Things to do in central New Jersey when you are on your own.
August 1, 2007 3:52 PM   Subscribe

I am in New Jersey (living in New Brunswick/ working closer to Princeton) for a another month (for work), without a car, and don't really know anyone in the area. How do I keep my sanity?

I have been in the area for a month, and will be staying for another month. I have been basically going from home to work and back, and I think I had about enough. My mobility is severely limited for the lack of car, but I imagine there should still be options -- I just can't figure out what.

I am basically looking for suggestions of what I can do to meet people without having a friend/acquaintance to give me an "in", or to just have some fun, keep my mind busy in a non-work sorta way. I tried looking for a pick-up game of ultimate frisbee, but the online searches turn up nothing. Meetup is not very helpful either -- it seems like all the groups are based in NYC, but if you can prove me wrong, I more than welcome it. I am considering going to yoga, because I need to improve my flexibility, but I kinda doubt yoga is a place to make friends. I am willing to rent a car once a week maybe, but I'd need other things to do without a car as well.

I am 30, finishing my PhD, if that helps.

If you have specific suggestion about the area, that would be really great, but if you general suggestions that would be cool too.
posted by TheyCallItPeace to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I just graduated Rutgers, and I'm currently interning at the Library Annex there...I wish I could you give you some great suggestions, but to be honet I find myself in a similar position. I'm commuting about an hour to and from South Jersey each day at the moment, while deciding on Grad school. Maybe we can arrange some sort of Central Jersey Mefi meetup to meet some people?
posted by rbf1138 at 4:47 PM on August 1, 2007

probably not far from a Jersey Transit station. Is taking the train to NY an option? Its an hour from the Princeton station, but you're closer.
posted by Gregamell at 4:54 PM on August 1, 2007

Best answer: Can you get to a train station? NJ Transit saved my life growing up in the state, and I didn't have a car until I was 25 or so. It opened up a lot of possibilities. There are stations in Princeton/Princeton Junction and New Brunswick.

From Princeton it's an easy ride to Philadelphia, and an endless number of great adventures to have there, from the Art Museum to amazing restaurants to beautiful parks to outdoor concerts, galleries, shopping, and so forth. Change at Philly to go to Atlantic City or DC for an overnight excursion.

From New Brunswick you're only an hour or so out of New York City.

Change at Rahway for the Jersey Coast Line. Red Bank (my hometown) is a great town for a day trip - enormous barnlike antique shops full of attic treasures, plenty of bars and live music, nice pedestrian downtown. Take in a horse race at Monmouth Park racetrack, or enjoy Pier Village in Long Branch for a high-end beach resort experience along the waterfront. Proceed down to Asbury Park for a seedier, urban-explorer's sort of beach; great stuff for a photo safari. Go to Point Pleasant Beach for a small-town boardwalk with rides and boardwalk food. Google any of these towns for good tourist resources. As a bonus, they're all very walkable and the downtowns are near the train stations.

Closer to home, there must be a chain bookstore nearby if your location is suburbanish, as I imagine it might be - how about looking for readings and talks?

You're in the middle of summer. Garden State. Yum. Any pick-your-own berry farms or farmstands nearby you? How about if you had a bike? Maybe you can rent from a local bike shop, or buy a $100 beater from a chain store.

NJ also has a Craigslist - why not post there and see what happens?
posted by Miko at 5:05 PM on August 1, 2007

Especially in the summer, there's very little to do in Princeton. There's Princeton Summer Theater, but they have just one show left this season.

The only place I've been along the NJCL is Point Pleasant Beach. It's nice, if full of the kitschy things you find on boardwalks on the Jersey shore.
posted by oaf at 5:58 PM on August 1, 2007

Depending on the yoga class, it might in fact be an excellent way to make friends.

Basically, there are two kinds of yoga classes. There are the classes taught mainly in gym clubs, where most of the participants are middle class, middle aged Oprah-watching women (nothing wrong with this, mind you). Then there are the 25-35 something hippies who are leading the class for free (or something like $10 per class or something) out of a garage or top floor of a coffee shop. You want to find yoga classes like the latter.
posted by Deathalicious at 6:01 PM on August 1, 2007

Miko mentions picking your own fruit. The only place I know of near Princeton that lets you do that is Terhune Orchards. You may find it difficult to get there without a bike, but from what I've heard, it's worth it (this was at a cooler time of year, though).
posted by oaf at 6:02 PM on August 1, 2007

Douglass has a killer disc golf course and I've seen with my own eyes people playing ultimate frisbee there too.

The college bars in New Brunswick are on Easton Ave, but there are better bars depending on what you're looking for.

This craigslist is preferred for the area, the one posted above is a sub-site of the NY craigslist and more for north NJ.

You can pretty much get anywhere in NJ via the trains, buses, and maybe a taxi or two, and the taxis always hang out by train stations, just make sure you get the cab service's number to get yourself back to the train station.

Brunswick had a great coffeehouse scene, once upon a time. If Cafe 52 on Easton Ave is still around, check it out, I think there's also one called West End that the hipsters hang out at. There's always the Starbucks at George St and Albany St.
posted by knowles at 6:23 PM on August 1, 2007

We just moved from Princeton to Trenton, and so I take the train into Princeton a few days a week. I would suggest heading to Philly or NYC, although there are a few bars (and I mean a few) in Princeton if you really want to hang out there but Brunswick is a much better bet. Oh yeah, and knowles has the right craigslist for the area...
posted by ob at 7:54 AM on August 2, 2007

Check out NJYP. I've gone to a few of their events and happy hours, and everyone is really friendly. The happy hours in particular (in both Princeton and NB) get a great turnout.
posted by amro at 8:11 AM on August 2, 2007

I have no idea whether this would appeal to your political persuasions, but Princeton had a pretty active chapter of Drinking Liberally as of about a year ago. Mostly grad students and some undergrads.
posted by yarrow at 8:20 AM on August 2, 2007

Response by poster: rbf1138: The idea of a Central NJ meetup of some sort sounds interesting. Hell, even just a couple of beer sounds good. Send me a note at

this is me anonymous at g mail dot com

and maybe we can try to sort it out.
posted by TheyCallItPeace at 8:26 PM on August 2, 2007

Did someone say central Jersey meetup? Should we post this on MeTa?

I nominate Joe's Old Mill Hill Saloon, in lovely downtown Trenton. Why? It's close to NJT, it's a great old pub with very decent food, and the bartenders are just snarky enough to make it fun.
posted by deejay jaydee at 9:56 AM on August 3, 2007

Shoot me an email (in profile) if you're coming to Monmouth Park... I have a few grandstand passes.
posted by djb at 12:57 PM on August 3, 2007

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