Milford: Jersey’s Low-Profile Riverfront Destination

Spend a quiet day getting lost in this Hunterdon County hamlet.

Guests at Alba Vineyard sample wines in the expansive new tasting room. Photo by Matt Rainey

Want to avoid the crowds in New Jersey’s popular Delaware River towns? Consider the lesser-known Milford, a quaint hamlet just north of Frenchtown. Milford—named for its 18th-century riverfront grist mill—boasts plenty of charm without the crowds.

A stroll down Bridge Street showcases Milford’s 19th- and 20th-century buildings, which now house shops like Riverside Treasures (23 Bridge Street), a boutique filled with a mix of jewelry, clothing and works by local artists; and Allen’s Antiques (49 Bridge Street), brimming with antiques, collectibles and vintage furniture.

Foliage glistens along Hakihokake Creek. Photo by Matt Rainey

Longtime favorite restaurants include the Milford House (92 Water Street), a new incarnation of the town’s beloved Milford Oyster House; it’s situated in an old stone mill. The Olde Ship Inn, Jersey’s first microbrewery—opened in 1985—is now the Descendants Brewing Company at the Olde Ship Inn (61 Bridge Street). It’s still the best place in town to enjoy a cold beer.

Also new is Canal House Station (2 Bridge Street), a restaurant and café showcasing fresh, local ingredients. Opened in July in an abandoned railroad station originally built in 1870, Canal House is the brainchild of Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer, James Beard Award-winning cookbook authors who moved upstream from their Lambertville culinary studio to open their first restaurant in Milford.

Steps from Canal House is the teal-colored bridge that connects Milford to Upper Black Eddy in Pennsylvania. Pedestrians are welcome to cross the bridge. From the other side, take in the view of colorful hills and cliffs that rise from Milford’s downtown. For the energetic, a hike in the Thomas F. Breden Preserve at Milford Bluffs provides some of the best views over the Delaware River. The hiking trail begins off Milford Warren Glen Road at the northern end of town.

Learn more about the town’s history on October 6, when the Milford Historical Society hosts a free walking tour; the group will meet at 1:30 pm at the bridge.

For foodies, the renowned Bobolink Dairy & Bakehouse (369 Stamets Road) is a five-minute drive away. The farm hosts $5 tours at 2 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. They include a short hike to the pastures, where cows roam and graze, and end with a tasting of the grass-fed, raw-milk cheeses and breads baked in the wood-fired hearth. Even without a tour, you can taste the cheeses in the shop, open Wednesday–Sunday.

End the day with a wine tasting at Alba Vineyard (269 County Road 627), 15 minutes from downtown Milford in the village of Finesville. The wines can be enjoyed in the new tasting room overlooking the surrounding hillside vineyards.

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