Everyone remembers Nicole, right? She’s the chick I ran away to Austin, Texas with a few months ago. (She’s an amazing cartoonist and graphic designer, so you should go support her work — as she’s a huge support for mine.) Well I was hired by one of my editors to write an article about the New Hope Winery in New Hope, Pennsylvania, a quaint town in the countryside about an hour north of Philadelphia. Driving my Rav4 through the windy roads with farmlands to our right and forest to our left, we couldn’t help but talk about how New Hope is a nice escape from the city, and a trendy retreat for many local couples. “Appropriately so,” I said, “since this article is for the ‘Romantic Getaways’ column.” She laughed… well.. more like guffawed and said, “SO YOU TAKE ME!? Here I am, baby, rock bottom! Waiting down here for you when you ain’t got a date.” Yes, a hilarious reality that I have come to terms with immediately as I really enjoy Nicole’s presence — she’s one of my favorite travel buddies.
So what makes New Hope so romantic (even when you’re single and it’s just you and your rock bottom) ?
Local Art and Galleries
New Hope is certainly the place where artists from Philadelphia go to spend their later years. The streets are lined with boutiques and galleries where local arts and crafts have found a marketplace. It’s quite a romantic few streets of historic buildings and local shops. Stroll with your bubby (or your buddy) and have an intellectual conversation over musings.
One of my favorite of the galleries had to be the gallery of Jesse Krause and her husband, Robert Arent, called Netherfield Fine Art, located right before the bridge that leads to Lambertville, New Jersey. Her paintings brought forth a lot of nature and movement as well as childhood nostalgia which really spoke to me.
I’m on the hunt for delicious eats wherever I go, but I found dining in New Hope particularly romantic. Great local wine selection, exquisite pairings, talented chefs creating inspiring dishes and portions made large enough to share for two.
Nicole and mine’s favorite meal had to be at Marsha Brown, a restaurant with a New Orleans flair where the chef uses her original family recipes to concoct a menu of traditional Cajun dishes like Gumbo, Po’ Boys and the restaurant’s claim to fame, the Eggplant Ophelia. Both Nicole and I chowed down on the Eggplant Ophelia which had the perfect amount of spice and also the perfect amount of shrimp (you know — that happy place where you don’t feel cheated and simultaneously don’t feel like you over-shrimped).
New Hope gives the feel of a towny-town amidst farms, forest and country landscapes. There are many trails throughout the woods and along rivers and creeks. One of the most popular in New Hope is the Towpath, which leads hikers along the canal that cuts through town.
Nicole and I decided to take a nice nature walk on the New Jersey side, in Lambertville. However, it was ended very quickly when some angry ducks decided that I got too close to their babies. What was I supposed to do, not take a picture of the cute little fuzzies?!
Wine and Beer
What’s more romantic that boozing it up!? New Hope is surrounded by gorgeous wineries, all offering samples of deliciously fermented grapes! Pair it with cheese and make a toast to your weekend getaway. Also, be sure to stop by Triumph Brewery next to the train station! They offer a plethora of beers that come in so many colors that when you put them together it looks like a box of Crayola Crayons! Mostly colors ranging from Burnt Sienna to Molasses.
Another great place to enjoy some local brews is Logan Terrace. They have plenty of outdoor seating and they serve a vast array of foreign and local beers as well as wines. It’s also a great deck to perch on while people watching.
Cozy up by the riverside
Grab a bottle of wine from any of the area’s splendid wineries and sneak a swig down by the Delaware River, which separates New Hope from Lambertville, just across the bridge in New Jersey. There are also a few boat tours available for couples who want to take to the seas (or rock the boat – LOL PUNS).
Out of all of the things that New Hope has to offer, sitting by the riverside with some wine was my favorite. An old friend of mine from High School, Adam, caught wind that Nicole and I were in town and he joined us. He is a farmer on the New Jersey side of the river, but he wasted no time in scurrying over to the Pennsylvania side to get… well.. wasted with us! We sat by the river, loitered in town, caught fire flies and played on the jungle gym! GOOD TIMES ALL AROUND!
New Hope — you were magical.