My New Hope

When my husband and I sought a place in eastern Pennsylvania to get married, New Hope seemed like the perfect setting. Walkable streets, quaint inns to accommodate out-of-town guests, and a unique combination of history and artistic whimsy—all anchored by the mesmerizing Delaware River.
Much has changed since we wed a decade ago in an old stone church on the hill above town. For one thing, the church is now a community center and police headquarters, and flooding over the years has wreaked havoc on access roads and caused some longtime businesses to close or relocate.

Yet the things that make New Hope such a popular weekend destination remain exactly as I remember them: the steel truss bridge that links New Hope to the lovely town of Lambertville; modern sculptures fronting 18th-century buildings; shops selling mystical potions, Indonesian masks, and unique watercolors; bed-and-breakfast owners who point out Underground Railroad tunnels beneath their homes one day and deliver cream-cheese-stuffed French toast to your door the next.

A Dunkin’ Donuts has taken over the fancy dress shop that once anchored Bridge and Main Streets. Ney Alley on the canal towpath, once a collection of art galleries and meeting place for Pennsylvania Impressionists like Edward Redfield, is now deserted save for a tattoo parlor. But it’s still the New Hope I fell in love with years ago, a place to wander and discover or just break bread and relax with friends for an hour or two. The river has tested the town’s patience in recent years, but it still has the ability to charm and comfort anyone who visits.

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