Stroll, Eat, Shop: A Visit to Frenchtown, NJ

Seen at Two Buttons
With my sister in town for the long July fourth weekend, a road trip or two was in order.  Saturday morning we hopped in the car and headed for Frenchtown, a funky little river town on the Jersey side of the Delaware.  

Andre and I discovered Frenchtown a few years ago, thanks to a New York Times Magazine feature about author Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame.   An ardent booster of her adoptive hometown, Gilbert and her husband Jose Nunes (yes, the Brazilian guy from the book's "Love" section) co-own a business there--a really cool sounding import shop called "Two Buttons."  It had been closed on our only other visit to Frenchtown, and this time around it was our ultimate destination.

But first we needed to take an exploratory stroll.  

Though still charming, Frenchtown has grown considerably livelier in the two years since our last visit. Friendly locals were out walking their dogs and greeting each other, while tourists like us visited the town's many charming boutiques, bookstores, galleries and coffee shops.

Who wants a cup of Crispy Hippie?

Naturally, our second order of business was "Eat." 

The one on the right's my sister
A big smiling Buddha marks the entrance to Lovin' Oven, a cozy (and yummy) locavore restaurant where we stopped for lunch.  It--and the big Buddha Wall in the outdoor dining space--should have provided a clue that we were getting closer to Two Buttons.  

But Two Buttons surprised us by being mere steps away.

The store is enormous--a multi-room warehouse of gorgeous handmade artwork from Java, India, Thailand and Bali, with a stack of signed copies of Gilbert's books handy for fans.  

We fell in love with a little Shaolin monk who now lives (and prays) in our garden.


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