During a recent conversation with about moving out of expensive New Jersey to someplace cheaper, friends told us high on their priority list is living near a university. They want to continue to be able to enjoy the "town" part of the "Town and Gown" relationship.
Their comment made me appreciate Lawrenceville in a new light. We live within 10 miles of three universities (Princeton, Rider, Trenton State College), plus Mercer County Community College, and are walking distance to the Lawrenceville [Prep] School. Over the past couple of decades we have enjoyed activities at each of these institutions. I dare say if we were to move away from the area, we, too, would gravitate near a university town because we have come to appreciate the cultural activities and opportunities available at places of higher education.
While we have enjoyed activities at the other places, Princeton University is in a league of their own. When Ashley was a toddler we loved visiting Cotsen Children's Library inside Firestone Library. As she grew, we took her to Art for Families programs at the Princeton University Art Museum, here she would learn about the great masters.
I have taken Ashley to plays at the Princeton Summer Theater. The late Larry Beaber gave our church a private tour of the sculptures. I've admired the flowers. We've been to women's hockey games and men's basketball games. With so much happening on campus, it is easy to forget that students actually go there to learn!
A couple of weeks ago on a hot afternoon, Ashley and I went on a Gargoyle Tour, led by librarians from Princeton Public Library and Firestone Library. I have walked past these buildings over the years, but never stopped to admire the details in the architecture.
If he just keeps on running...he will score the winning goal!
My favorite -- a monkey holding a camera, or as I like to think of it, Princeton University's first surveillance camera.
Ben Franklin is not a Princeton University alumnus. However, he did merit a gargoyle in one of the newer buildings on campus.
It was a hot day. Ashley convinced me to leave at the 45 minute mark, when we were halfway through the tour. Hopefully I will hear about it again and be able to catch the second half of the tour. It was quite a treat -- and free!
For more information about the gargoyles of Princeton University check out: http://www.princeton.edu/Mapfiles/gargoyles/