Looking for a Weekend Getaway? There’s ‘New Hope’ for you (and Lambertville, too!)
By Don Adkins, Managing Editor, Summer 2016
I had been to New Hope, Pennsylvania before and have always considered it a charming getaway from New York City, but on this trip I found there are always new things to discover. First of all, I forgot how close it is—just an hour and a half from NYC and you are transported to another world of arts and crafts, galleries, restaurants, and even professional theater. There are various lodging options, mainly of the B&B variety (and I’ve been told there are Airbnb options as well). I stayed at Olivia’s Bridge Street Inn, which turned out to be incredibly central to everything; so much so, once I parked the car, I never got in it again until I was leaving. The rooms are lovely and well-appointed, with some niceties thrown in as well. The whole town is walkable, and that’s the way to discover it—on foot. There are too many shops to mention them all, but standouts included Topeo (extensive collection of art glass, jewelry, pottery, etc.), kitsch and memorabilia abound at Love Saves the Day, and Heart of the Home offers a wide variety of handmade jewelry and crafts. When you’re feeling nibbly, stop in at Clusters Carmel Corn for gourmet popcorn or Country Fair Chocolates for a wide selection of the obvious.
The real surprise of this visit was walking across the bridge to Lambertville, NJ and exploring yet another charming town. With many shopping options (most around Bridge and Union Streets, comprising the central hub), top stops were the A Mano Galleries hosting a variety of eclectic wares (new merchandise arrives every week!) and if you’ve been wanting a visit to “grandma’s attic” then go to the Antique Center at The People’s Store—it’s four floors of objects, memorabilia and just about anything you can imagine in one store—impossible to describe but a must to see and explore. If you need strength to continue your shopping, stop in The Chocolate Box for some quick energy—you’ll be glad you did. Another stop off-the-beaten-track would be the extremely inventive Funk-N-Junk on N. Franklin Street. It’s hard to describe, but they take vintage and salvaged objects and pieces of furniture and transform them into workable, functional, and decorative pieces for your home. By specializing in custom work, they allow the customer’s dreams to become reality. There are also a number of luncheonettes (Annie’s), cafes (Full Moon Café), coffee shops (Rojo’s Roastery) and restaurants (Lambertville Station Restaurant; Hamilton’s Grill Room; and Caffe Galleria) to keep you on “that side of the bridge” if your schedule permits.
As with any getaway, dining can often be an important component, and New Hope does not disappoint. One of the highest-rated, Blue Moose Restaurant and Cafe, is definitely a recommended dining destination, where an inventive young chef oversees the whole enterprise. Karla’s has been around for almost 40 years and continues to put out interesting, flavorful meals and snacks, and Marsha Brown’s, with Creole-Southern fare, has a casual bar area for a drink or light meal, while upstairs boasts a formal dining room housed in a former church sanctuary that is quite impressive and elegant.
With its close proximity to the NYC area, New Hope is manageable as a daytrip, but it’s so much more fun to stay over and allow it to be a lovely respite from the day-to-day grind. Also worth noting is Bucks County Playhouse, which after a brief hiatus, is now back and better than ever with a full season of plays and musicals worth checking out, and if you can’t get in because the performance is sold-out, you may console yourself at Moo Hope Ice Cream or Pudge Cakes—I’m sure they’ll have something to make you feel better!