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Hiking Sunrise Mountain at State Forest

Hiking Sunrise Mountain at State Forest

Hiking Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest

I’ve wanted to hike Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest for a while. It’s just over 2 hours and about a 14-mile hike, so it takes planning. Sunrise Mountain is worth the drive and it was one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve done in New Jersey.

Stokes State Forest has several activities and camping hookups including group sites, sites with fire rings and picnic tables, tent and trailer sites, group campsites and camping areas. Plus it’s only a short drive from the Delaware Water Gap National Park and Buttermilk Falls.

You can drive up to Sunrise Mountain and there are several spots and parking lots you can park along the Appalachian Trail. Around the viewpoint on the Appalachian Trail, there are multiple viewpoints, so it’s more crowded.

There is a pavilion at the top of the Mountain with benches, a water tower, and picnic areas. We sat on giant rocks and ate our bagels.

The terrain at Stokes State Forest is relatively easy and not the rockiest terrain we’ve done. Even the Appalachian Trail isn’t as challenging. The trail does a short, steep, climb up to the summit of Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest.

The view at the top of Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest is beautiful and you can see the Poconos, Catskills, Wallkill valley, NJ Highlands, Delaware Valley, Tillman Ravine Natural area, and Pochuck Mountains.

Photos from hiking Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest:

The start and trailhead of Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest 

Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest

Huts along Sunrise Mountain in at Stokes State Forest. There are plenty of group campsites and spots to stop an hike.

Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest

Climbing stairs towards the summit of Sunrise Mountain

Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest

There is a giant pavilion at the summit of Sunrise Mountain

Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest

As you can see Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest is worth it

Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest

As you can see Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest is worth the trip up. It’s one of my favorite hikes in New Jersey and I can’t wait to go back.

You can see all of the hikes here.

Questions for you:

Have you hiked the Appalachian Trail? Have you ever hiked Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest?

Where is your favorite spot to hike near you? 

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Florham Park Diner

Florham Park Diner

Florham Park Diner

Recently I went to the Florham Park Diner. I’ve wanted to go to the Florham Park Diner for a while, but the timing never works out.

Atmosphere: B
The Florham Park Diner is located in a small strip mall. It’s not a standalone building, and it might be challenging to find if you aren’t paying attention.

Florham Park Diner

The inside of the Florham Park Diner is clean and modern. You walk in next to a dessert case, and there are plenty of booths, tables, and a full-length bar.

Coffee: A
The Florham Park Diner serves South Jersey local, Lacas Coffee! It’s incredible to see Lacas coffee 90 minutes north. The coffee was brewed hot and fresh, and the waiter refilled it often.

Florham Park Diner coffee

Food: B
The Florham Park Diner has everything a regular diner would have. There is all-day breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even though it was dinner time when I was there, I decided to order the breakfast burger with waffle fries.

Florham Park Diner breakfast burger

The breakfast burger was massive and heavy. I felt like I was getting a workout just lifting the burger up! It was good and topped with an egg and pork roll. It could have used a sauce or something. I added waffle fries, which was tasty.

Florham Park Diner breakfast burger

Dessert: C
I decided to order a vanilla milkshake, and it was boring. It felt like a cup of vanilla ice cream. There was no whipped cream or cherry, and it was bland. It was edible but nothing unusual.

Florham Park Diner milkshake

Florham Park Diner Service: A
The waiter at the Florham Park Diner was good, and the food came out fast.

Cost: $
For my burger, coffee, and milkshake, it was $20.

Overall Thoughts/Would I come back to Florham Park Diner?
The Florham Park Diner was a decent stop, and I was happy with my meal. It wasn’t the greatest meal ever, and if I go back, I will probably order something else.

Atmosphere: B
Coffee: A
Food: B
Dessert: C
Service: A
Cost: $8-20
Overall: B

You can see all diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
What is your favorite type of milkshake?

Brookside Diner (Whippany)

Brookside Diner (Whippany)

Brookside Diner (Whippany, NJ)

On my way to hiking, I decided to stop at the Brookside Diner in Whippany, NJ. Since it was Labor Day and about 7:30 am, there weren’t too many people in the Brookside Diner.

Atmosphere: A
The Brookside Diner exterior is a modern diner. It isn’t metallic or shiny, but it is an appealing diner. Parked in the lot, were several vintage cars including an old Thunderbird (all from customers).

The inside of the Brookside Diner has several banners. There is a full-length bar, multiple tables, and booths too. It’s everything you want or need in a diner.

Brookside Diner (whippany

Coffee: A
The coffee at the Brookside Diner is brewed hot and fresh. The waiter added plenty of whipped cream, and I was given plenty of refills.

Brookside Diner (whippany) coffee

Food: A
The Brookside Diner has everything you want and need in a diner. The Brookside Diner has all-day breakfast, lunch, and dinner options too. Since it was 7:30 am, I ordered one of my favorite diner breakfasts: steak and eggs. I had the choice of “ribeye steak and eggs” or “sliced steak and eggs,” I thought: why not and decided to treat myself to the ribeye steak and eggs.

Brookside Diner (whippany) me steak and eggs

I underestimated the size of the ribeye steak and eggs. The steak itself must have been over 16 ounces. It was cooked exactly how I asked, rare, and I have no complaints. In fact, it was one of my more favorite diner steak meals (including dinner). The home fries tasted like pure vegetable oil, which I expect from many diners.

Brookside Diner (whippany) ribeye steak and eggs

Dessert: A
The chocolate chip muffins at the Brookside Diner looked appetizing, so I decided to take one to go on my hike. Since I was out hiking, everything tasted good, but I appreciated how dense the muffin was.  Plus, there were plenty of chocolate chips.

Brookside Diner Service: A
Our waitress at the Brookside Diner was friendly, and our food came out fast. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

Brookside Diner Cost: $
For my ribeye steak and eggs and muffin, the cost was $21. The meal itself was easily two meals for anyone.

Overall Thoughts/Would I come back to the Brookside Diner (Whippany)?
I enjoyed the Brookside Diner, and if I get the opportunity, I will be back. The entire menu looks delicious, and I would love to stop by and try a few dinner options.

Atmosphere: A
Coffee: A
Food: A
Service: A
Dessert: A
Cost: $10-20
Overall: A

You Can See All Diner Reviews Here.

Questions for you:
How do you like your steak?
What is your favorite breakfast? 

 

Hiking Splitrock Reservoir

Hiking Splitrock Reservoir

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I headed north to hike Splitrock Reservoir in Rockaway Township in North Jersey. We narrowed it down to a few hikes, but the Splitrock Reservoir won out. We usually use the Alltrails App to find what we are looking for. The hike itself was supposed to be about 11 miles, but we think we might have cut off a mile or so. We heard Splitrock Reservoir was a beautiful hike, so we decided to drive up.

There is about 20 spots to in the parking area and parking lot. After starting the hike, you actually turn left onto Split Rock Road and walk over a dam to get to the beginning of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference trail. While the hike starts on a dirt road, you quickly exit and get onto the Splitrock Reservoir trail system.

Splitrock Reservoir is rocky with elevation change almost every step. You don’t have a lot of steep climbs, but you are either climbing or descending nearly every step. There were also water crossings, and they’ve added rope to help you across.

Before our hike at Splitrock Reservoir, it hadn’t rained much, so the water level was high. About 5 minutes into our walk, it started torrentially downpouring. We thought it would clear up, but it didn’t. It was a soggy but enjoyable hike.  In case you wondered, I used the Hoka Midi Speedgoat which kept my feet dry the entire time.

Several factors made Splitrock Reservoir a challenging hike:

  • Length
  • Scrambling
  • Unforgiving rain

While it was challenging, we did both enjoy ourselves.

Splitrock Reservoir

Splitrock Reservoir

Splitrock Reservoir

Can you tell it’s raining on the Splitrock Reservoir?

Splitrock Reservoir

Splitrock Reservoir

Splitrock Reservoir

Splitrock Reservoir

There is no real “peak” of Splitrock Reservoir, but this comes the closest

It was a lot of fun, and we hiked somewhere between 9-10 miles. I would love to go back to Splitrock Reservoir when it isn’t pouring rain.

You can see all the hikes here.

Questions for you:

Have you ever hiked in the rain?

Do you prefer hiking with a peak or around a reservoir? 

Martucci’s Flashback Diner (Whiting)

Martucci’s Flashback Diner (Whiting)

Martucci’s Flashback Diner (Whiting, NJ)

Before running the 18.12 Challenge, my husband and I stopped at Martucci’s Flashback Diner. I’ve only recently heard of Martucci’s Flashback Diner, and the thought of a new diner less than an hour from my house was exciting.

Martucci's Flashback Diner (Whiting)

Atmosphere: A
As the name suggests, Martucci’s Flashback Diner is a blast from the past. You don’t expect it from the outside.

Martucci’s Flashback Diner is located in a shopping center. It blends in with the building. When you enter Martucci’s Flashback Diner, you are immediately greeted with a retro diner. There are old school booths and tables, as well as a small bar.  As a military spouse, I appreciate the nod to all of the branches of the military. There are plenty of decorations, posters, and military signs.

Martucci's Flashback Diner (Whiting) military

Coffee: B
The coffee at Martucci’s Flashback Diner was ok. I asked for whipped cream, but it got lost in translation. The coffee itself was ok, but I could have used more refills.

Martucci's Flashback Diner (Whiting) coffee

Food: A
Martucci’s Flashback Diner has everything a retro diner would have. There aren’t fancy options, and you won’t find many healthy choices, but if you’re looking for a solid diner on your way to the shore, it’s a good option.  If you are looking for pancakes, pork roll, omelets, or sandwiches, there are many different options.

Martucci's Flashback Diner (Whiting) pancakes

I decided to order the full stack of blueberry pancakes. Pancakes are one of the riskiest items to order at any diner. Either they are flat and thin, or they are fluffy and delicious. Thankfully, the Martucci’s Flashback Diner’s pancakes were fluffy and delicious. They were one of the better pancakes I’ve had.

Martucci’s Flashback Diner Service: A
Our food came out quickly, and our waitress was friendly. I have no complaints.

Martucci’s Flashback Diner Cost: $
For my pancakes and coffee; the cost was $10.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
I liked Martucci’s Flashback Diner, and it’s a hidden gem in the area. I will be back.

Thanks for the tip from my friend J Cohl.

Atmosphere: A
Coffee: B
Food: A
Service: A
Overall: A

You can see all 260 Diner Reviews here.

Questions for you:
What is your favorite type of pancakes?
Where are the best pancakes you’ve had?

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