Travel’s Best Kept Secret? New Jersey. Seriously

A Girls Guide To Cars | Travel'S Best Kept Secret? New Jersey. Seriously - Pool Hilton Short Hills Feature Image

Yes, a road trip to Short Hills, NJ is just what you need. You’ll see why.

Longing for fresh summer breezes, a pool with a tiki bar, a spa and world class shopping— Neiman Marcus, Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren included— just a short walk away? Oh, and tennis, golf, great restaurants, running trails and super cute downtowns to explore?

Short Hills, NJ should be on your summer getaway list.

I used to live and work in Short Hills, so I was super excited to head to the Hilton at Short Hills for lunch recently and hang out with some of my favorite luxury brands, too.

Adulting at the Hilton (kids are welcome, too)

Checking into the Hilton Short Hills, you’re greeted with a sophisticated, modern lobby and a welcoming staff; not what you expect in a suburban hotel. And at about $165 a night, it’s the perfect weekend getaway (nearby corporate offices push weekday rates up to about $250 a night) if only for the restaurant, two pools and spa. Never mind the beautifully comfortable guest rooms, you’ll also love the party space and the outdoor lounge where soon you’ll be able to hang out and listen to live music after dinner (the lounge is undergoing a renovation and expansion).

Yes, you read that right: two pools. The outside pool has a full resort feel with a poolside bar; the indoor pool is part of the Eforea spa and is a great winter-time respite or for a swim before your massage (for pool guests 16 and over).

We had lunch at one of the party spaces in the hotel, a tented ballroom that was once a temporary tent but was so popular the hotel made it permanent. The smooth, sculpted walls, billowing curtains, modern furniture and chandeliers gave the space an exotic, modern feel, not like a hotel ballroom at all.

During lunch the Hilton’s executive chef Richard Kennedy and his staff showed us their take on avocado toast, adding pan seared scallops and peach barbecue sauce to cornbread toast. Yum.


Our tips for the a flawless road trip

Now, time for some shopping: The Mall at Short Hills

I love this place. Truly. In fact, after lunch at the Hilton I had to go across the street to the mall for a little shopping (it’s a quick walk or you can take the hotel’s shuttle). It’s like Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue all wrapped up in one beautiful space without the crowds or cost of going into New York. The mall’s collection of retail spans fast-fashion favorites like Forever 21 and The Gap to fashion leaders such as Bloomingdales and Nordstrom to super luxe brands like Tiffany, Gucci and Saint Laurent.

But we were lucky to get one-on-one time with Henri Bendel, Ann Taylor and find out why the Walking Company is where my next pair of auto show shoes should come from.

Must have car tech for frequent road trippers

Mon cher Henri, comment je t’aime

Summer Travel

Be sure to arrive in style–like we did in the Alfa Romeo Giulia; valet park on the main level or self park in the downstairs parking garage at the Hilton Short Hills. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Henri Bendel has been a fixture at the Short Hills Mall for a while now, but it’s been a destination in New York City since 1895. Bendel’s, long known as the home of early fashion trends, focuses on designing it’s own brand of luxury hand bags, luggage, jewelry, candles and accessories. Yes, they’re beautiful but more than that, they are smart. Each piece is beautifully designed with organized interiors so there’s a compartment for everything and your phone, lipstick and wallet don’t get lost in that black hole that is my handbag. I love that.

I also love the design eye that Bendel’s designers bring to each piece; classic, elegant and proportions that are just right, with details like brown and white striped interior trim that harkens to the brand’s image and reminds you this is a Bendel piece, gold studded straps that are perfectly on trend and luggage with soft mesh packing cubes that make packing, unpacking and laundry a breeze.

Getting a jump on summer fashion

Summer Travel

You can enter to win a gift certificate and a getaway in the Ann Taylor sweepstakes (ends August 3rd!). Photo: Scotty Reiss

After drooling at Bendels for a while, we walked over to Ann Taylor. Over lunch, Monica, the store’s manager, shared some trends for summer: go for the the flowy skirts and tropical prints, even at the office. Accent cool olive drab pieces with tropical prints, gold tone sandals and glittery cuff bracelets. She didn’t have to sell me that hard; glittery jewelry is my vice.

I love that Ann Taylor is giving business style a more casual note; I’m so over suits and stuffy shirts for meetings and business events. I love a perfect dress that reflects the season and my own sense of style when I dress for work. 

Be nice to your feet—and your knees and back

I love shoes. Maybe more than I should. I love stylish shoes that I can spend all day in. So while I want to be good to my feet, The Walking Company wasn’t a store I’d ever paid much attention to—until after talking to Tony. He really opened my eyes about shoes and how they can help you to not just get where you’re going but also, avoid expensive medical bills.

After years of foot pain, my husband finally went to the podiatrist and was fitted for orthotics. These inserts were expensive, took a while to make but when inserted into his shoes, corrected the problem. Finally, happy hubby.

However, he can only wear them with one pair of shoes; they don’t fit his other shoes. And if they do fit, the inserts are thick enough that he can’t get his foot in there, too.

The Walking Company has a better solution that is much less expensive: shoes with built-in orthotics. Simply let their system analyze your foot and voila, you’re fitted with the perfect shoe, sandal or sneaker. I wish I’d known  this last year. Guess where we’ll be going next time he needs shoes!

All this is great for my husband but, what about my stylish feet? Tony shared that TWC is on it. They are working with new designers including Michael Kors and the designs are starting to roll in. A look at the summer line shows some surprisingly pretty styles that make me re-think sensible shoes.

Packing for your next trip is easy with these style ideas

Other sites to see near Short Hills

Summer Travel

You’ll need a nap after all the other things to do in Short Hills. And Hilton’s comfy beds do the trick; the rooms at the Hilton Short Hills are modernly updated and elegant. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Short Hills is a great respite from the city and the area offers a lot to do; don’t miss super cute downtown Chatham (also, the closest train station to the Hilton) or picture postcard perfect Madison, and you can watch the NY Jets work out in the summer in nearby Florham Park. There is plenty of golf nearby and there’s hiking, biking, running and walking at South Mountain Reservation. Summer weekends, here I come.

Disclosure: I was a guest at the TravelingMom Travel & Lifestyle lunch, hosted at the Hilton Short Hills. All opinions expressed are my own.

Ooohhhh #AlfaRomeo #HenriBendel #themallatshorthills #thehaul #roadtrip #TLENJ

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Summer Travel

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss