Day Trip: Weehawken

A commuter hotspot has attractions for the casual visitor.

Courtesy of istockphoto.com.

Perched on the cliffs of the Palisades, Weehawken offers breath-taking views of the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline. Celebrating its 150th anniversary, the township has come into its own as a commuter hotspot with enticing dining, recreation, and historical sites.

Go Back in Time: Take in some of the Garden State’s rich history with a visit to the Hamilton Memorial at Hamilton Park on the corner of Boulevard East and Hamilton Avenue. The infamous duel between then Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and sitting Vice President Aaron Burr took place here on July 11, 1804, at the base of a cliff where a historic reminder now stands. The bucolic setting with its panoramic views of Manhattan belies the tragedy of that day (Hamilton died). Today the park boasts a large gazebo, plus a basketball court, children’s playground, and tennis court.  

Dinner With A View: The Chart House (Lincoln Harbor Pier; 201-348-6628; www.chart-house.com) not only provides eye-popping views of the Empire State Building, but a mouthwatering menu as well. Try the hot chocolate lava cake—it’s worth the calories. The Harbor Bar & Brasserie (500 Harbor Boulevard; 201-348-444; www.harborbar.com) has everything from vistas of Manhattan to a gluten-free menu. If you’re hankering for a steak, visit Ruth’s Chris Steak House (1000 Harbor Boulevard; 201-863-5100; www.ruthschris.com) and truly get a surf ‘n’ turf meal with water views and prime steak.

Wide Open Spaces: Weehawken has several beautiful parks and recreational fields, but the newest, Weehawken Waterfront Park, located at Port Imperial Boulevard, is perhaps its most impressive. Officially opened in 2007, the $14 million, 16-acre park is an urban oasis with playgrounds, an artificial-turf ball field for soccer or football, six-lane running track, two softball fields, tennis courts, golf putting green, fitness equipment, and an amphitheater that seats up to 200.

All Weehawken’s A Stage: The Hudson Riverfront Performing Arts Center (201- 352-1750; hrpac.org) is a non-profit organization that offers a year-round schedule of free concerts. During the summer, productions are staged at Lincoln Harbor Park on the Weehawken waterfront. All concerts start at 7 pm; all you have to do is show up with a lawn chair or blanket to enjoy such shows such as “Sounds of Brazil” featuring Grammy winners Paquito D’Rivera and Cesar Camargo Mariano, or the Sam Bush Band. From October through May, HRPAC presents its UBS Atrium Series—free lunchtime concerts in the atrium lobby of 1000 Harbor Boulevard. Visiting artists also participate in arts-in-education programs, sharing their passion and musical talent with students.

Good Libations: There are numerous fine establishments in which to raise a glass in Weehawken. Hi-Tech Billiards Club & Bar (1000 Harbor Boulevard; 201-348-0257) is great for combining a night of beer and billiards. For a happy hour where one can soak up the local atmosphere, try Ed & Joe’s Tavern at 4516 Park Avenue (201-348-9538).

Architectural Wonders: Weehawken is home to an eclectic array of architecture, most notably the awe-inspiring, Art Deco western terminus construction of the Lincoln Tunnel. Take a stroll through the hot real estate section of King’s Bluff (from Bonn Place to Hamilton Avenue) a wealthy historic district with elegant Victorian mansions lining the streets. Visit the Weehawken Public Library (49 Hauxhurst Ave; 201-863-7823), which is the impressive former home of the Peters Brewery Family. The Weehawken Water Tower (on Park Avenue), built in 1883, was inspired by the Palazzo Vecchio (town hall) of Florence, Italy.

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