We did a little celebratin’ last weekend to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Working Stiff! We made a reservation at the Westin Princeton Forestal Village (on Rt. 1 just outside of Princeton) for Saturday night and set off on our mini-adventure.
Our first stop was Grounds for Sculpture, also just off Rt. 1 east of Trenton. The weather was not great but it was good enough and we had a very nice visit overall. (I’ve written about Grounds for Sculpture before – please see entry from 11/22/2015.)
Grounds for Sculpture is an indoor/outdoor sculpture exhibition founded by J. Seward Johnson, who is the grandson of Mr. Johnson as in “Johnson & Johnson”, though I’m not sure if grandpa was Johnson or Johnson! There are numerous artists on display but the primary attraction is Johnson’s own unique work – in particular his life-size (and bonus size) interpretations of characters and scenes from famous paintings.
I am not aware of much reason to go to Trenton at all unless you are unfortunate enough to have business with the state of New Jersey, but Grounds for Sculpture is absolutely unique and a great way to spend a few hours. It is easy to get to on the eastern outskirts of the state capital. Check it out! Grounds for Sculpture.
After that we accomplished an efficient check-in to the Westin, a mere 20 minutes northward up Rt. 1, and then headed into Princeton proper. Princeton’s main claim to fame is being the birthplace of The Working Stiff, but that aside, there is that big school that takes up most of the small city!
Nassau Street is the main drag and runs roughly north-south. The bulk of the downtown area is about 8 or 10 blocks of Nassau Street and a few blocks spreading out to the west of that. Across from the retail and dining area and on the east side of Nassau Street, the university dominates. It is right there and easy to stroll around. All the huge castle-like and ivy covered buildings are beautiful and amazing just to walk amongst and admire. It all drips with history and old money. Photographic opportunities abound, though I failed to carry my camera on this trip. I plan to go back this summer on a more photographic expedition.
We had a very pleasant early dinner at a place called Teresa’s Caffe Italiano. We both had our own (excellent) personal pizzas though there were plenty of fancier options available. My starter of mini-meatballs in red sauce was fantastic and the waitress let on that it was one of their biggest hits.
After dinner we strolled around the charming Palmer Square area checking out the many shops and eateries. We bought ice cream cups at a very busy ice cream parlor that was hosting a live jazz trio on their adjacent patio. The desert was cool and the jazz was cool!
After our ice cream we popped into the historic Nassau Inn for a glass of wine in the cozy Yankee Doodle Tap Room. The wine and the deal was fine though we agreed that with such a cool historic place it was a shame that it was dumbed-down (as is all too common), with lots of big TVs all over the place. Can’t fight city hall I guess! If we ever open a tavern we won’t allow any TVs, but instead encourage patrons to have intelligent thoughts and converse with one another. Of course that setup would probably cause us to go out of business rather quickly! Anyway, there are no plans to do that so don’t worry.
On Sunday morning we managed to get ourselves out of the fantastic bed at the Westin and back to Nassau Street for a wonderful early breakfast at a really happening place called Jammin Crepes. A unique and very busy place with excellent fresh food. I highly recommend it for a delicious breakfast or lunch.
After breakfast, and after a last stroll around the university, we drove south out of town and right past the New Jersey Governor’s Mansion – “Drumthwacket”. Here is the link to the Wikipedia page for Drumthwacket. The current governor does not live there full time but uses it for special dinners and some state events.
A last thought – something I just remembered while writing this. When we checked in to the Westin we noticed someone leading a richly decorated horse into one of the event rooms. There was a large and festive traditional Indian wedding going on and apparently the horse had some role in that ceremony. Later at the hotel lobby bar, I tried to buy the horse a drink but he refused. I guess you can lead a horse to the Westin but you can’t make him….. What can I say but bah-dum-bum! In any case, though I’ve traveled quite a bit, I think that is the first time I’ve seen a horse inside a hotel.
Enjoy your Memorial Day and don’t forget to fly the flag at half-staff!
The Working Stiff