Bridgewater, New Jersey, is more than just a typical suburban town. Nestled in the heart of Somerset County, it's a gem bursting with a unique blend of history, culture, and recreational activities.
From picturesque parks and engaging museums to delectable dining spots and shopping centers, there's a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered.
Whether you're a resident or a visitor, your adventure in Bridgewater is just beginning. Join us as we explore the myriad of things to do in this charming town.
Step Back in Time at the Van Horne House
Have you ever taken a trip back in time?
That's precisely what I did when I visited the Van Horne House, a treasure trove of local history tucked away in Somerset County.
With each step into this colonial-era home, I uncovered many historical stories, all waiting to be explored.
Now, let me take you on a journey through my unforgettable experience.
Upon arrival at the Van Horne House, I was entranced by the vivid reenactments of historical scenes.
The characters in colonial attire truly brought the past to life.
I even had the unique opportunity to learn about colonial marriages and try a traditional dance.
The infectious spirit of the performers, combined with the authentic colonial ambiance, made for a wonderfully immersive experience.
Beyond the lively reenactments, my visit fell on a significant day - Somerset County's annual history weekend.
The whole place was buzzing with excitement. I saw an impressive battle reenactment, which was as thrilling as it was educational.
Many visitors were enthusiastic enough to come in period attire for the event.
Though I had chosen my usual clothes, the warm and accepting atmosphere made me feel right at home.
I look forward to returning to the Van Horne House, discovering more about our rich local history, and participating in this remarkable place's immersive colonial experiences.
Craft Wine at Grape Expectations
There's something undeniably magical about turning juicy grapes into a bottle of exquisite wine.
That's precisely what I set out to do at Grape Expectations, a wonderful winemaking haven in our community.
This place truly is a wine lover's dream come true.
What I love about Grape Expectations is the sheer variety of grapes available every season.
You're spoilt for choice and can create a wine that suits your taste buds perfectly.
I've been crafting my wine here for almost 15 years, and let me tell you, the experience never gets old.
Then there are the open houses and 'Tap The Barrel' events that punctuate the winemaking season.
These gatherings are more than just tasting sessions; they celebrate the community, the craft, and the journey you've taken, from choosing your grape variety to tasting your wine's progress.
But Grape Expectations is also about sustainability and celebrating life’s special moments.
We can reuse our bottles yearly, reducing waste and adding a personal touch to our wine.
And for those looking to make their celebrations truly memorable, Grape Expectations offers the chance to make small "party-favor" wines perfect for weddings, anniversaries, or any special events.
Every year, my family and I eagerly bottle our wine, marking the end of another fruitful season.
It's a tradition that has become part of who we are.
Grape Expectations is a place where memories are bottled, and I wouldn’t go anywhere else, ever.
Enjoy an Afternoon at Kidstreet Playground
There's nothing like letting your little ones loose at the Kidstreet Playground in the heart of Bridgewater.
It's not just a play area but a veritable wonderland for kids, filled with unique and exciting play structures.
The imaginative designs keep them engaged for hours, whether a boat or a truck.
As an ardent nature lover, I'm always delighted by the sight of the greenery enveloping the playground.
The tall trees covering most of the space provide shade and a beautiful ambiance.
Watching the kids play under a canopy of leaves, their laughter echoing through the playground, even on the sunniest days, is lovely.
And then, there's the sandpit.
I've lost count of the number of castles that my kids have built there, their eyes twinkling with joy as they mold the sand into shapes.
They also provide sand toys, so you don't have to worry about lugging around your own.
The playground is large and might seem a bit overwhelming if you have more than one child to keep an eye on.
But rest assured, it's worth the occasional game of hide-and-seek.
The variety of play structures ensures something for children of all ages.
There's even a particular area for toddlers, making it a favorite spot for families with kids of different ages.
While it's a great place to spend an afternoon, remember that food is prohibited inside the park.
Restrooms are available, although they could do with a bit better maintenance.
And do be aware of a few spots where wooden sticks jut out.
While they rarely cause any issues, it's better to be safe than sorry.
Kidstreet Playground is a gem amidst the bustle of Bridgewater, where your kids can unleash their energy and actions, all while connecting with nature.
Step Back in Time at Van Veghten House
You wouldn't believe it, but nestled at the end of a bustling commercial street is a gem of history, the Van Veghten House.
It's as if you're stepping into a time machine each Tuesday when the house opens its doors.
The house sits majestically with a breathtaking view overlooking Duke Farms and Raritan.
You see, this isn't just any old house.
This house holds a special place in the heart of America's history.
It was in this house that George Washington danced for three hours during the Revolution.
Every time I walk through those doors, I can almost hear the echoes of the music and the laughter.
But it's not just the historical relevance that has me returning to the Van Veghten House.
It's the serenity, the peace that envelops you as you take in the scene.
The world outside seems to quiet as you watch the sunset over Duke Farms from the porch.
For just a few hours each week, you can escape the hustle and bustle of modern life and immerse yourself in the tranquility and history of the Van Veghten House.
The mystique, the stories, and the views all come together to create an experience that's truly one of a kind.
So, if you're in the area on a Tuesday, do yourself a favor and step into the past at the Van Veghten House.
Revel in the Beauty of North Branch Park
Imagine enjoying a sunny day amid sprawling open fields, with the tranquil rover nearby, providing the perfect soundtrack to your picnic.
This is what a regular day at North Branch Park looks like.
The park is alive, and you can still find quiet corners to enjoy the natural beauty.
One of the year's highlights at this park is the annual 4th of July fireworks display.
It's a tradition for me and my family.
The electrifying atmosphere, the explosion of colors in the sky, and the shared excitement among the crowd are something we always look at.
However, the park isn't just about the fireworks.
The 4-H fair event, even amid a rainstorm, attracts people from far and wide.
I fondly remember my kids being wholly engrossed with the Legos, gushing over the animals, and excitedly watching the trains.
It's an event that cads of all ages and a must-visit for any family.
And to top it all, the park is well-maintained and has a playground for kids to enjoy on any regular day.
It's a gem in Somerset County's heart, offering a blend of natural beauty and exciting events.
Trust me, it's a must-visit for anyone living in or visiting the area.
Enter a Spiritual Sanctuary at Sri Venkateswara Temple and Community Center
Every time the chaos of life overwhelms me, I seek solace and peace at the Sri Venkateswara Temple, also known as the Balaji Mandir.
The moment I step into the temple, the beautifully crafted idols and the tranquil atmosphere envelop me in a sense of calm that is hard to put into words.
Moreover, see the intricate carvings that adorn the temple walls and the scenic beauty around the shrine.
Everything about this place talks about the devotion and hard work that has gone into its making.
One of the most notable aspects of this temple is how it brings together several gods and goddesses in one place.
I have spent countless hours visiting each shrine, feeling a sense of peace wash over me as I watch the priests perform the Archana with dedication and reverence to the deity Sri Venkateswara.
The temple also offers an exceptional cultural experience; the various rituals, pujas, and events here give me a meaningful way to connect with my roots and heritage.
Attending the events here has been an excellent way to understand the depth and richness of our traditions.
Likewise, the Community Center provides a space for gatherings and celebrations, from hosting weddings to cultural performances.
But what truly captures my heart is the sense of camaraderie here.
The temple and community center foster a strong sense of community, serving as a hub for people of all ages to come together, learn, celebrate, and support one another.
No matter what you're seeking - a place of worship, cultural enrichment, or a venue for your special occasions, the Balaji Mandir offers an enriching experience that will leave a lasting impression on you.
Visit Chicken Holiday
Hooking a left turn off the main drag lands me at the no-frills counter of Chicken Holiday.
And trust me, it's not just about the chicken.
Their menu is loaded with various fast-food delights that they've been serving for well over 48 years.
Yes, you read that right, they've been in the game for almost half a century!
To cut to the chase, the chicken here is fantastic: crispy, tender, and just fried to perfection!
It's the kind of chicken you want after a long day, the kind that comforts you from the inside out.
While the chicken is the star of the show, their plantains are also pretty darn good.
They add a bit of sweetness to the savory and are an absolute must-try!
What I adore about Chicken Holiday is the old-school charm it carries.
It's been around for decades and hasn't changed with the times.
In a world where everything is constantly evolving, something about that feels special.
It feels like a slice of history, something to cherish.
The kitchen is always clean, the oil fresh, and the food quality consistently high.
So, whether you're a fan of fast food or not, Chicken Holiday is a place worth visiting at least once.
It's a testament to good old American food and a celebration of a time when things were simpler.
Just remember to skip the ribs and order an extra portion of chicken instead!
Spend the Day at Raritan Valley Country Club
What's better than spending a day at the Raritan Valley Country Club?
It's the epitome of relaxation and sophistication, nestled comfortably in our small town.
The moment you step into the club, you're greeted with a warmth and welcome that would melt even the coldest hearts.
Their service is unparalleled - a statement that any local, including myself, can vouch for.
Then there's the food.
Every dish is a masterpiece, meticulously crafted to tantalize your taste buds.
Whether you're in the mood for a light salad or a hearty steak, the menu will not disappoint.
But the crown jewel of the Raritan Valley Country Club is undoubtedly its golf course.
Beautifully manicured greens stretch as far as the eye can see, offering a perfect balance of challenge and enjoyment for golfers of all skill levels.
Raritan Valley Country Club is a gem in this town.
It's a place where community, relaxation, and enjoyment meld into an unforgettable experience.
Spend the Day at Duke Island Park
There's no better way to start my weekend than to hop on my bike and head over to Duke Island Park.
Nestled on a whopping 343 acres of lush greenery, this park is my sanctuary.
With an array of trails designed for biking and hiking, each visit feels like a new adventure.
The trails are well-kept and perfect for families, kids, and pets.
Likewise, the soft rustling of the trees and the birds singing their heart out, it's like being in the lap of nature.
The park is also home to a stunning array of orchids housed in the Orchid House - a spectacle that never fails to take my breath away.
One of my favorite activities is setting up a picnic with friends.
The park has several picnic spots where you can grill up delicious food and share stories.
And if you're lucky, you might even spot some historical sites on your journey through the park, adding a touch of historical charm to the experience.
But the piece de resistance of the park, at least for me, is the waterfall at the very end, a serene spot that feels like a reward for embarking on the journey through the park.
It's a tranquil oasis that offers a moment of calm in the hustle and bustle of life.
As someone who frequents this place, I can attest to the cleanliness and organization of the park.
The community park workers put tremendous effort into maintaining this gem of a place.
So, come down, bring your bikes and your loved ones, and prepare for a day of fun, adventure, and relaxation at Duke Island Park.
Make a Weekend Getaway at Somerset RC Flying Field
Have you ever wondered what it feels like to control the flight of a model plane or a drone?
If you have, I have the perfect place for you to dip your toes into this exciting hobby.
My weekends are often spent at the Somerset RC Flying Field.
My Saturday mornings are often filled with the echoing hum of model planes and jets as they take to the sky.
The local club meets here, and it's always thrilling to join the other enthusiasts as we guide our miniature aircraft through the open, clear skies.
Seeing the planes whizzing past with the sun glinting off the metal is nothing short of fascinating.
On the other hand, the afternoons are when I bring out my drone.
The field is vast, and the absence of trees or tall structures makes it a safe haven for drone pilots.
It’s a joy to see the field from a bird's point of view through the drone camera, with the lush green grass beneath and the clear blue sky above.
And it's not just about the flying; the field itself is breathtaking.
It's beautiful, peaceful, and well-maintained, making it a great place to relax and enjoy some quiet time.
Whether you're into RC planes, drones, or just appreciate the tranquility of an open field, Somerset RC Flying Field is a local gem worth checking out.
Catch a Game at TD Bank Ballpark
Stepping into the friendly confines of TD Bank Ballpark always feels like coming home to me.
The stadium is spotlessly clean and well-maintained, making it a perfect place to enjoy a minor league baseball game.
It's not just about the game here. The area is buzzing with activities, games for kids, and entertaining fun between innings.
One of the best things about this place is its affordability.
No matter where you sit, the prices are easy on the wallet, making it accessible for everyone.
The seats are comfortable, and an unobstructed view of the field.
Moreover, the energy in the stadium is always electric as we cheer for our homegrown prospects and future MLB stars.
The food options here are extensive and satisfying.
My personal favorite? The sausage sandwich. Delicious and filling, it's a must-try when you're here.
Shopping enthusiasts have the team store for some fantastic merchandise, though I must admit, the prices can sometimes be a little steep.
Another highlight, if you're lucky, is the promotional nights featuring giveaways or even fireworks!
Speaking of luck, don't forget to stay after the game for a chance to snag some autographs from the players.
They're always friendly and gracious, adding to the overall community spirit of the ballpark.
To top it all, parking is a breeze with a lot right across the street.
Yes, a game at TD Bank Ballpark is a great experience for people of all ages.
Enjoy Family Fun at Green Knoll Grill
You know that feeling when you stumble upon a hidden gem in your town?
That's exactly what happened when I found Green Knoll Grill.
A perfect mix of a lively sports bar, family-friendly dining spot, and weekend hangout, it's become a regular haunt for my family and me.
With live sports streaming on TV, weekend family activities, and a delectable menu of American classics, it's got something for everyone.
It is a cozy venue where town locals, college students, families, and the business community come together for a good time.
Its indoor and outdoor setup caters to every mood.
Want some sun? Grab a table outside.
Prefer the indoors? They have a comfortable seating area indoors and a bar that radiates relaxed vibes.
Meanwhile, their American staples, from pizzas to burgers, are served hot and quickly.
The Taylor Ham sandwich and their Cheese Steak Pizza are must-tries.
I remember the first time I bit into their giant pretzel; it was heavenly.
And I also recommend their BLT, which is excellent value for the money you pay.
But what sets Green Knoll Grill apart is its welcoming atmosphere.
They make you feel right at home, ensuring you are well cared for. They're always ready to provide recommendations and explain the menu items.
And did I mention the live music?
There's nothing like enjoying a good meal, sipping cold beer, and listening to live music.
For those with furry friends, the outdoor area is dog-friendly.
Green Knoll Grill is a place where memories are made.
It's where you'll find me and my family most weekends, enjoying good food, music, and company.
Make a Tranquil Escape to Alfred S. Brown Park
Whenever my daily stressors overwhelm me, I find solace in the lush greenery of Alfred S. Brown Park.
It's my sanctuary tucked in the heart of Bridgewater.
The park, spanning a picturesque landscape, is an idyllic place for nature lovers.
It's just a few blocks from my house and never fails to provide me with a much-needed escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
As soon as you step foot into the park, you can't help but admire the beautifully manicured scenery.
Perfectly pruned trees, vibrant flowers, and expanses of green grass create a serene setting.
I often pack a picnic and spend lazy afternoons under the shade of an old oak tree.
The park has ample space that lets you feel like you are in your secluded paradise, even though you are in the city's heart.
Its paved pathways are ideal for a relaxing walk, and on a typical day, you will find me walking with my dog.
The park is dog-friendly, making it a popular choice for dog owners in the area; the tennis courts also grab my attention now and then.
It's always fun to engage in a friendly match with the locals.
But my favorite thing about Alfred S. Brown Park is the wildlife - specifically, the deer.
Spotting these graceful creatures among the trees is magical. These unexpected moments make my visits to this park so memorable.
The Alfred S. Brown Park is where I connect with nature, enjoy leisurely walks, play tennis, or be.
It's where I can escape and find tranquility amidst my busy city life.
Explore Hidden Treasures at Washington Valley Park
Did you know there's a hidden gem in the heart of Somerset, brimming with rustic charm and abundant natural beauty?
Let me tell you about Washington Valley Park, an expansive historic area featuring 18th- & 19th-century farmhouses & buildings tucked away amidst nature trails.
You'll feel a sense of peace when you step foot in the park.
I make it a point to visit regularly with my family, sometimes turning our visits into a game, where we bring a bag and collect any trash we find throughout the area.
The kids love it, instilling a sense of accomplishment and respect for our environment.
The park is a hiker's dream.
The trails, though not as elevated as other nearby parks, provide a good workout and the perfect opportunity to breathe fresh air.
Take a moment to admire the early spring view - it's a sight to behold.
One of my favorite trails is the five-mile hike, which takes approximately 120 minutes.
A highlight of any visit to Washington Valley Park is the lake and dam view.
It's the perfect spot to sit, take, and soak up the serene surroundings.
For adrenaline junkies, the park offers an excellent terrain for mountain biking and trail running.
A few parking lots are conveniently located in different parts of the park, making it easily accessible for everyone.
The trails are well-maintained and marked, making it my go-to park for hiking.
Whether you're a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or just looking to unwind and escape the hustle and bustle of daily life, Washington Valley Park has something for you.
Experience Green Knoll Golf Course
An unexpected haven of golfing pleasure right in my hometown is the Green Knoll Golf Course.
Nestled in the heart of Somerset County, this course has proven to be a local favorite, continually attracting a diverse crowd of golfers.
The course is fairly long, boasting 18 holes, challenging even the most seasoned players.
It features a practice green, a driving range, a shop, and even vending machines for when hunger strikes mid-game.
The course is also in respectable condition for the most part, considering the volume of golfers it sees.
The usual round takes about 4.5 hours, which is time well spent on a beautiful, sunny Saturday in New Jersey.
And, to top it off, the pricing structure is quite reasonable, especially for seniors like me.
The Green Knoll Golf Course still holds a special place in my heart.
It's where I've spent countless hours honing my game, made some wonderful friends, and enjoyed the peace and tranquility that only a vibrant green field can offer.
So, if you ever find yourself in town and fancy a game of golf, this place is worth trying.
Take a Stroll through Bridgewater Commons
There's something truly special about my Saturday afternoons spent wandering through Bridgewater Commons.
The moment I step through those doors, I'm greeted by a wave of familiarity, a blend of everyday lifestyle retailers and unique boutique finds.
It's a perfect mix for someone like me who's often torn between sticking to the usual or trying something new.
Comfort, for me, is a priority and that's exactly what you get in the central common area.
Rows of comfy seating offer a great spot to unwind after a shopping spree.
But what's a trip to the mall without food?
Now, while I must admit that the food court could do with a bit more variety, I've always managed to find something to satiate my hunger.
The mall doesn’t just offer a shopping experience, it’s a lifestyle destination.
It's vibrant and bustling, especially during the day when the foot traffic is at its peak.
And while it primarily caters to a younger crowd, some stores also appeal to different age groups and tastes.
Did I mention the beautiful scenes around the mall?
Seeing shoppers bustling around, children laughing, and friends enjoying their meals in the food court, all set against a backdrop of contemporary architecture and stylish interiors, truly adds to the charm of this place.
The mall may be seeing fewer visitors these days, but the vibe has always remained the same - chill and luxurious, just the way I like it.
So, if you happen to be in town or even a local like me, Bridgewater Commons should be on your go-to list.
Go Skating at Bridgewater Sports Arena
As you step onto the ice at the Bridgewater Sports Arena, something is exciting about the chill in the air.
I've been there countless times with my kids for an afternoon of fun - the arena is spacious, and the ice is always in top-notch condition.
I remember the old days when my daughter attended skating lessons here.
It was a great time for her to learn, and the lessons were priced reasonably.
The best part was that they even allowed her to practice for free during public skating hours.
That was a well-appreciated perk!
I still have a soft spot for the arena.
My kids and I have had many unforgettable times here, and the camaraderie among the regular skaters here is something to cherish.
So yes, we'll still return to Bridgewater - our local winter wonderland.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Behold History and Nature at Washington Rock State Park
Perched atop the Watchung Mountains, Washington Rock State Park is where I can tread on the ground that played a crucial role in the American Revolution.
Yes, you heard it right; this lookout point is well-known for its historical significance.
You can almost feel history come alive as you stand at the spot where the commander led the war.
Since the park is a stone's throw away from my house, I find myself here often, especially when I need a quick escape from the city's noise.
Sometimes, I drive and park my car at the back, but other times, I prefer a leisurely walk to admire the scenic spots.
The park is well-maintained and rarely crowded, making it an ideal spot for quiet introspection or a romantic date.
But the real jewel in its crown is the breathtaking view.
On clear days, you can see as far as Manhattan, making this one of the best views in the region.
It's also a great place to enjoy a picnic.
The park offers several picnic tables, and I love bringing a packed lunch here to enjoy the serenity.
One of my favorite activities is watching the sunset from the park.
As the day melts into the horizon, it paints the sky with orange, red, and pink hues, creating a spectacle that leaves you in awe.
If you're ever in the area and want to experience a blend of history, nature, and mesmerizing views, I'd recommend visiting Washington Rock State Park.
Take a Stroll Through Colonial Park Gardens
If you've ever wondered where a resident might find peace in Somerset County, look no further than the blissful Colonial Park Gardens.
It is the perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. The expansive property and gardens offer ample space for a leisurely walk.
The mature trees that dot the landscape are a sight to behold, providing a wonderful canopy of shade during summer and an extraordinary display of color during the fall.
I often enjoy a stroll along the nearby canal path during my frequent visits.
It's a bonus to the entire experience.
And the best part? Plenty of parking spaces, benches, and restrooms are available for visitors.
You'll never find yourself in want while you're there.
One of my favorite spots within Colonial Park Gardens is the rose garden.
The park is exceptionally well-maintained; it's not just a botanical paradise.
Thanks to its charming gazebo and vibrant flower displays, it's also a popular wedding spot.
They even have a section dedicated to showcasing a variety of unique trees.
If you're a fan of nature trails, flower gardens, and scenic views, you'll soon realize what a treasure it truly is.
It's free to visit and offers a fantastic opportunity for photography enthusiasts and those keen to learn about different flowers.
So, next time you want a tranquil escape, explore the trails at Colonial Park Gardens. It's a breath of fresh air you won't regret.
Explore History at Wallace House & Old Dutch Parsonage State Historic Sites
Stepping through time, I explored the iconic Wallace House & Old Dutch Parsonage State Historic Sites.
The Wallace House, in particular, is a marvel to behold, beautifully furnished and preserved; the history seeping through the walls of this house is a sight to relish.
On one occasion, I had a chance to witness a fantastic reenactment of Phillis Wheatley's life story.
If history were always taught in an interactive and lively way, I wouldn't have been surprised at these unearthed facts.
The Old Dutch Parsonage held a special place in my heart, having visited it in the past.
It's an impressive old building linked to Rutgers University's origins.
I urge everyone to visit these historic sites and rediscover pieces of our shared history.
Spend the Day Amidst Blossoms at the Rudolf W. van der Goot Rose Garden
Imagine savoring a day surrounded by the beauty of roses in all their colors and shapes and the serenity of a scenic trail.
You can expect that at the Rudolf W. van der Goot Rose Garden, a not-so-hidden gem nestled within Colonial Park.
Being here is like stepping into a painting.
The garden is a riot of colors in spring, with roses in full bloom painting a mesmerizing picture of nature's finest work.
Likewise, the sweet fragrance of roses fills the air, and the ambiance is calming and relaxing.
It's perfect for a stroll, and you'll find plenty of Instagram-worthy spots for your photographs.
But it doesn't stop there.
The garden's beauty extends to a long, picturesque trail that runs after it.
It's a bit of a walk, and the seating is limited, but the views more than make up for it.
Besides, there's something wonderful about the quiet and gentle rhythm of walking amidst such scenic beauty.
And if you're a cyclist, there's a bike rack where you can park your bike while you explore the garden.
The park authorities have also provided ample parking space and clean restroom facilities.
If you plan to take professional photos, remember to get a permit.
Remember, the garden is free to enter.
So, if you're in the area or just looking for a picturesque spot to unwind, make it a point to visit the Rudolf W. van der Goot Rose Garden.
The beautiful roses, the peaceful ambiance, and the nearby attractions make it a memorable experience.
I love calling Bridgewater, New Jersey, my home.
Every corner of Bridgewater has something to offer, and the fact that I experience it all daily makes this place special.
If you ever find yourself in our part of New Jersey, experience Bridgewater from the eyes of someone who calls this place home - I promise you won't be disappointed.