Sometimes the smallest of towns make for the greatest of weekend getaways. Better yet, a small town with a big city feel is a travelers dream. Set in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, New Hope is home to eclectic shops, beautiful vistas, premier riverside dining, an impressive theater scene, and numerous cultural attractions. Since it was incorporated in 1837, New Hope has grown to be one of the most sought-after and beloved American small towns. This vibrant, artsy riverside town is a true hidden gem with historic charm bustling with things to do.Here’s everything you need to know before you plan your trip, from what to do and where to stay.
What to Do:
All aboard! Leave your subway card at home and relive the golden age of rail travel. Explore the scenic Bucks County countryside and experience a glimpse into travel of the bygone era on a historic 1925 steam locomotive. The New Hope & Ivy Railroad pulls passengers through sprawling hills and valleys on a nine-mile scenic journey while a guide narrates the history and folklore of the railroad, passing towns, and points of interests for travelers.
Shopping, anyone? Head to Main Street and you’ll find yourself surrounded by dozens of unique shops and boutiques popular among locals. From hand-crafted antiques and jewelry to European fashions and designer apparel, you’ll be sure to find something that strikes your fancy. After a stroll down the shop-lined Main Street, head across the walking bridge and cross the state line to nearby town Lambertville, NJ. There, you’ll find an antique mall dating all the way back to 1839. With over 50 dealers selling specialty items, browse the artisan jewelry, furniture, vintage clothing, and more.
Step back in time with a tour of the scenic Delaware Canal, the last functioning segment of the 19th-century towpath, which has become a haven for hikers and cyclists. Serving as part of the Delaware Canal State Park, this 60-mile long path runs directly through town, paralleling the Delaware River from Easton to Bristol.
What do famous theatrical legends such as Grace Kelley, Robert Redford, Dick Van Dyke, Liza Minnelli, and Helen Hayes have in common? Other than being the bona fide who’s who of American theater royalty, they’ve all graced “America’s Most Famous Summer Theater”, Bucks County Playhouse. Within its 70-year history, some of the most illustrious stars have entertained audiences in the town of New Hope. Now operating year long, Bucks County Playhouse is still putting on show-stopping performances and garners over 50,000 plus audience members a year. The past year’s record-breaking lineup included Robert Harling’s Steel Magnolias starring Susan Sullivan (“Castle”), Patricia Richardson (“Home Improvement”) and Jessica Walter (“Arrested Development”).
The New Hope Arts Center, a non-profit organization, showcases the work of many talented local artists with rotating exhibits displaying everything from fashion design, sculpture, woodworking, and photography. Dedicated to furthering the creative heritage of New Hope as a hub for the arts and artists, the Arts Center supports local artists by cultivating a community that creates opportunities and provides a space to create freely.
Take a peek inside one of New Hope’s original founders’ homes, the Parry Mansion. Built in 1784 by Benjamin Parry, the property has been home to four generations of direct descendants up until 1966 when it was acquired by the New Hope Historical Society. Share in the rich history as your tour guide tells stories of the past that have been passed along through generations. Each of the 11 rooms reflects a different time with furnishings from varying styles of past decades.
Where to Stay:
Pineapple Hill Inn Bed & Breakfast, 1324 River Rd, New Hope
In the 1700’s it was customary to place a pineapple on your front porch as a way of letting friends and neighbors know that they were welcome. Today, the beautifully restored Pineapple Hill Inn Bed & Breakfast is built on that same premise and creates a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Built in 1790 and set on nearly 6-acres, this Bucks County B&B rests between New Hope’s center and Washington Crossing Park. Featuring 9 guest accommodations, 3 suites and 6 rooms all with their own private baths, and 8 with gas fireplaces, Pineapple Hill Inn provides a home-away-from-home to guests visiting New Hope.
HollyHedge Estate, 6987 Upper York Road, New Hope
With beautiful English country gardens, elegant décor, and romantic rooms, you’ll feel like you’re living in a fairy-tale when staying at the HollyHedge Estate. Ranging from cozy to grand, each one of the inns fifteen rooms are decorated with classic Bucks County charm, complete with private baths and cable. Situated on twenty serene acres, this gracious stone manor home is the perfect place to stay for those looking for the ultimate romantic getaway.
Carriage House of New Hope, 8 East Mechanic Street, New Hope
Experience the combination of luxury and history at the Carriage House of New Hope. Each of the three well-appointed guest rooms includes custom-built shaker-style cabinetry hand-crafted by a local New Hope woodworking shop accented with contemporary stainless steel hardware, creating a sophisticated contrast to the rustic planked walls and walnut hardwood floorings.