During the past three-and-a-half years, this blog has taken me on adventures to states across the nation, to mountains, historic sites, beaches, museums, warships, lighthouses, and many other attractions. Some trips are thoroughly researched. Others are pure improvisation, passing by something cool along the road, and deciding on a moment’s notice to stop and explore. And then sometimes, despite research and extensive mapping, the trip does not go quite according to plan. So what happens? Do we, the humble staff of The Open Road Ahead, stomp our feet, throw a temper tantrum, and go home? Of course not! Instead, we make the best of it, and keep trying until it works out. To quote the character Vincent in the movie Collateral: “Now we gotta make the best of it, improvise, adapt to the environment, Darwin, stuff happens, I Ching, whatever man, we gotta roll with it.”
On a beautiful Saturday in mid-September, my wife and I had planned to spend a morning getting breakfast at the beach and then touring historic railroad sites in and around central New Jersey. Breakfast was the only part of the morning that went according to plan, however, as sites we visited were either not open yet or closed for the season. So we improvised. We adapted. We rolled with it… and we ended up with an adventure that took us on a drive through almost all of central New Jersey. I hope you enjoy this adventure, chuckle at our mishaps, and find some new places to explore with us.
Stop One: Breakfast in Asbury Park
Stop Two: Allaire State Park
Stop Three: The New Jersey State Museum
Stop Four: Black River and Western Railroad
Stop Five: Saucetoberfest
Despite several of our planned stops not working out as we intended, my wife and I came to appreciate how central New Jersey has some great, low-cost activities, if you’re willing to get off the beaten track and explore. The New Jersey Museum of Transportation is free to visit, although tickets to ride the Pine Creek Railroad are $4 per person. The nearby Historic Village at Allaire is free to visit as well. The New Jersey State Museum is open from 9:00 am until 4:45 pm Tuesday through Sunday, and admission is free. While open during the summer, the Black River & Western Railroad is open select weekends during the fall, winter, and spring months. Finally, Schaefer Farms farmstead is open seven days a week, but make sure to check their calendar, as fun events like Saucetoberfest are scheduled throughout the year!
Before I close, I wanted to share something else. Since I was in high school, one of my favorite things to listen to while driving was Car Talk on NPR. For decades, Tom and Ray Magliozzi hosted an informative, off-beat, and hilarious call-in radio show. The show went off the air in 2012, and Tom passed away in 2014, but the show continues on, available both on select NPR stations, and also as a weekly podcast. I still listen to the show, and it helps my long commute to work pass far more quickly! This article, on the car website Jalopnik, is a great read for anyone who enjoyed the show during its heyday.
Thanks, as always, for coming along on another journey down the open road ahead!