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ESCAPE KEYS: Princeton, N.J.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

GETTING THERE: Princeton is about 180 miles from the Capital Beltway via Interstate 95 and U.S. Route 1. A 3 1/2 -hour drive, the trip can also be made on Amtrak via Princeton Junction; weekend round-trip fares are $212 in May. Note: Amtrak does not permit bikes on its Northeast Corridor route.

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RENTING A BIKE : Princeton Bike Tours (98 Nassau St. No. 3, 609-902-3637, http://www.princetonbiketours.com; from $20) will launch daily themed tours from the Nassau Inn beginning July 4. Bikes and child carriers provided. Jay's Cycles (249 Nassau St., 609-924-7233, http://www.jayscycles.com) rents bikes on a first-come, first-served basis; $16 for two hours, $32 for 24 hours. Kopp's Cycle (38 Spring St., 609-924-1052, http://www.koppscycle.net), open Tuesday through Saturday, offers daily rentals at $45.

TOURS: The Princeton Historical Society (158 Nassau St., 609-921-6748, http://www.princetonhistory.org) is open Tuesday through Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. and offers guided walking tours ($7) on Sundays at 2 p.m. Students lead free one-hour campus tours of Princeton University daily; see http://www.princeton.edu for schedule.

STAYING THERE: Many hotel chains are represented along nearby Route 1. In the borough, the only full-service hotel is the Nassau Inn (10 Palmer Sq. E., 609-921-7500, http://www.nassauinn.com; doubles are $247 a night). The clubby Yankee Doodle Tap Room has a famous mural by Norman Rockwell, plus a power wall full of celebrity Princetonians. The Chauncey Conference Center (660 Rosedale Rd., 609-921-3600, http://www.ahl-chauncey.com; from $129), on the 370-acre lakeside campus of the Educational Testing Service, is two miles south of town. It's an elegant setting, complete with restaurant.

WHERE TO EAT: Grab some takeout at Olive's Bakery and Deli (22 Witherspoon St., 609-921-1569), where lunch for two runs about $25. The Main Street Euro-American Bistro & Bar (301 Harrison St., 609-921-2779) dishes up casual pub grub in the Princeton Shopping Center. Dinner for two with drinks costs $90.

INFO: Princeton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau,609-924-1776, http://www.visitprinceton.org. Princeton University,609-258-3000, http://www.princeton.edu (click on "visiting Princeton").


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