A most intriguing way to re-live Revolutionary War history is at The Old Barracks Museum in Trenton, NJ. It is a great place for everyone to really absorb the enormity of the soldier’s life and the sacrifices that were made. In the winter of 1776 Hessian soldiers had taken the New York City area and then Trenton and were encamped here, and the Continental Army was ready to give up the War. But Washington’s soldiers slipped in darkness across the Delaware River and took them by surprise one night. In the battle that ensued here on Christmas the tide of the War was turned and the men re-invigorated to carry on when the Hessians were forced to retreat. General Washington and his men camped here in these very barracks and practiced soldiering all winter. Here at Trenton is truly the source of our freedom, the battles that turned the tides of the War for Independence.
TRENTON BARRACKS MUSEUM
This is the place for your kids to discover the delight of learning history because you actually get inducted into Continental Army here and learn to shoot a musket and march. Children and adults will have some pretty amazing surprises in the mock dental and physical exam given the soldiers. Will you be qualified to load your musket properly? It is not the type of test you expect!! As we have heard a lot about smallpox in the news recently, it is very interesting to learn that in this Infirmary George Washington figured out how to keep his army from being devastated by the disease, before there were vaccinations.
If you “pass muster” you, too, are sent to the Infirmary in the Barracks for more surprises, some gross realities of the eighteenth century, and the wonderful entertainment of the deadly serious nurse who must get these new soldiers to stay healthy in the field. This is an experience of history no one should miss! This is a great place for kids and teens to really absorb the enormity of the soldier life. And the restoration of the only remaining barracks of the Revolutionary War is really well done. Be sure to visit the gift shop for many educational items, for adults and children, pertaining to history of the period.
At the entrance to the city you’ll want to photograph the beautiful Revolutionary War Memorial statue. Stop at city center to see NJ Historic Society Headquarters in a lovely pre-1760 house, where you can get free escorted tours of the historical sites around Princeton. Just across the street is the original building of the University, Nassau Hall, which was also taken over as an Army Barracks and Hospital and used by both Continental and British soldiers . This was the site of the British’ last stand. You can traverse the lovely Princeton campus and enter many of the ivy-clad buildings. And you’ll want to take the tour of the Princeton Battlefield State Park.
When In Princeton
You can ask almost anyone in Princeton the way to the Nassau Inn on Palmer Square to eat at Yankee Doodle Tap Room where Einstein doodled and worked his wonderful brain over many a mug. You’ll recognize many other faces on the wall of famous Princeton grads, which include movie stars and astronauts. The original Norman Rockwall painting of the Yankee Doodle Soldier is over the bar. Food here is deliciously hearty and portions are huge. Service is excellent, and some of the personnel even remember seeing Einstein. Don’t miss the delicious signature warm chocolate bread pudding.