I was recently interviewed for an article, and one of the questions asked was: where would you take someone visiting your area. I sat on this question for awhile, procrastinated even. Where would I take someone? No one visits me I thought *tear tear*.
After three days of contemplation I reached the place of: I used to love doing things, but now I do nothing. Why was I having such a block with this question, why do I feel like I don't do anything fun anymore....And then it dawned on me...
Oh right, COVID19. That pesky Global Pandemic.
So naturally, I proceeded to answer the question in the context of a pre (or post) covid world. I assume they would not want the ever so present and true answer of: "well, we would get tested and then quarantine for 14 days prior to seeing each-other, followed by a whole lot of time spent in my 650 sqft apartment watching Netflix in masks and drinking too much wine."
The words of my pre or post COVID tour around my city literally FLEW out of me, the places I long to go in a world where we aren't fearful of every interaction. It reminded me of why I love where we live, where Clutter was born so I wanted to share it with you + all locations linked.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary - say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc. In your view what are some of the most fun, interesting, exciting people, places or things to check out?
I am based out of Jersey City, less than 10 minutes outside of New York, and less than an hour from New Jersey beaches, so we are really lucky to have so much variety so close! Being in the New York metropolitan area, naturally brunch is the most important meal of the day so I would start there. Some of our favorite JC brunch spots to spend lazy afternoons include Hamilton Inn, Mathew’s, and Light Horse Tavern.
Brunch at Hamilton Inn
Jersey City is a pedestrian city so we spend a lot of time walking around our neighborhood to see what we stumble upon. My husband and I always say that in a city you have to enjoy the journey as much as the destination. We have wonderful vintage shops, record stores, galleries, Italian bakeries! The city also has a Mural Arts Program so they city is filled with incredible works of art to admire while strolling.
Mural off of Newark Ave
As a brunch alternative, we sometimes stop at our neighborhood cafe, Prato Bakery, for a coffee and delicious pastry and travel over to one of the many parks in the area. A favorite being Van Vorst Park. I love to start my mornings there, it is so serene with an incredible fountain and a sort of wild english garden surrounding it! Not to mention, the most amazing architecture and historical homes.
Van Vorst Park in Jersey City
Being so close to the waterfront we often bring family and friends to see the New York skyline, truly a stone's throw away. If it's a beautiful day biking to Liberty State Park is a lovely way to spend our time together.
Jersey City Waterfront 9/11 Memorial
We always find ourselves stopping at one of the fun places to eat/drink overlooking the Hudson River like Surf City, Lutz, or if you are feeling fancy, Battello. Sometimes we will hit one of the beer gardens like Zeppelin Hall or Hudson Hall.
Surf City Beach Bar in Jersey City
During the evening we could head over to Newark Avenue, which is a pedestrian street full of bars, shops and restaurants. No cars are allowed, and there are picnic tables and string lights set up throughout. The sunset is gorgeous over this area, and the street is often filled with families out enjoying the evening. Children run around there after school and in the summers there is live music; it’s really just perfect.
Newark Avenue pedestrian street
Madame Claude’s Bis in Jersey City
If we are feeling more casual we would sit on the roof at Porta (Neapolitan Pizza), or in the backyard of Pet Shop (Vegan Bar Food) and play Jenga or Guess Who! Pet Shop also has a cozy little basement wine bar with live music called PS. Long story short, I could basically live in there.
Pet Shop in Jersey City
For another day of adventure we may travel to Jersey City Heights. We would stop into Busy Bee Organics, a beautiful cafe full of healing elixirs, gluten free and vegan options. Their Mocha Mushroom Latte is actually life changing.
Busy Bee Organics in Jersey City Heights
We could take our snacks across the street to Riverview-Fisk Park that has a stunning view of Jersey City, Hoboken and Manhattan across the water. It would be a dream to finish the day at Corto, a cozy BYO Italian spot with handmade pastas.
Corto in Jersey City Heights
Riverview-Fisk Park in Jersey City Heights
Jersey City was voted the most diverse city in the country in 2020, so there are always community events happening! I always suggest our family and friends visit when there is a street far or market to attend. My favorite: Jersey City Art & Studio Tour where the artists of Jersey City open their studios to the public.
When family and friends come to visit my favorite thing to share with them is the deep culture and community that exists in Jersey City. For a city, there is still such a prevalence of mom and pop shops, family owned and operated restaurants and businesses, it's a really fun and unique place to live.
*not shared with interviewer*
For us who are lucky enough, there is life before, and there is life after this virus. I, like many of you, have experienced deep moments of depression, of wondering where time is going and just plain listlessness and yearning for before. BUT we will get there as a community, and as soon as we can be out in crowded bars, breathing all over each other - come meet us for a drink.