For my mother’s birthday last fall, we planned trip was to the site of George Washington’s winter encampment, located close to Morristown, New Jersey. As a retired history teacher, she has quite the impressive list of historical landmarks she wants to visit and this was the next site on the line-up.
The Ford Mansion, which housed Washington and his men during the second encampment in New Jersey of the Revolutionary War, is now a national park. There’s a museum to the side of the property and guided tours of the house.
It was fascinating to walk through the house that they used think that so many people were squeezed into it. There were rooms with collapsible cots. As simple as they are, those cots were the fancier of the sleeping arrangements for the troops living there those months.
Their kitchen had top-of-the-line cookware and appliances – special pots and pans made to retain heat, utensils to support a wide range of styles and functions, and space to accommodate proper prep of larger scale meals for entertaining.
We went from the tour to our lunch plans to continue my mom’s birthday celebrations. After looking through the house and its spartan furnishings, our lunch at Roots in Morristown felt lavish. The rich woodwork of the interior of the restaurant had a cozy yet refined vibe that felt luxurious in contrast to the rough winter we’d visualized throughout the guide’s narration at the Ford Mansion.
The lunch menu was lighter fare, yet still offer the basics for which the restaurant is known. I was impressed by the selection, including their daily specials. I went with their prime steak sandwich, a prime eight-ounce New York strip, Swiss cheese, mushrooms, onions, and their homemade steak sauce served on a pretzel roll. The steak was nicely done, leaning on the rarer side of medium. I liked that the sauce added a layer, but was not overly pronounced, allowing the flavor meat to really shine through.
I’d noted it was my mom’s birthday, and so they brought out a plate of fresh chocolate cookies, ice cream, and a candle to celebrate.
It was a lovely celebration and day – leaving me to reflect on how lucky we are to be here and to ponder what site to visit next.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon – 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway – 703.780.2000
Roots Morristown – 40 W Park Place, Morristown, NJ – 973.326.1800