This year, both our married children decided to spend Christmas with their spouse’s families. Charlie and I would be alone over the holiday. So, I made a plan. A bucket list item was to see the re- enactment of Washington’s famous crossing of the Delaware on December 25. The crossing was to take place at 1:00 pm. Unfortunately, Washington’s celebrated voyage across the Delaware River in a replica of the original boat was cancelled due to river turbulence. Not to worry. We headed on to the Woolverton Inn, a beautiful well kept Bed and Breakfast just above Lambertville in the village of Stockton, New Jersey.
The drive North on Route 29 is always scenic and harkens back to the 18th century. As we pulled into the driveway of the Woolverton Inn, we were greeted by a docile family of sheep in a well groomed pen by the back patio. The earliest portion of the Inn was built in 1793 of locally quarried red shale.
John Reading ( 1657-1717) made the first land purchase here. Subsequent owners were Daniel Howell ( 1688-1733) and his sons Daniel (1708-1790) & John Howell ( 1721-1808) who continued on until Charles Wolverton (1698-1765) and John Wolverton (1735 -1773) became the owners. Of note, William Rittenhouse was buried in a cemetery plot a short distance from the house. This plot included Howell and Wolverton family members. Catherine Howell Rittenhouse (died 1778) and Peter Rittenhouse (died 1791) were also buried in the same plot, so it may be safe to assume that the Rittenhouse connection was through the Howell family.
Circa 1793, John Prall, Jr. (1756-1793) a lieutenant during the Revolutionary War who fought at the battles of Germantown and Monmouth, built the stone home that is the Woolverton Inn today. John Prall, Jr. was a merchant and owner of a linseed oil mill. A later owner embellished the home during the mid 1800’s, which now features a front porch, balcony, and mansard roof.
Another former owner was St. John Terrell, famous for inventing the Lambertville Music Circus. His vision was to create a theatre in the round on a hillside using the natural incline to resemble an amphitheater. The first location in Lambertville lasted from 1949-1961.The theatre was moved and expanded to another space in Lambertville and lasted from 1962-1970. The performances were not unlike Cirq du Soleil today. St. John Terrell was also responsible for the initial recreation of Washington’s daring trip across the Delaware River on Christmas Eve. How serendipitous that I chose the Woolverton Inn for our Christmas get away.
The current owners Mary and Mario are gracious and hospitable. Our room was the Newell Library on the third floor with a view to the sheep pasture. Breakfast was a beautifully made to order frittata and Canadian bacon. There are other cottages on the property and the staff will deliver breakfast to your door. The Woolverton Inn is located at 6 Woolverton Road in Stockton, NJ. A lovely 10 minute walk will bring you to the Delaware River towpath and the quaint village of Stockton.