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A Visitor’s Guide to New Hope Pennsylvania, contributed by Wendy and Tom, who blog at Adventurous Retirement, is the 13th small town exposé in the series Small Town Explorer. You can find their bio at the end of this post.
The villages and towns we visit in our travels are often the hidden gems of a country or region. In this series readers are introduced to small centers around the globe, from travel bloggers who have experienced the location firsthand; featuring their uniqueness, their history, what to see and do, and often where to stay and where to dine.
New Hope, Pennsylvania is a beautiful country town, halfway between Philadelphia, PA and New York City, on the water, and filled with art, culture, theater, music, great restaurants, hiking and water activities. Only an hour-and-a-half hour from New York City or Philadelphia, for years it has drawn city folks for a small town get-away.
New Hope - Things To Do
New Hope – Famous For Arts, Culture and History
The New Hope area boasts important American history. George Washington stayed in New Hope PA the night before the famous strike against the British, which led to the United States’ independence. The 500-acre Washington Crossing Park begins in the southern part of New Hope along the Delaware River; this is where the Continental Army launched the counterattack on the British. ‘Washington Crossing the Delaware’ – in the New Hope vicinity – during the Revolutionary War was when favor shifted to the Americans.
Pennsylvania Impressionist painters also made New Hope a locally famous town; they visited and moved here to paint the gorgeous country scenery. Some of the most famous professors and artists from Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, like Edward Redfield and Daniel Garber, moved to New Hope, and students visited to take classes and paint. With so many famous Bucks County artists working in New Hope PA, it influenced the fine arts and crafts that still can be found in the New Hope Art Galleries today.
George Nakashima, the famous Japanese woodworker who once studied with Frank Lloyd Wright, established his home in New Hope PA. Nakashima’s woodworking shop is still active today, producing his famous designs and fine custom wood furniture.
Many artists, craftsman, and writers live in or near New Hope PA and have for the past 100 years or so. James Michener grew up in nearby Doylestown. Michener was a great writer and world traveler, public servant, art collector and philanthropist. He came back to the area to live towards the end of his life. You’ll find the Michener Museum in Doylestown, PA with its collection of world-class Pennsylvania Impressionists.
Visit the New Hope PA Shops and Galleries
Stroll along the 4-5 block Main Street where interesting shops are aplenty in New Hope PA. Top galleries with fine art, high-quality craft shops, jewelers, antiques, leather, pet accoutrements, and even wine and cigar shops are found here. They carry fantastic gifts and accessories for the home. With delicious food and aromas escaping the restaurants, music drifting out to the street, all surrounded by a quaint town and gorgeous country scenery, New Hope is a delight to visit.
Art galleries offer painting, sculpture, photography, pottery, jewelry, and vintage art, contemporary and modern art. Some of the galleries exhibit works of art by the world’s most respected artisans. Elegant furnishings, unique home décor items, and collectibles are available in New Hope shops.
Other museums in New Hope include the Bucks County Children’s Museum and Phillips Mill Art Center.
Enjoy music in New Hope PA
Once New Hope was discovered, the area drew other famous people from music and theater. Oscar Hammerstein, who lived in nearby Doylestown, PA, wrote musicals, and even filmed some of Oklahoma at his nearby Doylestown estate. Summer Stock Theater blossomed here and New Hope boasts the well-known Bucks County Playhouse. Stars from theater, stage, opera and music have regularly come to New Hope PA for short vacations or to live.
New Hope has been called ‘The live music Capital of Bucks County.’ In the summer, there are free concerts all around the area. It is home to musicians, actors and actresses, and opera singers who want to live in the country with easy access to New York City. That means at any time in a bar, or restaurant, patrons could be treated to fantastic music – some for a fee, some free.
There are many scheduled music performances on weekends. During the week various venues have open mic night; we have been treated to some famous musicians at open mic night. A list of New Hope Open mic venues is included in https://adventurousretirement.com/blog/new-hope-pa-quality-entertainment-food/
My favorite music in New Hope is on the 1st Sunday afternoon of every month (check the schedule to be sure), when the excellent 20+ piece big band Midnight Sun Orchestra plays at Havana’s. What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon with good food and drink. While the food prices are a bit high, it’s worth it with free admission for the band entertainment.
Other things to do in and Around New Hope
There’s good local theater at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, and The Phillip’s Mill Players at the Phillip’s Mill Community Association. There are many others theaters throughout the Bucks County area, too.
Local wineries are on the self-guided Bucks County Wine Tour. The wine store on Main Street carries some of the local vintages.
Visit the Children’s Museum in Union Square. Paint a piece of pottery, or attend a movie at ACME Screening Room in Lambertville, where independent and documentary films are shown.
The Delaware Canal through town provides very pleasant and often shaded walking paths that soothe the soul. Many people bike on these paths. In summer, people float, canoe or kayak down the Delaware River. Many parks, some with water activities, others with hiking, birding, sailing, rock climbing and wildflowers round out any visitor’s stay in New Hope. See my listing of parks – https://adventurousretirement.com/blog/summer-fun-bucks-county-free-fee-events/
New Hope Pennsylvania Restaurants
New Hope has been known for its restaurants since my mother was young. Restaurants in New Hope, those across the river in Lambertville, NJ, and in nearby Washington Crossing, Lahaska, and Doylestown provide a large number of wonderful eating choices.
One of my favorite restaurants in New Hope is Café Blue Moose. The food is very good quality, and the owner, Skylar, is an excellent chef and an even better baker. Café Blue Moose has been rated #1 in New Hope for several years. Reservations are a must; for weekends make reservations 2-3 months in advance, or go mid-week or Sunday.
Here are a few New Hope restaurants that I like:
- Wild Ginger III, Asian Fusion in Logan Square
- Blue Tortilla, Mexican cuisine
- Logan Inn, for a casual dinner, and outdoor dining in warmer weather
- Karla’s Restaurant, a casual New Hope favorite
- Sprig and Vine, Vegetarian Food in Union Square
- Triumph Brewery, eclectic pub food with craft beer in Union Square
There are also excellent restaurants in all of the surrounding towns.
Where To Stay In New Hope PA
Visit for the day or stay for a few. The area is filled with lovely Bed and Breakfasts; many are listed on the New Hope Chamber of Commerce website (http://www.visitnewhope.com/ ). There are a few hotels between New Hope, Lahaska, and Lambertville.
Getting to New Hope
From New York City:
- Bus – take the Trans-Bridge bus from the NY Port Authority to Lambertville, NJ and walk across the bridge to New Hope.
- Drive – Take I-78 to Route 202 into New Hope.
- Train – Take a SEPTA train to Doylestown and connect to a Trans-Bridge bus to Lambertville, NJ or take an Uber or a taxi to New Hope from Doylestown.
- Drive –
- Travel north on Route 95N; follow it onto Route 295.
- Exit at Taylorsville Road in Lower Makefield Township. Take exit 10 from I-295.
- Continue on Taylorsville Road. Drive to PA-32N and follow it into New Hope.
Best Time to Visit New Hope PA
While I prefer summer and spring in New Hope, there’s a winter festival with ice sculptures and a parade. New Hope is less crowded in the winter. Fall is also beautiful with a colorful backdrop of leaves changing.
Often weekdays are less crowded. Stores and restaurants are generally closed on Tuesdays, and some are closed on Mondays.
Visiting New Hope and the surrounding area is filled with variety for all ages any time of year.
Photo Credits: Wendy and Tom @adventurousretirement.com
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Have you visited New Hope? Let us know in the comments.
Wendy is the article author and Tom is webmaster and photographer for Adventurous Retirement, LLC.Wendy and Tom travel 4-6 months per year and write about their adventures; travel writing is their retirement career.Many of their recommended travel experiences appear on their website https://adventurousretirement.com.