A Brief History of Black Friday

Black Friday is fast approaching, and in Palmer Square, you’re bound to discover countless sales and killer finds you’ll want to purchase for your family and friends.

While the many shops at Palmer Square will be offering incredible deals that you might not believe, here are some historic facts about ‘Black Friday’ that are pretty unbelievable too.


  • The “Black Friday” tradition likely began in the 1920’s when department stores such as Macy’s and Eaton’s threw Thanksgiving Day parades to whet the appetites of consumers for a holiday shopping feast.
  • It was an unwritten rule that no store would try doing any holiday shopping advertising before the parades were over, making the day after Thanksgiving the official start of the holiday shopping season.
  • The term “Black Friday” first surfaced in 1951 to describe the practice of workers calling in sick on the day after Thanksgiving in order to have a four-day weekend.
  • Around the same time in Philadelphia, the term was used by police, cabbies, bus drivers, and retail workers to to depict the horde of shoppers that descended into the city on the days following Thanksgiving.
  • In the 1980’s, “Black Friday” was marketed to have gotten its name as being the day on which retailers finally began to show a profit for the year (in accounting terms, moving from being “in the red” to “in the black”) after operating at an overall loss from January through mid-November.
  • Many merchants disliked the negative connotation of the phrase ‘Black Friday’ and tried to rebrand it as ‘Big Friday’.
  • The success of “Black Friday” inspired merchants to invent new shopping holidays such as Super Saturday and Cyber Monday.

Fun Thanksgiving Facts

When most people think of a Princeton Thanksgiving, the first thing that comes to mind is spending joyous time with family and feasting on culinary delights such as as golden-roasted turkey, fluffy stuffing, tangy cranberry sauce, and whipped cream on top of pumpkin pie at the historic Yankee Doodle Tap Room.

Wherever you spend your Thanksgiving, here are 10 fun Thanksgiving Day facts to think about and share with your family and friends as you dig into this year’s turkey:

Since 1947, the president has pardoned a live turkey every Thanksgiving and allows it to live out its days on a historical farm.

The first Thanksgiving was a moment for the Pilgrims to thank God for allowing them to kill enough game and grow sufficient crops to get through the winter.

Wild turkeys can fly in short bursts at speeds up to 55 MPH.

Now a Thanksgiving dinner staple, cranberries actually were used by Native Americans to treat wounds and dye clothing. They did not eat them.


The Thanksgiving Day football tradition began with Yale and Princeton, who played their first game in 1876 and drew yearly crowds of 40,000 to see them duke it out.

Princeton vs yale

The tradition of breaking a wishbone for good luck started with the Romans.


So consumed with passion for the turkey and its respectful stature, it is said that Benjamin Franklin proposed the turkey become the United States national bird. However, the bald eagle, which Franklin thought had a “bad moral character” won out.

national turkey

St. Patrick’s Day might get the press, but the day before Thanksgiving is the biggest day for bar and liquor sales in the U.S., also ahead of the Super Bowl or New Years’ Eve.

liquor sales

The first national Thanksgiving was declared by President George Washington in 1789 – although it didn’t stick until Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation in 1863.

George Washington

Considered the “Mother of Thanksgiving,” Sara Hale (1788-1879) was an influential editor and writer who urged President Lincoln to proclaim a national day of thanksgiving. She selected the last Thursday in November because, as she said, harvests were done, elections were over, and summer travelers were home.

sarah hale

5 Reasons to Hold Your Next Business Function at the Nassau Inn

If you’re thinking the Nassau Inn may be the perfect destination to host your next business function, we’re positive you’re right. Here are five standout reasons why the Nassau Inn is the best choice for your group:

Convenient and Engaging Location

When it comes to atmosphere and culture, downtown Princeton is second-to-none. Rich cultural and historical offerings, awe-inspiring architecture, a dynamic art scene, world-class dining options, boutique shopping, outdoor recreation activities, and the the spirit of a top university town can all be found just steps outside our front door.

Princeton 1

Flexible Event Space

Connect, inspire, and celebrate with over 10,000 square feet of versatile event space.  Whether you’re looking to host a conference spanning multiple days or a meeting that lasts just a few hours, our state-of-the-art meeting facilities will help you execute your distinct vision with unrestricted flexibility and creativity.


Distinctive Food & Beverage Choices

Nothing powers up a business function more than great food. From breakfast buffets and light lunches to delicious desserts and a full beverage list, our exquisite in-house food and beverage selection is certain to meet the needs of your event. Our talented food and beverage team can suggest an innovative menu with delectable options to entertain any number of guests.


Increased Connectivity

Our event spaces will truly connect with your attendees via our powerful and reliable Wi-Fi network. Whether you’re hosting a videoconference, accessing a presentation, or editing and emailing important documents, we are equipped with more than enough bandwidth to meet your needs.


Dedicated Conference Planners

Event planning is easy when you work with the Nassau Inn. For a smooth, productive, and memorable experience, all of our clients are assigned a dedicated Conference Planning Manager. Your manager will work with you every step of the way to capture the details of your event from guest accommodations, to function set-up, menu selections, audio/video requirements, and all other anticipated needs.



10 Reasons Why Fall is a Great Time to Have a Wedding


Cozy Vibes

There’s something so intimate and homey about an autumn wedding.
Exhibit A: this cozy tablescape that’s got us all swooning.

Fall Tablescape

Stunning Scenery

Fall foliage as your wedding portrait backdrop? It doesn’t get any better than that.

fall foilage nassau

In-season Florals

Dahlia, alstroemeria, celosia… the list goes on for pretty flowers you’ll find for fall.

Fall Florals

Historic Venues

Let’s be real – historic weddings and autumn go together like PB&J, and for the rustic-loving bride fall is the perfect time of year.

Fall Wedding 2

Outdoor Ceremony

You can have a beautiful outdoor ceremony without worrying your guests are going to melt or freeze.


Fresh Foods

The food! Think apple cider signature cocktails, a delicious soup course, and donuts for dessert

Fall food


You can create gorgeous décor on the cheap — crunchy leaves, votives, and beautiful branches all make lovely decorations. Plus, they’re more budget-friendly than flowers.

fall decor 1

Fall Sun

Because of the way engagement rings sparkle in the fall sun.

autumn engagement ring

Guest lists

Wedding guests do not have to work around their summer vacations in order to attend.

Fall wedding guests

NO bad hair days!

Frizz-free wedding hair.

frizz free 4


Outside Art: The Great Outdoor Sculptures of Princeton University

All over Princeton University, colorful, interesting and some mystifying pieces of art liven up the campus environment. And, while passersbys appreciate the art that surrounds them, the looming question, ‘What does it mean?’ often crosses the minds of observers.

From the giant fountain in front of Scudder Plaza to the huge, color-laden stained glass display outside of the art museum, all the way to the ‘emerald green thing’ between Stanhope Hall and West College, each piece of art adorning the campus has its own backstory – some of which we hope to explain a little bit about in this blog segment.

(Any) Body Oddly Propped (2015)

Any Body Oddly Propped

  • Created by artists Mike and Doug Stern
  • Made from glass, steel, and bronze
  • Located on the front lawn of the Princeton University Art Musuem
  • Inspired by energy systems found in nature
  • Invites visitors to linger amidst the sculpture and experience it under constantly shifting light conditions
  • Weighs nearly 8 tons and is constructed of six 18-foot tall colored glass panels

    Cubi Xiii (1963)
    Cubi XIII

  • Created by artist David Smith (1906-1965)
  • Made from stainless steel
  • Located between McCormick Hall and Whig Hall
  • Installed in 1969
  • David’s Smith’s final and most famed sculptures
  • The geometric shapes are assembled to evoke the human figure
  • Cubi Xiii traveled widely between the years of 1964-1969 before finding a home at Princeton Univeristy
  • Smith polished the stainless steel so that it would reflect the color of its surroundings
  • One in a series of 28 sculptures. One sold for over $23.8 million

    Centaur  (1954)
    Centaur with Pipes

  • Created by artist Dimitri Hadzi (1921-2006)
  • Located in the Prospect Gardens
  • Installed in 1971
  • Made from cast bronze
  • Inspired by Hadzi’s lifelong interest in mythology
  • His work is in the collections of many major museums, among them the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston
  • The fountain was commissioned by President Robert F. Goheen, a classicist, when Prospect House was still home to the University’s president

    Public Table (1979)
    Public Table

  • Created by artist Scott Burton (1939-1989)
  • Located between East Pyne Hall & Murray-Dodge Hall
  • Made from cast concrete
  • Installed in 1998
  • Burton’s work has been described as “sculpture in love with furniture”
  • It’s an actual usable table where students and passersby can socialize or study
  • Based on an identical example in the sculpture garden at General Mills in Minneapolis, MN
  • Burton believed that “art should place itself not in front of, but around, behind, and underneath the audience.”

    Oval with Points (1970)
    Oval with Points

  • Created by artist Sir Henry Moore (1898-1986)
  • Located between Stanhope Hall and West College
  • Made from bronze
  • Installed in 1971
  • Said to have been inspired by an elephant’s skull
  • The appearance of the sculpture changes when viewed from various angles. Some see resemble a face and as you walk further around, the face will contort like a comedy/tragedy masks on a theater façade.
  • There are other casts of the work in Kew Gardens and Columbus Museum of Art

    Head of a Woman (1971)
    Head of a woman

  • Originally created by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
  • Located between Spelman Halls and New South Building
  • Installed in 1971
  • Artist, Carl Nejar executed the sculpture from a 12-inch maquette that Picasso had completed in 1962
  • The sculpture is intended to depict the essence of the female form
  • Carl Nejar was often referred to as Picasso’s right arm
  • The sculpture is nearly 16’ high

    The Hedgehog and the Fox (2000)
    The Hedgehog and the Fox

  • Created by artist Richard Serra (1939)
  • Located between Lewis Library and Fine Hall
  • Made from Core-Ten steel
  • Installed in 2000
  • The title of the sculpture refers to an essay “The Hedgehog & the Fox” by Isaiah Berlin that points to how scholars become free thinkers and invent or become subjugated to the dictates of history.
  • The sculpture is 94 feet long and 15 feet high and invites visitors to walk through it
  • It is said that ‘without interaction with the piece, there is no piece’

    Titan (2004)

  • Created by artist Michele Oka Doner (1945)
  • Located near the Prospect House
  • Made from bronze
  • Installed in 2004
  • Collobaration between longtime friends: artist, Michele Oka Donna and model, Micky Wolfson
  • The hollow sponge-like figure evokes both growth and decay
  • The work was donated to Princeton University Art Museum in honor of longtime Princeton benefactor Mickey Wolfson’s 70th birthday

    Atmosphere and Environment (1970)
    atmosphere and the environment

  • Created by artist Louise Nevelson
  • Located adjacent to Firestone Library
  • Made from Core-Ten steel
  • Installed in 1971
  • The sculpture achieves its magic through the play of natural light over its geometric surface
  • Standing at 21-feet tall, it creates a variety of constantly changing visual images as the viewer moves past it.
  • Nelson explained, “The landscape is the atmosphere that fills the spaces of the steel environment; the two together are the sculpture.”
  • Nevelson’s was nearly 70 years old when she undertook the Princeton commission, her first monumental outdoor sculpture in Cor-Ten steel.

    Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads
    Circle of Heads

  • Created by artist Ai Weiwei
  • Located at Scudder Plaza
  • Made from bronze
  • Installed from 2012 to 2016
  • Inspired by sculptures that once adorned the fountain clock at Yuanming Yuan, representing signs of the zodiac.
  • Each of the 12 sculpture stands approximately 10 feet high and weighs 800 pounds
  • It is significant that the sculptures are placed alongside the Scudder Plaza reflecting pool, as the original Zodiacs were in front of the fountain of the imperial palace.

    Fountain of Freedom (1966)
    Fountain of Freedom

  • Created by artist James Fitzgerald (1910-1973)
  • Located at Scudder Plaza
  • Made from bronze
  • Installed in 1966
  • Standing at 23-feet high and weighing 6 tons, the fountain is one of the largest cast bronze sculptures in the United States.
  • Named to symbolize Woodrow Wilson’s vision of lasting world peace
  • The grooves, channels, and spires are meant to symbolize Woodrow Wilson’s aspirations and frustrations.
  • It was once referred “Jersey Shore West” back when visitors used to play and wade in the water
  • 700 gallons of water are recirculated through the fountain each minute

Our Top 5 for Picnic Spots in Princeton

Summer may be coming to a close, but picnic season is far from over! Pack a blanket and a wicker basket full of snacks, sandwiches, and champagne because we’ve put together some of the best picnic spots from across Princeton.

Palmer Square
Palmer Square 1

Undoubtedly one of Princeton’s most inviting green spaces, this city-center oasis is literally on our front door step. It’s a popular spot with nearby office workers, frayed shoppers, and, of course, our hotel guests.

Princeton Battlefield Park
Princeton Battlefield 3

A unique blend of American history and natural beauty can be found in the open fields of Princeton Battlefield State Park. When you’re done whiling around, feel free to take a leisurely hike through the adjacent Institute Woods.

D&R Canal
D&R Canal

The banks of the D&R Canal make for a lovely, leafy spot from which to watch canoers and kayakers. The area is a hive of activity most weekends. You can even have a picnic in a canoe.

Marquand Park
Marquand Park 3

Abundant with woodland, forest glades, and meadows, Marquand Park provides plenty of lush spots for those planning a leisurely picnic away from the hustle and bustle of Nassau Street.

Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve
Mountain Lakes

Often referred to as Princeton’s “Central Park”, this 75 acre patch of greenery has wide appeal. There are countless beautiful spots within the park to set yourself down and enjoy your food. With a variety of trails traversing the preserve, you can start or end your day with a scenic

Princeton Ghosts & Hauntings

Ghost WashingtonDo you believe in ghosts? Princeton is one of those places where skeptics cross the threshold and start saying yes. Mysterious lights, strange presences, and ghostly figures have made Princeton a ghost hunter’s paradise.

Nestled between New York and Philadelphia, the small town of Princeton is steeped in history. From the Lenape Native Americans, to the British settlement, to the Revolutionary War, to our world famous university, the paranormal footprint left behind here by the people and events of centuries past isn’t too difficult to find.

“You may think you know Princeton well, but there’s a lot more than meets the eye,” said Mimi Omiecinski, owner of Princeton Ghost Tours. “Many people just find Princeton way too beautiful to leave, even after death.”

Ghostly sightings and experiences have been noted in just about every part of town, including here at the Nassau Inn and the Yankee Doodle Tap Room, where dozens of apparitions have been accounted for throughout the course of two and half centuries.

Nick Ballas, Director of Rooms at the Nassau Inn, reported on several occasions of having heard strange noises, seen bizarre figures, and, while staying overnight, witnessed a translucent woman in a white dress floating up the stairs from the 2nd to 3rd floor. “It was both spooky and mesmerizing at the same time,” Ballas recounted.

“The fifth floor is where some of the eeriest stories come from,” remarked a front desk attendant at the Nassau Inn. “There were several instances where guests called down with concerns of hearing constant chatter from disembodied voices. A few guests also described feelings of being hugged by an invisible stranger.”

As a regular stop along the Princeton Ghost Tour route, Mimi Omiecinski knows first-hand that the Nassau Inn is a hotbed of oddities and anomalies. “It’s not just a bunch of kooky ghost stories,” she explained. “We have evidence that they are here.”

You don’t have to take Omiecinski’s word for it, though. She proves the presence of ethereal beings by providing her tour groups with dowsing rods, EMF detectors, and therma-meters.

“Ghosts don’t always announce their presences with scents, sounds or slime,” said Omiecinski. “Ghosts, by their ethereal nature, tend to be a tad elusive. But, with this equipment we can locate, and often communicate with the other side.”

And, Princeton purportedly has quite the cast of famous specters in the area to communicate with. George Washington, John Witherspoon, and Albert Einstein are among the many celebrity spirits associated with Princeton that are believed to frequent the surrounding shops, residences, hotels, and university.

“Princeton has all the right features conducive of paranormal activity,” said Omiecinski. “The historic buildings are conduits of energy that spirits draw from.  You can bet that ghosts like George Washington and Albert Einstein are dropping by Nassau Hall, the McCarter Theater, and the Yankee Doodle Tap Room all the time.”

No matter what you believe about ghosts and the afterlife, one thing is certain – the historic town of Princeton has a lot more odd, unexplained activity than most other places in the world. And, while we don’t guarantee a ghost sighting when you book a room with us, taking a Princeton Ghost Tour should be on your to-do list while you’re here. “Not only is it great time for adults and children alike,” said Omiecinski. “But, what you’ll hear is true and what you’ll see is real.”

The Architecture of Princeton University

If you’ve ever explored the open campus of Princeton University, you may have found yourself in awe of the gloriously designed landscape that’s older than the United States itself. The architectural history is so vast and filled with such variety that it was once described as being “a beautiful sculpture garden for famous architects’ buildings”. Easily within walking distance from our front door, it seems only right to share some of what we know about these beautiful structures and the architects behind them.

Nassau Hall (1754-56)

Everywhere - nassau hall

          Fun Facts About the Building

  • Built 1754-56 by architect Robert Smith
  • Georgia Colonial style
  • Named after: King William III of the House of Nassau.
  • At the time, it was the largest stone structure in North America
  • It is the oldest building at Princeton University.
  • It was possessed by both American & British troops during the Revolutionary War.
  • It suffered from fires in 1802 and 1855.

    Fun Facts About the Architect
    Nassau Hall was the 3rd building he designed in the colonies.
  • Other important works include St. Peter’s Church, Benjamin Franklin’s House, Carpenter’s Hall, and Walnut Street Prison (all in Philadelphia).
  • During the revolutionary war, he produced designs for military architecture to protect Philadelphia from British attack.

President’s House/Maclean’s House
Everywhere - Palmer House

Fun Facts About the Building

  • Built 1754-56 by architect Robert Smith
  • Philadelphia Georgian Style
  • Named after John Maclean, Jr. – founder of the Alumni Association and the last president to occupy the house throughout his administration.
  • 10 University Presidents & 7 Deans lived here.

Prospect House

Fun Facts About the Building

  • It was an 18th century home rebuilt 1850-52 by architect John Notman
  • Italianate style
  • Woodrow Wilson lived here before he became governor of NJ & President of the United States.
  • It was donated to the college in 1878.
  • Dignitaries such as Theodore Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Truman have been entertained at the house.
  • It is one of the best preserved early Italianate villas in the country.

          Fun Facts About the Architect

  • Also known for NJ State Lunatic Asylum, Laurel Hill Cemetery Gatehouse, Athenaeum of Philadelphia, and the Church of the Holy Trinity.
  • Credited with introducing Italianate style to America.
  • He was a founding member of the American Institute of Architects.

Edwards Hall

Edwards Hall
Built: 1879-80
Architect: Edward D. Lindsey
Style: Romanesque




      Fun Facts About the Building       Fun Facts About the Architect
  • Named after Jonathon Edwards, the third president of the college.
  • Originally designed to provide cheap rooms for struggling students.
  • It is now among the most desirable addresses on campus since its renovation in 1985.
  • He was a professor of architecture and the Curator of Buildings and Grounds for the College.
  • Also known for the French Theater and Girard Building in New York.
  • One of his early interests was construction of fire-proof buildings.

FitzRandolph GateFitzRandolph Gate
Built: 1905
Architects: McKim, Meade, & White
Made from: Authentic wrought iron from England





       Fun Facts About the Structure      Fun Facts About the Architects
  • Named after Nathaniel FitzRandolph, who was instrumental in raising the money and land required to build the College.
  • It’s the official entrance to the College.
  • It was originally kept closed and locked, except at graduation, the P-Rade, or when a notable guest was visiting.
  • The Class of 1970 ensured the gate would always remain open as a symbol of the University’s openness to the local and worldwide community.
  • Also known for Pennsylvania Station, Brooklyn Museum, the main campus of Columbia University, and mansions in Newport, RI.
  • Their work has been said to define the Gilded Age of America.
  • They were invited to renovate the White House in 1903.
  • With a staff of over 100, the firm became the model for the modern architectural practice.

Firestone LibraryFirestone Library
Built: 1946-1948
Architect: O’Connor & Kilham
Style: Collegiate Gothic Revival




      Fun Facts About the Building       Fun Facts About the Architect
  • Named after tire magnate Harvey Firestone.
  • The library has 70 miles of bookshelves, more than 7 million books, 6 million microfilms, and 48,000 linear feet of manuscripts.
  • Most books are stored in partially underground levels.
  • It was the last building on campus to be built in the gothic style.
  • Also known for work on the Metropolitan Museum, Trinity College, and Smith College.
  • Their firm specialized in storage depots and barracks.
  • Robert O’Connor was a Princeton trained architect.
  • Walter Kilham spent over 3 years visiting libraries all around the world in preparation for the Firestone Library.

Happy Holidays!

Got your attention? Good! With only a mere 150 something days until Christmas, we thought it would be a great time to mention it’s not too early to start your holiday party planning.

Here’s a list of the benefits that comes with booking during the sizzling summer months:

IMG_3627Get the Date You Want
The best spaces fill up fast during the busy holiday season. By booking early you can secure the space you want before someone else does.


Full table w food in library

Save the Date
With so many holiday parties for work, friends, and family to compete with, booking early allows you to send out your holiday invitations sooner before your guests commit to other festivities. 

1-12-13 wedding - ballroom- xmas tree


Less Stress
Imagine having all your party planning done by August and floating through the fall months knowing that you don’t have to scramble to get things done.


Our Holiday Special
Book by August 31st and we will provide the centerpieces and individual favors for your guests.

For more information or to schedule a tour, please contact us at 609-921-7500 or sales@nassauinn.com

Magical Moments

The Fourth of July may be over, but here at the Nassau Inn, the fireworks are year round. Check out this magical collection of crowd pleasing wedding kisses below…

Courtney & Rob

Courtney and Rob






Bernice & Colin

Eileen & Elliot

Katie & Nick

Kim & Kenny

Laura & Jamie

Nicole & Tom

Sara & Michael

Virginia & Ryan