Ostensibly in retirement, former Borough Mayor Marvin Reed and Eagleton Institute policy analyst Ingrid Reed are enjoying more travel time. But it’s not what you might imagine: long lazy days by a lagoon with a fat novel and a tall drink. The Reeds travel with purpose. Years of dedication to civic betterment have formed a habit that is hard to shake. Princeton and New Jersey are never far from their thoughts.
Interviewed in their Queenstown Commons townhome, the prominent Princeton couple had just returned from a two-week road trip to the 19th annual Congress for the New Urbanism in Madison, Wisconsin and were bursting with details, especially of their detours en route, prompted by a shared passion for urban planning and architecture as well as their respective interests in women’s rights and Shakespeare.
Besides a love affair with each other—the couple married one year and one day after connecting at a Christmas Party in 1958— the Reeds have long been engaged in a love affair with towns and cities. Much like their relationship, their travels are full of exploration and discovery.
Having set out for Wisconsin, they found their most recent trip evolving into much more. Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural masterpiece, Taliesin, just an hour north of Madison, was a must see. Since one of Ingrid’s three sisters lives in Michigan, why not visit and scout out further examples of Wright’s work there? And while they were on the road, why not take in the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, something Ingrid had long wanted to see. Since that would bring them close to Canada, why not satisfy Marvin’s interest in Stratford, Ontario where Shakespeare’s Richard III, the play he had stage-managed as a Rutgers student, was being performed. Who could pass on Niagara Falls? But how many people go out of their way to visit downtown Buffalo? True to form, the Reeds did more than eat lunch there. They discovered the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed cemetery and visited the Art Deco masterpiece that is Buffalo City Hall.
None of this is as arbitrary as it sounds. The Reeds’ travels combine careful planning and openness to the unexpected. “We are adventurous and risk averse at the same time,” laughs Ingrid.
A spirit of adventure sparked an instant connection between Marvin Reed and Ingrid Wagner, as she then was, at that 1958 party. Growing up Vineland, N.J., where their families got together every Christmas, they had much in common: they went to the same high school, though at different times (she’s four and a half years younger than Marvin and he graduated early at 16) and each was the first of their family to go to university. But this time Ingrid was just back from a three-month trip to Europe and had fascinating tales to tell. Marvin was hungry for every detail.
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