Calgon Take Me Away to Newton!
Weekend Getaway in NJ for Couples: STAY
Wooden Duck Bed and Breakfast
When you stay at a place twice in three months, you really love it! We originally came here for Valentine’s Day at the recommendation of close friends and we returned for my birthday weekend. We live in a congested area with our two young kids (cute but OMG so loud) and this B&B in Newton, NJ is a world away yet only an hour from our house.
They say on their website “imagine a secluded estate not very far away yet far enough to escape from the real world” and it is beautifully put! For those unsure about the vibe of a B&B with owners around – they are warm,welcoming, helpful without it being too much. If you’re looking for a romantic weekend getaway in NJ look no further!
The B&B consists of a main house, a small detached carriage house with four guest rooms, a pool and acres and acres of land that connect to Kittatinny Valley State park. Personally, we love the two floor Pintail room in the carriage house and have stayed there both visits. You can see that room in the above video at the 1:06 mark.
We are looking for peace and quiet (READ a sleep vacation) and love the separation from the main house and other guests as they come and go. It has been ah-mazingly peaceful, even when they are sold out. This room is oversized, has a giant comfy bed, spacious sitting area right by the big windows with forest views. We also like to bring back to our room the cookies, coffee and soft drinks that they have in the lobby for self serve anytime.
I cannot wait to tell you about the homemade breakfast…..THE THREE COURSE BREAKFAST! We’ve stayed at other BNBs and their breakfast still ranks highest in our eyes. Breakfast is served in two groups 8:30am and 9:30am and we’ve never had any trouble getting our choice of seatings.
If you have food restrictions just let them know – they are very accommodating. A husband and wife, Maryann and Jason, run the Inn are such wonderful hosts and it really shines at breakfast. It starts with coffee or tea with a homemade pastry such as strawberry muffins or chocolate banana bread with peanut butter chips. The second course is a beautiful fruit dish – my husband loves the one with the yogurt sauce. THEN comes the main course, which is always decadent and a real treat! Sometimes it is a choice of three different quiches with a side of sausage or bacon and other times it is crème brulee French toast bake or a baked croissant with a filling.
Can you tell they are amazing??! To make breakfast even better, they never rush you. The dining room faces the pool area (Yes I said POOL!) which has bird feeders and they pass out bird guides to help you identify all the different beautiful birds that are also at breakfast at the bird feeders. There is just something about having a wonderful breakfast watching the birds, having adult conversation that hits all the notes! While it is a B&B, it has most of the same elements of resorts in NJ for couples.
Does this not seem like it will float your boat? Check out my Catskills post for another Weekend Getaway option for Couples, less than 2 hours from the GWB.
Weekend Getaway in NJ for Couples: EAT
With the breakfasts being so amazing ( and large) at The Wooden Duck Inn we typically don’t eat lunch when in Newton, but just snack in the afternoon and have an earlier dinner. What’s great about Newton is that you have both quiet and seclusion, but also great eats! It’s that perfect balance!
Krave Cafe + Caterer ( Newton, NJ)
This decade long neighborhood favorite is one of those local gems you love to find on vacation. They have beautiful modern decor and fantastic service. We’ve been both for lunch and dinner and I recommend this restaurant for both without any hesitation.
We’ve gotten everything from the salads to the lobster orecchiette pasta to the skirt steak and it has all been delicious. It is a wide open space, so we like to grab one of the tables in the smaller, curtained off section in the back of the restaurant. Make sure to make a reservation for lunch or dinner as they are on the smaller size and very popular. Oh, and pack some wine from home – It’s BYOB.
Mohawk House ( Sparta, NJ)
We had a wonderful dinner here to celebrate both my birthday and Mother’s Day – It is a great place for a special occasion. They describe themselves as “Big city taste in a country estate,” and I agree! Husband loved the lodge feel of the building and I was convinced that it was an old, old building but it is just a really lovely new construction building.
The owners also own Mohawk Meadow Farms and are a proud farm to table restaurant. This place is very big and very popular, especially on holidays, so make sure to make a reservation and perhaps be a dinner early bird. We came here straight from downtown Sparta and enjoyed a cocktail in the very large outdoor area with bocce ball courts and nice views while we waited for our reservation time.
Expensive restaurants aren’t our regular thing, but the food was very good and the service here was outstanding (even on a super crowded holiday weekend). For appetizers I had a great beet and goat cheese salad (so big!) and my husband had the mushroom soup which we learned is a customer favorite! For dinner, we did splurge and made our own surf and turf of sea bass (ah-mazing) and a Pat LaFrieda steak. It was an extra special celebratory meal, but hey we didn’t have lunch, right 😉
Various (Denville, NJ)
On both trips to Newton, we’ve stopped in Denville to eat. It is right off of Rt. 80, has some great restaurants and cute shops in a very walkable Main St. district. It’s an easy way to extend the trip and explore a new area!
Hunan Taste ( Denville, NJ)
We first discovered Denville when we decided to try out the ‘#1 Chinese restaurant in New Jersey for Nine Years in a Row.’ It was the fanciest Chinese restaurant I’ve ever been to and you are immediately transported.
Their lunch menu is a shortened version of their regular menu but are very accommodating if you are looking for something specific. I had read in one review that the Bang Bang Chicken is a must have, and even though it wasn’t on the lunch menu, they made it for us an appetizer. In the “When in Rome” spirit my husband and I ordered new dishes and loved them both!
The Pasta Shop (Denville, NJ)
We found this boutique BYOB restaurant after a quick yelp search and boy did we hit the jackpot! Hubby said it was “the best pasta he’s had in 20 years” and “ I’ll never forget that dish.” I can totally see why they won “Best New Restaurant” by New Jersey Monthly.
They are closed on Sundays for private events and with only a handful of tables Saturday dinner is often a two hour wait. If you can make a late Friday or Saturday lunch on your way out to Newton it’s perfect. We waited only ten minutes for a table and watched them hand roll the pasta for the day’s dishes. We both ordered the specials – a marscapone corn ravioli with truffles and hand rolled pasta with homemade sausage with broccoli. I think we’re both still dreaming of this place!
Weekend Getaway in NJ for Couples: DO
BUT – – What is there to do there? This is THE #1 question people ask me about our trips and one of the reasons I created this blog. The first time we came to Newton we didn’t do a lot– and that was the beauty of it. Whether you are looking for light activities or a busy weekend this place has both – perfect for a weekend getaway in NJ for couples!
Kittatinny Valley State Park
This gem of a State Park is located less than 5 minutes from the Wooden Duck Inn or you can walk from the Inn and connect directly to the Sussex Branch Trail. We had a peaceful walk along the lakefront White Trail to the small plane airport in the park and watched some planes take off.
We then went “inland” and hiked the Blue trail which had very small hills. Considering our everyday is very loud and pretty crazy, this peaceful and beautiful walk/easy hike is a great 1-2 hour activity without being too much. Next trip we’ll definitely be bringing our bikes and riding the Sussex Branch Rail trail from the park. When you’re at this state park you definitely feel like you are on a getaway.
Pre-Diner Walk on Sparta Lake’s Boardwalk
If you decide to eat at Mohawk House try to go 1 hour early and check out Sparta’s downtown and lake front. There’s some really cute stores to browse and lots of lake front benches to relax in. We totally had plans to come back after dinner for Ice Cream at Alpine Creamery, but maybe next time we’ll reverse it and come for a walk after dinner and grab a cone! Either way it’s a really nice stroll along the lake!
Antiquing in Andover
After check-out, we went to the next town over for the “antiquing” that people talk about in this region. I LOVE LOVE thrift stores and go all the time in Bergen County. Andover is super cute and I enjoyed two clothing stores, Re-Style and Morning Glory, that are close to each other. My hubby found a guitar in one shop and kept busy while I looked through the racks and tried some items on! The other shoppers liked the mood music 😉 I scored a Vera Bradley tote bag that matched my weekender bag and we picked up some books as “ trip gifts” for the kids. It was a treat to browse as long as we felt like it!
If you happen to be in town during the Sustainable Andover Farmers Market, I highly recommend going for an awesome foodie treat! This was one of the highlights of our first Newton trip. We would definitely delay our Valentine’s Day weekend trip a week or two so we could attend again.
They have local vendors with chocolate, hot sauce, pickles, live music and CHEESE! I’m not sure about you but cheese and pickles makes me so happy! I met a woman there who drove over an hour to come to the farmers market to buy from Bobolink Dairy and Bakehouse Cheese Company. They won the ‘Best Food, Artisan’ in the Garden State Culinary Arts Awards and Edible Jersey’s Local Hero Awards, and I can totally see why! It happened to be a rainy, gray day but between the treats, live music and very cool building we had a great “vaca” day.
Skylands Performing Arts Center (Newton, NJ)
Newton has a performing arts center downtown with concerts, comedians, plays and special events. While our trips haven’t lined up to shows there we have talked to other Wooden Duck Inn “regulars” at breakfast who planned their weekends around shows at this small venue. Music concert, amazing B&B, yummy food would be the Trifecta of a getaway!
Live Music at Mohawk House ( Sparta, NJ)
Since we already love this restaurant, next time we’ll plan on coming for a later dinner and checking out the live music they have in their bar venue on the first floor starting at 8:30pm.
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Monica Fish helps her fellow adventurers live a financially savvy life so they can travel and explore our beautiful world no matter their budget. She writes about smart timeshare ownership, vacation tips and tricks, NYC Metro Area trips and activities, and frugal, yet rich, living at PlannerAtHeart.com.