Lovelies, we have some exciting news for you today!
Many moons ago, when I was at college, I met this sweetheart of a girl, Charlotte. Charlotte hails from NJ, and recently approached The Lovely Sisters to do some...travel writing! Charlotte will be hanging in the US of A for a few more months and is then heading to South Asia to teach! And guess what? She'll be blogging all about here! We're so excited to have Charlotte on board (her writing makes me want to visit all the places she writes about!). Welcome to Gone Girl, by Charlotte.
Around the time I became interested in becoming a travel writer, I came across a how-to article by a travel blogger. I couldn’t tell you the name of the girl now, or the name of her blog, but I remember her advice on what makes a good traveler: you don’t have to go far, you just have to go, look around and look carefully, dig, explore.
From the time Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? was a show on public television, I decided the world was great and I was going to see it, sooner rather than later.
When I’m not traveling abroad I live at home in lovely beachside Monmouth County, NJ. When we first moved to NJ from Simsbury, CT my mom took me on a small daytrip to Lambertville, NJ in the wild west of the state, to chase some antique urns she saw at a fair and had to have. We spent the entire day at the Golden Nugget Flea Market (see, it is pretty western!) and didn’t venture into the town of Lambertville, but we both remarked on how charming the area felt.
Lambertville is right along the Delaware River, at the exact location where George Washington crossed it on Christmas Day, 1776. (Having spent half my childhood in New England, I often forget how hugely historical New Jersey is as well).
The Delaware Canal in Lambertville.
Last month my mom and I finally returned to Lambertville to have the daytrip we had talked about doing since we visited the flea market years ago. Lambertville, coupled with New Hope, PA, just a short walk across the bridge, is a perfect mom-daughter or girlfriends daytrip. Especially, and I mean especially, if you love antiques, used bookstores, vintage clothes, basically anything once-loved.
Getting there: From Monmouth County, Lambertville is just about an hour drive. From New York City it is exactly an hour and a half by car. Lambertville and New Hope are also easily accessible by NJ Transit and SEPTA from New York and Philadelphia respectively. Visit their website for specifics. Public parking in Lambertville and New Hope is metered and easily obtained.
Budget: Thanks to Mapquest’s new fuel cost calculator, it’s easy to price daytrip transportation, even by car. New York City to Lambertville is about $9 for fuel one way. Parking is metered, so allow about $3-$4 depending on how long you want to stay. A nice sit-down lunch in Lambertville or New Hope will be around $15. There are plenty of cafes and takeaway lunches for under $10. Definitely allot some funds for snacks—unusual homemade ice cream flavors at Gerenser’s. Plentiful coffee shops and bakeries will prey on your in-between shopping peckishness.
Total: $35-$50 the main attractions of Lambertville/New Hope are food and antiques, so spend at your own discretion there. When you are sated on browsing and noshing, walk in the shade through Washington Crossing Park, no charge.
What to wear: Pick a comfy cute outfit for shopping and snacking. On a sunny October weekend I’d go with comfy jeans or corduroys, a flannel, sunglasses and a crossbody bag. Any loafer or flat that you’re comfortable strolling in on your feet.
Golden Nugget Antique Flea Market: Rows and rows of vendors, open 6am to 4pm. Everything from antique iron works to vintage postcards and costume jewelry. Open air.
The Missing Peace, 15 Kline's Court: Games! Puzzles! Old and new, you won’t find many stores like this anymore.
The Sojourner, 26 Bridge Street: Ethnic jewelry and loose beads, fair trade and unusual clothing from abroad.
Café Full Moon, 23 Bridge Street: I still think the coolest thing about this place is that they only serve breakfast and lunch, but every full moon they serve dinner with an entirely seasonal menu. Eclectic kind of café that has a fish tank, and with tasty American breakfast and lunch fare.
Phoenix Books, 49 Union St: Helpful staff and a great children’s book section, I found books I hadn’t seen since my elementary school’s library and it all came back.
Gerenser’s Exotic Ice Cream, 22 Main Street: Okay, not just recommended, this place is a must. Chocolate peanut butter Elvis, spicy chocolate, and caramel pecan are some of the less exotic flavors at Gerenser’s. Ice cream flavors are invented and made on premises.
Teardrop Memories, 12 West Mechanic Street: More of a curiosity shop, Teardrop Memories feels like stepping into an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? It allegedly houses the largest birdhouse collection in the world, and specializes in post-mortem and occult antiques. But the passionate and cheerful owner makes you feel like you’re just rummaging through your mysterious aunt’s attic.
Marsha Brown, 15 S Main Street: Make it a date in this creole restaurant in a 125 year old repurposed church. Comfort custard and Eggplant Ophelia are some of the southern-style specialties.
Heart of the Home, 28 S Main Street: Handmade gifts, jewelry, home knicknacks for anyone, any price. Gritty City’s handmade candles, made in Philadelphia will remind your farflung friends of the Jersey Shore with scents like Boardwalk.