If you can tune out the slow rumbling of cars passing behind you, there’s a center point on the New Hope-Lambertville Bridge walkway where sky and river converge, the breeze off the water hits you just so, and the river ducks and Canada geese can be seen enjoying a swim. Short story: this is no Kosciuszko Bridge—thankfully.
We’re talking about the strikingly green steel bridge that connects the sister towns along the Delaware River—New Hope, Pennsylvania, and Lambertville, New Jersey. Traversing by foot is the recommended way to enjoy a two-for-one deal when it comes to quirky locales, and frankly, it’s a darn good view. (One that’s best viewed with ice cream in hand, but more on that later.)
For those of you looking to get out of town for the weekend and escape the inarguable annoyances of NYC summers, New Hope and Lambertville are worth every penny of what you’ll spend on borrowing a friend’s car or grabbing a rental. Located about an hour and a half from NYC, these riverside hamlets got their start during the turn of the 18th century, flourishing as industrial hotspots thanks to the Delaware and Raritan Canals. You might also recognize New Hope from the history books: it’s said that Washington lodged in town the evening before his infamous Delaware crossing. So to say that it’s a storied place is putting things lightly.
The New Hope and Ivyland Railroad (Samantha Chapnick on Flickr)
So, what to do? Outdoorsy types can hop on a bike (rent one from Pure Energy Cycling or bring your own!) and cruise along over thirty miles of the scenic towpath. Too hot for that and you’d rather get wet? The area is home to a ton of kayak and canoe rental spots like Bucks County River Country, about eight miles north of New Hope. And, of course, there’s the New Hope and Ivyland Railroad, if you want to take in the scenes while comfortably seated in an Instagram-worthy historic train.
If you don’t feel like burning so many calories, but you do want to burn some money, there’s plenty of antique shops, furniture stores and art galleries that sell everything from collectible Star Wars memorabilia to one-of-a-kind mid-century modern credenzas. For the former, head over to Love Saves The Day in New Hope and just try not to get completely lost in the over-the-top spectacle of all things sparkly, spangly, chintzy, and dare we say a little raunchy. It’s also a great place to find a hot pink bobbed wig, if you’re into that sort of thing. And for the latter, there’s Lambertville’s unnameable furniture gallery where every object—from a vintage sock monkey to a folk-art leather chair—has a fascinating genealogy. (You might need your credit card for this place, though.) And if you really have time to spare, the self proclaimed “gold mine” for treasure hunters, Golden Nugget Antique & Flea Market, is so big that it may as well have its own zip code—but note, it’s only open on weekends.
Downtown Lambertville (istockphoto)
Returning to ice cream for a moment, a top contender for some of New Jersey’s best ice cream can be found at Owowcow in Lambertville. To get there, stroll down N Union Street away from the center of town (and gawk at some of the prettiest Victorian houses along the way). We recommend the honey lavender ice cream—you’re going to want to get your own cone, because the stuff is too good to share.
For those looking to add a little drama to their stay, New Hope's historic Bucks County Playhouse has delighted audiences with award-winning musicals and theater since 1939. (Just make sure to grab tickets in advance—shows are likely to sell out!) And, if after all these long days you need a place to catch some zzz's, The Logan Inn is America's oldest operating establishment of its kind, first opened in 1727. Unsurprisingly, the place is also haunted by a whole cast of ghosts—so if you feel like booking a stay, maybe pack a flashlight or learn to sleep with one eye open.
And here's one last pro-tip to help cap off your perfect weekend: if you really can’t shake the NYC food scene while you’re out of town, good pizza is never far away.
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