Ringing in the Fall in and around Jersey City


When Robert Frost wrote “Nature’s first green is gold” in 1923, he was referring to fall and all its beauty. This fall season, there are many different things to do in and near Jersey City. From local wine tasting to exploring some of those picturesque leaves that Frost described in his poem, come find an activity for you! There’s something for everyone in our diverse melting pot that is Jersey City.


Fall Activities 

Walk through the Corn Maze at Norz Hill Farm and Market and pick your own fresh apples and pumpkins at Demarest Farms (an hour drive from Jersey City, Located at 120 S Branch Road, Hillsborough Township, NJ)

If you want to enjoy everything the fall season has to offer, take a trip to Norz Hill Farm and Market in Hillsborough Township, NJ. Norz Hill will have its Fall Harvest Days from September 9th through October 31st, where visitors can do a variety of things. Come and enjoy a farm tour on a hay ride and see the farm animals which includes: cows, miniature donkeys, horses, alpaca, sheep, chickens, goats, pigs, bunnies and a zonkey! If you want to get lost in a sea of corn, like in the horror movies, visit the farm’s corn maze that extends out to 5 acres of farmland! Want to bring the entire family? Your kids will surely enjoy the Kid’s Corner at the farm, which includes the Kids Bale Maze and the Corn Boxes. Hungry while here? Come and eat at Cafe 120 where charcoal grilled hot dogs and natural hamburgers are offered. At the pumpkin patch, come and pick out your own gourds, squash and pumpkins as well as a variety of fresh jams/jellies, pies, breads, apples and apple cider at their market. Check out their website: https://norzhillfarm.com/


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Demarest Farms, located in Hillsdale, NJ (an hour drive from Jersey City) first opened its doors in 1886 and remains a popular choice to visit if you want baked goods and more fruits to harvest. This year, their farm will have over 14 different kinds of apples to choose from as well as pumpkins and peaches. They also produce deliciously fresh apple cider. Their baked goods selection includes: apple cider donuts and apple cider donut bread pudding. If you’d like to bring the kids along, visit the petting zoo which houses goats, sheep, alpacas, chicken and bunnies. For Halloween lovers, Demarest Farms will begin their Halloween Light Show starting next week! Tickets are available on the website: https://demarestfarms.com/


Fall Beverages and Baked Goods 

Enjoy a seasonal fall beer at the Iron Monkey, Barcade Jersey City or Departed Soles Brewing Company 


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The fall season is perfect for enjoying those seasonal beers that are pumpkin based and come from local distilleries. Barcade Jersey City (163 Newark Avenue) offers an array of different beers that are fall inspired for sure. Try the Downeast Pumpkin Blend made with unfiltered apple cider pressed with fresh pumpkin. The Southern Tier Pumpkin, the most popular beer at Barcade, is made with flavors of fresh pumpkin, cinnamon, spices, whipped cream and is brewed for fall only. Or taste the Hackensack Clinton Place, a beer brewed with flavors of sweet pumpkins, all spice, nutmeg, cinnamon and is brewed by the local Hackensack Brewing distillery in Hackensack, NJ. Or perhaps you’d like the Von Trapp Oktoberfest, brewed in Stone, Vermont, an orange colored lager made with caramel, toffee burnt malts, and toasted bread? Their last fall beers are Wild Mehn Bittle made in Asbury Park, NJ and is made with caramel, toffee, burnt malts, and toasted bread. Check out their website for more information: https://barcade.com/jerseycity/

Departed Soles Brewing Company (150 Bay Street #2a), located close to the Harsimus Cove Light rail station in Jersey City, offers two fall beers. These are the popular Ghosts for Pumpkins Passed and Gluten Free Marzen. The Ghosts of Pumpkins Passed is made with gluten free pumpkin and spiced ale. The Gluten Free Marzen has a malty flavor and is dark in color but lighter in taste. Check out their webpage: https://www.departedsoles.com/

Iron Monkey, (99 Green Street), will be offering two types of Oktoberfest including Sam Adams Oktoberfest and Southern Tier Pumpking, by the first week of October. Check out their webpage: https://www.ironmonkey.com/


Taste Pumpkin Lattes and Baked Pumpkin Goods at Gregory’s Coffee, the Beechwood Cafe, and Cocoa Bakery 


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If you want to sip on a hot fall drink by the edge of the Hudson River, then Gregory’s Cafe (10 Exchange Place and 525 Washington Boulevard) is the spot for you. The cafe offers four different fall seasonal drinks and a baked pumpkin treat, with views of New York City at just a few feet. This fall, try their Smashing Pumpkin Cold Brew made with pumpkin spice, vanilla, and oat milk or their popular Pumpkin Spiced Latte made with pumpkin spice, espresso and milk. If you prefer a fall drink with a kick, try their Yuzu Espresso Tonic made with Night Vision Espresso, Yuzu marmalade, peach syrup and sparkling water. Or savor their Excuse You, a beverage made with Night Vision espresso, yuzu marmalade and oat milk. If you’d like something fresh from the oven, taste their Pumpkin Pound Cake. Check out their webpage: https://www.gregoryscoffee.com/


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If you’re in the downtown Jersey City area, stop by the Beechwood Cafe located at 290 Grove Street. They’re offering Pumpkin Cheese Pie, Pumpkin Bread and the Pumpkin Spiced Latte. The Pumpkin Cheese Pie is made with fresh pumpkin pie layered on top of New York Style Cheesecake and their Pumpkin Spiced Latte is made with pumpkin spice powder, pumpkin sauce and espresso milk and is a local favorite. Find more information on: http://www.cafebeechwood.com/


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Are you aching to try a baked seasonal treat? Head down to the Cocoa Bakery on 275 Grand Street just a walk away from the Jersey Avenue Light Rail. A small cozy bakery set underground, the business is known for their seasonal pies. Their current cupcakes flavors which reflect fall themes are: carrot cream cheese cupcake and chocolate salted caramel. They offer brownie bars in pecan honey caramel flavor. Both of these are available now for sampling. In about a month, they’ll be whipping out their seasonal truffles: Apple Cinnamon Truffles and Pumpkin Walnut Truffles. Need a treat for thanksgiving? Their big seasonal cakes and pies include: apple caramel, apple crumble, pecan, sweet potato pie and pumpkin Whoopie Pie. Find more baked goods on their site: https://www.cocoabakerycafe.com/


Taste Wine at the Jersey City Wine and Spirits and Create Your Own Mulled Wine at Home 


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Jersey City Wine and Spirits (492 Jersey Avenue in Jersey City) has a wide selection of wines to choose from. Their current staff picks on wine include Peyrassol Rose La Croix imported from southeastern France and Ryme Cellars Sang Friulano which comes from California. Every couple of weeks, the retailer offers wine tastings which usually have a theme (example: New California wine, anything that strays from classic and traditional wine). Try an array of wines all in the sparkling category from whites to reds and others too. The wines may be chosen based on similar colorization as well. This fall, they’re offering free wine tastings on Fridays in their store with some current selections being based on seasonal wines and new arrivals. Want something stronger for the colder months? Check out their bourbons and whiskeys also available for tasting later in the year. Interested in learning more about wine? They also offer wine education classes to anyone interested in learning more on the subject. Find out more on their website: https://jerseywineandspirits.com/

How to make Mulled Wine at home

Mulled Wine is a special wine drink whose origins can be traced back to Ancient Rome when wine was heated with spices and served during the cold winter months. Traditionally mulled wine is made using the following ingredients: sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and orange peel. But if you’d like a stronger kick, there are other ingredients you can use. First choose a red wine like Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon.You’ll then want to choose a brandy or orange liqueur like Cointreau or something similar. Next, grab some oranges and slice them up (peel the orange to remove bitterness). Then you’ll want to grab some found cinnamon or cinnamon sticks and lastly grab some spices and natural sweeteners like whole cloves, star anise, and either sugar, maple syrup or honey. To make this scrumptious drink, first combine the ingredients in a saucepan and give them a quick stir. Next, heat the wine until it almost reaches a simmer over medium high heat (do not let it bubble) and reduce the heat to low. Then you’ll want to cover the wine completely and let the wine simmer for at least 15 minutes or up to 3 hours. Lastly, you’ll want to grab a mesh strainer and remove the orange slices, cloves, cinnamon sticks, star anise and ginger. Serve in heat proof mugs and add your favorite sweetener and garnishes! 


Fall Scenery and Foliage 

Explore Art and Fall’s Beauty at Grounds for Sculpture (an hour drive from Jersey City, 80 Sculpture Way, Hamilton Township, NJ) 


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Grounds for Sculpture is more than just a sculpture garden. The place is an experience where memory, meaning and beauty all coalesce into one. Located in Hamilton Township and created by visionary, philanthropist and sculptor Seward Johnson in 1984, Grounds for Sculpture is surrounded by breathtaking and picturesque landscapes of bridges, ponds, and gardens ripe with vegetation new and old. This fall, art enthusiasts can explore ceramic classes, a photography exhibit called: Local Voices, Memories, Stories and Portraits. Come and walk through the fairgrounds where hundred year old trees like “Bicycle Beech,” can be found. Or come and take photos with the 300 contemporary statutes that fill the luscious gardens, with some of famous icons like Marilyn Monroe. Want to take a look into the past? Visit the Living Fossils exhibit which is composed of plants from prehistoric eras. Grounds for Sculpture will also be featuring an immersive light show in the gardens called Night Forms for the fall season. Tickets are available on the website: https://www.groundsforsculpture.org/


View the Foliage and Hike at Palisades Interstate Park  (an hour drive from Jersey City, Alpine, NJ)


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While many people love to hike during the summer, some would say there’s arguably no better time to hike when fall foliage encapsulates the Hudson Valley. Located in Alpine, NJ, Palisades Interstate Park is a national historic landmark which is about 12 miles long and half mile wide with about 2,500 acres of shoreline, uplands, and cliffs. Hikers and visitors alike can enjoy forested trails filled with reds, browns, and yellows, a shore trail (which follows the shoreline below the cliffs) and various hikes depending on visitor preference. Beginners can take the “Cape Fly Away” trail, a 3 mile hike that takes about a one and a half hour to trek, amongst others. Feel like taking a dive into the past? Take the Solstice Hike from the Alpine Picnic Area which stops at sunset to read a description of a summer evening in 1838 by poet Ralph Emerson. You can also take the “Huyler’s Landing Hike,” which documents a night in November of 1776, when the British Army used this road to capture Fort Lee during the Battle of Fort Washington during the American Revolutionary War. You can also bring the family out to enjoy a picnic in a sea of trees with the Alpine Picnic area open all year round. Find more hiking trails on: https://www.njpalisades.org/


So whether you like hiking, apple picking or bringing the kids out to decorate pumpkins, there’s something for everyone this fall season in and near Jersey City! 

Lina Estrada
Author: Lina Estrada