Updated: Sep 13, 2020
Why? Because that's where my Mom lives.
• Candlewood Suites in Morris Plains. This is your best option for quality digs, at a reasonable price @$99/night (excl. of tax), which is as reasonable as it gets in Northern Jersey. Each of the 122 rooms is either a 1 bedroom suites or studio, has a kitchenette. Also free laundry, gym, popcorn, grill, and a unique lending library filled with board games and kitchen items (toaster oven, rice cooker, crockpot, scrabble, etc). Contact the hotel directly for the best rates.
• Hampton Inn Denville/Rockaway/Parsippany: A little pricier than the Candlewood Suites and without a kitchen, though better appointed and includes a free breakfast.
• St. Francis Residential Community: Run by the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother and they do a fine job. There may be a minimum age requirement.
• Dunkin Donuts (559 E. Main St): This location was just upgraded and now contains a little lounge area where the wife and I can sip our medium (hot) cappuccino with whole milk, medium (hot) coffee with one milk, and eat our Boston Creme and Old Fashioned donuts in style.
• Smartworld Coffee: If Dunkin’ is too economical for you, then this is your hip, cool, pricier alternative.
• Denville Diner: Politics aside, solid diner breakfast food.
• The Pasta Shop: Probably the best food in Denville. BYOB (may I recommend icy cold Korbel sparkling wine - after all it's a celebration).
• Denville Seafood & Codmother's Cafe: Though I can't stand a bad pun, this place does a fine job and has the most extensive menu of fresh fish I have ever seen (though you may want to stay clear of the shrimp cocktail due to size and texture).
• Thatcher McGee’s: This is the prototypical Irish bar that every township should be required to have.
• Il Michelangelo Restaurant (Boonton): great service and better pasta (all of it freshly made). Carefully review all the photos in the lobby (Sophia Loren and Michael Jackson: I'd like to listen in on that conversation, Danny Aiello x10 ~ he must really like good pasta).
• Paul's Family Diner: Reminds me of the Greek diners back on the Island. They don't skimp on the cold cuts.
• Hunan Taste Chinese Restaurant: The place gets great reviews, though my one visit was nothing special. On the pricey side, though the interior is beautiful.
• The Black Forrest Inn: If you are hankerin’ for some German food (and who isn't), then you’re in luck!
• Denville Dairy: Delicious ice cream.
• Acme: Word on the street says their prices are slightly higher. Recommend you get the Entenmann’s Raspberry Danish.
Pizza: From earlier screeds, you know that I enjoy my pizza, though I don’t consider myself a pizza snob. That being said, I actually don’t mind a place like Domino’s. If I’m at a friend‘s house watching the game/drinking beer and a Domino’s pizza shows up at the front door, that’s ok with me - Domino’s has a role to play in this world. On the other hand, if I’m buying a pie for $20+, it better be good. That being said, the best pizza I’ve had in a very long time is . . .
• il Torrente: Slightly sweet with a little zip and the cheese doesn’t slide off when you take a slice out of the box. It also has the sign of a truly great slice: when you eat it with one hand (the proper way), a small amount of grease drip's down your wrist. Buy 10 pizzas and get the next one free, so cut out the proof of purchase off the box (and place in the plastic container stored in the kitchen cabinet closest to the sink). An AAR Must Pizza.
- Note: If in doubt never get pizza from a place that has a non-Italian name. Umberto‘s, Loui’s or Mootz - Si! Bob’s, Irving’s or Mellow Mushroom - No! The only exception is 2 Bros Pizza (across W. 40th from Port Authority).
Bagels on the other hand are a whole other story. I can honestly say I've never had a good bagel outside of the Tri-State Area. Some say it's all about the water, others say it's more spiritual than that.
• Mountain Lakes Bagel & Deli: A damn good bagel.
Transportation: Need to get into the Big Apple? (Don't feel guilty, you deserve it). Well, you have two mass transit options:
• Lakeland Bus runs its 46 Bus from a bus stop directly in front of 35 W. Main Street (across the street from Walgreens) to NYC Port Authority. Pay the driver when you board @$25 round trip (cash).
• NJ Transit: The Denville Station has two sets of platforms: one for the Morris & Essex Line located on a curve to the south and one for the Montclair-Boonton Line located adjacent to the Denville Tower located to the north. Purchase tickets prior to boarding from the kiosk @ $30 round trip (cash or credit). Both lines go the Penn Station. Tickets can also be purchased via the MyTix app. You're looking at 70 minutes station to station (this ain't Japan).
• Washington‘s Winter Headquarters (1779-1780): It’s basically the Valley Forge of New Jersey. The Continental Army spent a brutal winter here in 1779-1780 (It was so cold that NY Harbor froze over and you could roll a cannon across the Hudson). Free admission.
-Make sure you take the tour of the adjacent Ford Mansion (given hourly on the hour), which was the actual location of Washington's Headquarters from December 1779 to June 1780.
-Maybe pair with seeing a performance of Hamilton? After all, he was an aid to General Washington and slept in this very house. Not in the budget? Then try Hamilton The Lottery.
• Montclair Art Museum: Not a bad museum considering it’s located in the middle of nowhere (though I’m told Montclair is a toney neighborhood). There is quite a bit of good stuff including a Charles Wilson Peale of Gen. Geo Washington, some beautiful landscapes by George Innes. But then again there is also this piece.
• Chiropractor: Dr. Danielle Ager is outstanding and is conveniently located directly behind Acme. A flexible walk-in schedule is a plus.
• Flowers By Candle Lite: The best florist in Denville. Mrs. After Action Report has had occasion to work with Linda when in town. Bouquets and gifts. She provided excellent service each time. This shop offers a variety of gift options in addition to beautiful flowers. The owner Todd is consistently kind and welcoming and offers sound guidance. The prices are fair and reasonable.
• Denville is possibly named for Daniel Denton, who with others purchased a large tract of land from Native Americans. Perhaps the originator if the concept of Manifest Destiny.