October 2 – October 3 2017
How I got there
I was in New York preparing for a trip to Uzbekistan for my brothers wedding. I was staying near JFK airport so I took a combination of Q bus, LIRR, and NJ transit to make my way down from New York City to Trenton.
Where I stayed
Sadly, there were few hotel options in Trenton so I ended up staying at a Courtyard Marriott by JFK airport.
How I got around
Other than taking a cab to the grounds for sculpture, I mostly walked around to and from the NJ Transit station.
What I did
I arrived in the early morning and after a quick breakfast at the only sit down coffee shop in town, I wandered around the main downtown area. I stopped at the Old Barracks for an hour long tour where I learned a ton about the role of Trenton from the colonial period through the revolutionary war. The state house was under construction, but they still offered a tour of small parts of it. It was really cool to see some of the original Edison lightbulbs that were still in use throughout the capitol building.
The next day I came back in the morning, had breakfast at the same coffee shop and then visited the New Jersey State Museum. I wandered around town, had lunch at an old Italian kitchen, visited the main library, and then took a cab to the grounds for sculpture which was the highlight of my trip. While its technically not in Trenton, it's an amazing place full of life like sculptures.
What Was the Fuss?
Trenton is a city that is undergoing redevelopment. Trenton played a significant role during the revolutionary war. The famous image of George Washington crossing the Delaware river takes place just outside of Trenton. It was a massive industrial center during the 20th century, but like many cities in the rust belt, the decline of manufacturing in the US took a toll.
Trenton is not a tourist destination. There is no where to stay, not a lot of dining choices outside of fast food, and not much to do. It is not the safest place in the world, and I imagine that outside of the main historical downtown attractions, there are not many tourists wandering around town.
Beyond the abandoned buildings, wandering homeless people, and empty store fronts there seems to be a spark of redevelopment coming to the downtown area. Trenton has some beautiful parks, it is very easy to get to, and has a ton of history. With a little push it could someday be a destination for those wishing to learn about the early years of our nation.
They are getting their first Starbucks soon.