Princeton, New Jersey
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Personality Types that Like it Best
Did You Know … ?
- Rockingham, a house in nearby Kingston, was George Washington’s final wartime headquarters.
- The Indiana Jones life story names Princeton as the fictional character’s birthplace.
- Nassau Hall in Princeton was the first U.S. Capitol (six months in 1783).
- Princeton and Rutgers played the first American intercollegiate football game (1869).
- Drumthwacket in Princeton is the official residence for New Jersey governors although Trenton is the capital.
Washington was here
Princeton, a suburban community located between New York and Philadelphia, is best known as a university town. Called the College of New Jersey when it was founded in 1746, Princeton University is America’s fourth-oldest institution of higher education. The campus, with its numerous cultural and sports activities, provides one impetus for coming to town.
Besides, the city offers unique access to rowing events. Some of the country’s most competitive rowing meets are staged at Carnegie and Mercer lakes. Princeton also hosts Olympic trials for rowers and is the training home for the U.S. Olympic rowing team.
The city is a scholarly place, of course, but not just because of the eponymously named university. For example, Albert Einstein was affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton until his death in 1955.
Of interest to history buffs, Princeton boasts points of special interest, particularly when the American Revolution and other late 18th century developments are considered.
It is the site of the Princeton Battlefield State Park, where a crucial battle in 1777 gave Gen. George Washington his first victory against the British regulars on the field.
Tourists can visit the building, Nassau Hall, where New Jersey’s first legislature met and where the Continental Congress was convened when the revolution officially ended. They can tour Washington’s final wartime headquarters, Rockingham, not far outside the city.
Princeton is a physically attractive destination, in large part because of the university, its architecture and landscape. It’s an ivy-covered kind of place. A small metropolis of around 30,000, Princeton also boasts an abundance of parklands, large natural settings where visitors may pursue outdoor activities — or do very little.
Finally, Princeton offers its own brew of de rigueur tourist-pleasing diversions, including theater, live music, museums, fine or funky restaurants and shopping — even golf and day spas.
Things to do for Venturers
- Hike or ride a horse along part or all of the trails in Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park. The park, with 70 miles of paths paralleling a 19th century canal, runs through Princeton.
- Watch a college sports event. Choose one of many intercollegiate rowing competitions.
- Schedule a visit in the autumn to coincide with the open-air JazzFeast, staged at Palmer Square. The music is free.
- Join a scavenger hunt. Choose a Princeton murder mystery hunt.
- Take an introductory flying lesson, with an FAA-certified instructor, aboard a Cessna 172. You sit in the pilot’s seat.
- In winter, enjoy ice skating at the 13-acre Pettoranello Gardens; or, in summer, attend the local Shakespeare Festival.
Things to do for Centrics
- Pick up your binoculars and go bird-watching in the city’s 100-acre Woodfield Reservation. Anther choice: the Charles H. Rogers Wildlife Refuge, named for a nationally known ornithologist.
- Take a walking tour of the Princeton campus, including a visit to its oldest and most venerable structure, Nassau Hall.
- Paddle a canoe or kayak on the city’s Carnegie Lake or in the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park, which passes through Princeton.
- Take lessons at the Princeton Tennis Program, which provides year-round group lessons for all age groups with a goal of making tennis available to everyone. Then, play the game at Mercer County Outdoor Tennis Courts in Princeton Junction.
- Join a guided tour of Rockingham, George Washington’s final wartime headquarters, in nearby Kingston. The house was moved three times to keep it out of the path of an expanding quarry.
- There are a few wineries in the Princeton region. Add a wine tasting to your itinerary.
Things to do for Authentics
- Spend museum time at the Princeton University Art Museum or Morven Museum and Garden, a National Historic Landmark. Morven served as the New Jersey’s governor’s mansion from 1945 to 1981.
- Shop for gifts on Palmer Square then, if the weather is right, eat at an outdoor restaurant there.
- Book a performance at the McCarter Theater or hear new and classical works at the Westminster Choir College, a division of the Westminster College of the Arts at Rider University in Princeton.
- Bring the kids to the annual Apple Days at Terhune Orchards, and participate in various farm activities, such as wagon rides and making a scarecrow.
- Learn more about the American Revolution as it affected New Jersey, at the Princeton Battlefield State Park and the park’s Thomas Clark House.
- Shop for antiques in nearby Hopewell and New Hope.
For additional information, consult the Princeton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau at www.visitprinceton.org