Home » Have you ever……? A Tale of Two Overlooks

Have you ever……? A Tale of Two Overlooks

by Kim Robinson

“Have you ever been to the Overlook?”  That’s actually a loaded question.  If you ask someone who lives in the southern half of Hopewell Valley, he or she will probably assume that you are talking about the “Overlook” in Washington Crossing State Park, as my editor did, where one can gaze out over the curved stone wall and across the river to the likely crossing point of Washington’s troops on Christmas night in 1776. 

The Overlook at Washington Crossing State Park

But if you ask someone in the northern half of the Valley, we will likely think you are talking about the Goat Hill Overlook, just over the Township border, in West Amwell. 

Now, the Goat Hill Overlook, as history buffs know, is also associated with George Washington, who utilized both the main overlook, as well as the stone outcropping, now known as “Washington’s Rock” to get wide views of the river.  These spots offered Washington great vantage points, not only to ensure that his boats on the other side of the river remained hidden, but for the General to watch for enemy activity while he planned his attack on Trenton. 

There are even rumors that General Washington and Gilbert du Motier, General Marquis de Lafayette, may have dined together out on Washington’s Rock. Fact or fiction?  You decide, but I’d like to think they did, perhaps on a nice roast duckling, obtained from the river below.  (It’s really more likely they dined on foraged plants and maybe a squirrel, but let’s just imagine the duckling, shall we?) 

Some may be surprised that British General Charles Cornwallis and his men also used the Goat Hill Overlook in the same manner as Washington; they just booked it for different dates. 

Locals will remember that Goat Hill was used as a boy scout camp for many years in the twentieth century. Thankfully, the 213 acres were preserved as open space in 2009, saving the property from development. The Overlook is now maintained as a part of the Washington Crossing State Park – Green Acres – Crossroads of the American Revolution land preservation initiative. 

There is absolutely no bad time to visit Goat Hill, and it’s open year-round from dawn to dusk.  My girls and I have climbed the hill in all four seasons, but autumn will always be my favorite – with leaves in their Fall glory, going on and on along the river, as far as the eye can see. 

If you have kids in tow, take the time to tell them how this very hill played a strategic part in the Revolutionary War.  And if you’re daring, venture out onto Washington’s Rock, and envision yourself having a nice roast duckling with General Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette.  Bon Appetit! 

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MercerMe is the only hyperlocal, independent, online news outlet serving Hopewell Valley in Mercer County, New Jersey.

Contact us: [email protected] 

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