TRENTON, N.J.– New Jersey is a great place to find warming toddies, comforting nogs, and other seasonal libations. In fact, the third state to sign the Constitution has had a lot of practice, since it claims a collection of some of America’s oldest inns and taverns – a few established before the Revolutionary War – that continue to serve satisfied patrons. These cozy historic taverns are great gathering spots with welcoming environments that can only be found in New Jersey. For additional details, access www.visitnj.org.
Four notable, historic locations include:
Barnsboro Inn in Sewell is the oldest, established in 1720 and licensed in 1776. “The Inn sits at the intersection of a former main stage coach route between Philadelphia and Cape May,” said owner Tom Budd, who purchased it in 2002. “It has been in continuous operation, except during Prohibition, since it opened.”
Unaware that Barnsboro Inn was built by distant relative John Budd, Tom only learned of his family’s New Jersey tavern-keeping heritage after the sale and careful ancestry research. “John Budd constructed a log cabin in 1720 that was later expanded as a colonial structure that offered dining. Before I bought it, I was amused that I shared the same name with the original owner. Then my wife and I did some ancestry research and discovered that the Budd family has been in New Jersey since 1676. ”
Tom promises that the Inn’s popular Barnsboro Toddy, a warming concoction of apple cider and Apple Jack, returns to the menu with the cool weather. www.barnsboroinn.com
Moses Mount, an aide to General Washington during the Revolutionary War, returned to his beloved Freehold and began operating a tavern in his home for the local gentry and an inn for weary travelers. Moses was granted a “continued license” for “keeping a public house of entertainment,” so states the April 25th, 1787 order from the Monmouth County Court of Quarter Sessions. Earlier license dates have not been determined. However, colorful rouge that he was, Moses may have run afoul of the law: An 1880 court order required him to provide lodging only to men, stabling to horses, and to prohibit any type of gambling.
Today, Moses’s place is known as Moore’s Tavern & Sports Bar, and its careful restoration displays evidence of early American building techniques and tavern beams that reveal the original tool markings of the time. The cozy atmosphere and winter beverages such as Irish, Spanish and Dutch coffees will warm the spirit. www.moorestavern.com/menu.php
The Black Horse Tavern has been in business more than 270 years. Located in the heart of Mendham, it was originally a stagecoach house in the mid-1700s. Today the tavern embraces the traditions of fine dining in a historic restaurant setting. Next door, The Black Horse Pub serves more casual fare. Both establishments embrace with warming fireplaces and soothing beverages. www.blackhorsenj.com/black-horse-tavern-about-us.aspx
Elias Hughes operated the first tavern in Cape May for whalers in the 1700s. Blue Pig Tavern sits on the site today and derives its name from a gambling parlor sited in Congress Hall in the mid-1800s. Blue Pig is tucked in the corner of Congress Hall fronting on Congress Place and Perry Streets, serves comfort foods and cures winter chills with the likes of steaming Cafe Keoke and Nutty Irish Coffee. www.caperesorts.com/restaurants/capemay/bluepigtavern/menus#dessert
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