Princeton -- just a mention of the name evokes connotations of prestige and privilege. Indeed, this college town is home to one of the world's most elite institutions: Princeton University, which became an independent, secular entity when it broke away from the more religious Yale in 1756. About two decades later, the Battle of Princeton became a turning point in the Revolutionary War.
One of the more historical structures on campus is the sandstone Nassau Hall, which in 1783 served as America's temporary capitol (for 6 months); it was also the biggest academic building in the colonies. The faculty room, which visitors can see while on an organized campus tour, was built to be an exact replica of the British House of commons and now serves as a portrait gallery.
Other campus landmarks include the Gothic-style University Chapel, Frist Campus Center (the center of student life), Prospect Garden, the Tony-winning McCarter Theater Center, and the Art Museum of Princeton University.
While you traverse the campus, keep in mind some of the university's famous students over the years: they include Woodrow Wilson, James Madison, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Steve Forbes, and Michelle Obama. As for Albert Einstein's affiliation with the school, he was never a member of Princeton's faculty, as commonly believed, but did work on campus and lead a math seminar.
Off campus, this town of about 30,000 residents maintains a tree-lined area of shops, restaurants, community parks, arts and cultural resources, golf courses, and tennis clubs. Sights to see include the Princeton Battlefield State Park, the Museum of Natural History, colonial-style Palmer Square, and Drumthwacket, the governor's mansion. Also interesting is Princeton Cemetery, where the likes of Aaron Burr and Grover Cleveland are interred.
In nearby Trenton is the New Jersey State Museum, with fascinating collections and rotating exhibits of archaeological, ethnological, and artistic artifacts.
From Princeton Junction Station, you can catch a one-hour train ride to either New York City or Philadelphia. Also within easy commuting distance is the Sesame Place theme park in Pennsylvania and the Six Flags Great Adventure Park in Jackson.