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Looking for Advice for Ice Cream or Coffee or Yummy Snack Recommendation Along I-287 or Southern Part of I-95

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We'll be driving through New Jersey on Saturday afternoon, heading from Poughkeepsie to DC for college tours with our teen. We're looking for somewhere to stop for an afternoon break, relatively close to the highway, but chow-worthy, or at least decent.

Any suggestions much appreciated!

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  1. It would be a little more of a detour than you might want, but perhaps the Pop Shop in Collingswood, NJ might be a fun stop. http://www.thepopshopusa.com/home.html - probably about 20 min from NJ Tpk exit 4.
    If you can't wait that long, the Americana Diner in Hightstown, NJ has a wide variety of food and snacks. http://www.americanadiner.com/ - about 5 min from NJ Tpk exit 8.

    And a non-food suggestion... I-95 through Delaware is a mess right now with construction. You may want to avoid spending 1 hour to go 5 miles! After you cross the Delaware Memorial Bridge, try detouring onto US-40, to DE-896, to US-301, to US-50. This will lead you right into the eastern side of the DC beltway (I-495). It is much more scenic and relaxing, and the drive time is about the same. My brother lives in DC, I'm in southern NJ, and this is our new go-to for visits.

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    Americana Diner & Restaurant
    US Highway 130, Hightstown, NJ 08520

    5 Replies
    1. re: truman

      Thanks for this. I'm sorry, but I'm a little unfamiliar with the local terminology. As I read our maps, we'll be on I-95, and not on the New Jersey Turnpike, as we're heading South to the west of the NJ Turnpike, on I-287, then we're on NJ 206 until Lawrenceville, where we hook up with I-95 (but not the NJ Turnpike, I think.

      With this route, can you think of anything close-by?

      Also, Truman, can you describe that Delaware detour a little more clearly? It sounds like a great idea, but I can't figure it out from my maps. And, to keep this on topic, do you know anywhere on that route we could stop, if we hold out until then?

      Thanks!

      1. re: winedude

        From NY your best and most direct route is the NJ Turnpike , also called I95 . Rte 287 is a lot longer . Rt down to the Gee 206 is a disaster . Scenic in spots but terribly slow .
        Take the Palisades Parkway down to the George Washington Bridge and follow the signs for the Turnpike . Much more direct .

        1. re: winedude

          I think others have explained the I-95/NJTpk terminology... Our GPS calls it I-95 until about exit 6 (where the PA Tpk connects), and then it loses the interstate designation until Delaware. FYI, your original route via US-206 will put you on the NJ Tpk at exit 7.

          I misspoke before - I was combining two different routes. Sorry for the confusion. Anyhoo... with apologies to the moderators for this not being about food, here is the Delaware detour:
          Option 1: Go across the DelMemBr and follow signs for the DE Turnpike (I-95). Get off at exit 1B for DE-896, S. College Ave. This joins up with US-301 just south of US-40. Follow directions below from 301.
          Option 2: After you cross the DelMemBr into Delaware, immediately get off the highway - follow signs for US-13 S/US-40 W/New Castle/Airport/Dover and merge onto that road. Go 11.6 miles and turn left (south) onto US-301.
          From 301, go about 55 miles, and then the road merges with US-50. You'll go across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, near Annapolis, and then ultimately to I-495 aka the Capitol Beltway..

          We ate in Stevensville at R's Americantina - eh, so-so... there was a lot of fast food along that route. I'd ask the DC/Maryland board for better recommendations...

          1. re: truman

            I make this NJTP rip all the time. A three hour trip can easily turn into a six hour torture. Following your instructions on the map, this looks like a good route to avoid Baltimore traffic, too, tho the reference to DE-896 threw me for a loop.

            Rt 301 is sure to have some good mom n pop places.

            1. re: GraydonCarter

              If you find some good places along 301, please post back here. We saw a ton of fast food (and not the good fast food places... the ones even DH won't eat at!) and not much else. Well, I admit we ate at Buffalo Wild Wings in MIddletown, DE, but that might not meet the typical Chowhound criteria. Middletown might have other options...

      2. Here's a link to an earlier thread on a similar subject:

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/704891

        1. If you do eventually get on the NJ Turnpike, or I-295 which parallels it, there are a couple Iron Skillets at the Petra truck stops, exits 7 and 2 I think. Google it for exact location.

          Also, on your planned route you won't be too far from Trenton. There are some terrific pizza places there. Check the appropriate threads. And you will be going through Princeton, which has many choices, as you would expect.

          1. Just to make it REALLY clear...the NJ Tpk is also 95. And when you get over the Del Mem Bridge, you'll see signs for 95 and wonder if you somehow got off of it--you didn't!

            Wish I could help with dining suggestions, but in all of the years I've been doing that run (20+), I haven't found anything of note that's easy on/off. OMG, but wait...just realized you can hop off of the NJ Tpk at Exit 9 (New Brunswick/Rutgers), get on Rt. 1 North (yes, I know it's in the opp direction) for just a couple of miles, and go to the Skylark Diner in Edison. VERY easy to do, and I really think their food is terrific. Not your avg NJ diner in terms of greasy spoon-ness; they bake their own (GREAT) bread, and a pretty major chef helped redesign their menu. I was there last week for lunch and had a wonderful variation on a Cuban sandwich...slow-roasted pork loin, manchego, Bermuda onion, and cornichons on grilled semolina. Unbelieveably good, and all of about $10. You'll find standards if someone isn't adventurous, but lots of goodies if you are. Get the Vietnamese Pork Sticks! You will NOT be disappointed. And oh, yeah--they have artisinal truffles, desserts, and ice cream, too. :-)

            That's my vote! www.skylarkdiner.com

            1 Reply
            1. re: Curlz

              If you're going southbound there's no need for doubling back from exit 9...get off at exit 10 and take 287 north to Rte 1 south...jughandle at Woodward Ave will put you at The Skylark. There are also plenty of Asian options along Rte.1 in Edison. Continuing south on 1 will put you back on the turnpike at exit 9.

            2. Not far from your path is Princeton, where there a couple of great stops for ice cream, notably Thomas Sweets or even better, The Bent Spoon.

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              The Bent Spoon
              35 Palmer Sq W, Princeton, NJ 08542

              1 Reply
              1. re: madgreek99

                Yes, yes yes to the Bent Spoon. Fabulous ice cream, yummy cupcakes, and if they are still brewing their own root beer - delish. And across in Palmer Square is Teresa's which might be good for a lunch stop.

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                The Bent Spoon
                35 Palmer Sq W, Princeton, NJ 08542

              2. Great inexpensive restaurant in Collingswood (so. n.j.), near 95 and 295 (you can use 295 to avoid turnpike) - Tortilla Press 703 haddon ave. it's southwest food. check out there web site. http://www.thetortillapress.com/menus...