From Hoopsters to Heroines: Ten Reasons to Celebrate Women's History Month In New Jersey

Trenton, NJ—As the nation prepares to celebrate Women’s History Month in March, New Jersey women past and present give visitors and residents plenty of reasons to explore the contributions of the Garden State’s fabulous females – while exploring New Jersey.


“From historically important women to pioneering female sports figures, New Jersey has a rich history of groundbreaking women residents,” notes New Jersey Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells.  “Our state – and in fact, the nation – continues to benefit from the contributions of these strong women.”


Whether for a girls’ getaway, a mother-daughter weekend or simply time well spent with an important woman in your life, the New Jersey Division of Travel & Tourism offers 10 terrific reasons to explore the state in celebration of Women’s History Month.


Shoot some hoops. New Jersey is hosting the 2009 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship regionals.  The Trenton Regional, which helps determine which teams make it to the Final Four, will tip off at Trenton’s Sovereign Bank Arena on March 29 and 31.  


Partake of “voluntourism.”  In 1850, Clara Barton began teaching in Bordentown, where she was instrumental in the establishment of the first free public school in New Jersey.  Barton later went on to become the founder of the American Red Cross, after working overseas with the International Red Cross.  Celebrate her legacy of service by practicing “voluntourism” – a combination of volunteering and tourism.  For a list of volunteer opportunities in New Jersey, visit


Explore a working historical farm. Experience the sights, smells and sounds of the first “living historical farm” in New Jersey, at Fosterfields in Morristown, bequeathed by Caroline Foster in 1979.  Foster’s beloved home, where she spent 98 of her 102 years, is a turn-of-the-century working farm, with period-correct tools and techniques employed in the running of the farm.


Contemplate the blueberry.  Elizabeth White pioneered the nation’s first cultivated blueberry in the early 1900s, later establishing Whitesbog Village, where today, lovers of blueberries can visit Suningive, White’s historic home, as well as the workers’ cottages and other buildings that speak to Whitesbog’s heritage.


Confirm your vote for women’s rights.  Visit Paulsdale, home of famous womens’ suffragist Alice Paul, in Mt. Laurel.  Learn about Paul’s life and work – enjoy an outdoor walk around the property to learn about the farm that once surrounded Paulsdale, then venture indoors for more about the Paul family’s daily life, the restoration and rehabilitation of the site, and its present-day use as a girls’ leadership center by The Alice Paul Institute. 


Dust off your tennis racquet.  Althea Gibson was a trailblazing athlete who, in the 1950s, became the first African-American to win championships at Grand Slam tournaments, such as Wimbledon, the French Open, and the United States Open.  In 1975, she became New Jersey State Commissioner of Athletics, a post she held for 10 years, and is a 2009 inductee to the New Jersey Hall of Fame.


Enjoy the serenity of a beautiful arboretum.  Philanthropist Matilda Elizabeth Frelinghuysen’s donation of her 127-acre Whippany Farm estate led to the creation of the Frelinghuysen Arboretum.  Take a leisurely stroll through the woodlands, meadows, and gardens at the arboretum.


Visit historic Princeton.  Enjoy the quaint college town, just as beloved former mayor Barbara Boggs Sigmund did.  A transplanted native of Louisiana, Sigmund was known for her boundless energy, her love of Princeton and her iconic eye patch.  The patch, which often matched her outfits, was the result of cancer that she bravely fought during her two terms as mayor.


Bank on a tour of Trenton.  Mary G. Roebling became the first woman to head a major U.S. bank, the Trenton Trust Company, after taking over her departed husband’s seat on the board and ascending to the presidency of the company.  While in Trenton, be sure to check out the New Jersey State Museum, featuring four museums in one: Archaeology and Ethnology, Cultural History, Fine Art, and Natural History and Planetarium.


Stroll the quiet grounds of a Revolutionary War battlefield.  Imagine the crack of musket fire and the roar of cannons during the Battle of Monmouth, at Monmouth Battlefield State Park in Freehold.  Pay tribute to the legendary Molly Pitcher, the nickname given to artillery wife Mary Hays McCauly, who brought pitchers of water to cool the soldiers and their cannons, then took up station loading a cannon after her own husband fell.


For more information on New Jersey activities and destinations, and assistance when planning a New Jersey vacation, including additional itinerary ideas, finding accommodations and ordering brochures, go to