Ridgewood, New Jersey is a bustling, low-lying suburban village in Bergen County, about 45 minutes outside of Manhattan. New Jersey Transit buses run regularly from Port Authority (make sure to take the express bus to Van Neste Square, not the Park & Ride) or take the New Jersey Transit train from Penn Station and transfer at Secaucus Junction. Both the train and bus stations are located centrally in Ridgewood and let you off right in the midst of small town charm.
Things to do in Ridgewood
While schpatziring, you will find everything from an Organic Tofu House to a Lucky Brand Jeans to a Papyrus and a Savvy Chic consignment shop operating out of an old Post Office. The local bookstore, Bookends, attracts some well-known authors (as well as fizzy folks like Ozzy Osbourne and Elizabeth Edwards) for signings.
The town usually sponsors – in normal days – free outdoor musical performances throughout the summer. Check the calendar for future events, visit PJ’s theridgewoodblog.net for the local scoop, and ridgewoodwildscape.org for natural wonders in town, such as a 70-year-old Wisteria or wildflower gardens.
For some delicious Cantonese food, go to dim sum Dynasty or win a place on the wall by eating two famous pizza-sized pancakes at Country Pancake House. (The line is out the door on weekends and there are no reservations, so get there early.)
For picnic accouterments, stop by the Best of Everything Gourmet Deli—try their home-made mozzarella and rice pudding—then head to nearby Van Neste Square to munch in the shade of a Sycamore.
After lunch, explore the many delightful sculptures and monuments the park has to offer like Sandi Clark’s “Double Decker” or the memorial to American Revolutionary war hero Abraham Godwin.
If you’re seeking a bit of outdoor adventure, bring your bike and pedal the six-mile bike path that extends from the Ridgewood Duck Pond into Saddle River. In addition to soccer, lacrosse, and baseball fields, there is historic Graydon Park Pool where for a $10 day pass the kids can go for a splash while you relax with your toes in the sand. Before returning home, swing by Ridgewood resident fave Van Dyke’s Ice Cream or grab a cupcake at Carousel Cakes.
Just remember, you’re enjoying a small-town getaway, stroll don’t scuttle.
Annie is a travel writer, environmentalist, and surfer based in Venice, CA. She heads up our West Coast team, keeps our grammatical errors in check, and makes sure our California writers always have a plan for their next adventure. Follow Annie’s travels @annelisemcb.