Stretching from end to end of the thirteen original colonies, from Fort Kent, Maine, to Key West, Florida, the connecting sections of the Atlantic Coast Highway, known as United States Route No. 1, have formed a highway of history for three hundred years. Washington traveled it repeatedly in peace and war. Now the 94-mile section between New York and Philadelphia carries a heavier average traffic than any other road of equal length in the world. Route 1 connects New York, Princeton and Philadelphia, the three cities at which the capital was established in the early years of the Republic, with Washington, the final choice; and it passes near or through nearly all of the Revolutionary battlefields and many of those of the Civil War. It grew from blazed footpaths of the settlement era to its present condition, which the Bureau of Public Roads of the United States Department of Agriculture reports as surfaced for 84 percent of the distance, graded but unsurfaced for 15 percent, and unimproved for less than 1 percent. Work is proceeding on the less improved sections.
The motorist traveling the road today is reminded frequently of the life and customs of the early days by the old towns and villages through which Route 1 passes; but they also cannot miss the unique places of interest—coffee shops, gift shops, restaurants, stores, museums, parks, and scenic turnouts—to be found along its whole length. A tour down Route 1 is a trip of history and nostalgia, as well as a slice across American culture, with all its quirks and eccentricities in full bloom.