The 23rd Holiday Express Concert and Tree Lighting takes place in Red Bank, New Jersey, on November 25th at 7 p.m. You can take a ride on the Santa Express Train from Little Silver to Red Bank, or just enjoy the parade that will travel from Red Bank Train Station to the Holiday Express concert on Broad Street via Monmouth Street.
In Bedminster, New Jersey, you can take part in the 14th Annual Colonial Christmas at Jacobus Vanderveer House. They will be open to the public from November 25th through November 27th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the tree lighting taking place at 6 p.m. on November 25th. The entire place will be decorated for the holidays with reenactors roaming the estate and period music performed by The Enslows. Santa Clause is slated to make an appearance, and there will be an opportunity to do some shopping as well.
The Cranbury Christmas Lights display in Cranbury, New Jersey, offers a three-hour Christmas light show that is free to the public, including free parking. Held on November 26th and 27th from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m., the lights are choreographed with the music for many of the shows and set up so you can see the whole thing while seated in your parked car.
You can stay local, scouring the Black Friday ads for good deals near you the day after Thanksgiving and throughout the rest of the weekend, or you can head out on a road trip and take advantage of the big sales happening at the many outlet malls scattered across New Jersey. From the Tanger Outlets: The Walk in Atlantic City to Liberty Village Premium Outlets in Flemington to Jackson Premium Outlets in Jackson and the Jersey Shore Premium Outlets in Tinton Falls, you can get started early and take advantage of some of the sales that start anywhere from midnight to 8 a.m. on Black Friday.
There are a number of historical locations in New Jersey, and Thanksgiving weekend usually offers some fabulous fall weather to explore them. For example, you could head over to historic Mullica Hill in Gloucester County, a village originally settled by Irish and English Quakers in the late 17th century. With lots of great restaurants, boutique shopping, fine art, and historic sites, it is a great local vacation destination any time of year. On November 26th, you can also catch a little holiday spirit by taking part in the Mullica Hill Lights on Main, a holiday festival that kicks off with the lighting of a 60-foot Christmas tree at 6 p.m.
A nippy New Jersey winter is right around the corner, and Thanksgiving weekend gives you a chance to get outside and take advantage of the last of the fall weather. Hike along any of the 60 miles of trails at Wawayanda State Park and enjoy the views along the scenic hikes, or explore Hacklebarney State Park in Long Valley with its rushing river and endangered plant species.
If you’re interested in fishing, you can head over to Fisherman’s Cove Conservation Area in Manasquan (dogs allowed) or Allamuchy Mountain State Park in Byram where you can enjoy the changing fall leaves as you wait to catch a bite. Bikers can trek down the unpaved 50-mile Batona Trail at Wharton State Forest or hit the rugged, six-mile Cannonball Trail in Ramapo Mountain State Forest on the other side of the state.
If you would rather stay traditional and focus on the food, why not throw your own sober Thanksgiving celebration? It is a great way to spend time with friends and family while also guaranteeing that you will not be surrounded by alcohol or drunk relatives. You can go all out and design a unique menu focusing on your favorite foods for your guests, or offer to make the turkey and invite your guests to bring the side dishes and desserts.