By Liz Johnson

This year’s Fourth of July celebration will definitely be more low key than most in light of COVID-19 closures and event cancellations. But it doesn’t mean it has to rain entirely on your parade. Here are a few ideas of ways to spend the holiday with family or a small group of close friends:

Host a Backyard Barbecue

Throw some steaks or chicken on the grill or a few skewers of shish-kabab, along with a side of homemade coleslaw and potato salad and break bread with family members or close neighbors you know have been quarantined. The CDC recommends spending time outdoors rather than indoors.

Stock up on your favorite backyard picnic staples at Basil Bandwagon, Happening List Winner for Grocery Store. Grilling meats, fresh produce, salads from their farm-to-market cafes, frozen treats, deet-free bug spray, natural sunscreen and more. Basil Bandwagon is open for in-store shopping, curbside pickup and delivery.

If you’d like, jazz it up a little with an order of drunken shrimp or buttermilk pasta salad from 15 Landsowne Catering in Frenchtown, Hunterdon Happening List Winner for Best Caterer.

Go on a Picnic

Grab some sandwiches from Gronsky’s Milk House in High Bridge, Hunterdon Happening List Winner for Best Sandwich, then head out to the nearby Columbia Trail for beautiful vistas and a serene outing.

Visit a Local Vineyard

Enjoy the beautiful countryside that surrounds Hunterdon County vineyards, including Hunterdon Happening List Finalists Villa Milagro in Milford, Beneduce in Pittstown, Old York Cellars and Unionville, both in Ringoes. Sip on local wines while enjoying breathtaking views.

Visit a Local Farmers Market

If your 4th of July wouldn’t be complete without corn on the cob, visit Schaefer Farm in Flemington, a Hunterdon Happening Finalist for Best Nature Spot, for freshly picked sweet corn available for curbside pick-up. Or visit Hunterdon Land Trust’s Farmer’s Market in Flemington, a Hunterdon Happening List Winner for Best Nature Spot & Farmers Market.

Take a Lazy Trip Down the River

There are lots of ways to enjoy the Delaware River, whether it’s just dipping your toes in, going tubing or kayaking to a sunset pontoon boat cruise. End the day with an outdoor dinner at the Lambertville Station, Hunterdon Happening List Winner for Best Outdoor Dining.

Go on a Bike Ride

Many of the county’s hiking trails also make for good mountain biking. Or pedal along the Delaware River on the D&R Canal path, with stops in riverside towns for nourishment, such as Lovin’ Oven in Frenchtown, Hunterdon Happening List Finalist for Best Outdoor Dinning.

Take a Hike

Check out the trails at the Sourland Mountain Preserve, Hunterdon Happening List Winner for Best Park. Or try trails at one of Hunterdon County’s parks, including Cold Brook Preserve and Hoffman Park, Hunterdon Happening List Finalists for Best Parks. You’ll find maps HERE.

(Photo by Michelle Reese)

Have a Water Balloon Fight & Turn on the Sprinkler

Let’s face it, if you’re wet, you must be having fun.

Camp Out

Set up a tent in the back yard and spend the night outdoors. If you have a telescope or binoculars, check out the constellations in the night sky.

Host a Yard Game Tournament

Corn hole, yard darts, croquet or horseshoes, they never go out of style. They’re also possible to play while social distancing as they require only a few team members.

For even more ideas for seasonal fun, take a look at our 2020 Summer Guide! You’ll find a great list of restaurants with outdoor dining, where to go for frozen treats and more! 

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