Considered the Crossroads of the American Revolution, New Jersey will showcase its patriotic pride and revolutionary history throughout the month of February to commemorate the birth of the nation’s founding father, George Washington. Spend the long weekend exploring the state’s rich history and unique connection to President Washington by touring historic sites and cultural venues, strolling Revolutionary War battlefields, and relaxing in luxury lodging at quaint inns and historic hotels.
Start your getaway with a visit to Washington Crossing State Park
) to see where General Washington and his troops crossed the icy waters of the Delaware River, driving America closer to victory in its fight against the British, in the Battle of Trenton
. Once in Trenton, learn how the Old Barracks housed Continental soldiers, and Hessian and British troops, with a tour of the Old Barracks Museum
). Walk to the nearby Trenton Marriott Hotel and enjoy flavorful, American cuisine and a relaxed atmosphere.
After declaring victory in Trenton, Washington and his troops forged further north to Princeton for another surprise attack against the British in what is considered one of the fiercest battles of the Revolution. Follow in the footsteps of the Continental Army by traveling the historic Trenton to Princeton route, ending at the Princeton Battlefield State Park.
While in town, make a point of viewing the Princeton Battle Monument
– located on park property at Stockton Street and Bayard Street in front of Borough Hall – which was dedicated by President Harding in 1922 to commemorate the historic battle. A trip to Princeton wouldn’t be complete without taking a tour of the Princeton University campus, where buildings including Nassau Hall were witness to the battle. To add a splash of modern-day culture to this history-filled weekend, check out the schedule at the McCarter Theatre Center for the Performing Arts (www.mccarter.org)
, which offers more than 200 diverse performances a year.
After seeing the sights, unwind and have an unforgettable meal at the cozy Lawrenceville Inn
). Built in 1892, this beautiful Victorian Inn is now an important anchor of the newly rejuvenated Village of Lawrenceville. There are a variety of accommodations to fit any budget for an overnight stay. The Historic Lambertville House
) was built by Captain Lambert in 1812 and hosted presidents such as Ulysses S. Grant and Andrew Johnson. Another option is thestately Nassau Inn
), which was built in 1756, across the street from Princeton University and just off of charming Nassau Street in the heart of town.
In the morning, head north to Morris County, which has been referred to as the “Military Capital of the American Revolution.” You will discover a picturesque area filled with charming restaurants, inns and performing arts venues. It’s also where Washington and his troops stayed during the war for the harsh winters of 1779-1780. Washington’s Headquarters
, also known as the Jacob Ford Mansion in the Morristown National Historical Park,
is a “must-see.” Tour guides will show you around this stately Georgian mansion and point out the rooms where daily meetings and strategy sessions took place. Journey through neighboring Jockey Hollow
and see where Washington’s 12,000 troops set up camp. Many visitors may not realize that the weather during the time in Morristown was worse than Valley Forge the year before, and desertions and mutiny were commonplace.
End the day with a show at The Community Theatre
) or a concert at the nearby New Jersey Performing Arts Center
). Overnight visitors have an array of lodging and dining choices in the area. The Westin Governor Morris
) is a gorgeous upscale option located in the heart of historic Morristown, which offers a warm respite after a productive day. Not far away in Basking Ridge, the inviting Olde Mill Inn
) and its award-winning Grain House Restaurant date back to 1768, yet offer a menu and accommodations suited for today’s well-heeled traveler. The 10-acre estate preserves its colonial heritage while offering the complete amenities of a modern hotel.
Located southeast from Morristown in the central region of the state, in what is now Freehold, is where Washington led his troops in the last major conflict in the North and the war's biggest one-day battle, the Battle of Monmouth. At the Monmouth Battlefield State Park
), visitors can stroll the grounds lined with reconstructed Revolutionary War fences to learn more about the battle through wayside exhibits, or pick up one of two detailed hiking guides in the Visitor Center.
While in the area, schedule some time to visit the “Summer White House” located on the campus of Monmouth University
). Formerly the refuge of President Woodrow Wilson during the campaign of 1916, this National Historic Landmark has been used as a backdrop for innumerable print ads and television commercials and many may remember it from serving as the setting for the film version of “Annie” in 1980.
Another historic “must see” home is the former residence of the first governor of the state of New Jersey, William Livingston. Located on the campus of Kean University in Union, Liberty Hall
) was built in 1772 on the eve of the Revolution and is associated with many of the events and individuals that have shaped our nation's destiny. Among the visitors to the Victorian Italianate mansion turned museum were George Washington, Herbert Hoover, Ulysses S. Grant, and Alexander Hamilton.
This President's Day, treat your family to a President's Weekend filled with memories they won't soon forget. For more information on New Jersey activities and destinations, itinerary ideas, accommodations and ordering brochures, go to www.visitnj.org
or call 1-800-VISITNJ.