Day Trip: Burlington City

Its revitalized downtown buzzes with antiques shops, cute restaurants, and a riverfront park ideal for strolling.

1 Presidential history: Ulysses S. Grant reportedly arm-wrestled Abraham Lincoln at the Blue Anchor Inn and later announced the president’s assassination from the balcony of his home here. Grant’s house (309 Wood St) is privately owned, but you can walk through the former residences of James Fenimore Cooper and naval war hero Captain James Lawrence (457 and 459 High St, 609-386-0200).

2 Ride the rails: The new River Line (West Broad St, 800-772-2222, njtransit.com) runs from the center of downtown to the Adventure Aquarium, the Tweeter Center, Trenton’s Waterfront Park, and nearby towns—$1.35 one way. Weekday trains run every 15 minutes; weekend trains, every half hour.

3 Rollin’ on the river: The 60-mile Delaware River Heritage Trail connects New Jersey and Pennsylvania via the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, but the trail’s most stroll-friendly section is a paved path through Riverfront Park. You can picnic on the wide lawn or hitch a ride on the tall ship A.J. Meerwald, which will offer public sailing and tours when it docks in Burlington in early September (High St at the riverfront, 800-485-3072).

4 Sweet treats: Visit the old-fashioned UMMM Ice Cream Parlor (236 High St, 609-387-9786) or Lamplighter Confections (400 High St, 609-387-8550), which has a portrait of Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka. Fresh-baked goodies are available next door at My Sticky Bunns (400 High St, 609-386-3186).

5 Dine with the stars: At Legends Gourmet Pizza & Salads (318 High St, 609-386-3001), live bands play every Friday and Saturday night. The tastiest entertainment comes from star-inspired pizza such as the Jimi (wild mushrooms, spinach, balsamic onions, and goat cheese) and the Don Ho (pineapple, smoked bacon, mandarin orange segments, and Fontina).

6 Treasure hunt: Blackbeard was rumored to have hidden his riches in town, but the best booty now comes from the shops along High Street. Browse the glitzy handmade hats at Christina’s (317 High St, 609-386-8500), and explore the Tin & Berry Olde Country Store (331 High St, 609-386-5565). The giant Historic Burlington Antiques Emporium (424 High St, 609-747-8333, pictured) will keep you occupied for hours. And don’t miss the juried Wood Street crafts fair (609-386-0200), slated for the first Saturday after Labor Day.

Purchased by Quaker settlers in 1677—in exchange for gunpowder, pipes, and cloth—Burlington was the capital of West Jersey until it merged with East Jersey in 1702. Settled: 1693
Population: 9,791
Area: 3.7 square miles

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