Day Trip: Cranford

The Rahway River snakes through this pedestrian-friendly Union County township, whose downtown boasts plenty of shopping on both sides of the train tracks.

Dessert courses: At Donna & Company (pictured, 19 Eastman St, 888-721-7993), the selection of specialty hand-dipped chocolates and confections guarantees you’ll buy more than you intended. Next door is the Sweet & Fancy Emporium (17 North Ave W, 908-272-0848), everything a home baker needs to make spectacular desserts.

The coffee connection: Rockn’ Joe Coffeehouse and Bistro (5 Eastman St, 908-276-0595)—featured in the 2005 Bernie Mac/Ashton Kutcher film Guess Who—is without doubt the cool place to be. Great espresso, decent panini sandwiches, and popular desserts (chocolate layer cake, carrot cake, pies, biscotti). Worth visiting just to see the framed song lyrics, vintage album covers, and autographed guitars. Even staffers Skye and Rose have great rock ’n’ roll names. Over at the Café Paris (106 Walnut Ave, 908-276-8030), coffee and crêpes are available for the international art student in all of us.

A walk in the park: Clock Park is annual home to a life-size Santa’s sleigh, with reindeer. Perfect for photos—with or without Santa.

Mex mecca:  What a delight—real Mexican food, not the ubiquitous Americanized stuff, at Salsa’s Mexican Grill (13 Eastman St, 908-497-1771). BYO—but even the virgin margaritas are good.

Slices and more: Don’t be fooled by the cheesy pizzeria decor at Bel Paese  (104 N Union Ave, 908-276-3336); dinners are excellent here. Order a daily special; you’ll never be disappointed. Nearby Emma’s Brick Oven (101 N Union Ave, 908-497-1211) is a kid-friendly restaurant that mom and dad will enjoy: basic northern Italian dinners, good salads.

The shoe fits: Erva Doce (115 N Union Ave, 908-497-0212). Great Brazilian shoes. Need we say more?

Get the picture: People come from Manhattan to get prints framed at Artist Framer (17  North Ave E, 908-931-1133). Great selection, friendly staff.

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