I was really hoping to squeeze in a camping trip this past Memorial Day weekend. But my band’s schedule and the weather conspired to make an overnight trip impossible. However, following my own advice of the Acceptably Awesome adventure, my older son and I did a day trip on Saturday to the Princeton area that ended up being a blast. It totally scratched the itch for exploring some new territory and was under an hour from our home.
Not only did our trip on the D&R Canal Path to Princeton include biking through a beautiful and unfamiliar part of the state, but it included pancakes and record shopping too!
Our family has ridden the western “feeder” section of the D&R Canal many times. When riding the feeder we will park near Washington’s Crossing and ride north into Lambertville for lunch before turning back around. We always enjoy that trip but I wanted to try something a bit different this time around and so we set our sights on the eastern, “main” canal section of the D&R Canal.
This time around my son and I rode the main part of the canal. We parked out near the Griggstown Kayak and Canoe shop which is just about 10 miles northeast of downtown Princeton. We rode southwest on the canal trail until reaching Alexander Street. From here it is 1.5 miles into downtown Princeton. Alexander Street has a sidewalk/path off of the main road until you reach University Place where kids can ride the sidewalk so you can make the whole trip into downtown with minimal interaction with cars if you’ve got kids with you and are nervous about that.
We locked up our bikes on Nassau Street and had a great lunch at PJ’s Pancake House that included Oreo pancakes and a killer huevos rancheros burrito. Afterwards we spent a long time at the Princeton Record Exchange picking out some great music. A day that includes a beautiful 20 mile ride, pancakes and browsing for music is tough to beat!
Note that if 20 miles seems too far for you and your family there are many parking lots along the D&R where you can start your ride — many much closer to Princeton (you can also start in New Brunswick if you want to get in a longer ride, too).
Anyway, here are some maps to help you out. This is a great day trip for folks in the Central New Jersey area.
Princeton Campus Bike Map (you can take Harrison, Washington or Alexander into downtown. I took Alexander because my son was riding a bike that was too big for him and I didn’t want him to navigate too much downtown street traffic.) We took Harrison back down to the bike trail. The traffic wasn’t horrendous but Alexander’s separate path is probably the safest bet for young kids.