BASKING RIDGE, NJ – It’s late August. Summer will soon be over, but isn’t there time for at least one more adventure? How about an historic tavern/pub crawl and tour?
We like touring Morris and Somerset County since this is the “cockpit of the revolution” and most of the old taverns were meeting places of the resistance. Want to grab a pint where General Washington drank (and maybe slept)? How about a cold one where Ben Franklin gathered his thoughts? Here’s where history meets the road, literally. In addition to churches, pubs and taverns served as the meeting places of the revolution. How fun now would it be to create a trip, learn some great stories, and maybe even sit and have a bite and drink.
This project is a community effort to create tours of historic taverns, gin mills, speakeasies across the New York/New Jersey metro area. There’s only one condition. All of the postings to the map need to be at LEAST 100 years old. That’s it. And many of the locations are not just about the revolutionary war. For example, take in Hoboken while you learn about Frank Sinatra and some of his favorite early hangouts.
One of the best things about history is the method you choose to learn it. This idea grew out of a great memory of a Hoboken Pub Crawl I went on a number of years ago. If you know your history, Hoboken has the highest concentration of bars/pubs in the US. Back in the late 1700’s, when travel was slower, each town had three places to support travel: a hotel, a church, and a pub or tavern. Tavern’s are where people met, swapped stories, and history was made. Now it’s your turn to create a list that will later be turned into a Historic Pub Crawl Event.
1. Morris/Somerset County Tour (About 3 hours)
Start at the historic Arnolds Tavern site in Morristown where there have been not just one winter encampment during the revolutionary war, but two! Go up the street to see the winter home of General George Washington while your there. Then move south to grab a bite at the historic Grain House Restaurant in Basking Ridge. After, drive down to view the historic Coffee House in Madisonville section of Bernards Township. After the quick stop, travel thru downtown Basking Ridge and find the site of the historic Widow Whites Tavern. Then back up the road past John Parker’s Tavern in Bernardsville. Then make a choice to close out the event. Delicious Heights (Bedminster), Stirling Hotel (Long Hill), Pluckemin Inn (Pluckemin) or the Gladstone Tavern (Gladstone).
2. Super Car Tour (Make a Day of It)
Here’s one to make a day of it. This tour is a combination of sites, standing taverns, and active eateries. If there are 5 on the list you have to hit we’d suggest: McSorley’s in NYC (Active), Fraunces Tavern (Active), Arnolds Tavern (Morristown/Site), Widow Whites Tavern (Basking Ridge/Site), Logan Inn (Active/New Hope,PA) and end at City Tavern in Philadelphia. You complete this tour and you’ve probably seen the top historic venues in the tri-state area.
3. Suggested Motorcycle Tour (Make an Afternoon of It)
A slice of city, country, and a tour worth riding. One of the best rides is to start at the historic Arnold Tavern Site in Morristown, New Jersey. Then decide which direction to take.
4. Tour Taverns and Inns along the Delaware River
Travel South – From there many make the decision to travel south towards New Hope, PA. There are plenty of active open taverns, as well as a number of taverns/Inns that are now restored homes or historic sites. Great fun traveling down the banks of the Delaware River south to Lambertville, NJ and New Hope, PA. Check out the Logan Inn and check out a few ghost stories.
Travel North – Another favorite is to start in Princeton, NJ and work your way north through Hunterton County, Morris County, and north to Sussex County.
5. Suggested Uber or Lyft Tour (Make a Night of It)
Here’s where you get the chance to get your drink on while getting a fill of history. Start with a walk, then grab a rideshare and keep it going.
NYC and Hoboken by far are the best historic walking and Uber pub crawl tours on the map. There are more bars per square mile in Hoboken than anywhere in America! With Hoboken just across the Hudson River you could take just a few hours and visit historic taverns that are both open and visible. Fraunces Tavern in NYC is a MUST! Either start or end there!
Brooks Betz, a Basking Ridge resident, writes on interesting historical places and people on the T3 Consortium website. Check out the full post, which comes with an interactive map, and, if you know of any other taverns, you can provide its name, history, whether it is still serving and don't forget to take and send photos.