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Looking for advice on New Jersey

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If you flew into Newark, in what NJ town would you stay for the best eats/shopping/lodging? Any great restaurants within a 30-minute drive of Newark without heading into NYC?

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  1. If you extend your range by 15 minutes you can go to Nicholas:

    https://www.restaurantnicholas.com

    And Red Bank is certainly one of those NJ towns that would be on your short list for a stay.

    If you stay in Red Bank, I would make another 30 minute drive to Asbury Park the next day for lunch and shopping and go to Porta:

    www.pizzaporta.com

    As for your other options, perhaps Curlz or one of our other North NJ regulars will post with suggestions.

    3 Replies
    1. re: seal

      Thank you!

      1. re: Iruntoeat

        If Red Bank is within your radius, then Princeton is also worth considering. Plenty of hotels on Route 1, and just a couple minutes drive to downtown with shops and eateries abound.

      2. re: seal

        I have only been to Asbury Park mostly for food but what are there shopping wise?
        There are a few stores on the broadwalk and I know there are a few on Cookman Ave. Is that pretty much it?
        Just wondering if there are parts of AP that I am not aware of.

      3. Montclair is well within 30 minutes of Newark.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ebchower

          Agreed. Montclair fits the bill. Nearest lodging is in West Orange.

          1. re: bropaul

            Yes, Montclair!

        2. New Jersey has many shopping malls with all the best stores....you could easily stay in Bergen, Essex or Hudson counties that meet your criteria.

          1. What kind of eating and shopping are you looking for? Upscale for both? Ethnic food?

            2 Replies
            1. re: Curlz

              Yes, upscale - thank you for helping. Am meeting a friend who is there helping an ill family member and trying to lift her spirits on her birthday. Sushi, cocktails, Thai, fresh organic are all things we both love. Thanks to all for your suggestions!

              1. re: Curlz

                Really. Do you have to fly across country to go to a shopping mall?

              2. You should drive 20mins to the Short Hills Hilton, shop at the Mall, and eat at Serenade or Scalini Fideli in Chatham.

                1 Reply
                1. re: coldbeer

                  Seconding Short Hills Mall, majorly seconding Scalini Fideli.

                2. Montclair from EWR = 20-30 minutes
                  Red bank from EWR= 45 - 60 minutes

                  Montclair +1

                  1. Based on your parameters I would agree with those who said Montclair as your top pick.

                    I live local to Red Bank, and would make that a strong number 2 suggestion, especially if you like the water. The Molly Pitcher Inn is a beautiful Hotel located on the Navesink River. There is plenty of dining options and as Seal already suggested Nicholas is a true gem. From Red Bank you are a short commute to many of the "Jersey Shore" sites.

                    1. Come to Hoboken and stay at the W with a room that has an amazing view of the NYC skyline. Hoboken has a few very good restaurants, but you are in walking distance of the PATH train which can take you to Jersey City for a lot of good restaurants or even into NYC if you want to go there. Hoboken also has some nice places to shop, plus a great waterfront park.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: ttoommyy

                        Another good idea.

                        1. re: Curlz

                          Driving in that area might be a little daunting for someone not familiar with it.

                          1. re: ebchower

                            Driving in NNJ might be a little daunting in general! :-) Then again, one can get to Hoboken and stay there without a car if one is going to stay in Hoboken/Jersey City or go to NYC...it's the one place where there IS decent public transportation!

                            1. re: Curlz

                              Absolutely. If the OP stays at the W, they need never see their car again until they leave. Both the PATH and NJ Transit trains are just blocks away.

                      2. For lodging...I would look to Short Hills...perhaps the Short Hills Hilton...and you have the Short Hills mall right there across the street. There's also many other nice stores in the area -- Short Hills, Verona, Summit, etc.

                        For food -- Short Hills and the nearby area has some good places...but I would choose Montclair...even in nearby areas, not far from Montclair, you have a lot of good restaurants -- a lot to choose from.

                        Have a great trip and enjoy!

                        1. Agreed that the Short Hills Hilton and the SH Mall qualify for upscale--but it depends on where you and your friend live, I suppose. It's still a mall, and it's still full of stores that you can find elsewhere; I'd have a look at the directory and see if it's of interest.
                          Food-wise, you won't find a town with a wider selection of interesting spots than Montclair, imo. It's also a nice place to walk around--blocks and blocks of independently owned stores and restaurants--something you don't find too many places these days (see: mall)!

                          1. I'll just say this and probably get blasted for it, but having lived in NJ all my 53 years, the Short Hills Mall and surrounding area while nice, has to be the blandest and most generic idea of a visit to NJ I can think of. At least Montclair has some character!

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: ttoommyy

                              TOTALLY agree! I never understand the excitement about that mall or Summit or Chatham.

                              1. re: Curlz

                                I am in no way "dissing" those areas, they are fine suburban areas to raise a family, etc. Just not a tourist destination. We go to the SH Mall at times, but it is just a mall; nothing special. it's no Mall of America! lol

                                1. re: ttoommyy

                                  SH isn't even a Garden State Plaza.... :-)

                                  1. re: Sdenred

                                    I hate GSP with a passion.

                                    1. re: Sdenred

                                      Aah, GSP. I remember when it was an outdoor mall and had a freestanding Sam Goody. At Christmas time (we called it that back then; not "holiday time") there was a giant chimney in the parking lot with a giant Santa sticking out of it. Those were the days!

                              2. Well, to start, you don't want to stay in Newark,......the listed below are all excellent choices,....Red Bank,
                                Morristown, Princeton and closer to Newark, Westfield.

                                1. Thanks everybody for the great insight!