Love is in the air. Here’s where to get romantic in the Garden State.
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Spring has arrived and more than nature is blossoming. Amour is in the air—and whether you are dating, recently wed or celebrating many years together, spring is the perfect opportunity to reenergize your relationship.
“Spring is a good time to get back in the swing of things,” says relationship expert JoAnn Ward. Along with son Steve Ward, JoAnn runs Master Matchmakers, a Philadelphia-based company that connects singles and offers personal coaching. The two also dish dating wisdom on the VH1 reality show Tough Love. Their advice: “Get those bikes out,” says JoAnn. Similarly, you could visit an outdoor market, row-row-row a boat, rent a motorcycle or whisk yourselves into a cooking class.
JoAnn, who has been married and “happily in love” for 25 years, says we should follow nature’s lead and pop out of those musty cocoons. That could mean deciding on a weekend getaway, a night out at a concert or a day trip somewhere you’ve never been together. “We’re so stuck in winter,” she says, “that when spring comes, we’re so ready for it.”
To breathe new life into a relationship, Steve says you need to “remember what it was that made you fall for that person in the first place.” Then try to express your feelings with a heartfelt gesture. “Put thought into your expression,” Steve advises. “For example, making a meal from scratch rather than taking her to her favorite restaurant.”
Or try one of the 10 Great Dates described below:
Is It Paris? No, Hoboken
Not too many people, we suspect, have mistaken Hoboken for Paris, but with a fashionable assortment of romantic locations scattered about town, The Mile-Square City might resemble the City of Lights more than you think.
A Taste of Old-World Charm
For romantic oenophiles, Tomasello Winery represents an attractively secluded dating destination—minus the plane fare.
Now You're Cooking
Couples looking to cook up some romance or spice up their relationship should check out the Viking Cooking School at Natirar Park, where hands-on classes guarantee results.
The Joy of Jazz
The hip international vibe at Shanghai Jazz in Madison has made this cultured gem a prime location for romantic couples seeking a fun night full of music.
Day Tripping in Asbury Park
Culinary and cocktail options abound in quirky Asbury Park. Adventurous daters can find a varied range of options to suit all palates and preferences in this sui generis seaside village.
New Brunswick Night Out
New Brunswick isn't just for college students out on the town—world-class dining and premier theater experiences present a tempting reality for romantic couples eager for entertainment-laden evenings.
Goblets of Fun
The Medieval Times theme show in Lyndhurst provides a fun-filled backdrop for couples looking for a romantic renaissance.
Come Fly With Me
In Flight Balloon Adventures in Hunterdon County provides breathtaking views, lasting memories, and a convenient excuse to hold your date tight as you soar above the Garden States scenic regions.
Couples can step back into the not-so-distant past at the Delsea Drive-In, where dinner-and-a-movie all takes place in one romantic location (on wheels).
The Love Boat
Year-round cruises leave from Lincoln Harbor Marina—providing couples with two floating hours of fun and pampering about The Spirit of New Jersey sight-seeing vessel.
Folly & Fraud
Fit For A King: Natirar's Newest Partner
Dream On: Exotic Cars, Pedestrian Speeds
Pesce Out of Water: Rustic Italian Food in Spring Lake
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Salugo in East Hanover, which opened in January, is the fifth restaurant—Salugo in Verona, Fin in Montclair and Summit and Salute in Montclair—opened by Gerry Cerrigone and Bob Gaccione. All are worth a visit.
Many restaurant websites make it hard to find basic info. It's the opposite of whack-a-mole: instead of smacking down things that pop up, you have to look under every lid to find fundamentals like hours, credit cards accepted, sometimes even phone and address.
Lots of them, actually. In the glass-enclosed conservatory of Pleasantdale Chateau, an upscale catering facility in West Orange, two towering orange trees are sprouting fruit among the flowers and other vegetation.