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Follow the Tracks of George Washington in New Jersey

The latest update for Follow the Tracks of George Washington in New Jersey is written by Lindsay Podolak.

George Washington is best known as the nation’s first president. But, before then, it was General Washington who led the Continental Army to victory over the British troops. Many crucial moments in history took place during this time, with New Jersey as the backdrop. Today, those interested can still feel Washington’s presence at these historic locations throughout NJ.


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Morristown National Historical Park

exterior shot of log cabin in the snow

Location: 30 Washington Place, Morristown
Details: Morristown was the epicenter of Washington’s time in New Jersey, particularly because of its strategic location between Philadelphia and New York. Today, visitors to Morristown National Historical Park can commemorate the site of the December 1779 to June 1780 encampment at Jockey Hollow, during which time the Continental Army soldiers experienced the coldest winter on record. There is a museum and library all about the history of the encampments, as well as Washington himself.
More info: Visit the website or call 973-539-2016 x210.


Ford Mansion

exterior shot of white mansion in the snow

Location: 30 Washington Place, Morristown
Details: Part of Morristown National Historical Park, Ford Mansion has the same address, but is separate from the outdoor encampment. Built in the Georgian style in the early 1770s, Ford Mansion was the home of Jacob Ford Jr., his wife Theodosia, and their four children. Jacob passed away while soldiers from Delaware were staying in the home. Later, Theodosia allowed Washington, his family, servants, dignitaries, and others to stay with her and the children. Today, visitors can join a guided tour to see what the house looked like back in Washington’s day.
More info: Visit the website or call 973-539-2016 x210.


Fort Lee Historic Park

exterior shot of park building with schoolchildren out front

Location: Hudson Terrace, south of the George Washington Bridge, Fort Lee
Details: Fort Lee Historic Park sits atop a cliff with fabulous views of the George Washington Bridge. The site includes a visitor center and reconstructed Revolutionary War encampment. Schools can make reservations for the “living history” program, which has students act as soldiers in the Continental Army as actors lead them into battle. Visitors are also welcome to stop by the park and check out the “fort” from which George Washington and his troops retreated in 1776. A reenactment of the retreat takes place every year in November but the grounds are open all year long.
More info: Visit the website or you can click here to call.


Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

exterior shot of small hamlet with variety of homes and white clapboard church

Location: Last exit off Route 80 in western New Jersey
Details: Known as the Old Mine Road, this stretch of street follows the Delaware River, which is rich with historical significance. It dates back to well before the Revolutionary War. Still, the area is linked to George Washington because he and his soldiers frequently traveled the road. And lest we forget that Washington and his troops crossed this river when it was icy and cold on December 25 to 26 in 1776 to execute a surprise attack on a Hessian army of about 1,400 soldiers in Trenton.
More info: Visit the website or you can click here to call.


Rockingham Historic Site

exterior shot of white mansion and picket fence in the snow

Location: 84 Laurel Avenue, Franklin Township
Details: This was George Washington’s last home during the Revolutionary War. It is here, on October 31, 1783, that he learned the final version of the Treaty of Paris had been signed and the colonies were free of Great Britain. He also wrote the “Farewell Orders to the Armies of the United States” from here. The site supports a fine collection of 18th-century furnishings and military reproductions, a Colonial kitchen garden, and a children’s museum. Guided tours of Rockingham Historic Site are available Wednesday through Sunday.
More info: Visit the website or you can click here to call.


Dey Mansion

front exterior shot of brick mansion in the snow

Location: 199 Totowa Road, Wayne
Details: Dey Mansion served as Washington’s headquarters during the summer and fall of 1780. Many notable figures visited here (and even called Dey Mansion home) during this time, including Alexander Hamilton and Marquis de Lafayette. Today, the mansion serves as an example of Georgian architecture as well as an important historical landmark in the Preakness Valley. Dey Mansion is open for tours Wednesday through Sunday.
More info: Visit the website or you can click here to call.


Wallace House and Old Dutch Parsonage

exterior shot of white clapboard house with large lawn and trees

Location: 71 Somerset Street, Somerville
Details: When George Washington found himself in need of assistance at the height of the Revolution, Wallace House became a temporary home for the general. Washington spent two weeks at Wallace House during the winter of 1778 before heading to Philadelphia. He then returned to Wallace House in 1779 to plan a successful military campaign against the Iroquois League.
More info: Visit the website or you can click here to call.


Cross Keys Tavern

exterior shot of white clapboard tavern/inn; old photocopy image

Location: S James Street, Woodbridge
Details: All that remains of the Cross Keys Tavern now is a historical marker, but it is in that spot that George Washington spent the night on April 22, 1789. It wasn’t just any night, either– it was the night before he left for New York City, where he would be inaugurated as President just days later. Currently this location is home to a Knights of Columbus meeting place.
More info: Click here for details.


Boxwood Hall

exterior shot of large red flat-front mansion in the snow

Location: 1073 East Jersey Street, Elizabeth
Details: After leaving Cross Keys Tavern, another stop on George Washington’s route to NYC was Boxfood Hall. Here he visited his friend Elias Boudinot, the former president of the Continental Congress. Today Boxwood Hall hosts lectures and is available to tour.
More info: Visit the NJ Parks and Forests website or you can click here to call.


Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park

exterior shot of waterfall and rocky cliffs against a backdrop of homes

Location: 72 McBride Avenue, Paterson
Details: On July 10, 1778, George Washington stopped at the Great Falls for a picnic with Alexander Hamilton and the Marquis de Lafayette. Several years after what is dubbed as “the most important picnic in American history,” Hamilton would go on to found the City of Paterson. Visitors can explore the park and the Paterson Museum today.
More info: Visit the website.


Monmouth Battlefield State Park

shot of reenactors with tools in a wooded area

Location: 16 Business Route 33, Manalapan
Details: What is now a state park was once the site of one of the largest battles of the American Revolution, the Battle of Monmouth. While the outcome is considered a draw, George Washington and his men did inflict more casualties and were able to retain the battlefield. Each June you can witness a reenactment of the Battle of Monmouth, complete with authentic soldiers, weapons and music.
More info: Click here or you can give them a call.


Hero (Top) Photo: © Morristown National Historical Park
Other Photos (in Order):
Morristown National Historic Park / Facebook
Morristown National Historic Park / Facebook
Palisades Park Conservancy / Website
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area / Facebook
Rockingham Historic Site / Facebook
Dey Mansion Washington’s Headquarters / Facebook
Patrick Lombardi / Best of NJ
The History Girl / Facebook
Boxwood Hall State Historic Site / Facebook
Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park / Facebook
Monmouth Battlefield State Park / Facebook