What to Do, See and Eat in Clinton: Beautiful Scenery and So Much More

Spend the day perusing the museums and shops.

The Red Mill in Clinton, NJ
The Red Mill is one of the most photographed places in New Jersey—and for good reason. Photo: AEROJO Drone Productions

Even if you’ve never visited Clinton in Hunterdon County, you’ve certainly seen it. The town’s picturesque Red Mill, perched alongside the South Branch of the Raritan River, is one of New Jersey’s most photographed sites.


The Red Mill, which dates to 1810, has been preserved as a museum of 19th-century life, with displays of the machinery used in milling wool, grain and talc—all of which were produced here. Behind the mill, a village of restored buildings includes a log cabin, a one-room school house, a blacksmith shop (with live demonstrations), and picnic tables along the river.

Just across the walkable, one-lane steel bridge, the Hunterdon Art Museum rises on the east bank of the river. Housed in a stone-clad, 19th-century grist mill, the museum showcases contemporary art, crafts and design. (The museum will be closed most of September for installation of fall exhibitions, reopening October 1 with a 70th anniversary celebration featuring live music, food trucks and more.)

Gift shops, boutiques and restaurants line both sides of Main Street for a single block east of the river. Among the highlights: Fourchette Kitchen (with 14 tanks dispensing artisanal olive oils and vinegars; a cheese counter; and shelves of fancy foods and housewares); the Curious Plantaholic (for seeds, soaps, sachets and gardening accessories); Lily & Atlas (home goods and gifts); and the museum-like Karen’s Dollhouse Shop.

The Curious Plantaholic in Clinton, NJ

The Curious Plantaholic sells seeds, soaps and gardening accessories. Photo: Laura Moss

Cross to the south side of Main Street to browse Greens & Beans (florals and botanicals); Chameleon Blue (gifts, home décor and clothing); Primrose & Poppy (a children’s boutique); Kilhaney’s Pickles (specialty foods); and Art Alley, a mashup of small galleries and a bike-repair shop.

Daily Dose Cafe in Clinton, NJ

Clinton has a nice selection of charming places to eat, including the Daily Dose Café. Photo: Laura Moss


Alongside the river at Art Alley, grab a patio table for lunch or a snack accompanied by the best view of the Red Mill. The River Mill View has a full menu of salads, pastas and entrées. For lighter fare, choose the neighboring Riverside Coffee & Tea. Options along Main Street range from white-tablecloth dining at Dora to quick bites at Citispot Tea & Coffee or Daily Dose Café. Be sure to finish your visit with a cup or cone at Scoops.


You have a choice of two chain hotels in Clinton (TownePlace Suites or Hampton Inn), but for a more memorable stay book one of the five tastefully appointed rooms at the stately Raritan Inn in Califon, about 10 miles north, on that same South Branch of the Raritan River. Each room has a private bath; breakfast is included.

Want to keep exploring? Check out more of our 12 favorite small towns to visit now.

Red Mill, 56 Main Street; Hunterdon Art Museum, 7 Lower Center Street; Fourchette Kitchen, 36 Main Street; Curious Plantaholic, 20 Main Street; Lily & Atlas, 26 Main Street; Karen’s Dollhouse Shop, 14 Main Street; Greens & Beans, 19 1/2 Old Highway 22; Chameleon Blue, 19 Main Street; Primrose + Poppy, 25 Main Street; Kilhaney’s Pickles, 41 Main Street; Art Alley, 49 Main Street; River Mill View, 41 Main Street; Riverside Coffee & Tea, 51 Main Street; Dora, 17 Main Street; Citispot Tea & Coffee, 44 Main Street; Daily Dose Café, 27 Leigh Street; Scoops, 1 Main Street; Raritan Inn, 528 County Road 513, Califon

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