Seated at the intersection of the Raritan River and Arthur Kill Strait, a low-lying strip of land with a long and storied waterfront, Perth Amboy was known to the Lenape as “Ompoge”, meaning “level ground” or “standing upright”. On the border between New Jersey and New York, Perth Amboy was chosen to be the capital of the East Jersey colony in 1686 when the first Scottish settlers arrived. Anglicizing “Ompoge” to “Ambo”, the town was christened Perth Amboy in honor of East Jersey’s original proprietor, James Drummond, Earl of Perth. The town stayed the capital of East Jersey until 1703, when East and West Jersey were unified into New Jersey. Thereafter, Perth Amboy became the alternate capital after Burlington, and remained so until 1776. A crucial way-station between New York and New Jersey, Perth Amboy survived on ferry and boat traffic, finding new life at the start of the twentieth century when Eastern and Central European immigrants came to work at the many newly constructed factories built downtown. Though many of the old factories would close down beginning in the 1960s, they’ve sense reopened, home of a thriving new small business community.
Today, Perth Amboy is a patchwork of dense, urban neighborhoods and quaint, waterfront suburbs, each spotted with green parks and stunning examples of eighteenth and nineteenth century architecture. Take a stroll along the Perth Amboy Waterfront, enjoy fine dining and sangria at the famous Portuguese Manor or visit the Proprietary House, home of New Jersey’s last royal governor, now lovingly repurposed as a museum. Neighboring Woodbridge, Metuchen and South Amboy, less than an hour from New York City, one needn’t venture out far for even more shopping, dining and entertainment opportunities. Centrally located and eminently historic, find yourself in Perth Amboy.