New Hope Pennsylvania has all the charm of a small and quaint Northeast town. This would be a perfect destination for a family vacation or a couple’s getaway. This small town is only 40 miles north of Philadelphia on the west bank of the Delaware River, not far from Washington Crossing. Visiting this historic spot will make your trip to New Hope worth it, but this small town has plenty of to offer!
A Short History Of New Hope
New Hope used to be a popular spot on the Old York Road. The location of the town roughly corresponds to the midpoint between New York and Philadelphia. Travelers would stop in New Hope, spend the night at a local inn and take the ferry across the Delaware River the next day.
Locals like to tell stories about George Washington spending the night in New Hope before crossing the Delaware River a few miles south of town. The New Hope ferry was supposedly destroyed that night to stop the progression of the British troops.
Historians haven’t been able to retrace George Washington’s actions in details, but this story really adds to the charm of the town. This historical period had an important influence on the development of the town, and you will see plenty of examples of Victorian and colonial architecture as you walk through New Hope.
New Hope became a popular touristic destination in the 1960s thanks to the construction of the scenic railroad. Tourism is still the main industry, and you will find most of the town’s activity revolves around the downtown area with its souvenir shops, art galleries, and small bed and breakfasts.
Fun fact: New Hope used to be called Coryell’s Ferry. The name was changed to New Hope at the end of the 18th century after a fire destroyed several buildings. The name was chosen because the reconstruction of these buildings represented a new hope for the small town.
When To Visit New Hope
If you are not used to Pennsylvania winters, it might be best to wait until the warmer months to plan your trip. The average low during the winter is only 20°F, and you will get snow from December to February.
Hotels, restaurants, and stores are open during the winter, but you might not be able to enjoy the scenic railroad or travel to nearby Washington Crossing if there is heavy snowfall.
However, visiting New Hope for the holidays means you will be a few miles away from Washington Crossing where the historic event is reenacted every year. This means the area might be busy, but this is a fun thing to do during the holidays if you like history.
The summer is typically warm. Visiting New Hope in the summer is ideal if you want to enjoy the outdoors and explore Bucks County.
What To Do During Your Stay In New Hope
There are plenty of things to do in New Hope PA and in nearby towns. Here are a few examples of activities to keep you busy.
Explore The Downtown Area And The Delaware Canal
If you visit New Hope during the summer, take an afternoon to explore the Delaware Canal area. Walking along the canal is very relaxing and you will get to admire a mixture of 18th-century architecture and green landscapes.
Exploring the downtown area is a very exciting experience. You will find several historic homes, like the Parry Mansion museum or the Cintra Mansion. You can actually visit these homes if you are curious about how people lived in the 18th and 19th century.
You will also find several small souvenir shops, art galleries, cafes and restaurants as you walk through the streets of New Hope. Look for the New Hope-Lambertville Toll supported bridge while you stroll along the Delaware Canal.
See Bucks County With The New Hope & Ivyland Railroad
The New Hope & Ivyland Railroad is one of the major attractions in the area. You can ride in a train pulled by a steam locomotive through town and through Bucks County to admire the landscapes and discover more small towns.
Discover The Local Art Scene
If you are an art enthusiast, you might be familiar with the New Hope School. Several impressionist painters spent time in New Hope and some even bought homes in the area. Your trip to New Hope is the occasion to see landscapes that inspired artists like Mary Elizabeth Price, Daniel Garber, or Charles Rosen.
These artists left a rich legacy behind, and you will find several art galleries in town. Some places focus on impressionism while others have artwork from artists who take a more modern approach.
Take A Day Trip To Washington Crossing
Washington Crossing is only 12 miles away from New Hope Pennsylvania. You can visit the Washington Crossing Historic Park to see the spot where the crossing of the Delaware took place and to learn more about history thanks to events, exhibits, and old buildings like the Thompson-Neely House.
The park attracts hundreds of tourists each year for Christmas with the reenactment of the crossing, but the park also organizes reenactments of the Battle of Trenton and other events during the holidays.
Bowman’s Hill is the perfect spot for sightseeing. Bowman’s Hill Tower and the Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve are the two main attractions of the area. The preserve is home to more than 700 different plants. You can spend your day walking on the trails of the preserve, go bird watching, or sign up for one of the educational programs organized by the preserve.
If you are visiting New Hope Pennsylvania with your children, make sure you visit the Bucks County Children’s Museum. The museum offers hot air balloon rides, educational exhibits, and some fun activities and workshops where your children can build things.
The Howell Living History Farm is another fun experience. This is an old farm building turned into a museum so that visitors can find out what a farmer’s life was like in the 18th century. Your children are going to love the animals and the educational programs geared towards their age group.
See A Show At The Bucks County Playhouse
The Playhouse is another landmark you need to visit during your trip to New Hope. You can get tickets for a concert, stage play, or a comedy show. A lot of Broadway shows actually premiere at the Playhouse before opening in New York.
Fun fact: many famous actors and actresses have performed at the Bucks County Playhouse, including Robert Redford, Liza Minnelli, and Dick Van Dyke.
Where To Stay In New Hope
Most of the accommodations in downtown New Hope are small bed and breakfasts. You will probably need to stay in a nearby town if you want a hotel.
These are some of the best New Hope PA hotels:
- Logan Inn is a building that dates back to the 18th century. The inn is not far from the Delaware River.
- If you want a more upscale experience, stay at the Royal T’s at the Mansion Restaurant. This place features Victorian-style furnishings.
- You will find the Hotel du Village north of town. This is a cozy boutique hotel with a pool and tennis courts.
- If you are looking for budget accommodations, think about staying in Lambertville just west of New Hope. The Clarion Inn & Suites New Hope-Lambertville is an excellent value.
You might want to consider booking an accommodation in nearby towns like Levittown or even Montgomeryville if you can’t find a room in New Hope.
Fun fact: in 2007, Forbes listed New Hope as one of the best places in the Northeast to buy a summer home.
Where To Eat In New Hope
There are a lot of dining options in the New Hope area. You will find a good selection of New Hope restaurants near the Delaware River. Here are a few recommendations if you are looking for upscale dining experiences:
- The Lambertville Station Restaurant is across from New Hope in New Jersey. The restaurant is inside of a quaint building and has a great selection of salads, soups, sandwiches, and breakfast food.
- Marsha Brown’s is inside of an old church building. This restaurant has one of the best seafood selection in town and offers Creole and Cajun dishes.
These are the restaurants in New Hope PA where the locals eat:
- Karla’s Restaurant is a well-known spot for cocktails. The menu includes seafood, ribs, and burgers.
- Fred’s Breakfast is probably the best spot for pancakes.
- If you are looking for a pub that serves American fare, Bowman’s Tavern is the place to go.
- Sneddon’s Luncheonette is a very popular greasy spoon across the river in Lambertville. Make sure you try the cottage fries!
New Hope Pennsylvania is a popular destination thanks to its typical small-town charm and to the scenic railroad. Make sure you visit the Washington Crossing Historic Park during your stay there but keep in mind that New Hope has plenty to offer between its old buildings, green landscapes, its Playhouse, and its outstanding restaurants.