Travel + Leisure named New Hope one of the country’s coolest suburbs worth a visit. Rightfully so since this charming, quirky enclave is brimming with things to do and see. Located about 30 miles north of Philadelphia, on the west bank of the Delaware River, New Hope boarders New Jersey, which you can walk to via the New Hope-Lambertville Bridge. Its small downtown is packed with galleries, restaurants and independent shops. Stay in one of the lovely bed and breakfasts, listen to live music and explore on foot. There are so many things to do in New Hope, PA, you will wish you booked another night!
What to See
Main Street: Main Street is perfect for whiling the day away, browsing through independent shops and checking out eclectic art galleries. From hand made jewelry and antiques, to CBD and local wine, you can find pretty much anything in this quirky little downtown.
New Hope-Lambertville Bridge: Cross the New Hope-Lambertville Bridge on foot and explore Lambertville, New Hope’s slightly more pragmatic brother in New Jersey. It has a wide variety of restaurants and shops for you to peruse. The bridge itself offers sweeping views of the Delaware River Valley, ideal for a sunset stroll with the one you love.
Buck’s County Playhouse: Founded in 1939 and dubbed “America’s Most Famous Summer Theater”, the Bucks County Playhouse has hosted performers of the highest caliber, including Grace Kelly, Robert Redford, Walter Matthau, Alan Alda and Liza Minnelli. It has a reputation for being an incubator for Broadway, so you may get the initial viewing of a soon to be hit. Check out the website to see which shows are available during your visit.
New Hope & Ivyland Railroad: Children and adults alike will love visiting the New Hope & Ivy Land Railroad. Hop on the train and travel back in time to the golden age of rail travel on this vintage steam engine. Relax and take in the beautiful hills and valleys of Bucks County. Scenic farmland, historic buildings and strapping bridges fly by while you listen to the on-board tour guide provide every last detail of the history and folklore of this charming area.
Van Sant Crybaby Bridge: Located on Covered Bridge Road in Solebury Township, the Van Sant Covered Bridge was built in 1870 and crosses the Pidcock Creek. Legend has it that long ago, a woman became pregnant out of wedlock and was shunned by her family for such an egregious deed. Embarrassed and heartbroken, she slipped out in the middle of the night to the Van Sant Crybaby Bridge, carrying her child and flung the baby into the water. She then hung herself from the rafters of the bridge. Some say that if you park your car in the middle of the bridge you can still hear the cry of the drowned baby and the scrape of the woman’s toes on roof of the car.
Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve: Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve is a native botanical mecca. Spanning 134 acres, this nature preserve will acquaint you with all the exquisite flora that Pennsylvania has to offer. Hike for miles through wooded trails, and take in the beautiful nature surrounding you. The wildflower preserve is open daily April through June, with the exception of major holidays, and is closed on Mondays July through March.
Where to Stay
Porches on the Towpath: Charm and casual elegance abound at the Porches on the Towpath bed and breakfast. Off the beaten path, this quaint bed and breakfast is just a stone’s throw away from everything New Hope has to offer. There are 12 guest rooms, all with central air and private baths, and a full country breakfast is served daily. Take in the quaint beauty of the canal while lazing on the wrap around porch or stroll through the immaculate gardens and watch the fish swim in the koi pond.
Logan Inn: In the heart of Main Street in New Hope, the Logan Inn is an elegant presence. This Victorian style hotel dating back to 1722 is one of the oldest running inns in the U.S. The lobby is decorated with eclectic art and stained glass. Plush leather sofas and mahogany paneling add to the elegance. Each of the 16 guest rooms has a private bath, cable television, and wireless internet. The restaurant offers high end farm to table cuisine with ample portions and a generous drink menu. The Logan Inn has its fair share of ghosts as well, so beware before you book your room! (you may or may not want to stay in #6!).
Carriage House Of New Hope: The Carriage House is a three room bed and breakfast and house rental. Because it is such a diminutive space, it has the feel of living in a private home as opposed to staying in a true hotel. It comes with a full time concierge who is available to attend to your every whim. The Carriage House provides sweeping river views and an abundance of colonial charm. All the comforts of home are included such as free WiFi, a smart thermostat and Netflix, as well as complimentary morning coffee. It is mere steps from the Bucks County Playhouse and the best of Main Street.
Aaron Burr House: This lovely Victorian bed and breakfast exudes hospitality, history and elegance. It is just off the beaten path, one block from all that New Hope has to offer. Each guest room is decorated with its own distinct style, with a private bath, air conditioning, cable TV and free WiFi. Some rooms are even equipped with a fireplace or elegant four-poster bed. The extremely knowledgeable and accommodating proprietor provides delectable homemade breakfast, baked treats and great conversation. There is a beautiful outdoor space perfect for relaxing and enjoying the fresh air and a number of common areas to while away an afternoon reading a book or staying warm by the fire.
Where to Eat
Marsha Brown: Established in a renovated church, Marsha Brown offers authentic New Orleans style creole fair. There is a fresh oyster bar and an excellent cocktail list. The stained glass casts blocks of color over the dining room, make it a magical experience. Treat your special someone to Marsha Brown for a night out. It will not disappoint.
Karla’s Restaurant: Open since 1978, Karla’s is a staple in New Hope. It offers authentic, homemade European cuisine with an extensive international wine list and a large assortment of specialty martinis. Once a week they offer a local’s night, which is a three course dinner, including dessert for a nominal price. It is open for lunch, dinner and has an excellent Sunday brunch menu.
The Landing Restaurant: The Landing Restaurant offers New American cuisine in a cozy, comfortable atmosphere. Enjoy casual dinner or drinks under the stars on the beautiful river terrace while watching the world float by. This is the perfect place for the entire family with items on the menu everyone will enjoy.
Where to Drink
John & Peter’s Place: There is nothing better than strong drinks and live music to get your heart pumping, and that’s what you’ll find at John & Peter’s Place. It is known as the longest original owned and operated live music venue in the country and offers performances nightly in an intimate, coffee house style setting. Artists such as Norah Jones, George Thorogood, and Stanley Jordan have played there. From open mic nights to album release parties, there is always something going on at John & Peter’s Place.
Havana: Havana brings you a full range of offerings from drinks and dinner to local live music and catered parties. They offer sidewalk seating perfect for people watching. Every night is a party at this Latin inspired hot spot. Check out the events calendar for special theme nights like pajama parties, karaoke, and drag nights.
Nektar Wine Bar: This swanky bistro offers a wide range of wine, whiskey, beer and Mediterranean style tapas, perfect those late night cravings. Take advantage of the outdoor patio on warm evenings or unwind in the cozy indoor space on those blustery winter nights. The service is outstanding and the drinks are plentiful so be sure to stop in after a long day of exploring New Hope.
Lambertville and New Hope (Images of America) by James Mastrich (Author), Yvonne Warren (Author), George Kline (Author)
Walk: New Hope is perfect for strolling, browsing and people watching. It is possible to avoid the car completely during your trip. Take every advantage of this quaint and quirky town and explore on foot.
LGBTQ: New Hope prides itself on being a strong LGBT community, which gives it its diverse flair.
Summing It Up
History, art, culture, and small town charm make up this wonderfully eclectic and exuberant hamlet. Explore the nooks and crannies and fall in love with New Hope, PA.
Have you been to New Hope? Have you experienced any haunted happenings there? Tell me about it in the comments below or feel free to ask any questions you may have.