See our front page debut in The Princeton Packet from 1937.
Lori Rabon is the Vice President of Palmer Square. She has been at the Inn for over thirty years and has been Nassau Inn’s General Manager for the last twenty years. She is married, the mother of 5 children and will celebrate Christmas this year with her new grandson! Here’s a glimpse at Lori Rabon’s holiday traditions, as told by her daughter, Loren Shelton.
“Growing up, Christmas with the family was always our favorite day! As the oldest child of 5 and one of 10 cousins, Christmas was as chaotic as it was a blast!” said Loren. “On Christmas Eve, we always put on our Sunday’s best and went to church for the 5 o’ clock mass. This was the mass that included the children’s Christmas Play. Being in our family, which had so many children, there was always a family member acting! And you bet, our family was always the most obnoxious singers when it came to ‘Go Tell It on the Mountain!’
After church, the entire family would head back to Nanny and Poppy’s house for dinner. Nanny always made her famous beef bourguignon. When we were done eating, each child got to open ONE present under the tree. We would all try to figure out which was the one gift we wanted the most and asked for. When finished opening gifts, we’d all race to the car because we had to get home and get to bed before Santa Claus came!
Once we got home, there was no going to bed just yet. Mom had other plans for us. We would all get into our Christmas pajamas and find our spot on the couch next to mom. She read us “Twas the night before Christmas.” When we were younger, this wasn’t always our favorite, in fact, we thought it was kind of silly. Who reads to their 15 year old kid?! However, after all this time, this is still a tradition, and a favorite at that! My sister and I have moved away and live with our significant others, my brothers are now in their twenties, but every year, no matter what our plans are, we go to moms for the reading of ‘Twas the night before Christmas.’
Christmas morning, we wake up at or now drive to moms (in our matching pajamas still, of course!) where we open our stockings, and then one present at a time in order of youngest to oldest, followed by breakfast with Nanny and Poppy. After breakfast we all go to Nanny and Poppy’s house and open our other stockings there and then our gifts. Before Christmas day dinner, the family gathers around and sings Christmas carols. Nanny spends hours in the kitchen making a delicious dinner for the entire family and we spend hours at the dinner table thanking God for our loved ones and spending quality time together.
While some of our traditions may seem a little childish to some, I can’t put into words how thankful I am for these special memories.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight…”
About the Author: Loren Shelton is a server at the Yankee Doodle Tap Room, and Lori Rabon’s daughter. Every year, Loren relives her favorite childhood memory with her mother’s reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’.
Whether you aim to inspire the creative players, encourage the leaders, relax the overworked or share some laughs, there is no shortage of unique team building options in Princeton, all guaranteed to encourage camaraderie and solidarity amongst your staff.
Top activities for a corporate group in Princeton —
Walk the Walk: Looking for something a little light hearted, try Princeton Tour Company’s ghost hunt and dinner package. If you have natural born leaders that just need a little shaping, the battlefield leadership experience provides a challenging day of training and decision making! No matter your goal the Princeton Tour company has an option for you. Each private tour is customized for your industry while covering the chronological history of the University and surrounding town – including the homes of Albert Einstein, Woodrow Wilson, Grover Cleveland, F Scott Fitzgerald, Robert Oppenheimer and more. Plan your customized walking tour, bus tour, and battlefield leadership experience or scavenger hunt today. www.princetontourcompany.com
Showtime! With over 200 performances of theatre, music, dance and special events a year the theatre is a viable group entertainment option. Many of the running performances feature well-known actors and often the visiting shows are national acts. Q&A sessions are available after select shows. Discounted rates and dinner theatre options are available for groups. www.mccarter.org
Prefer to be part of a show instead of sitting in the audience. No problem. Theater – To – Go will bring the show to you. The interactive shows are all customizable and include themes such as Judge & Jury, Murder Mystery, Game Show and more! Plan your dinner and give them a call, they are an awesome compliment to any dinner party. Keep in mind this option is more cost efficient for groups of 20 or more since they bring a whole cast of actors to your dinner! www.theatertogo.com
Paint the Night:
Paint and Sip parties are all the rage. Did you know Cranberry Station Gallery, located right in the heart of Palmer Square will not only host your party in their gallery, but they will also come to you if you have a dinner planned? The per-person cost is very reasonable and you provide your own wine and snacks, plus your guests get to take their creations home with them! http://cranburystationgallery.com/paint-party-events/
Art Walk: It’s always free to take a stroll through the Princeton University Art Museum. If you plan on bringing a large group there are private options including a scenic art walk through campus ending at the museum. Be sure to call ahead, the staff is very happy to cater to your needs. Insider tip: Thursday night’s there is a complimentary wine reception in the lobby! http://artmuseum.princeton.edu
Tea anyone? Tea for All offers etiquette and tasting classes for groups of any size. They come right to your venue and break-up a long afternoon meeting perfectly. Unlike wine, these tastings allow you to go back to work focused and more productive.
De-Stress: What if you could help improve the health of your employees and reduce their stress levels at the same time? Yoga is a proven cost effective way to do just that, and work place yoga shows your team you care! Group classes for up to 40 people are offered at the Yoga Stream studio on Witherspoon Street, or ask them about coming to your venue. The professionals at Yoga Stream can turn any meeting room into a studio. All of this is available at a very reasonable rate. www.yogastream.net.
Feeling Generous? While there are many charitable organizations out there that your company can opt to support. One Simple Wish is a local organization that grants simple wishes for children in the foster care system. This organization has fun activities that will help brighten the lives of a child all the while fulfilling your philanthropic mission in a feel good kind of way. Build bikes, sponsor suitcases or grant wishes with your team and instantly transform everyone into one lucky child’s super hero! www.onesimplewish.org
Escape the Everyday: The Amazing Escape Room, Princeton is new to the Princeton scene but brings with it 6 challenging game rooms that will decipher the leaders from the followers. Each room can handle up to 12 people and teams are given an hour to read the clues, solve the mystery and escape the room. Need help deciding who would work best on project teams, sit back and enjoy managers can watch their teams in action. www.amazingescaperoom.com/princeton-nj/
In short, if you are planning a meeting and need any team building or entertainment, there is no better place than Princeton where arts and entertainment are right at your doorstep.
Another Insider Tip: The Nassau Inn has 188 guest rooms, 13 meeting rooms and is in walking distance of everything Princeton! www.nassauinn.com
Spring and summer weddings get a lot of love, but there’s nothing more heart-warming and wonderfully romantic than the beauty and magic of a winter wedding here at the Nassau Inn. Our inviting atmosphere, vibrant festive feel, and year-round charm are just a few great reasons why the colder months have become more popular than ever with our brides.
If you’re considering a winter wedding in the heart of downtown Princeton, allow us to further illustrate why the Nassau Inn is the perfect frame for your winter wedding dream.
Our spectacular deals on our winter wedding packages will save you lots of money. Plus, winter tends to be a less busy time of year for vendors, therefore you might be able to score significant discounts on everything from the photographer to the DJ.
Popular dates during the traditional wedding months sometimes book up years in advance. You’ll find it much easier to get your dream Saturday date in in the winter. It’s even easier to book if you decide to get married mid-week.
Our stunning colonial features, surrounding attractions, and all the luxuries you’d expect from a modern hotel makes us one seriously stylish venue for your winter wedding. Boasting 13 beautiful banquet areas and 188 guest rooms, we can accommodate parties large and small, from 10 wedding guests to 200.
Our property is always picturesque, but during the winter months it is utterly stunning. You and your guests will depart your wedding experience with numerous and inspiring snapshots of a perfect and unforgettable day.
Our dedicated wedding coordinators are on hand to help create a day that is as individual, exciting and memorable as you have always hoped – helping you plan every detail to perfection, from the dining to the first dance.
Winter wedding menus are all about warming, comfort foods. Celebrate your day with a celebration of sensational seasonal flavors. Whatever you can imagine, our expert culinary team are happy to create a menu that reflects your wishes, making your special day as tasty as it is beautiful.
To schedule a tour, or for more information, please contact us at email@example.com or (609) 921-7500.
For decades, the colossal conifer rising above Palmer Square has brightened downtown and the spirits of the community every holiday season. Its heights, lights, and decorations draw as many as 80,000 annual visitors. However, there’s a lot more to this spectacular centerpiece than just its dazzling brilliance. From World War II to the world’s greatest tree lighting ceremony, let’s get to the “root” of the most iconic tree in Princeton.
A Token of Appreciation
In 1945, as a token of appreciation for donating his 195-foot steel schooner for commission in World War II to patrol and protect the shores of Iceland, Sveinn Björnsson, the nation’s first president, personally presented Edgar Palmer with quite literally the most beautiful Norway Spruce in all of Scandinavia. A gold collar around the lower trunk bore the inscription: “Megi þetta tré vernda lendir leið skipi sem er varið þín og okkar”; translated: “May this tree protect your lands the way your ship protected ours.” During that time period, the Nordic custom of gifting evergreens to close friends and allies was equivalent to being knighted – an honor of which Edgar Palmer was very proud. He immediately made arrangements to have the tree planted on the green at Palmer Square. Furthermore, while it stood only at a mere 10-feet tall at the time, it had the magnificence and beauty of a tree more than 10 times its size.
In the late 1940’s, Albert Einstein invited his last great love, Marilyn Monroe, to visit his home in Princeton. When he took her to Palmer Square, Marilyn stopped at the tree and expressed how incredibly beautiful she thought it was. Einstein concurred and said, “It’s possibly the most beautiful tree I’ve ever seen.” He paused for a moment and then revealed, “It’s so beautiful, in fact, that I even named it.”
“Named it what?” she kindly asked.
“Marilyn,” he replied.
Some believe it was at that moment in which one of the most unlikely love stories began. Whatever the case, to this day, long time locals still refer to the tree as Marilyn.
Topping the Charts
While it’s widely believed that the timeless hit Christmas song ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ was inspired by the annual tree lighting extravaganza at Rockefeller Center, songwriter Johnny Marks revealed to legendary DJ, Cousin Brucie, that he actually got the idea in Princeton. “I remember seeing this truly, truly amazing tree in the center of town,” Marks recounted. “Crowds of people were gathered around it, singing and dancing as if Elvis Presley or Chuck Berry was about to come out from inside the branches. I thought to myself, “Wow! These people are really rockin’ around the Christmas tree.” Seeing all that holiday spirit around that tree gave me such a sentimental feeling that the song (Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’) just began pouring out of me.”
When it was all said and done, it took Johnny Marks all but an hour to write both the lyrics and music to ‘Rockin Around the Christmas Tree’. The following year in 1958, Brenda Lee (AKA Little Miss Dynamite) recorded the song and took it to the top of the charts. Almost 60 years later, the timeless hit is still an essential track for any respectable holiday playlist.
Fit for a Princess
In 1956, the Prince of Monaco planned to surprise his new wife, actress Grace Kelly, with a Christmas celebration fit for a princess. She was to have the best of everything – including the most spectacular Christmas tree that money could buy. Having once pursued Marilyn Monroe as a possible wife, the prince was aware of a particular tree in Princeton, NJ that was deemed so amazing that the late genius, Albert Einstein, named it in Marilyn’s honor. The Prince was so bent on obtaining this tree, he practically wrote a blank check in exchange for it. Unfortunately for the Prince, no amount of money was acceptable, as Edgar Palmer left very clear instructions that the tree was never to leave its home for any reason.
Evel Comes to Princeton
By the mid-1960’s, Marilyn – the tree, that is – had grown to be over 40 feet tall. At the same time, a young daredevil under the moniker of Evil Knievel made a name for himself by jumping over rows of cars on his motorcycle. Nevertheless, the novelty of jumping cars had run thin, and he needed to think of something more dangerous to excite the media. Then, on a fateful visit to downtown Princeton in 1966, he saw Marilyn. She was tall, beautiful, and perfectly placed to be jumped by motorcycle. So, on the Friday after Thanksgiving of that year, Evel rang in the holiday shopping season with a tree lighting ceremony and high flying spectacle that Princeton would not soon forget. Not only was his jump over Marilyn a success, but the crowds and excitement that it drew cemented the Friday after Thanksgiving as the standing date for all future tree lighting ceremonies. As for Evel, he went on to jump everything from Caesars Palace to the Grand Canyon – breaking every record and bone in his body throughout his motorcycle stunt career.
Who Climbed the Tree?
In the 1970’s, Keith Moon, drummer for The Who, was out with his alumni friends during Princeton reunions week. After a long night of partying, the bars had already closed, but Moon was still hankering for a drink with his friends. He insisted that they return to his favorite watering hole in Princeton, the Yankee Doodle Tap Room, where a barstool was always on reserve for him. Despite the doors being locked, Moon spent an hour arguing with his friends about getting inside the bar, while maintaining that the door was merely jammed. When his friends tried to physically remove him from breaking into the building, he escaped their grips and made a mad dash for the tree, aka Marilyn. He quickly scaled to the top of the tree and refused to come down until the Yankee Doodle Tap Room reopened. As the story goes, his friends tried to get him down, but eventually, they gave up. The police and fire department even arrived on the scene to respond to complaints of someone yelling and singing from the tree outside. Despite heroic efforts by Municipal authorities, it was concluded that there was no safe way to remove Mr. Moon, so they were forced to wait the night out with him. A few hours later, the manager of the Yankee Doodle Tap Room notified authorities that the bar had reopened. Although excited, Moon was concerned that he would get arrested if he came down from the tree. So he yelled out to the authorities and said, “If I come down now, are you going to let me get a drink, or are you going to arrest me? If it’s the latter, I’ll just stay here forever!” The police knew that Edgar Palmer would not want Keith Moon as a permanent ornament in his prized tree, so they let him get a drink before taking him into custody. However, he was only charged with disturbing the peace and was quickly released. Immediately after, he returned to his stool at the Yankee Doodle Tap Room, but did not settle in until after he poured a drink on the soil beneath Marilyn, thanking her for her hospitality and nice place to stay the previous night.
Note: For entertainment purposes, the author of this blog may have taken certain creative liberties.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Do 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.”
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)
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.
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.
- 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.
Architect: Edward D. Lindsey
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Our superior amenities and top notch customer service have always fostered a comfortable and productive environment for our esteemed guests.
While our hospitality greatly compliments the overall experience, the mood of the day is actually determined before a meeting is even convened. It takes effect the moment our guests step into the room and find themselves welcomed by the brilliance of natural light.
All of our meeting rooms come standard with natural light and its many aesthetic and health benefits, which include:
1.) Boost in mood and alertness
2.) Reduction in stress
3.) Elevation in happiness
4.) Increased quality of sleep
5.) Boost in metabolism
In addition, our naturally lit meeting space also comes equipped with the proper shade to accommodate video and presentations.
To book a corporate space or to get more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 609-921-7500