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A Hidden Village Tucked Away in This Week's Great Escape!

The Village at Bridgewater Commons Mall is entirely unexpected - and very refreshing.

Have you been to Bridgewater Commons Mall lately? I know, I know. Woodbridge Center is in our backyard, why on earth would we drive all the way up Route 22 to go to Bridgewater? 

Well, honestly, there aren’t many things that Bridgewater has that Woodbridge doesn’t. In fact, I used to regard Bridgewater Commons as Woodbridge's snobby cousin.  But there are a few stores that I'll head up there for. One of them is a Merrell’s, where I went to check out some running shoes. While I was there, though, I took a quick detour through The Village at Bridgewater Commons. Well, it started out as a quick detour, but I ended up staying for lunch, and even visiting a spa there.

It’s an outdoor shopping area that has ample parking of its own. But it’s also accessible from the mall via a park-like path that takes you over a covered bridge and past a gazebo.  The shopping area has a small village feel (hence, I assume, the name), with outdoor seating at the eateries, and open boutique doors welcoming browsers and shoppers alike.

There are stores ranging from those you expect to find in a mall, like Banana Republic, to businesses that are unique to the Village, like Zen Spa.  All told, 14 retailers peddle their wares in this Village that feels much less like a mall appendage and much more like a step back in time.

It’s worth the short trip to Bridgewater, for a date night that begins at Maggiano’s Little Italy, continues along the lit path to the gazebo, over the bridge and ends up at the Cheesecake Factory or Haagen Dasz at the mall proper for dessert.

Another idea? An afternoon with the girls. Lunch at Chipolte, followed by facials at Zen Spa and then some shopping. Hit Starbucks up for an iced latte, and then, of course, head along the path to the Cheesecake Factory and/or Haagen Dasz. There is also a Godiva store at the mall, and if you haven’t had freshly dipped chocolate covered strawberries from Godiva, well, I just can’t even talk to you till you do that. So get moving.

The Village at Bridgewater Commons and Bridgewater Commons Mall are located on Commons Way just off Route 22 in Bridgewater.  Operating hours are 10am to 9pm Monday through Saturday and 11 am to 6 pm on Sunday. Most restaurants have their own hours, so call ahead. For more information, including a directory of all the stores in both the Village and the Mall, head on over to their website.

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