Follow George Washington's Footsteps in NJ: Crossroads of the American Revolution
Did you know that George Washington spent more time in New Jersey during the American Revolutionary War than anywhere else? Make 2017 the year you discover more about the history of New Jersey. Follow in Washington's footsteps, and you'll soon see why New Jersey is called the Crossroads of the American Revolution. Download and print this infographic to help you scout out your historic travels.
If you're wondering where to start, use the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route as a guide for your Washington-inspired exploration. The portion of this national historical trail that runs through New Jersey follows the same routes that the American and French troops took in 1781 and 1782.
Of course, Morristown National Historical Park is a must-see for every patriot. During two brutal winters of the Revolutionary War, the Continental Army camped here. The park is America's first national historic park, and visitors can explore reconstructed soldier huts and Washington's headquarters, as well as 24 miles of hiking trails. The park offers tours, special events and reenactments throughout the year.
Students of American history know that Washington Crossing State Park is the site of General Washington's famous crossing over the Delaware River on Christmas Day, 1776, the prelude to an important win in Trenton. In addition to seeing buildings of historic significance, you can hike the park's trails and enjoy native plants and wildlife. The park is also popular for cross-country skiing. (Titusville)
After Washington's crossing, troops marched to Trenton for a morale-boosting victory. The Trenton Battle Monument marks the high ground where the American artillery fired. A statue of George Washington crowns the monument's 148-foot granite column.
A National Historic Landmark, Princeton Battlefield State Park was the site of the next important battle, one of the fiercest fights of its size during the American Revolution. Here's where General Washington and his troops surprised and defeated a force of British Regulars. In addition to the exhibits at Clarke House, the park features trails and an open lawn suitable for hiking, cross-country skiing and birding.
Not far from Princeton is George Washington's last wartime headquarters, Rockingham State Historic Site. The house is restored and furnished with period pieces and Washington military reproductions. This is where Washington announced his retirement from public service…or so he thought! (Kingston)
Obviously General Washington didn't retire, and on his way to his inauguration, he stopped to visit at Boxwood Hall, the home of his friend Elias Boudinot, President of the Continental Congress. (Elizabeth)
Another stop on George Washington's travels was the 18th-century stone house that is now The Hermitage Museum, a National Historic Landmark. Fans of the Broadway smash Hamilton should note that this Gothic Revival beauty also hosted the nuptials of Aaron Burr and Theodosia Prevost. (Ho-Ho-Kus)
Another historic home that served as a headquarters for General Washington is Dey Mansion. A superb example of Georgian architecture, Dey Mansion is considered the "jewel" of the Passaic County Park's Department. Tours are available in the afternoons Wednesday through Sunday. (Wayne)
If you'd prefer combining history with sweeping views of the Hudson River and Manhattan skyline, stop at Fort Lee Historic Park. The park features authentically recreated soldiers' and officers' huts and a reconstructed blockhouse. Site of a retreat by General Washington, Fort Lee inspired Thomas Paine to write these words: "These are the times that try men's souls…"
Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park provided the scenic backdrop for a Revolutionary picnic. Here George Washington, Marquis de Lafayette, Alexander Hamilton and James McHenry shared a "modest repast" of "cold ham, tongue and some biscuit" on July 10, 1778. Alexander Hamilton later proposed that the Great Falls site become America's first planned industrial city.
Discover more history at VisitNJ.com, where you can download a free NJ travel guide or sign up for e-news from New Jersey Travel and Tourism. For more about New Jersey as the “Crossroads of the American Revolution," visit RevolutionaryNJ.org.