This College Town Is All About Their Annual Pi Day Celebration, and Of Course There's Pie
Us mere mortals might be hanging around waiting for the arrival of spring, the semi-annual time change and the return of good lighting, but mathematician types (not to mention Albert Einstein groupies) look toward the coming days, see March 14 on their calendar, and commence getting just a little bit excited.
First commemorated as Pi Day back in the 1980s in San Francisco because of the date's representation of the first three digits of pi—3.14, get it—and because it also happens to be Einstein's birthday, Pi Day is now officially celebrated in the United States, thanks to Congress, with various festivities held around the country, mostly designed to increase awareness and appreciation of math, which most of us can safely say we were aware of back in school days, but fewer of us would probably confess to any sort of appreciation toward.
Of all the Pi Day celebrations out there, one of the best ones can be found happening in Princeton, New Jersey, on March 10th and 14th. Princeton is, of course, where Albert Einstein lived, worked and died; the man credited with inventing the theory of relativity didn't want to be enshrined in a museum, and so there is none, but there's definitely a pride here among the old-timers—a local clothing store, Landau's, even maintains a small exhibit in the back of their shop.
While the 14th is the main day, that ends up being a Wednesday, so the town goes all out this coming Saturday, the 10th, with all sorts of Pi-related activities, which is to say there will be a lot of pie. There's the apple pie eating contest at McCaffrey's Supermarket, a pie-throwing event in Palmer Square, right at the heart of town, a surprise birthday party for Albert Einstein (yes, you can probably count on a bit of pie) and lots, lots more; local businesses get in on the action, too—some of the tastier options are the Pi-shaped donuts, cookies and cupcakes at the House of Cupcakes, Apple Pie pops at Jammin' Crepes, and mini-pies for $3.14 at Chez Alice Bakery.
Not that you need a special occasion to visit Princeton—easily accessible from New York and Philadelphia via train, this isn't just one of the country's most civilized university towns, its also a terrific day or weekend destination. Whether you're into art, architecture, history or just hanging around ridiculously good-looking historic destinations, there's plenty here; also, there is a great deal of good food—a lot more, in fact, than you might be expecting.
There's Agricola, which focuses heavily on the considerable wealth of produce you are able to find in New Jersey, not called the Garden State for nothing; Spanish grocer Despaña has branched out from New York with a lovely restaurant/café and gourmet shop, there's Olsson's Fine Foods, a cheesemongers with an in-store counter—The Cheese Bar—doing terrific gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and other cheese-related (or at least cheese-complimenting) eats, while no trip to Princeton is complete without a stop practically next door at The Bent Spoon—their ice cream prowess is legendary in the industry, and you absolutely have to try a scoop of their ricotta pistachio. And while the beautiful Peacock Inn around the corner may have just shuttered its acclaimed restaurant after an admirable, seven-year, run, the town's only boutique hotel is still very much at it, and still very much making a great case for spending the night. Really, don't rush off—it's so nice here.