From apple and pumpkin picking at local farms, experiencing the famed Haunted Mill, tasting wine and cider, or hiking and biking over 50 trails under stunning fall foliage, Hunterdon County, NJ, is a wonderful place to visit in the fall – and it’s also my home!
About Hunterdon County NJ
Just a 90-minute drive outside of both New York City and Philadelphia, the communities in “The Other Side of Jersey” are consistently ranked in the top 10 for most beautiful small towns in state and national surveys. Hunterdon is also regularly recognized as one of the healthiest counties in the state and ranks among the best places to reside in the United States!
Located in the northwestern part of the state, Hunterdon County is renowned for its rolling hills, fertile farmland, and charming small towns. With a rich history dating back to the 17th century, it boasts a wealth of well-preserved historic sites, including some of the oldest colonial-era buildings in the United States.
The county is known for its commitment to preserving its rural character and open spaces, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and those seeking a peaceful, bucolic escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
Hunterdon County is a place where history, culture, and natural beauty converge. From rural landscapes to quaint river towns, residents and tourists alike enjoy popular farmers markets, festivals, shopping, outdoor recreation and memorable dining experiences.
Things to Do in Hunterdon County in the Fall
Fall is a great time to enjoy the local produce, exquisite farm-to-table dining, haunted houses, wineries, and more. Some of the best Main Streets to stroll along include Milford, Clinton, High Bridge, Flemington, Frenchtown, Stockton, and Lambertville.
Fun on the Farm
Fall U-Pick season is now in full-force throughout Hunterdon County. Apples and pumpkins are the primary picks of the season with many farms in the area offering pick-your-own. Check out Melick’s Town Farm, Bonacorsi Berry Farm, Peterson Family Farm, Schaefer Farm, Cervenka Farm, and Phillips Farm.
From spring through fall Hunterdon County offers plenty of farmer’s markets where you can find fresh, local food and artisanal vendors. Stangl Market and Dvoor Market (both in Flemington) are my favorites.
And no matter what time of year you visit, check the Hunterdon 579 Trail for farms, restaurants, wineries and events in the area.
Haunted Houses and Tours
The iconic Red Mill Museum Village’s annual Haunted Red Mill in Clinton draws one of the biggest scare-seeking crowds in the state. The annual experience is intended for those who don’t scare easily, so grab your scream-worthy friends and be sure to get your tickets early before it sells out.
For the younger crowd, the Red Mill Museum Village also hosts Happy Haunt. Children and their families can explore a portion of the beautiful grounds with a friendly ghoul and enjoy face painting before taking a hayride.
Every fall, Schaefer Farms in Flemington transforms into a “Farm of Horrors.” This immersive attraction includes haunted corn mazes, chilling hayrides, and horrifying haunted houses. Whether you’re braving the chainsaw-wielding clowns in the corn maze or confronting the terror of the undead in a zombie-themed house, Schaefer Farms provides an unforgettable and frightful night of fun that is sure to leave you with goosebumps and lasting memories.
The Official Flemington Ghost Walk will take you back in time to learn about the colorful history of Flemington and the Spirits that still haunt it. The Ghost Walk is guided by real paranormal investigators and you will hear stories about spooky experiences at approximately 15 different locations. Get your tickets early – this one fills up fast!
Hop aboard the Wine Train Or Pour a Fall Brew
All aboard the wine train! Old York Cellars offers the Hunterdon Wine Express, a round trip excursion on the historic Black River & Western Railroad. The steam engine train departs from Flemington, NJ and arrives in Old York Cellars Winery in Ringoes, NJ, where you will be treated to a wine tasting and lunch with perfect vineyard views.
In addition to the wine train, Angelico Winery, Beneduce Vineyards, and Federal Twist Vineyard all offer events from music to unique tastings. Events vary by vineyard so check individual websites for the most up-to-date offerings.
For those seeking pumpkin ales and spiced IPAs, check out the Hunterdon Beer Trail! Pick up a Brewery Passport at participating Hunterdon County craft breweries and earn a commemorative hat when you visit all six: Conclave Brewing, Descendants Brewing Company, Lone Eagle Brewing, Odd Bird Brewing, Readington Bewery & Hop Farm, and Sunken Silo.
Outdoor Activities in Hunterdon County
It’s easy to get outside and leaf peep in the county that was named the “Healthiest in New Jersey” by The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. From the hills of Bethlehem Township to the Delaware River Valley, there is no shortage of trails to hike and bike, or rivers and reservoirs to kayak or canoe.
There are over 50 trails available (I highly recommend the Columbia Trail in High Bridge!), with several of them running along the beautiful Delaware River. Spend the morning hiking or biking, then enjoy eating and shopping along one of the quaint Main Streets.
Don’t miss Point Mountain (see my “hidden gem” below) and Ken Lockwood Gorge, named one of the “Ten Most Beautiful Places in New Jersey” by New Jersey Monthly Magazine.
Best Restaurants in Hunterdon County, NJ
Hunterdon County is a haven for food enthusiasts. With its lush farmland and proximity to local producers, the restaurants in Hunterdon County have the advantage of sourcing fresh, locally-sourced ingredients that serve as the foundation for delectable and innovative cuisine.
Breakfast, Lunch & Treats
One of my all-time favorite places to eat in Hunterdon County is Teaberry’s Tea House in Flemington. Housed in a Victorian-era home, it’s the perfect place for a birthday tea party or special celebration, but just as wonderful for a casual lunch with friends. The decor is a feast for the eyes with florals, china, teapots, stuffed animals, and dolls (as well as their infamous bathtub full of hats!) everywhere you look. The food is equally impressive. Their afternoon tea features a variety of sweet and savory finger foods and pots of tea, or choose from their exquisite soups, sandwiches and salads. (Note: As of October 2023, Teaberry’s is temporarily closed to move to a new location in Flemington. They are expected to re-open in the Spring of 2024.)
When it comes to breakfast, you can’t beat Gronsky’s Milk House in High Bridge. This beloved local institution gives retro, greasy spoon vibes and you’ll almost always have to wait for a table – but the food is worth the wait. Their pancake of the month is HUGE and the flavors are always amazing. Gronsky’s is also renowned for its premium homemade ice cream. Grab a cone and sit out on the picnic tables by the river!
Sweet Melissa Patisserie is a trendy cafe in Lebanon. If you can tear yourself away from the display case filled with incredible baked goods, do sit down for breakfast or lunch. I highly recommend the Sweet Melissa Club or the quiche du jour with a side of thick-cut maple bacon.
For a coffee fix, check out the Stone Bean at Riverside in Clinton. They always have several delicious, seasonal drinks and they use my favorite Harney Teas.
Scout’s Coffee Bar & Mercantile in High Bridge is another great place to stop for a snack and a sip. This is my go-to after a hike on the Columbia Trail. Try the avocado toast or the sausage and sweet potato burrito.
The Frenchtown Cafe is the perfect stop after a walk along the Delaware-Raritan Canal State Park Trail. From omelets to salads to burgers, they have a variety of unique offerings.
For something sweet, run – don’t walk – to Chocolate in the Oven in Milford. This bakery (which I visit way too often!) has incredible baked goods.
If you’re craving ice cream, get yourself over to Humdoo Ice Cream in Flemington. They have amazing flavors and those fun, crazy, giant milkshakes.
For a casual, fine-dining dinner experience, Juniper Hill in Annandale offers a menu curated seasonally with ingredients from local bakers and farmers. They also have a creative team of bartenders pouring and crafting house cocktails.
Ironbound Farm in Asbury offers a fresh, rotating menu to pair with their renowned ciders. The dishes feature produce and proteins their farm’s current harvest, as well as fresh and local ingredients from their local network of growers and producers.
Lambertville is a well-known tourist town with many excellent restaurants, bars and entertainment options and I’ve recently discovered a couple new spots I can highly recommend. Brian’s at the Grill offers a prix fix menu that changes daily. I had some legendary short ribs and my husband says their tiramisu is the best he’s ever had. El Tule is the place to go for Mexican/Peruvian food. I loved the guac topped with Mexican street corn, the skirt steak tacu tacu, and the fun, casual atmosphere.
Point Mountain in Lebanon Township is one of my favorite places to hike. It’s the third highest point in Hunterdon County and offers a variety of trails between one and ten miles. The terrain to the summit is steep and rocky, but worth it for the views!
Trails parallel the scenic Musconetcong River, traverse a mature forest, and follow mowed paths along cultivated fields. The 935-foot-high summit of Point Mountain offers sweeping views of small towns, fertile farmland, and the river valley.
Hunterdon County is a fantastic mix of peaceful farms, natural beauty, and charming small towns. The vibe is relaxed, with plenty of outdoor activities and excellent food.
Want an easy weekend planned? Utilize Explore Hunterdon’s road trip guides, which include everything from the best coffee houses, thrift stores, ice cream shops, breweries, and more!