By Melissa Kaufman

With plunging temperatures, a briskness in the air and frequent inclement weather, there has never been a better time to warm up and relax. Thankfully, while awaiting the arrival of Spring, there are numerous ways to delight in the current season offering warmth, leisure, tranquility and excitement, simultaneously. Whether it is mug of decadent, steamy hot cocoa, a warm bowl of chili, a steam room at the spa, or enjoying a musical performance outdoors alongside the glow and warmth of a firepit, Hunterdon County is chock full of unique ways to increase comfort even with a chill in the air! Read along for a vast selection of ways to relax and shake off those Winter chills with the help of local Hunterdon Happening List favorites! Also, don’t forget to cast your vote for this year’s Hunterdon Happening List HERE.

Enjoy a Warm, Hearty Meal

The Winter season is the ideal time to enjoy many hearty, comforting and warm favorites, such as chilis, soups/stews, casseroles, steamy Italian dishes, as well as spicy Mexican cuisine and can be easily prepared from the comfort of home, enjoyed on-site or via takeout at local restaurants. Check out some of these Happening List winners for flavorful ways to increase the temperature:

Lambertville Station Restaurant & Inn, Lambertville, NJ, 2020 Happening List Winner for Outdoor Dining & Most Romantic

Lambertville Station

Enjoy a scenic and relaxing view while dining inside or out at Lambertville Station. Also offering takeout options via online ordering and even delivery, it is a unique and accommodating experience. Delight in a full lunch/dinner menu, served seven days per week, and choose from a wide range of options, including salads, sandwiches, entrees and desserts, all made with the finest and freshest ingredients crafted by a renowned chef.

Grounded For Life Café, Clinton, 2020 Happening List Winner for Healthy Food

As a plant-based café, they offer hot breakfast all-day with options such as breakfast tacos, grounded breakfast sandwich, scrambled vegan eggs, as well as veggie dogs, warm soups, impossible burgers, and much more, all vegetarian/vegan! Enjoy outdoor dining or curbside pickup and conveniently place your order online!

Los Chilitos, Lebanon, NJ, 2020 Happening List Winner for Mexican Food

Warm& spice up the season through indulging in authentic Mexican cuisine at Los Chilitios! Check their Facebook page for daily specials, where recent offerings includes: Chicken Jalapeno Soup, Chicken & Jalapeno Tamales, Ribeye Quesadillas & even Pineapple Cheesecake.

Basil Bandwagon, Clinton, Flemington, Lambertville & Online (www.basilbandwagon.com), 2020 Happening List Finalist for Healthy Food

Visit the Basil Bandwagon Natural Market for healthy eats and treats, such fresh produce to create a warm meal at home or prepared foods including falafel, black bean burgers and soups of the day.

Sip on Warm Beverages

With recent temperatures often hovering at or below freezing, the need to warm up is enhanced and can be easily accomplished through enjoying warm mugs of coffee/espresso/lattes/cappuccinos, hot cocoa, hot ciders & hot teas. Enjoy these beverages at home, on the go, or outdoors surrounded by music & fire pits available at these Happening List favorites:

Hardy’s Coffee Bar, Flemington, 2020 Happening List Winner for Coffee

Warm up with coffees such as drip, espresso, lattes, macchiatos or hot teas & tea lattes, and other warm beverages by stopping in-store or order online for pickup. Selections of baked goods & savory meals are also available. Their fresh roasted, bagged coffees can also be purchased to brew your own at home. Even consider joining their $9 membership program, which includes $1 off drip coffees, 5% off retail, access to a Member’s Menu, including and even a key fob for personalized door access during business hours.

Factory Fuel Coffee House, Flemington, 2020 Happening List Finalist for Coffee

Generate heat & fulfill a coffee hankering through indulging in their Counter Culture drip coffees, espressos, cappuccinos, flat whites, macchiatos & lattes. Also try their assortment of hot teas &tea lattes, steamers, as well as their in-house bakery, serving sweet and savory pastries to enjoy alongside their warm beverages. Take your sips and eats with a side of community, as they are a staple in Flemington, hosting various art, music and other events.

Scout’s Coffee Bar & Mercantile, High Bridge, NJ, 2020 Happening List Finalist for Coffee

Visit Scout’s and enjoy the warm tastes of drip coffee, café au lait, espressos, lattes, americanos, as well as teas & tea lattes, hot & malt cocoas, golden milk and more. Customize each beverage with regular, oat or soy milks and choose from a variety of flavored syrups, including lavender, rose, brown sugar, maple and more. Also check out their store or website for an assortment of pantry staples, gifts and care packages.

Enjoy a Wine and/or Spirits Tasting

With Hunterdon County home to many wineries and vineyards, many local wineries and vineyards are offering private or public wine tastings, as well as various events to celebrate the season and warm up with flavorful sips amid a firepit or heated outdoor space. If on-site tastings aren’t of interest, pick up a bottle of locally-produced wine to enjoy from the comfort of home, or via Zoom tasting with friends and family! Check out some of these Happening List favorites for sips to savor:

Grape Finale Hands-On Winery, Flemington, 2020 Happening List Winner for Winery or Tasting Room

Try your hand at winemaking or mimic your favorite sommelier, at Grape Finale! Offering wines for purchase or sampling, sign up online or via phone for one of their barrel sampling events, where participants receive complimentary wine samples from the barrels they are aging in, bottle & label your wine. Crush, press, bottle and label your own wines and enjoy the tastes of red, white and rose premium wines!

Villa Milagro Vineyards, Milford, NJ, 2020 Happening List Finalist for Winery or Tasting Room

Reserve online and stop by on Saturdays & Sundays for limited indoor tastings and purchases or visit daily for purchases and curbside pickups or choose direct ship to you. Enjoy their reds, whites, and special wines, which include the current Besame, a chocolate-infused wine available until May 15! Virtual wine tasting parties are also available and include two bottles of wine, food pairing items, such as cheeses, chocolates and/or charcuterie and a one-hour guided tasting with their winemaker.

Highrail Brewing Company, High Bridge, 2020 Happening List Winner for Brewery

Visit the brewery and enjoy sipping on their assortment of craft beers, which include “Laced with Icicles,” described as a winter warmer, “Black Steel,” a stout served on nitro, plus numerous others on tap, as well as a blood orange hard seltzer, four packs of 16oz cans, crowlers and growlers. The full menu is available to order online for to-go via pickup.

Visit a Local Spa/Salon

Whether it is receiving a full body massage, facial, reflexology, sauna session, manicure/pedicure or hair cut/style, this season is a great time to indulge in a relaxing, pampering experience. Let your skin soak up much-needed moisture through indulging in a hydrating massage or rejuvenating treatment and unwind in some of the county’s and Happening List’s most coveted spas and salons:

(Photo provided by Zanya Spa Salon.)

Zanya Spa Salon, Lambertville, NJ, 2020 Happening List Finalist for Day Spa

Conveniently book an appointment online at Zanya for a stress-relieving hair cut/style/treatment, makeup session, facial or skincare treatment, as well as comprehensive massages and other body care treatments, such as a body scrub or body butter wrap. Health and safety is at the forefront of Zanya’s mission and they consciously work to ensure all protocols are effectively followed.

Euphoria Studio, Frenchtown, 2020 Happening List Winner for Day Spa

Visit Euphoria and enjoy a full-service hair salon offering cuts, color and treatments, as well as event and bridal services, an online store/boutique offering their full line-up of products, clothing, as well as facials, nail services/treatments, massages, reflexology in their spa.

Beauty Releaf, Beautyreleaf.com

Pamper yourself at home! Treat yourself to makeup & skincare of the highest quality at Beauty Releaf. Indulge in lip treatments and even order a special-edition, Lip Tasker in “Danielle’s Red” to support Danielle, a scad heart attack survivor with 10% of each purchase in the month of February supporting www.scadresearch.org to further promote research and wellness.

Warm Up with a Workout

Get your heart rate pumping, work up a sweat and generate natural, internal heat through engaging in an energizing workout! Warm up in the healthiest of ways through checking out some of these Happening List favorites to increase flexibility and promote an easy way to make exercise an enjoyable & beneficial experience:

HealthQuest, Flemington, 2020 Happening List Winner for Gym

Enjoy and choose from a plethora of wellness & workout options at this full-service, 105,000 square foot gym and wellness center, which includes: classes, Pilates, a fitness studio, swimming pool, martial arts, spin studio, and many more! Get started on your fitness journey with a free trial by signing up online via website.

Her Fitness, Flemington, 2020 Happening List Winner for Personal Training

Gain confidence, flexibility and restore/maintain health through physical fitness at Her Fitness. Arrange for personal or group training sessions, Ab/Core classes, and even download their free fitness report to get started on a personal wellness journey!

Yoga Essence, Lebanon, 2020 Happening List Winner for Yoga

If new to Yoga Essence, sign up for a free class and/or 30-days of Unlimited Yoga or Unlimited Yoga & Aerial Yoga. Explore the class schedule, which includes Aerial Conditioning, Heated Flow, Gentle Yoga, Gin & Meditation and many more and sign-up online. Livestreams, teacher training and apparel for purchase are also all available.

Pursue a Creative Activity

When the temperatures are chilly and the weather is inclement, some of the best and easiest ways to warm up and occupy time is through engaging in a creative activity. Whether it is doing some DIY baking through a bake kit or painting a masterpiece with a kit from a local paint store, the possibilities are endless! Check out some of these Happening List favorites to guaranteed to get your creative juices flowing:

Paper Floral Co, Frenchtown, 2020 Happening List Winner for Group Outing

Grab friends and family for a private studio session or distanced Zoom learning session/workshops and create your own custom paper floral designs! Sign up online and channel your inner artist through designing crepe paper flower garland, coral charm peonies and many more from the comfort of home or in-studio!

The Paint Party Studio, Flemington, 2020 Happening List Finalist for Group Outing

Indulge your inner creator & builder and construct masterpiece or simply enjoy the therapeutic/stress-relieving benefits of artistry, crafting & creating! Pick-up a wood kit to complete your masterpiece from the comfort of home with friends and family, or even a video instruction step by step canvas. Orders can be submitted by via text or phone.

Bobolink Dairy & Bakehouse, Milford, 2020 Happening List Nominee for Group Outing

Strap on your apron, fire up the oven & enjoy the comforting aroma of fresh bread baking from the comfort of home! Visit Bobolink’s online store to order Jonathan’s Bread Starter for $8, a ferment for making fine levain breads with instructions and recipes! Enjoy your fresh-baked bread & creations topped with Jonathan’s cultured butter, extra-rich and full-flavored, churned from 100% grassfed cream!

Chocolate in the Oven, Milford, 2020 Happening List Winner for Bakery

Seal up the pre-packaged cookies and bake your own from home! Pick up an assortment of flavored coffee doughs including, M&M Sugar Cookie Dough, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Peanut Butter Cookie Dough! All pre-made cookie doughs make at least 36 cookies and can be easily scooped and frozen to use whenever the urge to bake arises!

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