Creative Escapes in the Garden State

Posted on by Michele Russo, Poetry Coordinator

Keep Your Creativity Alive Over the Summer

Now that summer is coming, and for teachers the school year is winding down…how are you planning to refresh your creativity this summer?  We’ve got some suggestions for day-trips that can spark your creativity, feed your soul (and stomach) and are easy on your wallet.  Today we’ll give you two trips to take.  Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks.

Monmouth County/Shore Area

If you haven’t been to Asbury Park in a while, it’s time.  Asbury Park’s lively boardwalk and beach are great places to people watch, read a book and enjoy the sun.  Just for fun, go to the Silverball Pinball Museum, where you get to play vintage pinball machines and video games (staff favorites include Ms. Pac Man and Tetris).  When you’re ready for a quieter experience, head to The Showroom, Asbury Park’s art movie house where you can see something you won’t find at the multiplex.  One of our favorite places to eat in Asbury Park is MOGO Korean Fusion Tacos, and they have a great deal with The Showroom:  2 tacos, 1 drink and 1 movie ticket for only $16.  And if live theatre is up your alley, the NJ Repertory Theatre in Long Branch is less than 20 miles north of Asbury Park and features professional productions in an intimate theater setting.

Duke Farms sunflower field last August. Photo from

Central New Jersey, Somerset County

You may remember Duke Farms as the site for the 2004 Festival (mud!), but it is now free and open to the public as a model for environmental stewardship.  With over 18 miles of walking trails, the incredible Orchid Range, architectural relics of the Duke estate, and a trolley to help you get around, you can spend hours taking it all in.  On the weekends, it gets very busy–we highly recommend you visit on a weekday. Please note the park is closed on Wednesdays. Or, if you’re a teacher, you can join us there for Writing in Response to Nature, a writing exploration group on August 16th. (Side note: sunflowers bloom in August!) Nearby Somerville has some great lunch spots, including staff favorites: Alfonso’s Trattoria, Martino’s Cuban Restaurant and Origin Thai.  And for a taste of the arts, there are two ways to visit the Printmaking Center of New Jersey’s collections.  Until June 27th, they have a pop-up gallery at 14 E. Main Street in Somerville. And at their permanent home in Branchburg, you will find their annual member’s exhibition.  Please be sure to check for gallery hours before heading out.

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