Say Oui to Frenchtown, New Jersey

A respite that has the corner on quaint

All December, to Grandma’s house you went. So a jaunt that doesn’t include relatives sounds especially good this time of year. Venture just an hour outside the city to slow to a small-town pace. Fill your days with 19th-century bridges, independent shops, and Victorian architecture.

Play Time
Whether you have children or not, pore over the merch at Sunbeam Toys. The selection is long on charm and short on technology (amen). Fiddle with retro-inspired tin toys that remind you of your youth, or pick a gift for a baby shower.

modern love!

A Boutique We Want to Hug
Between the table laden with cookbooks (we spotted some of our favorites) and a rack filled with indie rags like Kinfolk, there’s some serious browsing to do at Modern Love. Owner Meg Metz has a way of making us open our wallets for everything from old typewriters to magnets. Root through the vintage clothing for party dresses and sequined sweaters. 

Hot Stuff
Lovin’ Oven fills up fast, but the wait is worth it. But stare too long at the bakery case near the entrance and you may skip a sensible meal altogether. Those who have the willpower to hold off on cookies are rewarded with hippie fare such as burritos and fresh-pressed juices. Spring for the sweet potato biscuits.

Altar Existence
Hop next door to Two Buttons. Author Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat, Pray, Love fame) and her husband own the shop filled with imported delights. Fill a bag with free popcorn from the carnival popper and squeeze through rows of Shiva and Ganesh statues. Not in the market for a Buddha that glitters as bright as a disco ball? Peruse home goods and jewelry, too.

minettes candies!

Sweet as Can Be
Nibble treats from Minette’s Candies as you stroll down Bridge Street. Choose from the shop’s own line of confections (the sea salt caramels rock), or go the European route with Dutch licorice and Belgian chocolates.

Walk This Way
The best way to admire the view? Ride a bike or mosey down the towpath that hugs the Delaware River.

Take all the time in the world.

Photos: Jazz Guy / Flickr; Paul Warchol / Courtesy of Modern Love; Courtesy of Minette’s Candies