New Hope in a Nutshell:
Compared with other gay-popular resorts in the Northeast, sophisticated but laid-back New Hope and its appealing Jersey neighbor Lambertville are less places to see and be seen and more a restful and romantic weekend hideouts for couples. Though the area has a lively gay nightclub and several trendy restaurants, life here floats along at an unhurried pace. This quaint, artsy, riverside hamlet is a mere hour from Philadelphia and 90 minutes from New York City, but the hectic bustle of either city is decidedly absent.
New Hope has a climate typical of the Philadelphia/New York City region, with beautiful and temperate spring and fall weather, warm and sometimes muggy summers, and colder winters that typically see occasional snow showers and even a storm or two each year.
Average high-low temps are 39F/21F in Jan., 63F/39F in Apr., 87F/63F in July, and 67F/42F in Oct. (later in the month is prime leaf-peeping season). Precipitation averages 3 to 5 inches/mo. year-round, with summer generally seeing the most rain.
Tiny and scenic New Hope (population 2,500) sits along the west bank of the Delaware River, just across from the similarly enchanting and gay-friendly community of Lambertville, NJ. It's one of a number of artsy, pastoral towns in central Bucks County, an upscale area due north of Philadelphia, that's suburban in character near the city but quite rural the farther north you go. The borough of New Hope is one of a number of small villages on either side of the Delaware - it's just 3 miles north of Washington Crossing Historic Park, which commemorates Washington crossing the Delaware River in 1776.
Driving distances to New Hope from prominent places and points of interest are:
- Asbury Park, NJ: 60 miles (75 minutes)
- Atlantic City, NJ: 100 miles (1.5 hrs)
- Baltimore: 140 miles (2.5 hrs)
- Boston: 280 miles (4 to 5 hrs)
- Lambertville, NJ: 2 miles (5 min)
- Montreal: 415 miles (6 to 7 hrs)
- New York City: 70 miles (75 min)
- Philadelphia: 40 miles (50 min)
- Pittsburgh: 320 miles (5 to 6 hrs)
- Princeton, NJ: 20 miles (35 min)
- Rehoboth Beach, DE: 160 miles (3 hrs)
- Providence, RI: 230 miles (4 hrs)
- Toronto: 475 miles (7.5 to 8.5 hrs)
- Washington, DC: 170 miles (3 hrs)
Traveling to New Hope:
Most visitors to New Hope, a popular weekend destination with Philadelphians and New Yorkers, arrive by car. But New Hope is also easily accessible from any of the major airports serving Philadelphia and New York City. You could rent a car from any airport and drive here, but there's also Trans-Bridge Lines daily bus service between New Hope and Newark Airport, New York City, and JFK Airport. From Philadelphia and its airport, you can take SEPTA regional rail service to Doylestown, where you can take a taxi (Doyletown's Homestead Taxi is a reliable option) the 10 miles to New Hope.
New Hope/Bucks County 2014-2015 Events Calendar:
Also check out the Philadelphia Gay Guide and Events Calendar for the several festivals and celebrations held there, less than an hour's drive from New Hope.
- Mid-Jan.: Lambertville/New Hope WinterFest/New Hope Winter Festival.
- Mid-Jan.: Fire and Ice Ball.
- Early Apr.: New Hope Steampunk Fantasy Faire
- Late Apr.: Bucks County/Doylestown Bucks Designer House and Gardens House Tour
- Early May: Peddler's Village Strawberry Festival.
- Mid-May: Moravian Pottery and Tile Works Festival.
- Mid- to late May: New Hope Gay Pride.
- Early June: New Hope Garden Tour.
- Mid-July: Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve Discovery Day.
- Mid-Aug.: Moland House Historic Park Revolutionary War Reenactment.
- Mid-Aug.: New Hope Automobile Show.
- Mid-Aug.: Peddler's Village Peach Festival and Sidewalk Sale.
- Early Sept.: Doylestown Arts Festival.
- Late Sept.: New Hope Arts & Crafts Festival.
- Mid-Oct.: Bucks County Film Festival/Bucks Fever FilmFest.
- Late Oct.: New Hope Halloween Celebration at the Raven.
- Early Nov.: Peddler's Village Apple Festival.
- Mid-Nov.-Dec.: Pearl S. Buck Festival of Trees.
- Dec.: New Hope Holidays Festival.
- Mid-Dec.: Monroe Crossing the Delaware Parade.
- Late-Dec.: Washington's Christmas Day Crossing at Washington Crossing Historic Park.
Things to See and Do in New Hope and Bucks County:
Check out the wonderful shops and cafes in New Hope village and across the river in Lambertville. But this is also an excellent base for interesting side trips.
A highlight is Washington Crossing Historic Park, which celebrates the region's crucial role in the Revolutionary War. Shoppers should see Peddler's Village, a community of some 70 restaurants and specialty stores. In nearby Doylestown, musts include the outstanding James A. Michener Museum of Art, which also has a branch in New Hope; and the fanciful, 13th-century-inspired mansion, Fonthill, part of the Mercer Museum and Moravian Pottery and Tile Works
Resources on New Hope:
You can better plan your gay New Hope visit by consulting some of the following links, among them nearby Philadelphia's excellent GLBT newspaper Philadelphia Gay News, which includes coverage of New Hope.
You can obtain tourism information from the Bucks County Pennsylvania Convention & Visitors Bureau, which has its own section welcoming LGBT visitors, and local info on New Hope's gay scene from the area's Gay Pride and Tourism Committee New Hope Celebrates.
Getting to Know New Hope:
New Hope is the name of one small town but also what many visitors call the surrounding region, comprising several rustic Pennsylvania and New Jersey communities in the Delaware River valley. It's a land of wooded estates and horse farms, winding rural roads, restored canals and tow-paths, and enchanting villages of antiques shops and cafes.
The area has never aggressively marketed itself as a gay destination, but local businesses and tourism offices have lately begun advertising more to the GLBT market, especially since New Jersey legalized gay marriage, making the entire region popular with gay honeymooners. Also, New Hope has developed a highly festive and popular Gay Pride festival, which takes place in mid-May.
There's been a gay presence in the area for decades, albeit mostly on the Pennsylvania side of the river, dating back to when New Hope developed a following as an artists' community. In the 1930s and '40s, the area began to draw musicians and writers, many of them from New York City, including Dorothy Parker, S.J. Perelman, Oscar Hammerstein, Moss Hart, and Pearl Buck. The opening of the Bucks County Playhouse in 1939 precipitated a gay presence in town. Built in the rustic shell of Benjamin Parry's old 18th-century grist mill, the theater brought New Hope a regular summer tour of actors and stagehands, many of whom began settling here for at least part of the year. The theater reopened in 2012 following a major renovation and continues to deliver top-notch theater.
The town now has several gay-owned accommodations, and most of the straight-owned inns are highly welcoming of gay visitors. Lesbians have made themselves a significant presence in New Hope since the 1990s and own several area businesses. Probably the most famous gay business in town is the Raven, an inn-restaurant-nightclub that's ground-zero for revelers but also a fine getaway for couples seeking romance. Another great gay-friendly dining option is Marsha Brown Creole Kitchen.
The actual village of New Hope itself is tiny - roughly 1 square mile of preserved 18th- and 19th-century buildings, most of them now inns, restaurants, shops, and private homes. Main Street runs north-south parallel to and between the Delaware River and the historic Delaware Canal, and is lined with eateries and stores, which sell everything from art and antiques to Pride gear and clothing.