New Hope lies on the west bank of the Delaware River at its confluence with Auqetong Creek, in Bucks County, PA -- about 45 minutes north of Philadelphia. It is an old town -- colonial era -- and is located along the route of the Old York Road, the former main highway between Philadelphia and New York City. Because it was the halfway point, its inns and hotels would host travelers overnight, and then they would be ferried across the river the next morning. Lovely old stone homes are common around New Hope, testifying to the town's lengthy history.
From the original settlers, the Lenni-Lenape Indians, to the Dutch and English followed by the Quakers to today’s varied population; New Hope maintains its historic status as a place where diversity is celebrated. New Hope (then, Coryell’s Ferry) is proud of its role in the American Revolution and its 300 years of history, from the early ferry boats, mills and canal boats to the eclectic variety of galleries, shops and restaurants today.
You need more than a single day to explore New Hope! (Which is good, because there are a number of neat bed and breakfast inns and historic inns, such as Logan Inn, right in town or just minutes away.
... or tour the historic Parry Mansion ....
... or walk or bike along the Delaware Canal towpath ....
Speaking of the Delaware Canal, the 60-mile long Delaware Canal towpath runs from Easton to Bristol and is a National Recreation Trail. Once trod by mule teams pulling cargo-laden boats along the canal, the towpath is used today by walkers, joggers, bicyclists, cross-country skiers and bird watchers. During our four-mile walk, we encountered dog-walkers galore, joggers, families strolling with little kids, and bikers.
What's cool about this canal, beyond its lovely scenery, is that it still has most of its original locks, aqueducts, and overflows. According to the National Park Service, it was the "longest-lived canal in the country."
The segment that flows through the center of New Hope is lovely -- a hidden oasis between town streets and back yards. We walked behind the Parry Mansion and several other historic homes. Once on the south side of town, the canal curled closer to the river, and the mist rising in the early morning coolness created a mysterious, fantastical scenery. And that's when I fell in love with the Delaware Canal.
|We were curious about this odd-looking duck, who was swimming with a purpose|
toward a group of Canada geese. He's a common merganser.
For most of our walk, we were in easy sight of the Delaware River. In fact, the canal runs parallel to the Delaware River from Easton, where over the years, it transported millions of tons of anthracite from the privately developed Lehigh Canal to the city and port of Philadelphia.
There's just so much to do and see there. Just outside of town are several wineries, Washington's Crossing State Park, a number of picturesque covered bridges, Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve, and further up county, the under-rated treasure, Ringing Rocks County Park that offers a couple of interesting and pleasant hikes.