It’s always a bit of escape to go back in time and spend a day exploring one of NJ’s historic towns. If you’re making a list of the most quaint and well-preserved with plenty to discover, Chester should be near the top.
Shopping and browsing are exceptional here, with plenty of antique shops featuring one-of a kind crafts, jewelry, home furnishings and just the right ‘oddites’ that make things really interesting. Let’s take a stroll and cover just enough ground to steer you right and get you curious…
The main attraction: Main Street, where the shops are, but don’t miss walking down some of the alleys where there’s even more to discover. Our youngest daughter is a collector, and has uncovered numerous treasures, from antique phones, cameras, jewelry and so much more. She’d soon open her own antiques shop if we could get her to part with any of her finds!
Possibly the town’s centerpiece is the ‘Publick House’, 111 Main Street. This historic hotel, tavern, built in 1810 has been fully restored, and invites you to sit on the long porch outside in the warm seasons, or warm up by the fireplace at the long bar, hightops, or multiple dining rooms. Featuring a brick oven for great pizza, specialty cocktails and live music on weekends. Said to be haunted…we’ll let you get the stories straight from the bar.
Another must do at the opposite end of Main Street is Taylor’s Homemade Ice Cream. Recently restored after a fire, sure to brings out the kid in you. The decor is retro soda fountain, service is great, and more flavors to make a near impossible decision. If you’re stuck, go with the Rum Raisin.
The surrounding area offers so much to explore, including numerous Parks and farms, including the historic Cooper Gristmill, where a six-ton outside waterwheel provides power to the restored 1826 mill. Starting at the vistors center, continuing with a 45-minute tour with a master miller (in costume, of course). Take home somestone-ground flower and cornmeal in an authentic flour sack with muffin and bread recipes printed on the bag.
Sound like a day? We go often, being lucky enough to live close by. Check the website, www.ilovechester.com for a complete calendar of what’s going on – there’s always an event or festival to add even more to your visit.