Established in 1829, Clinton, NJ is definitely a must-see destination for any historic-junkie. The small town located in Hunterdon County is home to an array of mom-and-pop shops, restaurants, and small businesses that are all well worth the visit. Clinton was once home to a limestone quarry, a working wool, grist, and graphite mill, and was settled by English, German, and Irish immigrants. It is truly a must-see historical landmark of the Garden State.
What to Expect
Jack and I knew that we had to visit Clinton, NJ after researching that not only is it one of the most historic towns in the entire state but it is also one of the most beautiful. After driving around Old Highway 22 we eventually found our way onto Main Street and were immediately greeted with a picturesque small town taken right out of an 1800’s postcard. It was definitely a unique environment set apart form the typical hustle and bustle of the New Jersey lifestyle.
To enter the town, a vintage old bridge (over 140 years old to be exact) allows for cars to drive over a small river (pictured below). This is where Jack and I first had our glimpse of the town’s iconic red mill (pictured right) that was built back in 1810 and still sits on the right side of the riverbank. We drove into the small town and parked on the side of the road eager to explore this treasure set in an entirely different era. The bridge offers the best view of the tiny waterfall that leads the water to trickle under the bridge. We found that the best view of the mill can be seen from a set of stairs that lead down to the riverbank on the left side.
Other than snapping pictures of the Rariton River and buildings that boast a post-colonial style village, there is still plenty to do. The red mill is actually a museum called the Red Mill Museum Village that provides exhibits on the history of the mill and the town as well as a Halloween exhibit every October. Directly across from the mill, on the left bank sits the Huterdon Art Museum; the museum provides contemporary art and annually displays fifteen different exhibits open to the public to enjoy.
Clinton also provides numerous locally-owned restaurants, cafes, ice-cream shops and more. Jack and I recommend the J.J. Scoops ice cream shop on East Main Street. There are also plenty of small businesses to explore and shop from. We also found that simply walking up and down the main street was entertainment enough with a small-town USA feel that is hard to come by in New Jersey.
Take exit 21B on NJ-287 and head west on NJ-78. Take exit 15 and immediately turn right on West Main Street. Take the first left onto Main Street (Jack and I missed it a few times, it is small and almost hidden). Main Street will lead directly into the small town. For more information on how to get here, visit the Clinton Guild’s website, http://www.clintonguild.com/gettinghere/.
Parking is fairly easy. Once across the bridge on Main Street just park in the allotted space on either side of the road. Each space is accompanied by a parking meter.