Monday, June 18, 2012

Cat Friendly Princeton + $100 AmEx Gift Card Giveaway!

I have partnered with Apartment Guide to serve as an Official Apartment Guide Pet Blogger! As an official blogger, I will be sharing articles and ideas for exploring your space, city and style.

This month I have been tasked with creating a city guide including restaurants and places I would recommend to guests coming to visit my town. Luckily, I am fortunate enough to live in beautiful Princeton, New Jersey, which I've learned some people don't realize is home of the prestigious Ivy League school of the same name (Yes, intellectuals besides the The Real Housewives of New Jersey and Jersey Shore folks frequent this fine state, too).

All joking aside, Princeton a scenic town filled with a good eats, awesome activities, and abundant ways to appease a raging sweet tooth. Now, I'm going to keep this cat related, of course, so here are some of my must-see stops for people like me with a thing for kitties, cupcakes, and all things cute.

The picturesque campus is open to the public, and it always feels like I'm walking on a movie set every time I set foot through its majestic gates. Be sure to bring your camera along to soak up the scenery, and stop by the numerous tiger statues (it's their mascot) to take a pic!

Niko Niko is the kind of boutique that I would love to open: It features trendy dresses and funky accessories, along with brands like Tokidoki, Harajuku Lovers, and Paul Frank. I make sure to stop in every once in awhile to see if they have any cool new cat clothing, as they've been known to stock feline inspired fashions you won't see anywhere else!

Located just next door to Niko Niko, Morning Glory is a haven for Japanese pop culture junkies, and is filled to the brim with Sanrio, San-X, My Neighbor Totoro, and more. They have kawaii stationary, buttons, and tons of other cute trinkets that will leave you saying "aww" every five seconds (which is what happens every time I visit).

Every Thursday from 11am to 4pm, there's a Farmer's Market in Hinds Plaza next to the excellent public library. In addition to local fruits and veggies, you just might find famous resident cat lady (and fellow Catster columnist), Sarah Donner, playing a gig, too!

Save your appetite up for dessert!
Princeton boasts a variety of excellent ice cream shops like The Bent Spoon (which hosts a rotating roster of unusual flavors like basil, lavender mascarpone, and bourbon sea salt caramel), Halo Pub (home of my beloved Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream), and Thomas Sweet. There's also the requisite froyo joints like Twist and Fruity Yogurt (a must try for their Bubble Tea), and the town cupcakery, House of Cupcakes, whose claim to fame includes being a winner on Food Network's "Cupcake Wars."

Stop by the local animal shelter, S.A.V.E., to socialize with some of their cats and dogs, or drive thirty-five minutes south to visit Tabby's Place, the cageless cat sanctuary located in Ringoes, NJ.

Located just a short drive away in Hamilton, NJ, this hidden gem is always a big hit. As the name implies, it's a huge outdoor park, filled with umm, well, sculptures (which is much more exciting than it sounds, I promise!), and is sure to delight guests of all ages. They also have live peacocks roaming around, and to keep this catty, yes, they have tiger statues there, too!

Another great aspect of living in or visiting this area is its proximity to New York City and Philadelphia (both are only about an hour away). Exploring NYC would be a whole other post, but if we're talking cats, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Philadelphia Zoo, where you can marvel at snow leopards, amur leopards, pumas, lions, amur tigers, and a black jaguar in the incredible Big Cat Falls habitat.

If you're looking for another fun day trip, Longwood Gardens is a bit of a hike (it's about a two hour drive to Kennett Square, PA from Princeton), but it's also worth the trip. Explore the grounds of one of the country's premiere botanical gardens, and see if you can spot one of the lovely real-life cats they employ as a form of "natural pest control"!

Enter To Win!

Apartment Guide has generously offered one lucky Catsparella reader the chance to win a $100 American Express gift card to help explore your own town (or go buy some kitty litter with it, your choice!)

To enter, leave a comment on this post with your name and some way for me to contact you if you win (email, link back to your blog or profile, Twitter, etc). The winner be will chosen in a random drawing next Monday, June 25th at 5:00PM EST. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents aged 18 and up only. One entry per person, please.

(If you have trouble entering a comment, email me at

Whether you're living, looking or moving, Apartment Guide offers how-to tips for making the most of a space for you and your pet at

Disclosure: Apartment Guide and owner Consumer Source, Inc. have partnered with bloggers like me as Official Apartment Guide Bloggers. As part of this program, I have received compensation. They have not told me what to purchase or what to say about the products used, and believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Consumer Source’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations. The winner of this giveaway will be randomly chosen and gift card fulfillment will be handled by a third party.

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