Trips by Transit: Bordentown, a Quaint Riverside City With a Rich History

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bordentown new jersey
The sign and map greets visitors traveling into Bordentown at the River Line station.

The City of Bordentown in northern Burlington County was incorporated 150 years ago, but many of the buildings in the municipality date back far earlier. Visitors will find that Bordentown’s main drag, Farnsworth Avenue, is lined with residences dating back centuries, many of which feature plaques describing their history.

bordentown nj photo tour
Downtown Bordentown

One such property is the Bordentown Friends Meeting House at 302 Farnsworth Avenue, which is used by the Bordentown Historical Society (BHS) as a museum. Built in 1740, the structure was recently restored, and “helps tell the story of religious freedom and tolerance in America as it moved from a colony to a separate nation,” according to the BHS.

historic homes bordentown new jersey
Stately home along Farnsworth Avenue

Many of the other historic homes along Farnsworth Avenue remain privately owned, including ones once housing Declaration of Independence signer Francis Hopkinson and his son Joseph, who wrote ‘Hail, Columbia,’ and Patience Lovell Wright, who created wax sculptures 250 years ago.

The Farnsworth House restaurant bordentown new jersey
The Farnsworth House restaurant and bar serves lunch and dinner daily in a former shoe factory along Farnsworth Avenue.
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Other signs of Bordentown’s heritage can be seen throughout the city. According to the BHS, “the first movement by a steam engine on rails in this country occurred on the outskirts of town,” and a monument to that engine, known as ‘John Bull’ of the Camden and Amboy Railroad, stands today at the corner of Farnsworth and Railroad Avenues. A few blocks away at the corner of East Burlington and Crosswicks Streets, there is a one room schoolhouse at the site of where American Red Cross founder Clara Barton taught local children. In addition, Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother Joseph also once resided in Bordentown, but there are few remnants of his estate.

Despite being home to less than 4,000 people, Bordentown features a diverse culinary scene. From Under the Moon Cafe, which “features a fusion of American, Italian and Spanish cuisine,” to The Vault, a pizzeria housed in the former Bordentown Banking Co. Building that dates to 1900, to the Farnsworth House restaurant and bar in a former shoe factory, there are a wide variety of restaurants for visitors to choose from.

Farnsworth avenue bordentown
Farnsworth Avenue
bordentown bank building new jersey
Bordentown Banking Co. building

Bordentown is also a destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The city is situated along the Delaware River Heritage Trail, and visitors can hike north along the D&R Canal Trail through the nearby Hamilton Marshes.

hilltop park bordentown new jersey
A view from Hilltop Park in Bordentown of the Crosswicks Creek and the bridge carrying the River Line and the D&R Canal Trail.

Plus, in the last 13 years, traveling to Downtown Bordentown from other parts of the state has been easier than ever. Since 2004, Bordentown has been served by the River Line, an NJ Transit-owned light rail system operating seven days a week that connects communities alongside the Delaware River, from as far north as the capital, Trenton, to as far south as New Jersey’s 12th largest city, Camden, across from Philadelphia. The River Line’s Bordentown Station is located a short walk away from Farnsworth Avenue.

Where: City of Bordentown, New Jersey
How to Get There From Jersey City: PATH to Newark Penn Station to NJ Transit’s Northeast Corridor Line to Trenton Transit Center to River Line to Bordentown Station
Cost: $16.85 One Way
Learn more: DowntownBordentown.com

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