Home Lifestyle Weekend Getaway: Raritan Inn at Middle Valley

Weekend Getaway: Raritan Inn at Middle Valley

by Jean Lee
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Sometimes the hustle and bustle of city living can be overwhelming and intense. It can be hard to take a relaxing breath and just be present in the moment. If this sounds too familiar, you can head about an hour west of Hoboken for a quick weekend getaway at a bed and breakfast, the Raritan Inn at Middle Valley, located at 526 County Road 513 in Califon. Owner, Bill Asdal, says that guests “will find a lower heart rate here.” Here’s hoping. Keep reading for a breakdown of the history and what to expect during a stay at the Raritan Inn at Middle Valley.

raritan inn

(Photo credit: Raritan Inn at Middle Valley)

About the Inn

This inn sits on the corner of an old Lenape village before the land was granted to a gentleman named John Budd in 1714 by the King of England (no surprise that he had land reaching even to the aptly named Budd Lake). The home itself went through a few additions before falling into disrepair. Then in 2002, the Asdal family bought the inn and restored it back to its former glory (honestly even better than what the history books make it out to be).

When restoring the inn, Bill said, “They did forensic architecture to figure out how the bones were put together,” in order to understand the history and how to best preserve it, while also improving the sustainability of the bed and breakfast for future use.

raritan inn

(Photo credit: Raritan Inn at Middle Valley)

Then came the decorating. The team used a piece of floral wallpaper designed by William Morris, a famous British literary figure and designer, as inspiration for the color pallet. The inn isn’t filled with lace, but rather a tasteful decor and fine art from local artist, Dan Mulligan. “We have internet and TVs here, but we find not many people use them,” said Bill.

“Each room has an abundance of windows, which is not unusual with this building,” said Bill. The rooms also have modern amenities like queen beds and stall showers with full-body sprays. What’s cool is that no two bedrooms are the same, and there are different antiques to enjoy, which means you can always have a different experience when you stay. When you aren’t enjoying your room, there are also a few common areas, including a billiard room, conference room, and dining area. Speaking of dining, the bed and breakfast does offer breakfast (of course) each day.

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About the Barn

raritan inn

(Photo credit: Raritan Inn at Middle Valley)

“The barn is a whole other level,” says Bill. It’s a barn from 1855 that has been completely redone to create a 1500 square foot space in total complete with an outdoor patio area that is perfect for a wedding or larger event. There is also a fire pit and horseshoe games to play. The Inn also offers different elopement packages if an untraditional wedding is more your style. This place hosts about 20 weddings per year, and it’s awesome to be able to utilize the 25 acres of property.

About the Owner

The Asdal family bought the property when the home was completely unlivable with a specific purpose in mind. “It might surprise you that this initiative had nothing to do to create an inn. It was a federal research project on housing science,” said Bill. Restoration and sustainable practices are not new challenges for Bill and his team.

They have other properties around the country that are all working towards the same goal of creating buildings that are 100% sustainable. The Raritan Inn is “a property that is 100% energy self-sufficient with no fossil fuels on-site, powered instead with solar panels and geothermal energy” according to its website.

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About the Area

Califon, as well as the general area, is a lovely place out in the New Jersey countryside. There are great restaurants within driving distance for any craving. The Coffee Potter in Long Valley, just a short drive away, is a great coffee shop in a converted bank that has great drinks and bakery items. Circa in High Bridge is a cute bistro with seasonal plates. The PH Steakhouse in nearby Chester offers an impressive high-end menu.


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There are also different activities during different seasons. In the fall, visit any of the local farms including Stony Hill Farms in Chester, Ort Farms in Long Valley, or West Portal Pumpkin Patch for different fall activities. Biking, walking, or running along the Columbia Trail any time of year (okay maybe not during a snowstorm) is delightful, and guests will often use a few of the bikes provided by the inn to go on an adventure.


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If you are looking for water activities, the river near the Inn was restored in 2012 to create a lush area for fly fishing. Guests can reach out to Shannon’s Private Waters to see about any fly fishing opportunities through its fishing club. Guests can also head down the street to Willow Grove Farm to ride some horses (Clydesdales to be exact).

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