There’s always a ray of sunshine just beyond those frostbitten cheeks. For instance, the waning days of winter are some of the best to visit local getaway spots, whether for a day-trip or destination weekend. A favorite is New Hope. Traffic and crowds are merely summertime memories. The storied Bucks County Playhouse is entertaining weekend audiences. Restaurants and shops are open. The Delaware River provides a unique vista as ice flows sparkle in the low sun. So, what to do and where to stay in this walkable, fun-filled and palate-tempting town? – Jay Lloyd
WHERE TO STAY
THE LOGAN INN
10 W. Ferry Street
New Hope, PA 18938
How about a haunted hotel? The Logan Inn has old world charm, the comfort of a B&B, a cozy fireplace, comfy restaurant, a buzzing bar and of course, a resident ghost. She’s a friendly ghost to be sure. “Emily” the long deceased mother of former owners has appeared to more than a few guests over the years. She seems to favor room 6, and those who have told manager, Jason Hesson, that they have sensed her presence also talk of an unexplained scent of lavender. But of worldly distinctions, the Logan Inn has many. A parking lot adjoining the hotel and a central location that’s within a block of the playhouse and right off the Main Street, crammed with colorful shops and restaurants and offering scenic river views. Just park the car until you check out and spend a weekend strolling.
BUCKS COUNTY PLAYHOUSE
70 S. Main St.
New Hope, PA 18938
The brilliantly restored and re-energized Bucks County Playhouse is a cultural gem in a countryside setting. During the winter months, the theater is alive with plays, concerts, special performances and a program that expands with the coming of spring. Producing Director Alex Fraser is steeped in the history of a theater that had its beginning in 1939 and saw stars on its stage, including Grace Kelly, Robert Redford and Helen Hayes. New Hope’s proximity to New York helps to attract top talent performing new concepts and revivals of tried and true standards. An outdoor cafe in spring and summer sets up memorable nights of cocktails under the stars and dynamic theater under the lights.
15 S. Main St.
New Hope, PA 18938
If you only have a weekend worth of meals in New Hope and want to take a lavish leap, Martha Brown’s is the place. In case the name is familiar, Marsha is the dynamo behind the popular Ruth’s Chris steakhouses. The same focus of quality steaks finds its way to her eye-filling New Hope restaurant where cathedral ceilings rise over dramatic art in a converted 19th century church. But the menu takes a dramatic turn towards New Orleans and the flavors of a Creole kitchen. A comfortable cocktail bar rounds out the experience. The price range is what you might expect at a top tier restaurant, but hey, the love of your life is certainly worth it on a romantic weekend in a storied town.
If beef and seafood isn’t quite what you’re after and your cravings turn to green treats that grow on local farms, take a spin to the Sprig and Vine, a vegetarian answer to the quest for a balance between healthy and delicious.
Centrally located eateries cover the spectrum from halal to hoagie.
New Hope is known for boutique shopping that yields one-of-a-kind treasures. You do want to browse. Two of my stops were spots to discovery a unique gift and render a burst of nostalgia.
HEART OF THE HOME
28 S. Main St.
Brilliant and subdued colors live side by side in the artfully crafted jewelry, pottery, wall hangings and knick-knacks that are on display at Heart of the Home. The 18th century wooden building is itself a work of art. When manager Anna Stange chooses the unique items that she’s convinced will catch the eye, she wants them to be hand-crafted and functional. The colorful display of pottery, for instance, is art but put it in a kitchen and it’s not just for gazing. It can be popped into a microwave or dishwasher. Modern lives side by side with nostalgia here.
LOVE SAVES THE DAY
1 S. Main St.
It’s quirky and cool. It’s a throwback passageway to earlier times. A bit kinky in places, this unique vintage shop had its beginning in New York and now resides in New Hope. That’s New York’s loss. Clothing that takes you back to the flapper era and an amazing collection of Elvis memorabilia sit side by side. What’s a flapper? Think about Boardwalk Empire or ask your Grandma. Owner Stasia Kauriga is one of the bubbliest people you’ll ever meet, and she doesn’t seem to get tired of a parade of visitors who look over her displays and are prompted to tell her which ones they owned as kids but somehow misplaced. Now, they want the treasures back. Her biggest customers? Theater producers who need vintage costumes and nostalgia seekers trying to recapture their youth.
If you have the time, stroll along the river or stop at the New Hope Winery. In the spring, the New Hope and Ivyland Railroad fires up the engines for scenic train rides in the Bucks County countryside.
Navigate to Route 202 North. Stay on 202 until you see the signs for New Hope, and you’re there.