FLEMINGTON, N.J. – Did you know you can experience goat yoga, learn about cheese making, and sample award-winning local wine all in the same region of Central New Jersey? The “579 Trail,” a historic agricultural corridor running through Hunterdon County, N.J., begins its peak season for visitors this month as Jersey harvests begin to yield fruit and the summer days lead to a bounty of outdoor recreational opportunities. The trail runs along County Road 579 from the hills of Bethlehem Township to the Delaware River Valley.
Located just an hour from New York City and Philadelphia, the trail features farmers markets, vineyards, farm tours, beautiful river towns and an abundance of scenic biking and hiking. Weekly farmers markets are underway that offer produce and artisanal food and beverage products from many of the county’s 1,500-plus farms. Visitors to the 579 Trail website can easily learn what each location has to offer through the site’s colorful icon system.
“Hunterdon has become New Jersey’s playground for foodies and those seeking to enjoy a scenic rural environment and all that it can offer in terms of food, entertainment and outdoor activity,” said Hunterdon County Economic Development Director Marc Saluk, whose office launched the trail in May 2020 as a way to have residents and visitors safely rediscover the county’s natural resources amid COVID-19.
According to Saluk, families can also enjoy plenty of farm fun together through The Trail’s many stops that offer farm tours, interaction with farm animals, and the chance to pick their own fruits and vegetables to bring home.
“Hunterdon County, one of New Jersey’s finest rural retreats, is a huge draw for individuals and families from across the Tri-State area, including New York City and Philadelphia,” said Hunterdon County Commissioner Matt Holt.
He added: “We have a series of quaint towns lined with over 100 restaurants, bed and breakfasts, vineyards, historic bridges and more. The ‘579 Trail’ is an exceptional way for visitors to experience this special place.”
This season, The 579 Trail will also feature farm-to-table restaurants that utilize ingredients grown throughout Hunterdon County, as well as more special events as COVID-19 restrictions ease.
The Trail’s proximity to New Jersey’s famed “River Towns” (including Frenchtown, Stockton, Milford and Lambertville) – along the historic Delaware River – provides another option for day-trippers and overnighters. Center-of-county towns such as Clinton, High Bridge and Flemington are also routinely featured on state and national “Best Small Towns” lists.
“Our River Towns remain one of the region’s finest destinations, offering hike-and-bike trails, dining and overnight accommodations,” stated Holt. “Between these prized attractions and the implementation of the ‘579 Trail,’ our slice of New Jersey will become one of the most coveted retreats as the weather warms this season.”
The trail’s website includes an interactive “farm finder” tool and individual printable maps for the farms, markets and wineries. “579” is also active on Instagram at: @hunterdon579trail. Visitors should also be sure to check out “579’s” “Stay on the Trail” page, which also lists boutique-type overnight accommodations catering to travelers of all types.
“Our events page for ‘579’ is a great place to take in all the choices, as more and more are offered weekly,” Saluk added. “Those with interest can sign up for our newsletter and follow the trail on social media to begin planning out their quick visit or stay. We look forward to welcoming visitors in Hunterdon County this season!”
The county, with 25 parks on over 8,000 acres of land, has also become a must-visit for those eager to explore New Jersey’s often underrated natural resources.
To learn more about the 579 Trail, visit: www.hunterdon579trail.com. Hunterdon Main Streets, a sister effort to the 579 Trail, also provides an overview of nearby shopping and dining options.