princeton NJ, what to do in or around area

Jan 14th, 2002, 02:36 PM
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princeton NJ, what to do in or around area

My sisters and I are traveling to Princeton NJ. We are all in out twenties and have never been to the Princeton area. I am looking for some great resturants/bars/clubs or any place of interest in or around the area. Please, anything will help.
Jan 14th, 2002, 03:57 PM
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I'm not all that familiar with the area but have been there briefly a couple of tmes. there is a very nice art gallery on the Princeton U campus that is worth visiting. The campus itself is lovely. There are many nice shops along the streets surrounding the campus.
Jan 14th, 2002, 04:41 PM
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Hi Kim!
I was born and raised in Princeton, although I now live in Atlanta. It is a quaint little town...definitely go to Palmer Square and walk around the shops there. Also, the other streets next to the square.

Get Thomas Sweet Ice Cream Blend-ins. They are awesome. I think the TS that was in Palmer Square is gone, but you can ask someone where the other one is - down Nassau Street.

Walk around the University Campus and stop in the bookstore for some Princeton gear. The campus is beautiful.

Stop in the Tap Room at the Nassau Inn for a beer (also in Palmer Square). The Nassau Inn is a historic hotel in the area. Many famous people have stayed there, including Christopher Reeves, who has his own suite.

You can go see Einsteins's house since he lived in Princeton - not far from center of town.

Princeton Battlefield is good for an hour - we used to skip school and go sun bathing in the PB fields!!

As far as clubs - I don't think their are any? Someone else may be able to help you there. Also about bars, the Tap Room, and...I think there are some new places. I was under-age when I lived there so I'm not exactly sure. I only get back for visits with friends and weddings.

Sorry, I just realized I haven't been much help!

Where are you staying? How long will you be there? There are other interesting areas that are within driving distance that might be fun to check out (New Hope / Lambertville) etc...
Jan 24th, 2002, 07:37 AM
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I was too born and raised there and totally echo the above response (ESPECIALLY Thomas Sweet---dang, I miss that place!)

JB Winberrie's restaurant and bar is pretty much the hip joint. Also Triumph Brewery right on Nassau St...very much the main place to go and a really great, large space. There's also the Ivy and another little dive up Nassau St on the left that is fun---I can't remember the name. There are tons of amazing restaurants every couple of steps. Be prepared to read the menu first...some are pretty pricey. Run, do not walk, to Abel Bagel---the world's best bagels and spreads. My environmental science teacher in high school didn't care if we skipped his 1st period class if we brought him a bagel

The PU campus is beautiful. There are pretty cool high school campuses to wander too, if you like architecture..The Hun School and The Lawrenceville School are right there.

have fun and say hi to Jersey for me...strange but true, I kind of miss it
Jan 26th, 2002, 11:18 AM
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Princeton's a great daytrip spot and a lot of folks have mad good recomendations. The Annex has good pub food, another good Pub food type place is the Tiger's Tale on Rt. 206 (this is just ouside of the main town area so you'll probably need to drive.
There's plenty to see and do right there in the Nassau St. area. You can also get a great breakfast at the pancake house on Nassau. One thing you shouldn't miss is the go into the Nassau Inn and find Rockwell's "Yankee Doodle" mural.
For a beautiful park to walk in go to the Canal. It runs from New Brunswick through Princeton to Trenton and beyond.
As for nightlife..
Triumph Brewery (on Nassau St.) seems to be the only sort of nightlife in the area. If you like 70's kitsch (having suffered through that decade as a child I am mortified by nostalgia for that vapid era) Polyester's nightclub is in someplace like the Princeton Market Fair or Forestal Village (you'll probably need to drive unless you're staying in a hotel there). I can't recomend Polyesters since I've never been there, but people who are into that sort of thing seem to like it.
If you're going to be spending a couple of days
Though I love to pay visits to Princeton, if you're going to be there for more than one day, you may want to venture beyond Princeton. Being a Rutgers grad I'm partial to New Brunswick which is 20 minutes north via Rt. 1. New Brunswick will offer you much more in the way of nightlife and just as many choices (if not more) in food. One of my favorite places for music there is the Old Bay--a Cajun restaurant that has blues, funk, and zydeco. It's not worth eating at though. It used to be great but has gone down hill in my opinion. That's ok because you can get great Italian at the Church St. Tratoria for a good price and humungous portions.
There are plenty of other nightlife and food options in that area (no car needed) like the Harvest Moon Brew Pub.
If you haven't booked accomodations, I'd look into staying at the New Brunswick Hyatt which is in the heart of town and is acros the street from the Old Bay. This way you can spend your day in Princeton and your night in New Brunswick. Maybe, I'm biased, but I just think Brumphus is more fun at night. It has nightlife, an actual theater district, and a lot of bohemian type things like student run theater and poetry (Mason Gross School of the Arts has all sorts of performances plays, jazz band, orchestra). Sorry I'm getting a little carried away.
Here's the New Brunswick web site.
When you get to Princeton or New Brunswick pick up one of the free local papers (like the Princeton Packet) for details on what's going on in the area. Don't get me wrong. If you only have time for a day or so, you'll have a great time in Princeton. But, for an extended stay, New Brunswick has a lot to offer. By the way where are you coming from?
Jul 21st, 2004, 01:10 AM
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This inquiry is for "Born&Raised" (if you happen to see this) who mentioned that they were born & raised in the Princeton area, but now live in Atlanta. I'd also welcome comments from any other Fodorites as well.

I came across this post looking up information regarding the Trenton area because I am considering relocation possibilities (due to job) in either Atlanta or Titusville, which looks to be just outside Trenton. This all seems to be pretty close to Princeton as well. I currently live in upstate NY, but due to a company buyout, may be transferred to Atlanta. So in looking into other opportunties, I came across something in Titusville that looks pretty good, but I don't know anything about the area. I'd be especially interested in your thoughts comparing both areas - Trenton/Titusville and Atlanta.
Cher is offline  
Aug 20th, 2004, 01:26 PM
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This is for Cher. I live in Titusville and it's a very nice place to reside. It's actually the part of Hopewell Township that's located in the western section along the Delaware River and includes the Washington Crossing area and park where Washington came over from PA. It's about 9 miles north of Trenton and 5 miles south of Lambertville, a nice town of shops and restaurants. Schools are very good and new building developments are seriously restricted. Still lots of farms and open areas and rural but not far from 95 and turnpike so it's within an hur of both NY and Philly. You wouldn't go wrong here.
giant9 is offline  
Aug 28th, 2004, 02:54 PM
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For Cher....
I currently work in Princeton. The area is very nice and there is lots to do in Princeton. I'm not sure Titusville is that close but I'm sure you're looking at Jannsen (spelling?) Pharm (a division of J&J). Atlanta is a great spot too. More to do and see but I also think more traffic. The cost of living is probably higher in NJ vs. Buckhead/Atlanta. With the Titusville job, you could probably live in PA where the cost of living & car insurance is much lower than NJ. Whatever you do, I think both places are grand & best of luck to you!
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Aug 29th, 2004, 09:25 AM
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Thanks to above posters ... From my research so far, it would seem that the cost of living would be much higher in Titusville NJ area, Bucks County PA, or Princeton area ... all potential commuting areas from the Titusville area. In fact, I knew that housing was high in NJ, but I must admit I had no idea how high until I started looking into it. You don't seem to get much house for your money, so this is a real consideration coming from around Rochester where housing is very low priced in comparison. Anyway, it seems like there may be more to do in Atlanta, unless I stick to the area around Princeton. I also have to consider an area where my husband can then look for a job. I'll know more specifics from my company within the next month, which may necessitate the transfer to Atlanta (?perhaps next spring). I thought I would look into other possibilities as well, hence the consideration of the Titusville area for another opportunity. Thanks again.
Cher is offline  
Aug 30th, 2004, 05:07 AM
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Don't know if this is applicable to you, but NJ has a very good system in place for assessing schools and school districts. Here is a link to the NJ Department of Education website that you can use to access academic and financial data on areas that might be of interest.
Ryan is offline  
Aug 30th, 2004, 05:20 AM
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Cher, how is life in Rochester? What is it really like in winter?
wsoxrebel is offline  
Aug 30th, 2004, 05:54 AM
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Life in Rochester is nice. I really like living here; my reason for potentially leaving is job related (my company's been bought out by another company that will keep its headquarters in Atlanta). The economy is struggling a here because of the constant downsizing by Kodak and Xerox, two of the major employers. Housing is very affordable and commuting is relatively easy. You can generally go from one end of the county to another in 20-30 minutes. We also have one of the best grocery store chains in the country, Wegmans, which actually makes grocery shopping a pleasure. There's plenty to do, although not at the same level of a big metro area. (So if one craves "big city" excitement, they may find Rochester a bit dull.) It's really a small city with more of a small town atmoshere. There's also alot to do witin easy driving distance ... Toronto, Niagara Falls/Niagara-on-the-Lake, Finger Lakes, Adirondack Mountains, etc.

Summers are usually very nice (although this year wasn't so good - rainy and cooler than usual - although everything is very green). Winters are long, and generally overcast (gray) due to the "lake effect" from being located on Lake Ontario. The last two winters were especially snowy; I didn't see my lawn for several months and at one point had 2 feet of snow on my roof. It was a bit much to take even for those of us used to snowy winters. Most folks living here take the snow in stride, and you'll find that even with large amounts of snowfall, the roads are cleared very quickly and people just go about their business and lives. So, in the winter you need to get outdoors and enjoy winter activities or you'll go a bit stir crazy. There's some good local skiing; not like the mountains of Vermont or out west of course - but fine for a something to do on the weekend - you can get to several ski placess within 45 min to 2 hours. One thing I don't like is that warmer temperatures in spring always seems a bit late coming; but no place is perfect!
Cher is offline  
Aug 30th, 2004, 06:42 AM
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Cher, I'm having a hard time imagining that much snow. I guess everyone must have 4 wheel drive, snow tires, and driveway service. Do basements leak when all the snow melts in the spring? Do people have AC in their houses or is it optional like in Michigan?

When you want to take a mini-trip during your 6 months of winter, can you reasonably plan to reach your destination or do they close the roads? Do they keep the airports and schools open?

I lived in Atlanta in the late 80's when a freak snowstorm shut the entire metro area down for a week. You could not buy bread or cigarettes from the corner store because everyone had stocked up when temps first went below 34. Guys in the apartment complex were skiing behind their Trans Ams and Monte Carlos in the parking lot.
wsoxrebel is offline  
Aug 30th, 2004, 07:34 AM
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wsoxrebel: I can't help but chuckle because it's really not that bad living with snow in a community that is used to it, can remove it quickly, and when people know how to drive in it.

I've never owned an SUV, and have been driving a Honda Civic since 1996 ... no problem in the snow ... just need to know how to drive in it and handle icy roads. (Growing up in Buffalo, I guess it's just in my genes.) You don't need snow tires ... you used to back in the 60s/70s before they had the tires they have now. Since roads are cleared quickly it has to be really bad for schools to close (or extremely cold) and really, really bad for your boss not to expect you at work!

We do have a driveway plow service, however most folks use a snowblower or just shovel. The City of Rochester has a sidewalk plow service.

It is not common for roads to be closed, but sometimes they do close the expressways during a really bad storm. Unless you are driving right when a snowstorm is occurring, the roads are cleared quickly and constantly salted. Snow plows are a constant presence in the winter. The salt wreaks havoc on your car. The suburbs usually do a better job of lclearing the snow than the city - all the parked cars complicate snow removal. Sometimes the airport will close for short periods during while a storm is ongoing.

There is one storm in particular I recall from when I lived in Buffalo ... The Blizzard of 1977. It was an incredible storm, even by Buffalo standards. Huge amounts of snow (several feet) fell very quickly, leaving persons stranded for days whereever they were when it hit. Driving was banned in the city for at least a week. I have pictures looking down our street and you could not see the parked cars - only the car antennas sticking out of the snow! There were even t-shirts that said, "I survived the Blizzard of '77". That doesn't happen to that extreme very often, but is not unheard of in this area. (A couple of years ago, Buffalo got 6 feet of snow over a 24 hour period in the end of December.)

Regarding basements, newer homes are often built on a "floating" slab and will usually have a sump pump running in a well in the basement of homes where the water table necessitates it. The soil where I live near Lake Ontario is very sandy so we don't need a sump pump; we've never had water in the basement the 10 years we've lived there.

We do have central AC in our house because summers can get humid (although nowhere near as humid as I suppose it gets in Atlanta). Most newer homes being built in the area have central AC. I would consider the AC optional, i.e., nice to have.

I think it really depends on what you're used to. You'll probably get a chuckle that I'm really concerned about how I'm going to survive the summers in Atlanta ... I just about die in heat and humidity!
Cher is offline  
Aug 30th, 2004, 08:06 AM
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Cher, heat and humidity of our southern states can be really awful. And there are only so many clothes you can take off!
We had (gasp) 2-3 inches of snow this winter. Schools and work were closed Day 1 for anticipation, not precipitation. Neighborhood kids really didn't know what to do with themselves. No one has sleds, so I suggested cookie sheets to sled down the slanted driveways. We put our snow shovel in the trash after the first spring here, so I used a dust pan taped to a broom to clean the sidewalk. Schools were also closed on Day 2 but streets had melted the snow by 10AM.
wsoxrebel is offline  
Sep 1st, 2004, 04:33 PM
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Cher, I am just browsing through this, but I think you mentioned that you like Wegmans. Well, I live about 2 minutes from the Wegmans on Rte 1 near Princeton. I shop there all the time, so if that is a consideration...

I've lived in Princeton for 8 years, and like it very much. Atlanta is a nice city, and I am partial to city life. However, I am not crazy about Southern living. Princeton certainly does not have the night life of a major city, but there is plenty of culture. McCarter Theater & Richardson Auditorium in Princeton, the War Memorial in Trenton, and the State Theater in New Brunswick all offer world class music & theater productions. If that is not enough, NY & Philadelphia are close enough to drive to & from. Plus there's the train.

Yes, it is very expensive to live here. I bought my home at the right time & made a huge profit on it. I guess you need to weigh the options. Since you are used to the seasons/colder climate, I would think that the Titusville area would be great for you. The river,canal & all the trees are beautiful to watch as the seasons change. Good luck with wherever you move.
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