I was inspired by my evening commute to write a post about what I consider to be one of the most beautiful country roads in New Jersey...
Country Route 537 is one such road. Whatever the season, whatever the conditions, it always feels like a piece of heaven. I only use the10 miles between Freehold township and Eatontown in Monmouth County but even that little bit is enough to soothe my soul and give me renewed energy. The drive goes through Colts Neck township passing large farmsteads, orchards with row upon row of fruit trees and horse farms with five star facilities... for equines. The biggest appeal of this country road is probably the charm of another era it still has not lost even after so much residential developing.
For anyone in the Tri-State area, interested in taking a nice drive on a beautiful weekend, Rt 537 in Monmouth County offers a nice day-trip with plenty of diversions along the way.
The maps above, courtesy of Google Maps, should provide a sense of geographical location and reference points. Entering Rt-537 at West Freehold Road would be a good starting point for this itinerary; although for those with more time and energy, Six Flags, Great Adventure is only 13 miles further West on Rt. 537 but I will concentrate on the part of the road that holds the greatest appeal for me personally. For a GPS destination, Federici's in Freehold (address provided below) would get you to the starting point of my planned route.
Freehold, which is lined up with Victorian buildings, and a bevy of restaurants and cafes that provide outdoor seating. This is the hometown of the "Boss" where he grew up and went to high school right down the street at Freehold Boro High School. As a matter of fact Federici's on Main Street boasts of being one of Springsteen's favorite haunts... (the pizzas are not so bad either) Walking around downtown Freehold provides plenty of photo-ops with some very nicely restored Victorian houses. Freehold also has a raceway which is another attraction that draws racing fans. After enjoying lunch in one of the restaurants and a walk thorough town, getting back on Route 537 and driving West would take you to Colts Neck and the lovely drive I had been raving about at the beginning of this post.
Delicious Orchards on Route 34 in Colts Neck, NJ is situated right in the middle of my recommended itinerary. Delicious Orchards is a 60,000 square foot Country Food Market that deserves a post all its own. Every season at Delicious Orchards is a different experience with such a variety of fruits and vegetables and prepared foods that one trip is never enough. I have to mention that their apple pie is divine! According to season, there is pick-your-own apple, peach or raspberries. They have a small cafe by the patio that offers light snacks, salads and some fast food. Recommendations... hot dogs, coffee, ice cream and freshly made apple fritters (only on the weekends)... After this diversion I recommend finishing the day off with a nice sunset by the shore.
Driving further East on 537 will take you through Eatontown, West Long Branch and then Long Branch where you reach the beach in about 15 minutes. For this itinerary if you set your destination as Pier Village in Long Branch, you cannot get lost. Pier Village affords easy parking (two hour free street parking) an array of restaurants and a lovely 2 - 3 mile boardwalk perfect for walking, taking a stroll or just sitting on one of the benches and watching the waves...
For a direct return trip, taking Joline Avenue (Route 36) West from Long Branch will take you to Routes 18, 35 or the Garden State Parkway Exit 105. Happy Spring!
Federici's Family Italian Restaurant
14 East Main St.
Freehold, NJ 07728
Freehold Boro High School
2 Robertsville Road
Freehold, NJ 07728
320 Route 34
Colts Neck, NJ 07722
One Chelsea Avenue
Long Branch, NJ 07720