The Perfect New Jersey Winter Bucket List
Why does it feel like it's been winter for a million years? Besides getting a bucketful of the white stuff last Thursday, it's cold and chilly and not pretty. The weather is making me a terrible homebody. I am speeding through my "must watch" list on Netflix at an alarming rate. A little rest and relaxation is good, of course. But when the couch is starting to mold to your behind, you've got to get out. In January I was all about my Philadelphia winter plans but I'm going to keep it a little closer to home with my New Jersey winter bucket list.
Take a brisk stroll on the boardwalk. One of my favorite winter things to do in New Jersey is drive down the Shore. It is eerily quiet and deserted. The smell of salt in the air reminds me that summer will be here once again. My favorite boardwalk for a stroll is Asbury Park. The boardwalk is lined with small boutiques and funky restaurants, so you can pop in and get out of the cold. If you're really feeling in the spirit, take a stroll through the crisp, cold sand. When will it be summer again?
Sip a glass of wine in front of the fire in a cozy pub. In my youth, winter was the perfect time to get sweaty dancing at my favorite dive bars. Now my favorite way to keep warm in the winter is a glass of sauvignon blanc and a roaring fireplace. My favorite local haunt is the Yankee Doodle Tap Room in Princeton. You might run into a university elite or a wedding party but you can be sure that their walk-in fireplace is usually going full blast.
Devour weekend brunch at a diner. Nothing is better than a diner meal on a chilly winter weekend. A packed plate of overstuffed French toast or an omelet the size of your dinner plate is just what New Jersey ordered. Big food, loads of history, and cheesy bread (cream cheese stuffed rolls hot from the oven) can be found at my favorite Mastori's in Bordentown. Need more recommendations? Holly of Fueled by LOLZ has tried tons of the best diners in NJ so you're guaranteed to find one she's liked near you.
Play games and act like a big kid. You'll never catch me playing video games on my couch. But vintage video games or a giant trampolines? Count me in. There are plenty of places to be a big kid in New Jersey. Pinball wizards can get their game on at hundreds of vintage machines at the Silverball Museum in Asbury Park. Vintage video game machines with a side of craft beer is up in North Jersey at Barcade in Jersey City (plus there are plenty of bars around the corner for more late night fun!). But I'm also trying to balance out those cozy winter meals so SkyZone Trampoline Park is a great way to jump it out in Cherry Hill.
Cheer on the Tigers at classic Baker Rink. NHL hockey is fun and all but local college hockey is way more fun. I feel very lucky that I grew up going to Baker rink at Princeton University to watch the Princeton Tigers hockey teams take on their Ivy League visitors. Just like everything else on Princeton's campus, it's got history oozing from every corner. The bleachers may be ice cold but the cocoa is hot and you might just get your eardrums blown out by the crazy Tiger band.
Drink pure hot chocolate at the Bent Spoon. Speaking of Princeton and hot chocolate, you cannot spend winter in New Jersey without a visit to the Bent Spoon on Palmer Square in Princeton. Sure, the ice cream is out of this world with flavors like lavender marscapone, corn, and pink rose. Their mini cupcakes are also the most scrumptious bite-sized treats. But the perfect treat is their hot chocolate with freshly made marshmallows. It's like drinking thick and creamy melted chocolate. My favorite spot to sip is right in the frosted front window.
Chow down on a crepe at Jammin' Crepes. I'm adding this one on the end because it's basically been on my foodie bucket list for a year. Jammin' Crepes is a crepe-only restaurant in downtown Princeton in a charming, cozy space. They've been on the Food Network but most importantly they are on my radar. I will get my crepe this winter, I swear!