Most Historic Getaway: Trenton
History buffs will have a grand old time in New Jersey’s capital, which was briefly the US capital at the end of 1784. Learn the history of the Garden State at the New Jersey State Museum, where you can spend a whole day checking out fossils, fine art, and Native American artifacts. You can also get lost in space at the planetarium before you stroll over to the golden-domed New Jersey State House, the state’s most historic public building, or the Old Barracks Museum, a French and Indian War military barracks that celebrates colonial and revolutionary history. The 300-year-old William Trenton House, now a museum, also offers a look at life during the revolution. Or, for something off the beaten path, head to The Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie, a mansion in Cadwalader Park filled with rotating art exhibits focused on the city’s local history.
For some additional art history, head to the Grounds For Sculpture gardens where art and nature collide for one of a kind selfies. There are more than 270 sculptures from contemporary artists on display across 42 acres filled with exotic flora and fauna that make this a magical art experience. Grab a bite at the French-inspired Van Gogh Café where the ceiling is fashioned after The Starry Night, or order a picnic basket for two (must be placed 24 hours ahead) from the Peacock Café, a soup, salad, and sandwich joint.
For something even simpler, try a slice at Papa’s Tomato Pies, established in Trenton in 1912. Now located in nearby Robbinsville Township, the best way to get to the self-described oldest continuously-run pizza restaurant in the USA is by car.
Trenton’s most historic and only downtown hotel (the first hotel in the capital’s center in 16 years) is now permanently closed, so for a good night’s stay, take the 15-minute drive to the very modern Element Ewing in Princeton. Drive five minutes further, and you’ll reach Princeton’s more stately Peacock Inn. Originally built in the 1700s, the inn briefly housed Albert Einstein and, according to lore, its basement, known as “Peacock Alley,” was a Prohibition-era speakeasy.
By public transit: Take the NJ Transit from Penn Station to Trenton Transit Center, a 90-minute ride.
By car: One hour, 15 minutes