Steeped in history, Lambertville, New Jersey has been a part of American culture and art for over a century. Today, the city is a bustling hub for artists, tourists and antique sellers and buyers alike.
Boasting picturesque landscapes, a subtropical climate and fascinating stories of the past, Lambertville should be on every traveler’s must-see list.
Lambertville was once just a ferry stop along the Delaware river. It was named Coryell’s Ferry in the late 18th century after the owner of the ferry boats. This lasted until 1814 when the small town established a post office. Coryell’s Ferry was renamed to Lambertville in honor of John Lambert, acting governor of New Jersey.
New Jersey statutes incorporated Lambertville as a town in 1849 where it remained for 23 years. In 1872, the town was reincorporated as a city. Since then Lambertville grew as a factory center due to it’s location on the Delaware.
As time passed, boats gave way to trains and motor vehicles and the need for the factories ended. Most of them shut down by the 1960s while a few remained in operation until the 1970s. By the 1980s new companies cropped up, including the Lambertville Station eatery and Jonsdottir art gallery. These businesses began to draw artists of all types to the area.
The scenery and the atmosphere kept them there and continued to draw new people, visitors and tourists. The rustic charm of the 18th and 19th centuries remains with the local historical society keeping up and renovating the historical buildings throughout the city.
Places to Stay
Lambertville plays hosts to hotels, cottages, inns and bed and breakfasts. Finding the right one for you can be a difficult choice as you will want to stay in all of them. When you are deciding where to stay in Lambertville, New Jersey there are a few places that stick out:
The 19th century railway station got a makeover and has transformed into a stunning 46 room inn. All the suites have a fireplace and every room gets a free breakfast and copy of the local newspaper each morning.
The Lambertville Station Inn is much more than just an inn, though. The massive Riverside Ballroom plays host to weddings, catered events as well as the Sunday Champagne Buffet Brunch on the Delaware. This feast has everything from waffles to salmon and the 3 sided glass room overlooks the Delaware river.
Modern amenities are included along with the charming appeal of former centuries, all rolled into one.
Chimney Hill Estate Inn
If a bed and breakfast is more your style, the Chimney Hill Estate might be your first stop. This creative inn is located up on a hill down a country road that overlooks Lambertville as well as New Hope, Pennsylvania and, of course, the Delaware river.
Aside form the country farm life atmosphere, Chimney Hill has a llama and alpaca farm where guests are invited to interact with the animals. For the history buffs, it is just a short stroll to Goat Hill overlook, the very spot George Washington surveyed the Delaware River in 1776 for his infamous crossing.
If you still find yourself looking for a place to lay your head, there are plenty of other options as well. Most have a historic background and some a modern artistic touch, depending on what you are in to. You can stay at places such as:
- Inn of the Hawk
- Lambertville House Hotel
- Logan Inn
- Arron Burr House
- Porches on the Towpath
- Fox and Hound Bed and Breakfast
Things to do in Lambertville
Lambertville is self-proclaimed as the antique capital of New Jersey. You will find plenty of shops and vendors selling antiques wares and goods all over town. Famer’s markets show up regularly in the Spring and Summer to showcase foods as well as antique trinkets, goods and offerings.
The town also boasts beautiful, year-round scenery, paths and walks for you to exercise, jog, walk or play in. Artists find the area inspiring and use the canvas to practice their crafts, be it painting, sculpting writing or even acting. Whatever form of art you are into, you will find plenty of things to do in Lambertville, New Jersey.
Every year towards the end of April or the start of May, the town holds a festival to celebrate the return of the shad. The celebrated fish marks a fantastic festival with vendor booths, eateries and shops showcasing art, history and antiques.
For the lovers of the past, almost the entire city has been registered as the Lambertville Historical District (signed in 1983). Every building, shop, street and even some of the cars are historic monuments of some sort. From the famous Washington crossing of the Delaware, to the ferry, carriage and railways that crossed the paths centuries ago.
The Lambert House is one of the largest attractions for historic persons, the house built by the town’s namesake. Other interest points include the James W. Marshall House, which was the childhood home of James Marshall and is now the headquarters of the Lambertville historical society. Marshall is the first man to find gold in 1948 in California, which started the famed 1949 gold rush.
No historic town would be complete without its share of ghost stories. For the silly brave and the scared fun among you, the banks of the Delaware river itself may be of interest. Before the ferries of the 18th century could make port in Lambertville the canal had to be hand dug. 4,000 Irish immigrants dug the canal with pickaxes. A bout of cholera broke out and dozens of the men died. They were buried along the canal in the banks of the river.
The Lambertville High School was built in 1854 and except for a year in 1926, due to fire, the school educated students through the 1950s. In 1955 the last class graduated and the building took on different roles. At one point, it was an electronics supply store.
In 1992 vandals set the building on fire and destroyed the structure, including the roof. The town, though, let the remains stand for almost 20 years. It was finally demolished in 2012. However, the grounds and the history have been subject to many haunts, and noted in “Weird NJ”
Places To Eat
While you are staying in the town, you will most likely get hungry at one point of another. Lambertville has something to offer every taste bud. If you want seafood, pizza, barbecue, or something a little different, Lambertville has you covered.
The Hamilton’s Grill Room helped start the artistic influx by setting up shop in Lambertville and this BYOB style barbecue is still a go-to eatery for locals and tourists.
You can find traditional American, and farm-to-table eats at Anton’s at the Swan and D’floret, respectively. Or if you want something a little European, Brain’s has what you crave. Lambertville has over 40 different restaurants and eateries in the small 1.2 square mile town. You will never be far from any food you could desire.
Just across the Delaware river is New Hope, Pennsylvania. You can visit New Hope, Pennsylvania with a three-minute car ride down Bridge Street, or, you can take your time and explore the views as you walk across the walking bridge.
New Hope is also an artist’s village, like Lambertville and both offer exciting to-dos and places to eat, sleep and visit.
Did you know that Lambertville has a movie about it? Filmed ion 1949 “The Lambertville Story” covers an ear when the youth of the town run wild and the townsfolk get together to decide what to do about it. The answer? Build a youth center and hold dances on the weekends! Hot dog! It works, and the helter-skelter activities of the kids stop.
If you are an artist, a traveler, or just someone that wants to get away for a few days, Lambertville is a destination that should be high on your list. With a history dating back to the 1700s and more famous people stepping foot on ground there, Lambertville, New Jersey is a bustling community ready to welcome any and all.
You can follow in the footsteps of George Washington by surveying the Delaware river from Goat Hill overlook, and then time it just right and cross the river yourself, ending up in New Hope, Pennsylvania.
You can shop stalls, vendors and stores for that perfect antique to add to your collection, or start a new one. The Antique Capital of New Jersey has more antiques than you can shake a stick at. If fine dining is more your thing you can enjoy some of the best food the East Coast has to offer with more than 40 restaurants around the town.
Then rest your head at a comfortable, historic inn or bed and breakfast. The scenery, the people and the atmosphere will draw you in and make you want to stay.