The following article is a reprint from New Jersey Family, a Parenting & Lifestyle magazine at njfamily.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – October 2, 2023 ~
Your History Buffs Will Love Discovery Center at Point Breeze
The preserved mansion in Bordentown houses information on both Indigenous Peoples and Spanish history.
BY JENNIFER AMATO, New Jersey Family
Published: October 2, 2023
New Jersey is steeped in both Native American and war history. But did you know there’s one special property in Burlington County where you can learn about both?
The Discovery Center at Point Breeze in Bordentown opened to the public earlier this year on a 60-acre piece of land overlooking the Delaware River and Crosswicks Creek along the Abbott Marshlands. Inside the preserved building, you will learn about the Ramapough, one of the tribes of the Lenape who live in New Jersey and the surrounding areas, and their Wolf, Turkey and Turtle clans.
Research has shown that the Lenape lived on the land as far back as 13,000 years ago! Inside the center, there is a display of Lenape words and translations, instructions on how to access the Lenape Talking Dictionary, wood carvings and beadwork by an artist of Lenape heritage, and a video by Turtle Clan Chief Vincent Mann that tells of the tribe’s history and the work to preserve the heritage of the Lenape people.
Sometimes, artists of Lenape descent will showcase their work inside. And there are special events and activities planned to talk about the ecology of Point Breeze and the region.
Outside, there is a historic Three Sisters garden of squash, corn and beans. Lenape tribal members who have visited the site helped with its planning and planting. Eight of the 27 crops grown are native crops. If your kid is outdoorsy, talk to them about volunteering in the garden.
You can also walk the property and learn about the birds, plants and animals that live in the area. The walls inside the building are decorated with visuals and paintings so you can look inside first, then see what you can find out on the land and along the water. It’s another layer to the interesting parts of the property since kids will learn about ecology and how to respect the land.
If you fast-forward a few thousand years, the site became the home of Joseph Napoleon Bonaparte, the exiled King of Spain and Emperor of France Napoleon’s older brother, in the 1800s. He built a mansion so that he could see ships coming along the Delaware River. From 1816 (when he purchased it) to 1839 (when he left for the last time to return to Europe), Bonaparte hosted famous people like John Quincy Adams, the Marquee de Lafayette, Henry Clay, Dolly Madison and John James Audubon.
There is a lot to take in here, so kids who are in fourth or fifth grade and older will benefit the most especially since they can look, but not touch. There are four rooms to go through so plan at least an hour to walk around. Volunteers and docents can explain everything in the house, so kids can look at all the exhibits and ask all their questions.
The Discovery Center at Point Breeze is recognized by GPS as Divine Word Missionaries, 101 Park St., Bordentown. Open public hours are 1-4 p.m. on Thursdays and Sundays. Call to arrange a special visit for groups, schools or scout troops.
About D&R Greenway Land Trust: D&R Greenway Land Trust is an accredited nonprofit that has reached a new milestone of over 22,000 acres of land preserved throughout central New Jersey since 1989. By protecting land in perpetuity and creating public trails, it gives everyone the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. The land trust’s preserved farms and community gardens provide local organic food for residents of the region—including those most in need. Through strategic land conservation and stewardship, D&R Greenway combats climate change, protects birds and wildlife, and ensures clean drinking water for future generations. D&R Greenway’s mission is centered on connecting land with people from all walks of life.
Visit our Facebook and Instagram pages and www.drgreenway.org to learn about the organization’s latest news and in-person and virtual programs. D&R Greenway Land Trust, One Preservation Place, Princeton NJ 08540. The best way to reach D&R Greenway staff is by sending an e-mail to email@example.com or by calling D&R Greenway at 609-924-4646.