A town with deep historic roots, Mount Holly is experiencing a renaissance and should be on your South Jersey day trip bucket list! It’s bustling Main Street shopping and dining district is attracting more businesses and visitors than ever before.
Founded in 1677, Mount Holly has maintained the charms of classic small-town America, giving it personality and sense of community that is hard to find these days. The first European settlement was when Walter Reeves acquired land from the Lenape Native Americans living in the area. He constructed a dam on Rancocas Creek to channel water through a raceway to power a grist mill and saw mill. Edward Gaskill and his sons hand dug the mill race on their property between 1720 and 1723. After the mills were established, more settlers were attracted to the area and built houses and commercial buildings on High, Church, White, Mill and Pine streets, including the Shinn Curtis Log House that is still there today.
The Battle of Iron Works Hill took place in Mount Holly on December 23rd, 1776, and was a crucial battle in the Revolutionary War. It distracted thousands of Hessian soldiers from Trenton, where George Washington would stage The Battle of Trenton on Christmas night. Today, you can visit Iron Works Park, where the battle took place! The park offers picnic and grilling areas, fishing areas, baseball fields, and more.
The Burlington County Lyceum of History and Natural Sciences (formerly the Mount Holly Library) was charted by His Majesty King George III of England in 1765. The original charter document still resides inside the lyceum’s collection, which includes more than 13,000 books and hundreds of artifacts.
Places to Eat
Coffee – Breaking Grounds Coffee & Cafe
Breakfast – Kitchen 87
French-American – Robin’s Nest
Greek – Sirtaky
Jamaican – Deb’s Jamaican Pot
Dessert – Vincent’s Homemade Ice Cream
Things to Do
The Mill Race Village shops offer a wide variety of collectibles, one-of-a-kind, handmade items, fine art, jewelry, clothes, books, accessories and furniture for those seeking distinctive and unusual wares for your home, your loved ones, and of course yourself! You can often find the shopkeepers creating their wares onsite!
Are you interested in local and national history, architecture, criminal law, penology, sociology, art, or architecture? Then you’ll want to stop by the Burlington County Prison Museum, a National Historic Landmark. From 1811 to 1965, the prison was home to male and female inmates, including convicted murderers who they kept in their maximum security dungeon. It has been featured in Weird NJ and has been investigated by Ghost Hunters and many other paranormal research teams. The museum is open on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10am to 4pm and Sundays from noon to 4pm.
Just opened on Washington Street is Tomasello Winery’s Tasting Room! Here you can sample Traditional or Riedel tastings, just make sure you make reservations in advance because the tasting room fills up quickly.
Go on a bar crawl of Mount Holly’s booming craft beverage hotspots! First, head to Spellbound Brewing, a 20 barrel brewery that’s beers are approachable to people just starting in the craft beer world, yet have enough complexity for the veteran beer geek. Then stop by Village Idiot Brewing Company, an artisanal, small-batch, brewery that combines fresh ingredients with beer education to enlighten and inform their patrons. Finish off your night at Burlington County’s first legal craft distillery since prohibition – Train Wreck Distillery. They are the proud producers of Rail Cart Gin, Train Wreck Rum, Super Chief Straight Bourbon Whiskey, and so much more! Also be sure to stop by The Union Firehouse, a new live music and karaoke venue that serves craft cocktails and beer, and delicious food.
Mount Holly also offers a variety of annual events including Holly Stock, the Witches Ball, the Fire and Ice Festival, the Car Show and more. For more information about local happenings in Mount Holly, New Jersey visit http://www.mainstreetmountholly.org/.