On The Town: Princeton

I was out and about again — this time with Social Media Editor Beth Powell. On one of the hottest days of the year, we explored the esteemed town of Princeton, home, of course, to the Ivy League institution that’s the anchor of the community. In addition to the university, there’s a lot packed into the town’s approximately 18 square miles. Here’s a look at our day, which featured wonderful people, great design, a gourmet meal and a lot of moving parts.

This is Beth, enjoying a drink at a local eatery.

Explanation to come. Spoiler alert: Princeton has some really great bartenders.

The town is beautiful and environmentally conscious.

Plants make any space better, I find.

Our first stop was the university campus, which is gorgeous and exactly what my mind conjures up when I hear the word “college.”

This is the FitzRandolph Gate, the official entrance to the campus.

We strolled the grounds past Nassau Hall. At the risk of sounding like a tour guide, I’d like to point out that this structure was built in 1756 (still holds up!) and at the time was the largest building in colonial New Jersey and the largest academic building in the colonies. Look at those literal “ivy-covered walls.”

GK tramrunner at en.wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], from Wikimedia Commons

But that’s not the only bit of outstanding architecture in town. This home, located just a few blocks from the university, was designed in the early 20th century by architect Ernest Flagg. It has a storied past that you can read all about in our October/November issue.



And here’s one of the fascinating things about Princeton:  this is no cookie-cutter suburban development. Architect John DaCruz — whose work is also featured in our October/November issue — explained that the town contains an intriguing mixture of architectural styles. (We’re kicking ourselves that we didn’t get a picture with him. Next time, John!)

As we ambled around the residential districts, we saw exactly what he meant. There were so many different types of architecture: contemporary, Victorian, split-level, bungalow, French Provincial. A diverse mix, yet all the variations work well together to form the character of this place, each neighborhood gently giving way to the next as part of the town’s natural growth over time. It’s intriguing, but not jarring or disruptive. We soooo wanted to take pictures of all the beautiful homes, but that seemed a little creepy.

Back on the main drag, we pressed our faces against the window at Garden State Tile’s new location on Nassau Street. (For the record, peering into the window of a commercial enterprise in broad daylight on a main thoroughfare is not creepy at all.) From what we could tell, mid-construction, it’s going to be beautiful.

It really was exceptionally hot outside.

We popped into this tableware shop and admired the summery crockery. That’s Heidi Moon Matsukawa behind the counter. She’s the director of sales and marketing.

I covet the pink teapot.

Then we paid a visit to Ron Menapace at The Homestead. Ron sells housewares and accessories, all of which he was happy to show us.

How cute is the dog pillow?

But what he was most enthusiastic about was the furniture in the shop that’s made from reclaimed barn wood.  Here’s a look at one of his pieces in action.

Pretty, clever, right?

By this time, we were hungry, so we made a quick stop at Agricola, a farm-to-table restaurant on Witherspoon Street.

We decided to order cocktails, you know, for research purposes. Bartender Ben Snyder invented the drink at left. It’s called a “Jam Session” and that garnish around the rim is cayenne sugar. It’s sweet with a spicy kick, and it is delicious. I didn’t know I needed cayenne sugar in my life but I do, dear reader, I do.

The drink at right is called the “Private Beach.” It’s a rum and pineapple concoction that features chili clove, so it’s got a kick as well. Yum

We made a point to grab some dessert at The Bent Spoon, Princeton’s renowned ice cream shop. (More research.)

Kiwi passionfruit was my pick; Beth chose raspberry lemon. Both were fantastic and really hit the spot. (Have I mentioned how hot it was that day?)

On our way out of town, we stopped by the Luxe Home Co. showroom and had a chat with the owner, Stan Gulati. We talked about design trends and travel destinations, and how each can inspire the other.

As an explanation for my hair, I feel the need to add that it was also very humid.

Our last stop was the Miele Experience Center. This is Miele’s Carol Robinson, who showed us around the space.

Refrigerator styled by Carol’s daughter, Monique D. Robinson. Monique is great at her job.

Carol gave us a tech demo.

I’ve never had so much fun using a dishwasher!

We had such a great day (in spite of the heat). Many thanks to all the Princeton business people who took time out of their busy schedules to share their insights (and signature drinks) with us.