Take 12 Trips 2015 July: A Tale of Two Cities

What a weekend! My sister Emma and I just got back from a summer weekend visiting our sister Cara and her fiancé Kevin in Jersey. Kevin, a Jersey native and city planner, never fails to talk up cities across the country like Asbury Park, New Jersey or Oxford, Mississippi. Lambertville and New Hope are two such places that both he and Cara have raved about, so Friday night during our visit we stopped by for dinner.

Lambertville struck me from the get-go. During our walk to dinner, we stopped by Panoply Books, an eclectic used and rare bookstore whose inventory ranges from weathered books on travels in Tuscany to vintage jackets to a $10 Bruce Springsteen record. We continued past townhouses which were split down the middle with brick exterior on one side and vinyl on the other. I was a big fan of the quirky houses and could’ve spent longer just wandering around admiring them. We had dinner at Bell’s Tavern, a quiet upscale-interior, community-feeling restaurant serving up a mixture of American and Italian style dishes.

After eating, we walked across the bridge into New Hope, Pennsylvania, a town earning a spot in Patricia Schultz’s 1000 Places in the U.S. and Canada book. The Creeper Gallery was the first store to beckon us inside, and it burned itself into my memory. Their inventory could feature in the opening theme sequence of American Horror Story what with all the sickly mannequins, dismembered dolls with their parts stuck onto other objects, and a basket of toys which are the favorite of the store’s ghost. If you’re into the spooky, I’d recommend stopping by as it pulls the vibe off without being kitschy.  There are some other cool stores in town, like Farley’s Bookshop, but I got the feeling that New Hope is more geared towards tourists based on some of the more honky-tonk shops.

To top off the night, we had espresso at Lambertville Trading Company, a wonderful coffee shop exuding an American essence. Think American flags in the windows, a neon cappuccino sign, and old products lining wooden shelves.

Lambertville didn’t fail to impress me, but I’ll have even more coming up later this week about Princeton, Lawrenceville, and Philly, so stay tuned.

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