Princeton has a lively, prospering downtown area and Palmer Square is a special part of it. It serves as somewhat of a focal point of downtown, with levels of shops, restaurants, the Nassau Inn, the Princeton Post Office, and Tiger Park all of which are distinctive. The Square's center is the green & peaceful Palmer Square Green.
The Square was the "dream" of Edgar Palmer, who was an heir to the New Jersey Zinc Company fortune. Although Palmer conceived the idea for the square in 1929, the project was not completed until 1936 because of the Depression. Palmer's dream was to create a municipal center for Princeton, and the Colonial Revival design of the square was prepared by architect Thomas Stapleton. It required the demolition of many homes occupied by the poorer inhabitants of Princeton at the time.
Additional stores and townhouses were added to the square in the 1980's. Tiger Park which is at the front edge of the Square and faces Nassau Street was constructed to honor Edgar Palmer and as a memorial to the man from his friends.
The shops & eateries surrounding the square are mostly one of a kind and housed in quaint -looking buildings. Check out the Teresa Cafe, Winberies, Mediterra or the Yankee Doodle Tap Room (located in the Nassau Inn) for lunch or dinner.
Stores and restaurants are opened roughly from mid-morning to 6 pm Monday - Thursday; 10am to 8:30pm on Fridays and Saturday; and, noon to 5pm on Sundays.
The beautiful 1896 Tudor-style, half-timber building you see in the accompanying picture is the home of Hamilton Jewelers. This traditional, special jewelry store is where you will find designer jewelry, Swiss watches, china and gifts for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays or graduations. You might come here if you're in the market for corporate gifts as well. It's a quality store that sells quality items and where you shop if you want personal service. You get to see this beautiful building as a bonus!
If you are in the mood for sweets, the famous Swiss chocolate-maker, Lindt, has a store in Palmer Square. In every square foot you will find Lindt chocolates of all varieties. Little gift packages, boxes, by the piece or by the pound, there is something for every chocolate lover. But be prepared, Lindt is not your everyday chocolate and the prices reflect this.
When I visited, the signature "Gold Bunny" and other Easter chocolates were then on sale as Easter had just passed. The 7 oz. Gold Bunny which is normally $8.00 was on sale for half price. I almost bought one, but instead opted for special, individually wrapped chocolates which came in a variety of flavors at about $18 per pound to give to my son. For no more than 5 or 6 pieces, the total came to about $5.00 plus tax. Expensive but quite an extraordinary and special treat.
The Lindt company offers shopping online and shipping.
You can mix and match your favorites, choose the freshly-made chocolates by the piece displayed in special cases, or buy beautiful packaged, gift boxes at Lindt and they will ship your order if you prefer. Lindt chocolates are exceptional and make a very nice gift.
What to pay: Most gift-boxed candies are over $10. By the pound the special individually wrapped, different flavored chocolates are at least $18 per pound and up. At times, seasonally decorated and wrapped chocolates by the box or piece might be found on sale for as much as half price--a very good value if the wrapping doesn't matter. Being on Lindt's mailing list may bring coupons and special offers.
While walking around Palmer Square, I was attracted to this cute little store named "Dandelion." Dandelion is an upscale jewelry store, but I was attracted to the charming storefront and the window featuring a beautiful array of unique, and exquisite little purses. In all shapes and colors, delicately embellished, the purses were all quite unique! I would say they would definitely be used for special occasions, or at least in special company. I love purses and I would have loved to come home with several of these little treasures, but Princeton shops such as these are for the well-heeled gentry.
The store is known for its designer jewelry, accessories, jewelery boxes and, no doubt, for these exceptionally beautiful little purses too! This is definitely a store for 'la femme'!!
What to buy: Even though the jewelry at Dandelion is also quite special, I would still have chosen a purse to buy, and probably one that had Asian-influenced detail, and jewel-toned hue. Anyone looking for a present for that special person may just find it at Dandelion.
Beautiful boutique in the heart of Princeton - really nice gift and home decor items, as well as fresh flowers every day. Really good prices and they gift box everything on request. They can also ship your gifts to you if you need, or if you have your address book with you they will ship for you a gift wrapped present within a few days.
Definitely check this place out - they also have a website www.sparkleemporium.com
What to buy: Jewelry, vases, lotions, candles, candle holders, baby gifts, fresh flowers, pashminas, handbags....and much more
What to pay: anywhere from $5 to hundreds if you want to get a lot of gifts
Okay, I have to admit that this was the main reason I wanted to come to Princeton. Well, you have to understand that Pennsylvania only has state run liquor stores and as a result our selection sucks! I had been hearing great things about this store for quite awhile so it was great to finally make the trip up here to visit for myself.
I walked in and was immediately impressed with the look of the place. It was pretty hot outside and it sure felt good to step into the Corkscrew since the whole store is temperature controlled for optimum wine storage. Within three second we were greeted by a helpful and knowledgeable staff member.
What to buy: I told the guy that I was here to stock up and gave him my approximate price range and he did a great job helping me pick out a dozen bottles of great wine for only $125. At just a tad over $10 a bottle, I found that to be pretty reasonable for the wines I ended up taking home. This place only buys from smaller vineyards so that it can hand select the specific wines it wants to buy and considering this, I was pleasantly surprised at the overall prices.
What to pay: You name it and they'll help you find what you're looking for in your price range
Check out Market Fair on US-1 South -- small mall with nice stores.
Quake Bridge Mall on US-1 South -- normal mall with usual selection of stuff.
Edison Mall on US-1 North -- way north by about 45 minutes, in Edison, NJ.
Palmer Square and Nassau St. in Princeton -- pricey stuff -- Gap, Banana Republic, etc.