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See why Andover, New Jersey is a great day trip

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See why Andover, New Jersey is a great day trip
See why Andover, New Jersey is a great day trip

Let’s give credit where credit is due…and New Jersey deserves more credit than it often gets. I just ran across a statement on Google citing NJ as the ‘Crossroads of the American Revolution’. Not something that would have been my first impression…but there you have it. We have a lot to be proud of, a lot to do, and a lot to explore. Beaches, Lakes and Mountains…Cities, Towns and Villages…Food, Wine and Culture…from Thomas Edison to Snooki, it’s all here.

In beautiful, rural Sussex county is the charming town of Andover, founded in 1904, with a population of just about 600. We discovered this gem by accident, on our way somewhere else, when driving through the small stretch of Main Street our youngest daughter, who has a passion for antiques, practically leapt out of the car. Within a small walking distance, the antique lover will be on overload, with easily a full day of shops to explore.

Antique till you drop!

Before you get to the Main Street area, heading west on Rt 206, you’ll pass the Scranberry Coop. This is not for the faint of heart, it goes beyond antiquing to a full-blown scavenger hunt. Over 150 dealers in a 10,000 sq ft building. Collectors can rent small display areas to showcase there goods and let you discover at your leisure.

If you can imagine it, someone has it there. Furniture, jewelry, vinyl records, clothing…collectibles of every sort. I started to glaze over after a bit…make this your first stop, you’ll be too tired to take it all in later…but do save some energy for what’s to come.

The Main Street area is a compact row of historic buildings, each seems to have a unique character, from rustic to ornate, there is something for anyone who appreciates the charm of yesteryear. The merchants do a good job of luring you in, with a display of goods outside the doors that lures you in.

I’ve seen everything from bathtubs to streetlights…doors, dolls and deer heads…vintage cameras, watches, typewriters, lanterns…on and on. Friendly store owners who are happy to engage you, especially when they know a bit about an item’s history, which is always what sells me.

A few of our notable favorites, all within a short 3 block walking distance include:

The Grey Barn

The Rampant Bear

Andover Village

Carriage House

Sophie G’s Attic


Working up an appetite
Once you’ve explored the shops, you’ll be ready to eat, and we have two very different options that we love, and would love to share with you. Traveling South to 239 Rt 206 in Stanhope, and just minutes from the Andover Main Street shopping area is the Stonewood Tavern.

The distinctive decor, has an inviting feel, uniquely combining rustic and modern. We liked the hightop tables to the left of the bar, and the wall of wine crates added to the atmosphere. A unique selection of mediterranean appetizers was an unexpected surprise…go for the signature grilled octopus, you won’t be disappointed. I had an amazing rib-eye burger and a beer…all was good!

Traveling further South, at 109 Rt 206, actually in Stanhope is one of our absolute favorite NJ eateries: Salt GastroPub (by definition, a bar that also serves high-end food).

This is really one of the coolest, eclectic meals you will have anywhere (I know, this is a big statement, but I do love this place). The funky, hip decor is a collection of found objects, artistically arrange in sort of a wreck-room meets antique shop way.

The bar is small, bu super cool to hang out, and although they boast a great beer menu, you just can’t beat $2 PBRs on tap. The menu is like the most creative comfort food imaginable, with beer pairings.

I had the amazing bacon-wrapped meatloaf, though I struggled to not order my second choice bangars and mash. Really, make this a night out.

 All in all, you’ll find great finds in Andover and the surrounding small towns of beautiful Northern NJ. Let us know your favorite spots! Cheers!

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