There’s a moment in the life of every to-be-creative town or neighborhood when the critical mass of tasteful and visually experienced individuals decide to act and create a new cultural hub. At a spark, old warehouses turn into art centers, dusty antique stores give space to airy minimal design shops and cafes turn into excellent espresso bars. In many towns, that change is slow and gradual, in others — a curious intermix of accident and dedication.

Frenchtown, a small town in New Jersey located 65 miles away from NYC seems to have picked the latter and I am amused to have spotted Frenchtown in its cultural bloom. Here’re some of my favorite spots.

A yard displaying public art on Race St.

In 1860s local hardware merchants Samuel B. Hudnut and Gabriel Slater bought an undeveloped part of Frenchtown to liven up the developments. The first wave of Slater & Hudnut houses was built very quickly, between 1867 and 1869. Although this group of houses are distinct from the earlier structures built in the are, they exhibit local characteristics apparent to this area including slate roofs and front porches.

A sign on the building on Bridge St.
Early Bird serves excellent espresso, great pastries in a quaint modern set
One of the most delightful discoveries is the newly opened Little Engine, a creative space by Heather Brady and Nate Walker for classes, gatherings and explorations
A house hosting multiple architecture and web design firms
A warehouse selling reclaimed furniture and gifts

Modern Love offers a selection of stationery, home goods, magazines and books

If you like my walking explorations, check out Sidewalk Botanist — my photo journal series about city details. For live updates, follow me in the field on Instagram, read my tidbits Twitter and subscribe to my weekly culture newsletter.


I'm designer, photographer, and professional flâneur with a peculiar love towards impeccable design, well-crafted stories, and the intricacies of urban life. Follow me in the field on Instagram, read my tidbits Twitter and Facebook and subscribe to my weekly culture newsletter.