During the pandemic I became aware that in all my travels, I never spent a lot of time exploring things in my own backyard and home state. I have been trying to rectify that recently by visiting places closer to home. New Hope had been on my list for a while. Nestled on the very edge of Pennsylvania along the Delaware River, north of Philly, this quaint town has a lot to offer. In July of 2022 I booked a 2 night, mid-week getaway to explore the area. My husband accompanied me on this trip.
Image is of one of the historic homes in the town. This is an older town in the state with a lot of history!
When researching where to stay I came up with a lot of good options, all within a reasonable drive of New Hope. However, my research warned me that parking in New Hope can be expensive and difficult. Places to stay directly in New Hope can also be pricey, especially on the weekend (as its a popular weekend getaway destination). I decided to do a mid-week stay to save money and avoid weekend crowds. I also wanted to be in the action where I could walk around the main part of town and not have to worry about parking. I settled on Olivia's Bridge Street Inn. Its a bed and breakfast in the heart of the town, with a parking spot included.
The house exterior and interior are very charming. The rooms are cute and go with the style of the house. Beds are clean and comfortable; and the staff was wonderful. There are some areas of the house that could use a little TLC, but that is to expected with an older home that constantly gets guests. Breakfast was included and half of it was really good; the other half just so-so. Overall, this was a good value for the area and what you get. I think most people would enjoy this place and I would stay there again. However, if you want a higher end, luxury experience; consider elsewhere. Though I didn't stay in either place I heard great things about The Ghostlight Inn and The River House at Odette's.
Below is a picture of the outside of Olivia's Bridge Street Inn. The balcony was part of guest rooms, so we didn't have access but there was a roof top patio for all guests to enjoy.
Where to Eat
The town and area offers a lot of food options. I sometimes hate recommending food because people's taste vary. Always check out menu's ahead of time, read reviews, and ask the people where you are staying for recommendations. These places below are the ones we dined at and enjoyed.
The Dubliner on Delaware. If there is an Irish pub in a town, my husband and I will almost always go to it. The drinks, atmosphere, and comfort food are right up our alley. This pub did not disappoint. We shared some delicious poutine fries, a shepherds pie, and dessert. Restaurant also had great service, and drink offerings; leading to a wonderful evening.
El Tule Restaurant- This place was over the river in Lambertville, NJ. They serve Mexican and Peruvian food. My husband had been wanting Peruvian food for a while and this place had great reviews. We went for an early dinner one day as we skipped lunch and had evening plans. It wasn't busy and we were served quickly. I got a enchilada trio while my husband stuck to a traditional Peruvian stew. The meals were delicious and glad we walked to burn off some calories after.
The Ferry Market- This is a lovely brick building turned into a market that offers a variety food options (think a smaller Reading Terminal Market). Though my only purchases here were dessert and coffee (both excellent), the other offerings both looked and smelled fantastic.
Things to do
The area of New Hope is one of those that offers something for everyone. Outdoor adventures, shopping, food, and art; the entire Bucks County area, offers a little bit of it all.
You can spend a good chunk of your day just wandering around all the fun little stores in New Hope. There are a variety of options and price points for whatever. I remember just walking from store to store and finding some really cool and interesting items. Months later as I write this, the two that really stick out in my mind are Topeo Gallery and The Catwalk of New Hope. If you run out of stores in New Hope, hop in your car and drive to nearby Peddler's Village (separate blog post about this place coming soon).
Bucks County Playhouse
One of the biggest highlights is this theatre located right along the river. It was once a grist mill and was almost torn down, until some locals came together to transform it to a theatre in the 1930's. Some bigger name Broadway Stars have graced its stage through the years. I always enjoy a night of theatre, so this was a must for me. I purposedly made sure to visit the town a night when a production was happening. While we were there we saw Kinky Boots, and had a wonderful experience. For more information visit their website.
A short hike over the Delaware River is Lambertville, the sister city to New Hope. Dubbed, "The Antiques Capital of New Jersey," this town offers lots of stores, museums, and restaurants to explore. There is also Music Mountain Theatre if you want more theatre than what you find on the Pennsylvania side of the river. Even if you don't want to explore the town its still worth walking across the bridge. You get great views of New Hope and you can even stand on the line dividing the two states ; the classic be in two places at the same time!
Standing on the bridge right where the two states meet.
There are lots of opportunities to get outside and enjoy nature. Doing some research there are lots of trails nearby and town is along the Delaware Canal trail. Also you can go to where Washington crossed the Delaware at Washington Crossing Historic Park. We didn't stop there but we did visit nearby Bowman's Hill Tower. It is $6 a person to climb up this tower, but worth it for the gorgeous views of the area. When we visited we did notice an elevator to the top but it was broken down. There are 124 stairs to the top.
The first picture is of the tower and the second is the view from the top.
Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve is a beautiful botanical garden and nature preserve that cost us $12 per person to enter. The weather was to be really hot that July day so we arrived shortly after they opened in the morning. We were given a map of the property that outlined the trails. None of the trails we did were challenging. Most of them were leisurely strolls through the woods and fields, taking in all the lovely scenery. Hardly anyone was around so it was a peaceful and relaxing morning of enjoying nature.
One of my favorite areas at the wildflower preserve.
It was a quick two night trip for us and some of the hottest days of the year. We kept ourselves busy but there are other things in the area worth exploring that we didn't have time. I heard good things about a train excursion through New Hope Railroad. There are also state parks, covered bridges, castles (Fonthill I did at Christmas; blog post later), wineries, history, and more in the area. I recommend checking out the site Visit Bucks County for more information.
Finally in my research I learned that New Hope does a big pride event called Pride Fest-New Hope Celebrates. It looks like a blast and a great way to support the LGBTQIA+ community. If anyone has ever been, let me know how it was! Also let me know if you have been to the area and what are some your favorite New Hope activities!