It's Fall, Let's Get out of Town!
New York Getaway - The Bridges of Bucks County
Although it surely hasn’t felt like it in the past couple of weeks, it's Fall after all, and one of my favorite seasonal pastimes is “getting the hell out of town!”, if you know what I mean .... I just love to grab my car and drive to the country-side amongst beautiful quaint villages and spectacular landscapes .... I call it a much needed day (for New Yorkers that is) of relaxation and Mother Nature enjoyment!
So today, one of the first real day of Fall apparently, I drove along the gorgeous Delaware River between the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. You will get there by driving South from NYC towards New Jersey and then West towards Pennsylvania where you will reach the quaint villages of FrenchTown and Lambertville. Both towns are located along the NJ bank of the Delaware River and are perfect for a day faraway, yet not too far, from the city.
For those that love walking and biking, the Delaware River offers you the incredible Delaware Canal State Park where you can enjoy a 60-mile stretch of shoreline between Easton and Bristol ideal for some outdoorsy adventure.
For those that like me love antiquing & food, you will have plenty to satisfy your thirst in the many historic villages along the canal.
My Day Trip Adventure
I left my Home is the UES around 9:35 am, crossed town at 96th street, down the West Side Highway to the Lincoln Tunnel and left the bright lights of the city behind ... sort of bright since it was daytime! The drive to Frenchtown is approximately 1 hour and 30 minute down Turnpike South and then West on I-278.
Frenchtown is a tiny historical village that was incorporated only in the mid-19th-century but like many other towns in the region grew exponentially during the late 18th-century thanks to first the grain trade, farming and fluvial transportation, and later with the arrival of the Belvidere Delaware Railroad and the expansion of the Steam-powered industry. Back then, it was knows as Alexandriaville when some of its original land was developed in 1755-1757, and later in 1794, the town became home to a few Swiss fugitives from the French Revolution who spoke French and thus leading the settlers to start calling the place "Frenchtown" instead.
The first thing I recommend doing once you get to Frenchtown is stop by the Bridge Cafe and enjoy some fresh coffee and one of their amazing homemade deserts! I tried the apricot cream scone, the carrot cake, the coconut cream cake, the apple sour cream pie a la mode & the pumpkin ice-cream. Okay, wait a second, let me rephrase it, We tried, as in me along with my friend V and her mom, my two amazing companions for this adventure. It’s not like I ate all this food by myself, although people that know me well might believe such a task to be totally plausible .... In my defense, check these pictures and tell me you wouldn't eat them all, if these pastries were placed right in front of you!
Anyway, after this perfect, carbs-heavy, late-breakfast meal, we decided to take a walk down the characteristic, quaint & short Bridge Street that features several Colonial and Italianate-style houses and lovely antique stores.
Interesting Fact: The usual Main Streets have been replaced by the Bridge Streets in all these villages because ... drum-roll ... there is a Bridge at the end of the main Street! Got it?! It took me visiting three different towns to come to this realization, by the way.
For last, we walked along the main bridge to take some great photos of the Delaware River. Apparently these bridges are not Horse-friendly, so don't even think about walking your horse across the bridge, it's frowned upon! I'm serious, there is a sign posted and a fine waiting for you.
After our visit to Frenchtown, we decided to continue sightseeing the countryside in Pennsylvania which is literally just one bridge away. Right on the other site of the river, you will be in the land of Mister William Penn himself.
Bucks County, PA
One of the things that I love to photograph the most are bridges. I think I fell in love with bridges the first time I saw The Bridges of Madison County, not only one of my favorite movies but also one of the only few that can leave me equally and simultaneously heartbroken and p.o.! Well, if you do like bridges just as much as moi, for whichever reason, then you need to check out Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
There are many covered bridges in the area, along with historical locks and Mills that were once used in the booming fluvial transportation and grain trade. Some of the bridges are as old as early 1800s. We took few hours to roam the countryside in search for some of the most historical bridges ... and snaps-worthy of course!
I might not have had my handsome Clint Eastwood taking photos of me, but like mom suggested I should have stayed there and maybe he would have showed up, hopefully before winter came! #wishfulthinking
Another historic town along the Delaware River, bigger then Frenchtown but equally characteristic is Lambertville, NJ. There are many local boutiques, art galleries, antique stores, historical Inns, and delicious restaurants where you can enjoy lunches and dinners while looking at the passer-byes strolling along the main streets and the river!
Like Frenchtown, Lambertville was also incorporated in the mid 19th-century and grew mainly thanks to the grain trade and it's proximity to boh the canal and the railroad, both used for manufacturing and transportation.
Historical Fact: over 4,000 Irish immigrants dug the canal but during the construction a cholera epidemic broke out and many of them die. Most were buried along the canal and the Delaware River.
We decided to stop for an early dinner at the landmarked Lambertville Station Restaurant built inside an historic 19th century train station. I always admired the way some towns are cable of restoring and incorporating something old and historical within something that can be still used and enjoyed today. Historical landmark preservation is one of the highest achievement for a community in its heritage preservation efforts.
The food here is amazing, I ordered Mushroom Ravioli with Truffle oil and a Cesar Salad. I can also vouch for the Iceberg Wedge Salad with Roquefort Cheese and the Arugula Pear Salad with Pecans and Goat Cheese that my partners in crime had.
It was just a perfect day, sunny and dry, away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. The colors of the trees haven't yet changed, I think it has been too hot lately, but in a few weeks, the scenery will turn ito a bright mix of tones in the hues of orange, red and yellow, definitely a sight worth coming back to!
If you have a free day during the week or for a weekend getaway, Bucks County PA and the Delaware Canal is definitely something you should check out!
WHAT TO SEE IN THE AREA:
- Frenchtown, New Jersey
- Lambertville, New Jersey
- New Hope, Pensylvanya
- Erwinna covered bridge
- Green Sergeant's covered bridge
- Frankefiled covered bridge
- Cabin Run covered bridge
WHERE TO EAT:
The Bridge Cafe
Opening Hours: Open daily. Check the Cafe website for updated hours.
Address: 8 Bridge Street - Frenchtown, New Jersey 08825
Price Range: $$
Lambertville Station Restaurant
Opening Hours: Open daily. Check the Restaurant website for updated hours.
Address: 11 Bridge Street, Lambertville, New Jersey 08530
Price Range: $$$