It would be unfair to leave Princeton out of our Adventure Blog just because we were stuck there during our van repair. Although it is probably not even on the radar for RVing, camping, or vanlifing, it is still a great little town with lots to do. It is home to Albert Einstein, the famous Hoagie Haven, and Princeton University, so you will see references of the ivy league everywhere. Justin Timberlake once filmed a movie there, so you know this place must be hoppin. Humz grew up there and we both lived there right after college, so here is our list of fun things to do in the area if you’re there for a day or two.
1. Cruise Down Nassau & Witherspoon Streets & Palmer Square – These are the two main roads in town. It’s full of cute shops and eateries. I used to get lunch at Olives on Witherspoon Street more times than I wish to admit, since my office was right near it. The Rocky Road Brownie was my favorite 4-o'clock workday snack. Venture into Library Square or Palmer Square to people watch or play chess in the park. Once you have worked off that Rocky Road Brownie, wash it down with some artisanal ice cream from Bent Spoon. They have weird (but awesome) flavors like Olive Oil, Avocado, and Beet. They also have some normal flavors too, and sorbets if you’re not feeling adventurous or lactose intolerant. Go to dinner at Teresa’s and drinks at the Yankee Doodle Tap Room at the Nassau Inn. The Tap Room has an old-Princeton vibe and you can see photos of notable Princeton graduates (Brooke Shields, Michelle Obama and a bunch of dudes.) They have a cozy fireplace, but drink on the patio outside if its nice out so you can keep your eye on the Bent Spoon line.
2. Explore the Princeton University Campus – Nassau Hall is located at the intersection of Nassau and Witherspoon Street and being the oldest building on campus is considered the “Gateway” to the University. There are so many different architectural styles on the 500 acre campus. My favorites are the Princeton Chapel, which is hardly a chapel, but a huge gothic cathedral, the campus Art Museum which is free, Robertson Hall, where many people enjoy wading in the fountain outside when it’s warm, and Lewis Library by Frank Gehry.
1 Nassau Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544 http://m.princeton.edu/map/campus
3. Princeton Canal (Carnegie Lake): If you’re looking for a good place to run or walk the dog, this is the place. You can watch the crew boats from the University or rent a canoe yourself to explore the canal.
483 Alexander St., Princeton, NJ 08540 http://princetoncanoe.com/
4. West Windsor Farmer’s Market – It’s on Saturdays at the Princeton Junction Train Station parking lot. Whoever made New Jersey "The Garden State" was not joking.
2 Vaughn Drive, Princeton, NJ http://www.westwindsorfarmersmarket.org/
5. Terhune Orchards – This place has skyrocketed in popularity over the last 10 years, so much that they had to redo the roads near it to accommodate the weekend traffic. It’s not just an orchard; you can get all your fruits and vegetables here, and your wine too! If you do battle the crowds (especially during apple season), get the apple cider donuts!
330 Cold Soil Rd, Princeton, NJ 08540 www.terhuneorchards.com
6. Grounds for Sculpture – Located on the former New Jersey State Fairgrounds, the 42 acre property, including its major historic buildings have been turned into an indoor/outdoor sculpture garden. This place is awesome and you could probably spend the whole day exploring here.
80 Sculptors Way Hamilton, NJ 08619 www.groundsforsculpture.org/
7. Hopewell Vineyard – They frequently have jazz, wine, and brick oven pizza Thursdays through Sundays, just check their events calendar before you go.
46 Yard Rd, Pennington, NJ 08534 www.hopewellvalleyvineyards.com
8. Rosedale Dog Park – Princeton is not really the greatest place for dog parks, as they have none. There are many parks, but the only one dedicated to dogs is in the next town over in Pennington, NJ, about a 20-minute drive away. It’s still worth it as there are usually always at least 20 dogs there, especially after typical work hours. There are two sections for small and large dogs; both have grass, tunnels, picnic tables, and a water fountain. If you don’t have a dog, you can still go to the park and walk the path around the lake…or picnic…or playground.
9. Delaware River Tubing – Tube, raft or canoe down the Delaware River. If you go through the tubing company your cost of admission includes your floatation device, river drop-off and pickup, and a stop on the hot dog island! Just check the river conditions and weather before you go. If the weather is bad, there are a ton of wineries in the area, and exploring Frenchtown is fun.
782 Frenchtown Rd, Milford, NJ 08848 www.delawarerivertubing.com
10. Lambertville/New Hope – After tubing, hit up Lambertville, NJ and New Hope, PA which are two adorable little towns separated by the Delaware River. Both have great little shops, restaurants, and nightlife. It’s been awhile since I’ve been there so you’ll just have to figure out the adventure for yourself.
Honorable Mention: NYC and Philadelphia are just a quick 1-1.5 hour train ride away from Princeton Junction train station. Asbury Park, our favorite up-and-coming town is an hour drive away, as well as many other Jersey Shore beach towns.