A Nutley tradition since 1934, The Old Canal Inn closed in 2008 only to rise phoenix-like earlier this year, complete with its old shuffleboard lane, and history-heavy bar top, each lauded by the Bloomfield Patch. Kick off a night of ribald revelry with a heady glass of Guinness and blackened steak bites, as beefy and darkened as Mr. Coal Miner USA, or tuck into a plate of southwest-chicken eggrolls with tongue-tingling cusabi sauce. Though the bar proudly touts its dive-ish nature, the dinner menu features such gourmand fodder as chicken marsala and peppercorn-crust new york strip, basking in a balsamic demi-glace. Events abound in the hop-house, including open mic every Tuesday, when troubadours draw inspiration from the bar-backing photos of old-timey hep cats singing Baby Got Back.
The history of Liberty Hall Museum stretches back more than 200 years. The original 14-room Georgian home was built in 1772 and served as the home of New Jersey's first elected governor. As the years passed, Liberty Hall became the home of governors, senators, entrepreneurs, and congressmen as it slowly expanded into a 50-room mansion. Presidents George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, Herbert Hoover, and Gerald Ford all stayed here. Collections of antique furniture, toys, tools, and ceramics from several generations fill the rooms.
Today, Liberty Hall Museum gives visitors an inside look at what life was like during America's early days, when the Founding Fathers were drafting the Constitution and Betsy Ross was sewing the Statue of Liberty’s gown. Inside the home, you’ll see historical fashions and furnishings; outside, ancient trees shade a carefully maintained English-style parterre garden. The onsite firehouse, added in 2005, serves as an educational center, where youngsters can don firefighter gear and play on a fully restored antique fire truck.
Stony Hill Farms traces its origins a generation back, to when owner Carol Davis's parents bought an idyllic 40-acre plot of New Jersey farmland. Where Carol spent her childhood milking cows, customers now wander through 18,000 square feet of greenhouses and stroll past garden benches laden with ornamental plants and flowers. Carol, her husband Dale, and their children carry on the family tradition of horticulture, helping clients select a rare, treasured orchid to decorate their home, or obtain a Community-Supported Agriculture membership to fill their pantries with local, seasonal produce. Families can also bond with a wealth of fun activities, such as winding through five different mazes in the fun park.
Upon entering Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, one can immediately sense the aroma of fudge melting in a traditional copper kettle. At hundreds of locations throughout the United States, candysmiths concoct an array of treats from fresh ingredients within eyesight of perusing customers. In addition to dunking strawberries into chocolate or coating Granny Smith apples in fresh caramel, they carve out 1-pound bricks of made-from-scratch fudge for customers to take home and repair their gingerbread house’s half-eaten foundation.
After traveling to vineyards throughout the United States and Canada during wine-tasting trips, Michele and Paul Crecca realized they could show others how to make their own wine. They founded Your Own Winery to share their passion and know-how with newcomers to the world of wine.
Today, they help hobbyists produce and bottle more than 200 varietals of wine, including cabernets, pinot noirs, chardonnays, and pinot grigios. The staff will provide free samples to help students decide what kind of wine to make. It can be a tough decision, because winemaking is a six-to-eight week process that spans from primary fermentation to bottling. Each batch makes 28 bottles, and Michele and Paul even help their clients create custom labels, which have ranged from family photos and beloved pets to cherished pictures.