This week I will begin my Downtown Destination series for the next two months. Now that we are moving into the cooler, fall weather, it is best to take advantage of what our New Jersey downtowns have to offer.
To kick off the Fall season, we will head to Chester located in western Morris County. With easy access via Route 80, 287, or 78, the borough of Chester isn't like Ridgewood, Montclair, or Red Bank. There aren't any chain stores or trendy restaurants like those downtowns, but Chester features something a lot better, which is a downhome country atmosphere, that takes you back in time if only for a couple hours.
Main St. (Rt. 24) which is located off of Route 206 and runs into Mendham Township, features a wide array of independently owned merchants. From clothing boutiques, gift stores, jewelers, art galleries and antique centers you are bound to not go home empty handed.
Some of the featured stores in town are the Chester Antique Mall, www.chesterantiquemall.com, Black River Candy Shoppe, www.blackrivercandyshoppe.com, Blu-Violet, www.bluviolet.com, Clothes Call, a woman's boutique, www.clothescall.com, A World of Birds, www.worldofbirds.com, The Golden Quill, a stationary store, www.thegoldenquill.com, The Whistling Elk, www.thewhistlingelk.com and two upscale and unique pet stores, Winky's Pet Boutique, www.winkysonline.com and Well Bred, www.shopwellbred.com.
Restaurants are limited in town. The two restaurants that bookend the downtown is the recently reopened, The Publick House and The Puddingstone Inn, which is on the site of the former, Larison's Turkey Farm. In town, there is the popular Sally Lunn's Tea Room & Restaurant, www.sallylunns.com, for Italian, Benito's Trattoria, www.benitostrattoria.com and New York Pizza & Restaurant and for a light lunch try Mama's Grace Cafe, www.mamasgracecafe.com. If you want ice cream you have a choice between Dairy Queen and Taylor's Ice Cream Parlor, which features 48 flavors of homemade hard ice cream and yogurt. Be sure to grab a cup of flavored coffee before you start on your shopping expedition at K.C.'s Coffee Place. If you venture out onto Rt. 206, there is the Chester Hills Diner, www.chesterhillsdiner.com and a Wendy's and Burger King.
FYI: After visiting downtown Chester, be sure to check out The Streets of Chester, located on Route 206, across from the Chester Springs Shopping Center (Shop-Rite/Staples). This year-old lifestyle center includes; The Gap/Gap Body/Gap Kids/Baby Gap, Coach, Sunglass Hut, Papyrus, J. Jill, White House/Black Market and much more. For more information click here: www.shopsofchester.com.
For more information on Downtown Chester click here: www.chesternj.org.