New Jersey has so many unique, charming towns worth visiting. I’ve previously featured
Lambertville and Red Bank, but today it’s all about Princeton. The recently formed municipality was established on January 1, 2013, combining the Borough of Princeton and Princeton Township. Centrally located, Princeton is about 2 hours from both High Point (north) and Cape May (south). The historic city offers so much to do and see. Here are a few of the many reasons why everyone should visit Princeton:
1 Princeton University
Princeton University is the heart of this thriving small city. The ivy league school was founded in 1746 and is one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in the United States. The architecture is breathtaking and the campus is open to the public for tours. Be sure to visit the Princeton University Art Museum, featuring impressive collections of contemporary and classical art. The spectacular museum is free to visit, and offers tours, special events and extended hours on Thursday nights.
Drumthwacket is the official residence of the governor of New Jersey. Another free attraction, tours take guests through the mansion, gardens and restored farmhouse. Once owned by William Penn, proprietor of Pennsylvania, and lived in by many notable figures, this unique estate is full of history.
3. Terhune Orhards and Winery
This fantastic farm and vineyard has so much to offer for guests of all ages. Families will enjoy seasonal pick-your-own fruits and vegetables, while couples may prefer wine tastings. Children can enjoy a variety of educational programs including hands-on opportunities to explore composting, animal tracks and much more. Adults may be interested in the upcoming wassailing event, honoring the apple trees with singing, dancing, and re-enactments of old English traditional rituals. A special celebration, to be sure, the event is free and will conclude with a bonfire.
4. Morven Museum & Garden
This spectacular historic estate and museum is a true gem. The permanent collection showcases the history of Morven through art and artifacts, the current exhibition focuses on New Jersey native and famed aviator, Charles Lindbergh. Guests will also enjoy varied workshops and lectures. Upcoming events include a crafting class centered around earring making. Be sure to enjoy the gardens, as well. The "Kitchen Garden" produces hundreds of pounds of food every year that Morven donates to area food banks.
5. Updike Farmstead
To fully appreciate the rich history of Princeton, visit the Historical Society of Princeton at Updike Farmstead. Enjoy a unique museum with exhibits focusing on local history and art. Be sure to visit the Einstein Salon and Innovators gallery, celebrating Princeton-area pioneers. You'll also appreciate the incredible photographs from New Jersey's past.
6. McCarter Theatre Center
This wonderful theatre offers acting classes for all ages and a variety of shows. Check out The Piano Lesson until February 7th or a special musical, The Buddy Holly Story, on January 29th.
7. Spectacular Parks
There are several local and state parks that are located, at least partially, in Princeton. Delaware & Raritan State Park and Princeton Battlefield State Park are pictured. Carnegie Lake is another lovely option and perfect picnic spot.
8. Great Coffee
As a college town, it's no surprise that you can find a good cup of Joe here. You'll love the unique mix of coffee shops including Halo Pub, Rojo's Roastery, Small World Coffee, More Cafe, and Cafe Vienna. Small World offers amazing art shows, Cafe Vienna has amazing baked goods, and Halo Pub also has wonderful ice cream. Speaking of ice cream...
9. Artisinal Ice Cream
The Bent Spoon Is probably the most popular pick, offering small batches of unique flavors along with all of your favorites. If you're in the mood for some REALLY hot chocolate, try the habenero hot chocolate. Thomas Sweet, also fantastic, offers house made ice cream and a sizable selection of toppings. The Nutella ice cream is a favorite.
10. Palmer Square
Besides being home to several of the businesses we mentioned earlier, Palmer Square also has some great shopping opportunities. You'll find bigger chains like Kate Spade, Ralph Lauren, J. Crew, Barbour and Brooks Brothers, along with smaller shops like The Farmhouse Store and Zoe. If you're looking for somewhere to stay after enjoying Palmer Square, Nassau Inn is your best bet. Historic and completely charming, you'll love the elegant guest rooms, welcoming staff and onsite restaurant - Yankee Doodle Tap Room.
Princeton also has amazing restaurants, which you can learn more about in my previous article
here. Have you been to Princeton before? What’s your favorite thing to do in the area?