It is football time and for the first time since 2011, the New York Jets are hosting training camp at their facility in Florham Park, N.J. During five of the past six seasons, former head coach Rex Ryan took his Jets to upstate New York and the quiet, idyllic town of Cortland.
The only exception to this northward excursion was the lockout year of 2011 when the team stayed at their facility. Now with a new general manager in Mike Maccagnan and new head coach Todd Bowles, the Jets are staying local and using one of the league's best practice facilities.
All of which means that Jets fans will have far less of a trek this year than in the past to see their team in training camp.
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Morris County has been the home of the Jets since they moved into the facility in 2010, providing a suburban almost rural feel to the practice facility that is just under an hour west by drive from New York City. In other words, just close enough to the center of the world to take advantage of media and marketing opportunities but just far enough away for players to decide to stay in most nights rather than hit Broadway.
So it is just far enough away from temptation during game week but not too far to attend a team sponsored event in Manhattan.
What to Know When Planning Your Trip to Atlantic Health Training Center:
Location: Located nearly in the center of Morris County, the area crosses with local highways that make a drive to Jets training camp easy from anywhere in the tri-state area. But if you're thinking about taking mass transportation, think again. The closest train stations via NJ Transit are nowhere near the team's practice site, meaning that a taxi ride might get you there but might be tough for a ride back. Best bet is to make the drive out from New York City and not rely on transportation for this one.
Route 287 is just minutes away from Florham Park as is Route 24.
Nearby Attractions: Thinking of taking a couple days off from work or a long weekend to catch multiple practices? Not a bad idea as the pace of life in Morris County can make for a nice getaway weekend. The area is short of big name attractions but does boast a thriving arts and entertainment vibe as well as plenty of local history. Check out Washington's Headquarters in nearby Morristown, where our first President spent a winter during the Revolutionary War. Nearby is Jockey Hollow, home to his troops during the same brutal winter. As for the arts, the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown will boast such acts as “Weird Al” Yankovic, Chris Botti and Rob Thomas this August. Morristown, the county seat, is known for its night life and numerous watering holes. The Iron Bar and Dark Horse (not the same one as in Cortland) are among local favorites, same with the Famished Frog.
Where to Stay: Being in suburbia, hotels in the area are based around corporate centers and the numerous Fortune 500 firms located in the area. Directly across from the facility and a two-minute walk to see your Jets is the Wyndham Hamilton Park, which boasts a recently renovated Vanderbilt's Sports Bar. There is also a Marriott in nearby Whippany and a Fairbridge on Route 10. in East Hanover for the fan looking to stay on a budget.
Where to Eat: There are plenty of great dining options immediately around the practice facility, including two options in Florham Park: the Thirsty Turtle which offers some great American fare from turkey burgers to steaks and Nonna's Pizza with one of the best Margherita slices in the world. The aforementioned Vanderbilt's in the Wyndham serves up good appetizers and has free pool and foosball for patrons. On Aug. 1, Miami Mike's Sports Zone, just 10 minutes from the facility and one of the best sports bars in north Jersey, is offering a free barbeque following practice in conjunction with NYJetsFans.com. That Saturday, the website is promoting free giveaways as well as former players in attendance. Owner Mike Minervini, will be serving free hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken and ribs to all fans on that day immediately after practice.