How lucky are we? The LHT doesn’t just run through spectacular woodlands and wetlands, but through bustling town centers and business districts. We wanted to shout out some of the incredible small businesses off our trail in a series of mini-itineraries. Here now: our King’s Highway and Maidenhead Meadows segments.
Inn at Glencairn Princeton
Inn at Glencairn Princeton is not your grandmother’s bed and breakfast. So says proprietor Janet Cochoff Pressel, who opened the inn after retiring from a career on Wall Street. And she’s right — there are no squeaky mattresses or dusty knickknacks at the Glencairn. Instead, look for modern amenities — lovely bedding, flatscreen TVs, air conditioning — fitting right in among the antique tables and sideboards, eclectic artwork, and original pine floors. Then there are the breakfasts! Lydia Oakes is the innkeeper at Glencairn, and her all-homemade breakfast feasts have locals begging for a brunch service. Unfortunately for us, breakfast is for overnight guests only. As for the house, the stone portion dates to the 1700s and the original Dutch settlers on the property. The frame portion, Georgian in style, was built later — by the Hunt family, who owned the property for generations. Pressel, who opened the spot in 2005, told us: “years ago when the LHT was first proposed it seemed like such a long way off and now we are beyond thrilled to see it nearing completion! We have really enjoyed walking and biking on the trail and our guests love it too!”
Inn at Glencairn is located at 3301 Lawrenceville Road in Princeton
Peterson’s Nursery was founded in 1938 as a produce stand. Two generations later, Peterson’s is a full-service garden center and landscaping business spanning eight acres on the border of Lawrence and Princeton. They still carry fresh local produce — much of which is grown onsite. They also carry annual flowers and vegetables, shrubs and trees, houseplants, gifts and seasonal goodies, and anything else you might need for your garden. And, they happen to be early adopters of and advocates for sustainability in gardening. They eliminated chemical pesticides, introduced beneficial insects like ladybugs, and began using environmentally friendly seaweed-based fertilizers all the way back in the 1980s. They also stock only plants that thrive in New Jersey, from growers in New Jersey and the Middle Atlantic region — that means hardier flowers for your garden plus reduced emissions — a win-win!
Peterson’s Nursery is located at 3730 Lawrenceville Road in Princeton
Princeton Lavender began in 2016, when owners Bradley and Beth Smith planted their first lavender field in Princeton. Since then, they moved into a historic home on the property, opened a farm stand, built a goat pasture, and installed hives for honeybees. Today, the farm is home to hundreds of heirloom chickens, a family of goats, alpacas, and even a pony. The farm stand offers fresh and dried lavender, of course — plus lavender syrups, lavender cold brew, lavender lemonade, and baked goods that feature the fragrant flower. Besides lavender, look for farm fresh eggs, produce, plants and flowers, and honey. Or just come out for a visit with the kids — the Smiths offer farm tours, and you can even feed the very friendly goats. Oh, and if you’re in the market for chickens for a backyard coop, Princeton Lavender has you covered — they offer cold hardy, heirloom varieties beloved for good attitudes and frequent egg-laying.
Princeton Lavender is located at 3741 Lawrenceville Road in Princeton
Cherry Grove Organic Farm
Cherry Grove Organic Farm was founded in 1987 by the Hamill brothers on land farmed by their ancestors. In 2002, Mary Stuehler, Chris Ther, and Matt Conver leased the land from the Hamills, and dedicated it to organic farming. Each season, Cherry Grove offers both innovative and heirloom crops like ugly-but-delicious heirloom tomatoes, interesting greens, and squashes that run the gamut from acorn to zephyr. They also plant the classics — like carrots and beets. Cherry Grove Organic Farm produce is available at local farmers markets in Princeton, Scotch Plains, and Summit; and you can also get a share in their CSA. Their system is innovative — rather than a box of stuff you may not want or be able to use, their program offers a credit. Members show up to the barn, select what vegetables, herbs, and flowers they’d like to take home, and the cost is deducted from their balance. The farm is just a portion of the Hamill’s 480-acre plot — home to pastures, woodland, and the sustainable Cherry Grove Farm dairy and creamery.
Cherry Grove Organic Farm is located at 11 Carter Road in Princeton