit the Sourland Conservancy, a non-profit organization that works to protect the Sourland Mountain and its surrounding habitat, which is home to countless native species and migratory birds.
Unionville Vineyards doesn’t have an onsite restaurant. But on the weekends, they serve prepared sandwiches and cheese boards from local The Blawenburg Bistro. They also offer small snacks like Di Bruno Brothers cheeses and crackers daily. You’re welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy outside.
- Guided Tastings are available Thursday through Monday, 12 – 4:30 pm and the tasting room is open until 5.
- Two miles off Rt 202/31 South, it’s conveniently located 5 minutes from Flemington and 12 minutes from Lambertville/New Hope.
Old York Cellars
80 Old York Road, Ringoes, NJ 08551
With some of the oldest vines in New Jersey, up the road from Unionville, Old York Cellars is a working vineyard and winery with stunning terraced views of their 28 acres of vineyards and the Sourland Mountain.
It’s a gorgeous place to relax, dine and unwind. And one visit will change everything you thought you think you know about New Jersey.
On the weekends, take a free tour of the vineyards or head to the wine shop for a guided wine tasting of their award-winning reds, roses, whites, dessert wines, and sweet varietals.
Don’t miss their “White Port Tonico” cocktail on a warm day. Made with their Southpaw White, (a white port made from Riesling and Ravat grapes and fortified with brandy), served over ice, topped with a splash of tonic, and served with slices of citrus it’s liquid heaven.
To relax with service and a view, reserve one of the vineyard’s charming cabanas, which are an Old York guest favorite. From the cabana, you can order flights, bottles, specialty cocktails, and food as you kick back and enjoy the views. With room for 6, they’re perfect for groups or couples and fire pits are available seasonally.
And speaking of food, come hungry. Old York Cellars’ Chef José Díaz, who trained with Michelin three-star Chef Ferran Adria of El Bulli in Spain, serves a menu showcasing old-world-inspired Spanish cuisine. The menu features dishes like tapas, sandwiches, salads, Spanish cheese and meat boards, and paella.
For a curated selection of wine and food, try one of their multi-course wine and food pairing experiences, like the “Wine, Charcuterie & Chocolate Pairing” or “Wine & Tapas” pairing.
For appetizers, we tried the Spanish Meatballs, Serrano Ham Croquettes, and the delicately wrapped and perfectly spiced Beef Empanadas. You can’t go wrong with the Paella del Chef with imported Bomba rice, chicken, chorizo, and fresh shrimp. The grilled salmon with chimichurri was buttery and fresh.
Visit during one of their ongoing fun events like their Sunday Brunch, “Wine & Music” series with live music performances, and “Wine & Comedy” evenings every other Saturday night.
For a special experience, this summer take a ride to Old York on the historic Black River & Western Railroad (leaves from Flemington across from Stangl Factory) to Old York Cellars. Check for dates here.
- Old York Cellars is open Thursday through Monday.
- Guided wine tastings are available on weekends only.
- The restaurant is open 7 days a week
- 1.5 miles off Rt 202/31 South, it’s conveniently located 5 minutes from Flemington and 13 minutes from Lambertville/New Hope.
Old York Cellars welcomes walk-ins but suggests making reservations.
Where to Stay in Hunterdon County
For a tranquil luxury European-style hotel experience overlooking the Delaware River, stay at the Lambertville Station Inn ideally located in the heart of historic and artsy Lambertville.
Lambertville Station Inn & Restaurant
11 Bridge St, Lambertville, NJ 08530
Location: The iconic and recently renovated Lambertville Station Inn is the only boutique luxury hotel in Lambertville and the only full-service hotel in Hunterdon County.
With gorgeous panoramic views of the Delaware River in the heart of Lambertville, the location is incredible.
Steps off the property and you’re exploring colorful and historic downtown Lambertville, known as the antique capital of New Jersey and named as one of the “Top 15 Prettiest Towns in America” by Forbes Magazine. Then cross the bridge (walk or drive) in front of the Lambertville Station Inn and you’re in historic New Hope, Pennsylvania.
Nature lovers can hike or bike the historic Delaware and Raritan Canal towpath trails next to the property while discovering a few of Hunterdon County’s waterfalls.
Hotel Amenities: With 46 beautifully furnished rooms and suites The Lambertville Station Inn will pamper you with lux linens, comfy Sealy Encore beds, wide-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and nightly turndown service.
Where to eat: A special service each morning here is the complimentary continental breakfast of freshly brewed coffee and pastries delivered to your room (other breakfast items and room service are available for an additional fee).
For lunch or dinner, eat at the inn’s Lambertville Station Restaurant across from the hotel in a meticulously restored 1867 train station. They serve upscale seasonal new American Cuisine, featuring locally grown ingredients, and herbs from the hotel garden. For tapas or a glass of wine by a cozy fire, head down to their beautiful rustic wine cellar. Seasonally, outdoor dining is canal side and Sunday brunch here is a special occasion.
6 Woolverton Rd, Stockton, NJ 08559
For a unique and luxurious B&B experience, check into the historic Woolverton Inn.
In this enchanting Revolutionary era estate, you can stroll its stunning gardens, enjoy a 3-course gourmet breakfast on a romantic verandah and make friends with sheep.
While it feels like a world away from everything, Woolverton is a short drive to everything in Hunterdon County.
Woolverton Inn isn’t just a place to stay. It’s an experience.
In Stockton, New Jersey, minutes from Lambertville and New Hope, this immaculate 10-acre sprawling estate with a three-story grand Colonial Manor house dating back to the 1700s, has 8 luxurious suites in its main house and 6 private cottages. We checked in and never wanted to check out.
The inn itself sits on a bluff overlooking the Delaware River. Surrounded by preserved farmland and forests, Woolverton Inn is an island of serenity. Even when fully booked, you feel as if you have it all to yourself.
Beautifully decorated, each room and suite here has its own personality and special amenities like gas fireplaces and whirlpool tubs. On the third floor of the main house overlooking the sheep’s pasture, the Newell’s Library Room where we stayed has a comfy king-size bed, a luxurious spa shower, and a gas fireplace.
But this room came with an even bigger surprise.
With over 700 books lining its shelves, the Newell’s Library Room is a book lover’s sanctuary. And there’s a secret tucked within the pages.
Over the years, guests have been hiding dollar bills in the pages of several books. To find them, a journal on the bedside holds clues left by previous guests hinting at which book titles and authors to check. Once you find a bill (we found 3!) you can move it to a new book and write your clue in the journal for the next guest to find. It’s a fun and memorable experience.
The mornings are also something to look forward to here. Guests are treated to a delicious three-course, gourmet, country-style breakfast using local ingredients (some harvested from their own garden) served on the verandah or rose-surrounded patio with views of the sheep pasture. It’s your choice.
The menu changes daily, but Woolverton’s chef likes to offer both healthy and decadent selections. One breakfast we enjoyed Boston Cream French Toast and a veggie-filled omelet served with fresh fruit and Innkeeper Mary’s delectable Rhubarb Sour Cream Bread.
Woolverton Inn also offers 24/7 amenities, including all-day fresh coffee (they have an outstanding gourmet machine with espresso and cappuccino), bottled water, and a selection of cold drinks like sparkling water. Sweet treats like freshly baked cookies and lemon blueberry bread await you in the afternoon when you need something sweet.
There’s so much to love here, but don’t leave without feeding Woolverton’s resident sheep. Ask the innkeepers for some “sheep snacks” and you’ll instantly have some new wooly best friends.
If you decide to venture off-property, there’s plenty to explore in Hunterdon County within a few minutes walk or a short drive.
- A 5-minute walk will take you to the quaint and historic town of Stockton. Grab a bite at one of the handfuls of eateries and then check out the historic and preserved Prallsville Mills, once owned by the original owner of Woolverton. Listed in the National Register of Historic, this 10-building complex dates back to the 1700s and often hosts events.
- Bike (20-minute ride) or hike (3.7 miles) on the canal towpath trail that runs along the Delaware River down into Lambertville (8 minutes by car).
- Historic and quaint riverside Frenchtown is a 17-minute car ride to the north.
- Unionville and Old York Cellars is a 15-minute car ride.
At night, before turning into your room, sink into one of the Adirondack chairs around the fire pit, or play board games in the main house’s parlor.
Woolverton is currently renovating their barn and transforming it into a restaurant which is set to open in 2024. For a close-by lunch or dinner dining gem, the Sergeantsville Inn is a quick 5-minute drive.
601 Rosemont Ringoes Rd, Sergeantsville, NJ 08557
In a renovated 1700s historic stone building that once served as a pelt-trading center, feed store, and host of George Washington, this fine dining restaurant in the countryside of Hunterdon County features a seasonally changing menu inspired by fresh locally produced ingredients.
The kitchen is under the direction of co-owner and Chef Daniel Brunina, who has worked in some seriously prestigious kitchens around the country, including the 3 Michelin Star The Inn At Little Washington (Washington, Virginia).
The food here isn’t just delicious and expertly prepared, the dishes are a work of art.
Highlights of our visit were the grilled Cape May Grilled Oysters with leek, bacon, white wine, and buttery parsley breadcrumb grilled. The New Jersey Cheeseboard with an assortment of local artisanal cheeses, paired with fruit preserves, honey, and cranberry pecan toasts is the perfect dish with a glass of wine.
The Asparagus Salad with tender local asparagus spears, hard-boiled egg, and caper sabayon, was a luxurious blend of textures and flavors that instantly became a favorite. Their pecan-crusted local fluke, which is sweeter and firmer than flounder, was topped with a crispy pecan breadcrumb and delicately dressed mixed greens that cut through a rich plated lemony sauce. We ate every bite.
Almost too pretty to eat, the handmade Smoked Ricotta Ravioli served with fresh English peas, mushrooms, and caramelized shallots, was creamy and earthy. Edible flowers and fresh pea tendrils made a stunning presentation.
And for a unique sweet finale, the “Not Key Lime Pie” is a stunning dessert with tangy key lime custard with crumbled poppyseed shortbread, dollops of meringue, and Pernod whipped cream. A timeless classic, try the hearty strawberry shortcake, with fresh strawberries nestled between layers of shortbread, ice cream, and fresh whipped cream.
For a romantic dining experience, ask for a table by the fireplace. The lovely outdoor patio is a perfect spot when the weather’s fine. If you’re dining more casually, a tavern menu is available.
You can also go to the bar for cocktails and small plates or their wine shop called the Ice House next door. In the 1800s, the shop was once a real ice house where locals would collect ice for their home iceboxes. Today it’s a wine shop and bar with a curated selection of unique wines and liquors from all around the world. Stop in and enjoy wines by the glass and snacks from the Sergeantsville Inn’s kitchen.
- Whether you’re looking for a fun getaway or a relaxing staycation, Hunterdon County is an amazing still-under-the-radar destination in Central Western New Jersey.
- Convenient to Philadelphia, New York City, and the Mid-Atlantic Hunterdon County making it the perfect staycation destination.
- Here you’ll find stunning scenery, charming historic towns, art, culinary delights, elegant inns, antiques, and events throughout the year.
- Foodies will love the thriving farm-to-table dining scene in restaurants throughout Hunterdon County, and shopping at the local farmers’ markets and farm stands.
- And you can enjoy the outdoors whether you want to tour vineyards while tasting award-winning wines or hiking, biking, or kayaking along the Delaware River.
Hunterdon County is one of New Jersey’s best-kept secrets. A perfect getaway for nature lovers and foodies.
Visit the links below for more info to plan your next staycation in Hunterdon County.
Hotels & Inns
Art, Culture and Museums