Home Food + DrinkBars How to Spend a Day in Mendham, New Jersey

How to Spend a Day in Mendham, New Jersey

by Jean Lee
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Not so far away from Hudson County is the town of Mendham, New Jersey. The small, quaint main street lined with gorgeous Victorian homes and nice restaurants is a great day away from the hustle of Hoboken + Jersey City life. Filled with historical sites, walking trails, and places to grab a bite, there are plenty of things to do in Mendham that won’t disappoint. Keep reading for more on the history, travel plan, where to dine, and what to do in Mendham, NJ.

The History

Mendham has a rich history dating back to before the Revolutionary War. It was named after Mendon, Massachusetts, where one of the area’s most distinguished settlers, Ebenezer Byran, hailed from. Visitors can see a grist mill that helped feed troops stationed in Jockey Hollow during the winter of 1779 to 1780, or a farmhouse-turned-tavern that was one of the main stops between Newark and Scranton (and is still in business today). There are so many ways to take a stroll down memory lane when visiting Mendham.

Mendham Township was incorporated in 1749 and included Mendham Borough and parts of Randolph Township and Chester Township, just after the Hilltop Church (20 Hilltop Road) was created for the area. The borough of Mendham was then then created in 1906. 

Traveling to Mendham

There are a few ways to get to Mendham. By car, it’s just under an hour right down Interstate 78 (and, of course, a few other roads, too). Once you’re off the highway, it’s a lovely drive through the rolling hills of New Jersey. 

If you’re looking for a mass transit route, you can take the Morris + Essex line to the Morristown stop. This is a little more than an hour ride, and then it’s a quick Uber to Mendham. What’s great is that once in town, visitors can do so much right on Main Street that there’s no need to Uber everywhere.

Read More: Destinations Near New Jersey Accessible By Public Transportation

Where to Eat

Black Horse Tavern & Pub | 1 West Main Street

Black Horse Tavern

While there are two different buildings to dine at here, the tavern is only open for private events — though you can still enjoy the pub. During the warmer months, there are tables on the patio for outdoor dining. The ambiance is old charm meets all-American fare. The menu consists of pub staples including pub burgers but also has tavern favorites like chicken pot pie and filet mignon.

Dante’s Italian Restaurant | 100 East Main Street

Dantes Ristorante

Opening in 1991, Dante’s has been an Italian staple on Main Street in Mendham for more than 30 years. While many order the pizza from Dante’s, patrons shouldn’t sleep on the rest of the menu. From the various parmesan options to the baked pasta, there are so many delicious dishes to choose from. There is also dining available inside and outside until just past sundown.

Mendham Bagel + Coffee Shop | 88 East Main Street

Medham Coffee and Bagel Shop

These old-fashioned kettle-boiled bagels are great for breakfast or lunch. Cafe-goers can get a usual breakfast bagel sandwich, or they can also get a cold cut sandwich on a bagel (Hoboken Girl loves a good turkey sandwich on a bagel). There are also other menu items including wraps, burgers, and omelets. Seating is first-come, first-served both inside and outside.

Piattino: A Neighborhood Bistro | 88 East Main Street

Piattino

This restaurant is a great mix of modern aesthetics and vibes with even better food. The artisan pizza is smaller in size, but still packs amazing flavor. The oven-baked meatballs and the stone-fired meatball sliders are good choices, or you can’t go wrong with any of the pasta dishes. There is a full bar, and patrons can dine inside or outside (though outdoor seating is limited). Piattino’s also has a location in Summit.

Simple Coffee | 15 West Main Street

Simple Coffee

This coffee shop is a cute stop during a Mendham adventure. The staff is lovely and they brew a mean cup of joe. This place also sells smoothies and pastries. Simple Coffee occasionally has Cars and Coffee events on the weekend where all muscle, exotic, and classic car owners bring their rides to an event in the parking lot.

Wicker Basket Delicatessen | 84 East Main Street

Wicker Basket Delicatessen

Wicker Basket Delicatessen (Wicker, as the locals call it) is a staple for all in town. The half and half is a must order, and the ratio of lemonade and iced tea is going to have you coming back for seconds. The crispy chicken sandwich on a roll is something all the locals love to order, but really everything is great. There is no seating, as this is a grab-and-go sandwich and grill. But trust us, it’s worth it.

See More: A Day Trip Guide to Maplewood, NJ

Things to Do

Backer Farm | 32 Ironia Road

Backer Farm

This part of New Jersey is known for its farms and produce. A few Jersey City farm stands are actually from this region. Backer Farm has been in Mendham since 1927 and offers many types of produce. Guests can pick in-season strawberries, which is a fun activity in the earlier part of the summer.

During the fall, pumpkin patches and hay rides are a must. There is also a farmstand with produce and other locally produced items. This farm is also working to create a Backer Brewery Project, where it will produce and sell small batch brews. You can visit the website for more information on when this will open.

Hiking | Various Locations

There are so many great hiking locations in Mendham. Buttermilk Falls is a short hike that leads to a lovely waterfall that many swim in during the summer heat. The Patriot’s Path also has a few locations to hop on and explore, which is a great and mostly flat trail. There is also Schiff Nature Preserve, which has various trails among other events.

Ralston Playground | 320 Mendham Road West

Ralston Park

The kiddos will have a blast at this park in Mendham. There is a jungle gym that is in the shape of a farm (which is quite apropos for this area of New Jersey). There are also swings and other fun areas, including a baseball field. As you are driving on Route 24, there is a Yellow Volunteer Fire Station, and the park is located behind that. 

Shopping | On + Around Main Street

Bees Knees Boutique

Mendham is known to be a town without many chain restaurants and stores — but there are still a few cute boutiques and locally-owned stores to check out. The first is The Bees Knees, an adorable boutique that opened a few months ago. Here, customers can get great clothing pieces, as well as other items including jewelry and bee-themed skincare. 

Just up the street is Mendham Gardens. The front area will have guests feeling like they are frolicking in a field of flowers. Stop by for a lovely plant during your time in town. Mendham also has Hole in the Wall Thrift Store (6 Hilltop Road), which has a great mix of name brands. Next to this is The Grand Bazaar, a great antique store with unique pieces.

Other Towns Nearby | Chester + Morristown

Mendham is in between two great towns to also consider visiting while in the area. Chester is known for its adorable main street and epic corn mazes during the fall. Morristown is a little metropolis in the area and has great shopping and dining options.

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