Lambertville NJ. Best Week-end Getaway for Stressed Out New Yorkers

A main commercial street in Lambertville
A main commercial street in Lambertville | Source

Sometimes, when you live in a big city like New York, you just need to slow down and recharge the batteries in order to get back on the subway Monday morning. When I was a stressed out New Yorker, I was always looking for quiet spots, not too far from the city in miles, but far removed in spirit, where I could spend a week-end re-charging my batteries. A one or two day change did wonders for me and was in fact, as good as a vacation.

To qualify for my weekend favorite list, a place had to be no more than a three hour drive from the city, full of fresh air, trees, and natural settings that one misses when living in concrete canyons, and also had to be in my price range. In other words, I wanted a place to have fun and wind down that would not be complicated to get to and would not cost the earth. Lambertville, New Jersey, a sleepy yet sophisticated town of about 4000 perched at the western edge of New Jersey, on the banks of the Delaware River is 80 miles and a couple of centuries away from the hustle and bustle of mid-town Manhattan. It totally meets all my requirements. The place is a great stress buster for busy New Yorkers. In fact, I liked it so much I moved there.

Along the Canal Towpath in Spring

The old canal towpath runs through town and is now a State Park. It's perfect for walking or biking .
The old canal towpath runs through town and is now a State Park. It's perfect for walking or biking . | Source
A typical residential street in Lambertville
A typical residential street in Lambertville | Source

A Victorian Atmosphere

Sadly, when most New Yorkers think of New Jersey, they think of the industrial part of the state that abuts New York. They think of TV characters like Tony Soprano and Snooky. They don't think of charming Victorian houses or beautiful lakes fields and rivers. They can't imagine quiet sunsets, ducks, swans, flowers and farms or quiet country restaurants serving fresh from the field local produce-- but guess what? It exists.

Lambertville has a " Brigadoon" quality. The minute you hop off the bus from New York, you feel like you have been transported back in time. Quiet tree shaded streets, restored Victorian houses and store fronts make you think that they are going to strike the set once they have finished filming the movie. But Lambertville is real. Walk inside those restored storefronts and find art galleries, antique shops, jewelers, glass blowers, furniture makers, restaurants, coffee bars and more. This is a sophisticated arts community as well as a Victorian time capsule.

Just outside of town is one of the best flea markets you'll ever encounter anywhere. It does a huge week-end business and dealers come from all over. Walk across the river via the old free bridge downtown, and you are in New Hope, Pennsylvania which is why in Colonial times the town became an important transportation hub between New York and Philadelphia, and why during the 19th century it also prospered by providing goods and services to these two cities.

Lambertville exudes an aura of Victoriana. It's tree-shaded streets were made for walking. After all, they were laid out long before the automobile was invented. Walking through town is a relaxing and fun adventure, designed to wash away all that big city worry and strain. There are lovely houses and gardens, shops and restaurants scattered everywhere. There is even an old mule barge tow path that runs along the old D&R Barge Canal, right through the heart of town. It's a perfect spot for walking or biking on a sunny spring Saturday. The path continues up the river for about 20 miles, to Frenchtown. The truly adventerous can hike or bike the whole thing or stop and turn around anywhere along the way.

The Inn at Lambertville Station, looking across the Delaware River from New Hope, Pennsylvania
The Inn at Lambertville Station, looking across the Delaware River from New Hope, Pennsylvania

The How To and Nitty Gritty

The town is really easy to get to by car, bus or train. I would suggest the bus. The Trans-Bridge Bus Company runs buses every day that go from Allentown PA into Port Authority in New York City and back again. There are a number of buses that stop in Lambertville, right in the middle of downtown. Check the Trans Bridge Website for details and fares. They actually run extra buses on week-ends which is nice.

There is regular train service via NJ Transit to either Trenton or Hamilton( the nearest stations) but if you opt for that, you are left with a long and expensive taxi ride or with renting a car to get to Lambertville. Forewarned is forearmed.

If you own a car and choose to drive to Lambertville from Manhattan or any of the Boros, it will take you between an hour and a half and two hours depending on time of day, traffic flow and precise distance from your starting point. But driving is an easy choice, and don't forget to fill up your tank while you are in New Jersey. Gas is cheaper than in New York.

Your hotel or B&B may well offer off-street parking, but if not, there is no problem. The business section has parking meters, but the residential streets have free parking and it is easy to find a spot, plus there are several available public lots. Car theft and vandalism are not a problem. It's a small town and the locals park on the street too. Everybody is very friendly. You'll see.

Where to Stay and What to Do

I'm going out on a limb here and am going to recommend three in-town places, within walking distance of the bus stop from New York, as places to stay. Two are boutique hotels and fairly high end and one is a local pub/restaurant in a historic house that also is a small, but very comfortable Inn with just six rooms, where you will feel at home and be treated with real small town American hospitality. However, there is much more to choose from than these three places. Especially if you have your own car, there are many small Inns and B&B's as well as a wide variety of dining and entertainment possibilities to choose from, both in Lambertville itself,and across the Delaware River in New Hope, Pennsylvania.

Guest Room at The Lambertville House

A room a the Lambertville House, a luxurious boutique hotel in a historic building.
A room a the Lambertville House, a luxurious boutique hotel in a historic building. | Source

The Inn at Lambertville Station. It is a full service 45 room hotel right in the middle of town ( and only two short blocks from where the New York bus drops you off). It's a perfect jumping off place for everything and best of all they have a number of specially priced week-end packages that are really a terrific bargain. Plus if you drive, there is a big parking lot and lots of walking paths nearby.

The Lambertville House Hotel offers European elegance, superb service and every amenity you can imagine right in the heart of town. It is expensive, but worth every penny. Plus they too offer some very special week-end getaway deals.

If you are looking for clean comfortable and economical B&B lodgings in town a short walk from where the bus lets you off, in an old house with lots of atmosphere and good pub grub,try the Inn of the Hawke. They only have six rooms, so you had better call and reserve well in advance. Call them at (609) 397-9555 for more information and check out their website for lots of photos, seasonal menus, and more information. The place is small, but the rooms are lovely, the food is good and the welcome will definitely be warm.

The South Union Street Facade of the Inn of the Hawke
The South Union Street Facade of the Inn of the Hawke | Source
A recent gallery event at the River Queen
A recent gallery event at the River Queen | Source
The River Queen Gallery, housed in a re-purposed firehouse, offers a broad range of fine art and local crafts, not to mention local music on week ends.
The River Queen Gallery, housed in a re-purposed firehouse, offers a broad range of fine art and local crafts, not to mention local music on week ends. | Source

A Few Things to Do

Since this is a de stress week-end I'm assuming that a lot of what you will be doing is just walking around and taking in the beautiful scenery.. I definitely suggest a walk up the tow path or across the bridge into neighboring New Hope. Pennsyvania. I'd also suggest, depending on your taste, dropping into any of the town's wonderful shops, studios and galleries. There are dozens of them but one of my favorites is the River Queen Artisans Gallery housed in a former firehouse at 8 Church Street, just off Union near the big white church.

The River Queen offers an eclectic mix of paintings, sculpture, jewelry and more, including a variety of concerts and receptions. You will love the atmosphere and browsing is encouraged. If antiques are your thing the Antiques Center at the Peoples Store is just next door and houses the wares of dozens of dealers. Haggling is expected and there are bargains to be had galore.

Want to rent a bike and explore the countryside? Hie yourself on over to Pure Energy & Java House where folks are serious about cycling, and you'll have a great, individualized experience and can hang out over some very great coffee as well. Actually, go to the website and you can reserve your bike in advance.They've been doing this for awhile now, and they' ll set you up with some serious cycling or just a jaunt on the tow path-- whatever you want. They've got it. While you are down at that end of town, stick your head into The Quiet Life Gallery for a look at contemporary paintings by local and area artists.

So that's the outline. How to get there and a few clues about where to stay and what to do. There is much to choose from but tastes vary, as do appetites and pocketbooks. So now you are on your own.

I can only say, that whatever your tastes, a week-end in Lambertville will re-charge your batteries and make you ready to face life in the big city with renewed vigor. Happy travels and if you go, I'd love your comments and recommendations in the comments section of this hub.

Ode to Lambertville

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Comments 29 comments

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 4 years ago from NJ, USA

You of course have neglected one of the major attractions of Lamberstville - The River Horse Brewing company - one of the best micro-breweries in the US!

I love the Victorian feel of this 'village' and the eclectic nature of New Hope - great Hub and a reminder that I must take another trip here soon!


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

I love a quaint little village! This looks like a wonderful getaway! Well done.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

This looks like a lovely spot. It reminds me of a place I like to go here in Ontario called Merrickville.


Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

The downtown main street area looks so charming - I'd love to browse the shops there! Thanks for this peek at a nice getaway spot. Very well done - voted up, useful & interesting.


Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 4 years ago from New Jersey

Before I got married my parents lived in a town about 20 miles from Lambertville. It was far from places to find jobs, but the scenery is lovely. My husband loves hiking, and we were both very outdoorsy back then. Once we were near Lambertsville on a trail that led to the Delaware Water Gap, and saw the migration of monarch butterflies, the beautiful orange and black ones. There were no cell phones then. But we still remember what a fabulous sight it was! That area is just gorgeous in the Fall!


mio cid profile image

mio cid 4 years ago from Uruguay

great article ,there's not many people promoting our wonderful state,I used to pass Lambertville when making deliveries and always thought what a beautiful place it is, but your hub now made me want to go for a weekend stay there, Im in northern new jersey, about one and a half hours away, so it's ideal for me.I think you really do it well , can you do other hubs like this one for other localities in NJ.?


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Hi Simey--you are right about the River Horse, but I am planning yet another Hub about the food and drink of Lambertville and you may be sure I will sing its praises there-- glad you know and love the area.

TammySwallow and JustAskSusan, thank you both for stopping by. I think you would love Lambertville

Marcy-- the place is a shopper's paradise. Thanks for the comment and the upvote

Jean-- yes Lambertville is definaitely off the commuter network for both New York and Philly, which is both the good news and the bad news, but that fact also keeps it rural and agricultural in character while being so close to the big cities gives it a kind of unique sophistication-- great place and yes the Monarchs pass through-- a beautiful sight.


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Hello mio cid-- you are right. New Jersey is kind of caught in the middle between New York and Philadelphia but I really love it, partly because it has so many secret, unsung places. And thank you so much for your kind words. You really made my day. I've already written a couple of hubs about Lambertville and am planning a couple of more, but maybe I should write about other New Jersey places that have a lot to offer. Whatever-- I'm off to follow you now and looking forward to reading your hubs.


Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 4 years ago from New Jersey

I think your positive portrayal of NJ is great! I get so tired of people who think NJ is only a bunch of highways and awful people like the ones on Jersey Shore (only one of whom is from NJ, all the others are from Long Island, NY). Isn't the Yellow Frame Church near there? I seem to recall that it's haunted, and we used to try to find ghosts there. Never did though. That would make a cool hub.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

What a positive, fact filled hub about your lovely town.

I have never heard of Lambertville but it sounds like a wonderful place to visit.

Thanks for sharing this information. Voted up across the board except for funny and I'm definitely bookmarking this for future reference.


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Hi Jean--I have mixed feelings about fighting the stereotype, but really think New Jersey deserves to be thought of better:-) Thanks for stopping by. Don't know about the yellow frame church, but I think I'll ask around

Happyboomernurse-- good to see you and glad you liked the hub....Hope you get here one of these days and if you do, we better meet for lunch:-)


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 4 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Well done, robie2! Soon as I gas up the car, I'll be on my way to this Victorian gem. Oh wait! It's winter there, so I'll just stay put and look forward to the next installment of "Living Large in Lambertville". Voted up, awesome and beautiful! ;D


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Thanks Jama-- we aren't having much of a winter this year, but some bad weather is expected over the week-end. It's coming in from Oklahoma I think LMAO. But gas up the car and get yourself over here. You are gonna love the place.


SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 4 years ago from NJ, USA

Me thinks this could be a great place for a Hubmeet - maybe even persuade some of the Hubpages team to fly into New Jersey!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon

ohhhh... I have to get back to the East Coast one of these days and come visit you in your stomping grounds in Lambertville! Robie, I really love the "feel-good" atmosphere that shines through your writing. :) Rated up and sharing on Twitter/FF and Google+ Cheers, Steph


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Methinks that is a great idea, SimeyC and Steph-- just go to Oklahoma and get in the car with JamaGenie and come on over. We'll have a great time :-))) and thanks for all that voting and sharing. It is greatly appreciated and I'll definitely reciprocate.


Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

I agree, Simey! Count me in! So, where do you submit that suggestion?


Darkmetaly profile image

Darkmetaly 4 years ago from Iceland Höfn í Hornafirði.

I would most likely feel the same way if i lived in a large city anyway good hub.


diogenes 4 years ago

I like Noo Joisey a lot. I stayed in Cape May for about 6 months in 1982. Victoriana has swept that state, 'May has a Victorian Society and much preservation. I was there when the old hotel burned down...it was arson of course.

Bob


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Hi Marcy and Darkmetaly-- good to see you both.Thanks for dropping by.

.... and diogenes-- hello to you too-- yes Cape May was another one of my urban getaway places years ago-- but better for longer trips to the beach because it was further from New York and that place sure is obsessed with Victoriana-- remember staying in a Victorian B&B there-- but the beach was lovely. I have not been there since the '80's either. Was it the hotel Chalfont that burned?


rsusan profile image

rsusan 4 years ago from South Africa

Sounds like my kinda place, robie2! Love places with a Victorian atmosphere. What a privilege to be able to 'see' the world through the eyes of others!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Living in Philadelphia and its suburbs for so long, I neglected my Jersey roots over time and parked my horse, so to speak, more often in New Hope than Lambertville. This Hub should make anyone rethink the Delaware River Victorian charm destination when it comes to choosing between New Hope and Lambertville.

There used to be a sign on the Free Bridge heading into Lambertville from New Hope that said something like "Lead - Don't Ride" with a picture of a horse. I don't recall seeing that sign in years, but I think there's one there now that says walk your bike, don't ride it. That bridge is fascinating. It carries every kind of traffic. I know there's not another like it on the Delaware, and maybe not in all of the US.

I'm only 30 minutes from there, as you know, but your photos, videos, and text make me want to get away for a weekend! Let me know when Steph, Jama, and SimeyC are coming. :)


donnaisabella profile image

donnaisabella 4 years ago from Fort Myers

I may not be able to go there right now, but I love quiet small places with friendly people and artistic feel. I hope that one day when I am in NYC I could visit or better still that I can find a place like this one here in Florida. Thanks for sharing, it is lovely.


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Hi rsusan-- thanks for coming along on my guided tour of Lambertville. Glad you enjoyed it and happy to meet a Victoriana buff anytime:-)

Ahhh ST. I know you know the area well, having met you face to face at the Golden Nugget a couple of years ago. The nice thing is you don't have to choose between New Hope and Lambertville-- because of the bridge you can have them both in one afternoon. BTW the history free bridge would make a wonderful subject for a hub--and I bet there is a sign on it now that says no horses at all:-) Wonder if there are any paintings of the spot before there was a bridge there-- I think the ferry was actually downriver a bit, but I don't know. Anyway-- thanks for the great comment. Always good to see you.

Hi donnaisabella-- Lambertville really is a wonderful spot. Hope you'll get here one of these days and I bet Florida has a Victorian time capsule and an art colony or two. I've heard St. Augustine is arty with Victorian charm, but I've never been there. Thanks for stopping by. Pleased to meet you and I'll be looking for you on Hubpages.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Hi, I really loved this, isn't it great when you discover somewhere that is peaceful and a slower pace just a few miles away? watching the video I noticed when it showed the Pennsylvania side it said bucks county! that's me! well, the English version! lol! I have a friend who lives in New Jersey, not sure exactly where though, but it's a beautiful place, voted up and shared! nell


2patricias profile image

2patricias 4 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

Looks great! It reminds us of the place in upstate New York where Pat's parents live.

Just wish it was summer and that we had time and money to go and visit.


PAPA-BEAR profile image

PAPA-BEAR 4 years ago from London England UK

I am in London UK and Lambertville sounds ideal. Great hub, thank you.


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Ness Rose, 2patricias and PAPA-BEAR -- hello to the UK contingent-- good to see you:-) Lambertville is about as close as one can get in the USA to the feeling of an English village( but with an American accent). I think you would find it fun to visit. Thanks anyway for visiting this hub and leaving such nice comments. Armchair travel is good too, and sooooo much cheaper than the other kind:-)


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Damn-- I mean Nell Rose ( butterfingers strikes again) sorry

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