It is unofficially fall (official date September 23). There is already evidence of the upcoming season even though daytime temperatures are hovering around the 80s and close to the 60s at night. Leaves are starting to turn colors and fall from the trees, so the beautiful foliage should be upon us in a couple of weeks, and hopefully the beginning of October will gorgeous. Fortunately for us, Princeton’s bucolic setting offers many opportunities for leaf peeping.
Don’t take this scenery for granted. Drive around town or in the greater Princeton area to witness the display of vibrant colors. Remember to bring your camera or smartphone with you to capture some great still photos or video.
The northern half of Princeton is known for its tree-lined, narrow, winding roads with amazing canopies. You can drive these very short routes within 15 minutes roundtrip, yet still be satisfied with the seasonal eye candy. These tours are also fine for cyclists.
- Western Princeton Tour – The Great Road north, right on Cherry Valley, right on Cherry Hill, right on State Road (Rt. 206) back to town. Cyclist, turn right on Cherry Hill.
- Central Princeton Tour – North on Mt. Lucus, left on Princeton Avenue, Left on State Road (Rt. 206). Cyclist, turn left on Cherry Hill.
- Eastern Princeton Tour – Nassau Street becomes Princeton-Kingston Road, left on Snowden Lane, left on Herrontown (which becomes Bunn Drive), right on Poor Farm, left on Mt. Lucus (which becomes Witherspoon), continue to town.
Playing music for the season during the drive can really set the mood. Some random examples are: Samuel Barber – Adagio for Strings, op. 11, Green Day – Wake Me Up When September Ends, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong – Autumn in New York, Antonio Vivaldi – The Four Seasons: Autumn, Frank Sinatra – September Song, Ed Sheeran – Autumn Leaves, Chris Botti – Indian Summer, John Coltrane – Autumn Serenade, and Earth, Wind and Fire – September). For an additional appeal to the senses, you can purchase a Yankee Candle scented air vent clip for your car in fragrances like Apple Pumpkin, Autumn in the Park, or Autumn Wreath.
Surrounding areas provide spectacular views and canopies if you are looking for a longer drive. Stop by Terhune Orchards to buy their farm fresh apple cider and famous apple cider donuts to further enhance your experience if you plan on driving the Historic or Delaware Valley Tour. Or perhaps bring a picnic basket and have lunch at one of the tables at Washington Crossing State Park near the Delaware River, and enjoy a spectacular view while eating al fresco.
- Sourland Mountains Tour – Elm turns into The Great Road (Route 601), left on Grandview, right on Hollow, left on Zion-Wertsville that becomes Zion, right on Lindbergh, right on Wertsville, right on Long Hill, left on Hollow, left on Georgetown (Route 518), right on Cherry Hill, left on Cherry Valley and quick right back on Cherry Hill, right on Bayard (Route 206) into town.
- Historic Tour – Take Route 1 to I-95 South towards Philadelphia. Get off at Exit 1 and take Route 29 North (River Road) and turn right on Washington Crossing-Pennington Road (Route 546). The tour begins in Titusville at Washington Crossing State Park, where General George Washington made his famous crossing of the Delaware River on Christmas Day in 1776. Continue east on Washington Crossing-Pennington Road (Route 546). Turn left on Route 31 North to Ringoes, where the Black River and Western Railroad offers a scenic train ride through many of the region’s interesting towns. Continue on John Ringo Road (Route 579), turn left on Rosemont-Ringoes Road (Route 604) through Sergeantsville and drive over the state’s oldest covered bridge, the Green Sergeants Bridge. Continue to Rosemont, turn left on Kingwood-Stockton Road (Route 519) and bear left at curve. It will merge into Risler Street (Route 29) in Stockton. Follow along the scenic Delaware River through Lambertville. Stop here to enjoy the many antique shops, flea markets, art galleries and fine restaurants. Turn left on Bridge Street, immediate right then left at the fork on Brunswick Pike (Route 518). In Hopewell turn left on W. Broad Street and a right on Great Road (Route 601 or a right on State Road (Route 206) back into town.
- Delaware Valley Tour – Rosedale Road, right on Carter Road, left on Elm Ridge, left on Pennington-Rocky Hill, left on Scotch, right on Washington Crossing-Pennington, right on River Rd. Stop in Lambertville, have lunch or just walk around, with a possible walk over the bridge to New Hope and back. Continue by turning right on Brunswick Ave (Route 518), head into the Sourland Mountains by turning left on Stoney Brook, right on Mountain, left on Rileyville, quick right on Ridge, right on Lindbergh, left on Zion, right on Hollow, left on Georgetown (Route 518), right on Great Road (Route 601) or State Road (Route 206).