New Hope

New Hope

With its collection of beautifully restored 18th century buildings, enticing restaurants, tasteful art galleries and antique and boutique shopping, New Hope is considered by many to be one of the top tourism spots in eastern Pennsylvania.

Located on the west bank of the Delaware River, directly across the water from Lambertville, New Jersey, New Hope was traditionally used as a stopover point for people traveling between Philadelphia and New York City. Considered the halfway point, travelers coming up Old York Road (which, in the 18th and 19th centuries, was the central road connecting the two cities) would often spend the night in New Hope before catching a ferry across the river and completing their journey.

Because of the importance of the ferry, in the early 1700s New Hope was originally known as Wells’ Ferry after the ferry’s operator, John Wells. A generation later, when the ferry was sold to Benjamin Canby, the town became known as Canby’s Ferry. And a few years later, when it was sold to John Coryell, it was once again renamed – this time to Coryell’s Ferry. The name New Hope finally came about after a devastating fire swept through the area and burnt down several of the town’s grist mills in 1790. Their reconstruction the following year was proclaimed a “new hope” for the town.

The borough’s picturesque streets are lined with handsome historic buildings, more than 100 of which date back to the 18th and 19th centuries.

In the early 1830s, the opening of the Delaware Canal changed New Hope’s economic landscape and ushered in a new era of growth. Stretching from Easton to Bristol the canal helped move raw materials such as coal to the industrial centers near Philadelphia. By the mid-1800s, more than 3,000 boats were travelling on the canal each year.

In 1891, the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad, a branch of the North Pennsylvania Railroad, began operations. A faster means of transportation, the introduction of the railroad helped hasten the eventual decline of the canal, which ran its last commercial traffic in 1931. In addition to moving freight cars, the railroad also offered passenger service to places such as Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal.

Today, New Hope’s primary industry is tourism, and it’s easy to see why. The borough’s picturesque streets are lined with handsome historic buildings, more than 100 of which date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Countless bed and breakfasts provide charming overnight accommodations, and more than a dozen art galleries, fine antique shops, museums and restaurants are within walking distance of one another.


NewHope1Bucks County Playhouse

Located on the site of a former “new hope” grist mill, the Bucks County Playhouse opened as a theater on July 1, 1939. It immediately became a popular place to test run Broadway shows prior to their official opening in New York City. Because of this, actors such as Dick Van Dyke, Grace Kelly, Jessica Tandy, Bela Lugosi, Robert Redford, Angela Lansbury and Walter Matthau have all graced the playhouse’s stage.

Today, the Bucks County Playhouse operates as a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. It is open year-round, and hosts approximately 50,000 guests annually. For more information, or to purchase tickets to a show, please visit

Photo courtesy of Bucks County Playhouse

NewHope3Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve

Home to nearly 800 native plant species, the preserve’s 134 acres of picturesque land is a natural respite from the stresses of daily life. Spend the morning hiking two-and-a-half miles of the most beautiful trails in all of Bucks County, and then stop by the Visitor’s Center to learn more about the local flora. While there, you can also visit the Bird Observatory and sit back and relax in its large indoor viewing area. For more information or to plan a visit, see their website at

Photo courtesy of Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve

NewHope2Washington Crossing Historic Park

Located just six miles south of New Hope, the park marks the site of General George Washington’s famous crossing of the Delaware River in 1776. The night before the crossing, Washington had the ferry at New Hope destroyed so that the British could not use it in a counterattack. As a result, when the British were unable to cross the river the following day, they shelled New Hope in retaliation.

The 500-acre park is now home to a restored historic village, a farmstead and a visitor’s center and museum shop. It also hosts special events, including a weekly farmers market and concerts, all year round. For more information, please visit

Photos courtesy of the Friends of Washington Crossing Park

New Hope & Ivyland Railroad

Beginning in 1966, the beautifully restored New Hope-Ivyland Railroad has been offering scenic tourist rides through the rolling hills of Bucks County. Powered by a steam or diesel locomotives, you can choose to ride in the first class parlor car, the coach car, or, in the summer months, the open-air observation car. Seasonal special occasion rides, such as the “Grapevine Express” wine and cheese tasting ride, or the “Murder Mystery Dinner Train” are also available. Check the schedule and plan a trip by visiting

NewHope5Delaware Canal State Park

After ending commercial traffic in 1931, much of the land bordering the canal was transformed into a stunning state park. Enjoy the beauty of the area by taking a leisurely walk or ride along the picturesque bike path.


NewHope6Mojito Cuba Caribe

Touted as one of New Hope’s best new restaurants, Mojito Cuba Caribe offers a delectable fusion of Spanish, African and Caribbean cuisine. It is located at 90 South Main Street.

Photo by Ryan Hulvat

NewHope7Bowman’s Tavern

From local meats and fish to produce and micro greens, Bowman’s prides itself on using the freshest ingredients possible. It is located at 1600 River Road.

NewHope8Martine’s Riverhouse

Martine’s is housed in a circa 1717 post-and beam-barn which was restored and renovated beginning in late 2004. The restaurant, located at 14 E. Ferry Street, offers lunch and dinner seven days a week.

NewHope9Marsha Brown

Marsha Brown is a refined creole kitchen & lounge located in a 125-year-old stone church right in the center of New Hope. Located at 15 S. Main St., its menu is inspired by southern influences.

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