By Liz Johnson
With the current COVID-19 restrictions, it may be a while before you dine at a restaurant indoors in Hunterdon County. No worries, though. It’s summer and there are plenty of ways to spend an enjoyable afternoon or evening out. Here are a few ideas to dine al fresco while imbibing in both ambiance and enjoyable fare:
If you’re looking for some entertainment to go with your meal, there are plenty of outdoor venues in Hunterdon County to choose from, including Hunterdon Happening List Winners Artie’s Bar and Grille or the National Hotel, both in Frenchtown.
A table with a view, even outdoors, isn’t hard to find in Hunterdon County. Check out The Patio at the Clean Plate Kitchen in Clinton, Hunterdon Happening List Winner for Best Scenic View or Finalists such as the Lambertville Station Restaurant.
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By the Water
With both the Raritan and Delaware Rivers flowing through Hunterdon County, there are plenty of places to eat waterside. One of the most breath-taking views is the Lake Solitude Waterfall Observation Deck in High Bridge. Bring your own fare – or maybe something cooked up by Hunterdon Happening List Winner Gronsky’s Milk House in High Bridge – and a camera. This is an outing you’ll want to remember.
Outdoor dining opens opportunities for an outing with your favorite furry friend. Most places will allow animals on leashes, although you may want to call ahead to be sure. Frenchtown in particular has a soft spot for dogs, with many businesses offering water bowls and biscuits to any hound that wanders by.
At Beneduce Vineyards in Pittstown, a Hunterdon Happening List Finalist, you can bring Fido and a group of up to 8 people to enjoy their new open-air space. (You might even spot the owner’s pup Louie.)
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Great food and scenic views set the stage for romantic ambiance. In addition to restaurants already mentioned, check out the Hunterdon Happening List Finalists such as the Milford House, which has set up outdoor dining in tents, or the Frenchtown Inn, which has outdoor seating on its riverfront porch.
Host Your Own Happy Hour with Cocktails-to-go
You don’t have to go out to enjoy Happy Hour. You could celebrate it with your own endeavor on your patio or porch. If you’re looking for drink inspiration, check out Hunterdon Happening List Winner Harper’s Table in Annandale which is offering Cocktails-to-Go. It’s also sponsoring an Outdoor Movie Night on July 21st, with proceeds going to a local family in need.
There are plenty of stop-offs along the Delaware and Raritan rivers that make for great picnic sites, with table and trash receptacles. All you need to bring is the basket full of food. If you need inspiration or don’t have the time to prepare, check out the offerings at 15 Landsdowne Catering and Mercantile in Frenchtown, Hunterdon Happening List Winner for Best Caterer or Finalist Qcrew BBQ Catering Co. in Ringoes.
Car Show Fare
Country roads with idyllic views tend to draw motorcyclists and car enthusiasts out for a weekend drive, which may explain Hunterdon County’s fascination with car shows. Flemington hosts weekly shows, while Clinton’s Red Mill Museum will host several shows over the summer and fall. There are plenty of delis and restaurants offering to-go fare on the Main Streets of these towns to add to the enjoyment of the events.
Spend the day on the wine trail
Hunterdon County is home to several vineyards including Hunterdon Happening List Finalists for best Winery Villa Milagro Vineyards in Milford, Beneduce Vineyards in Pittstown and Old York Cellars and Unionville Vineyards, both in Ringoes. Get a list of vineyards at THIS LINK and spend the day exploring the grapes and vistas.