Oh, the days dwindle down to a precious few
And these few precious days I’ll spend with you
These precious days I’ll spend with you
Frank Sinatra, September Song
That fall was really something special. The numerous small towns of Hunterdon County are quite quaint enough when left to their own devices but, come the dramatic costume change of my favourite season; they are transformed into stunning postcards from Charmingville USA (not a real place).
I have one particular favourite; Clinton Township and have made a habit of visiting that little town as many times as possible each trip. Tucked into a curve of the South Branch of the Raritan River, Clinton has all the elements I require when transplanted from my natural habitat (the city).
There are several good restaurants (the clean plate, right on the river is a particular favourite of ours). A very good coffee place (also by the river) appropriately named the Riverside café, a rather fine art gallery, a small independent bookstore and at least three quality diners.
To me, this is classic small town Americana. Lovingly tended lawns, tree-lined streets and Victorian Era houses abound.
In the winter, the river often freezes over allowing good skating if you’re that way inclined, but Clinton is really at her most beautiful in the fall. When the colour hits the trees, she becomes majestic.
The town is also home to the extremely photogenic Red Mill which is said to be among the ten most photographed buildings in America (and the most photographed building in New Jersey). I have no idea how one collects the figures to back up such a statement, but there you have it.
Regardless (or irregardless if you’re from NJ) I dragged Jersey girl there several times that autumn. To her, Clinton is mostly just another local town, but she indulges my ebullience with patience and no small amusement. She also finds my obsession with the perfect cup of coffee equally amusing.
My insistence upon correctly brewed beans is a natural consequence of my having lived most of my adult life in Melbourne, but to Jersey sensibilities, I’ll concede, it’s probably just plain oddball. That said, I won’t be compromising on that score anytime soon.
Fortunately, the good folk at the Riverside café have mastered the Barista’s art well enough to suit my snobbish tastes; another reason I insist on regular outings to Clinton.
That other Jersey boy.
Unless otherwise credited, images are my own.