As a public service to my readers I like to go to a place I’ve never been before, spend a couple days, see the sights and file a full report so you can decide for yourself if you want to go there. And since I’m not there any more, this would be a great opportunity for you to go. This time we visited New Hope, a quaint and historic borough in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, less than three hours away.
Here, you can cruise Main Street and stop into some of the eclectic shops that feature vintage clothing, books and records. There’s an art to this kind of thing, you can’t just sell a bunch of peoples’ old junk or nobody will come in. You have to curate it, and in case you haven’t noticed, everything is curated these days. There are also plenty of great restaurants and of course places to go if you’re thirsty and need to curate yourself a cocktail.
At one bar they had kind of a musical jam going, and you could play with the band if you were willing to swear that you weren’t horrible. I sat in on drums. I convinced the guys to play “Little Wing,” which is basically a bunch of guitar solos with a couple verses tacked on, so it didn’t take that much convincing. After a quick vote we even dispensed with the verses. One guy sitting in on the guitar spent about 23 minutes adjusting the guitar strap, so the total length of the song was about 42 minutes. If it had stretched past 45 minutes it might have seemed self-indulgent.
New Hope is just a stone’s throw from the town where Washington crossed the Delaware. That town is ironically named Washington Crossing. I looked in a history book, and Washington crossed the Delaware so many times they should have put up one of those yellow signs with a black silhouette of him so you would know to watch out in case he’s at it again. I’m not really impressed by this as the maneuver of a military genius. He could have come over here to New Hope and walked across the Delaware in hip waders, it doesn’t really look that deep. George Washington did a lot of weird stuff, like cutting down a cherry tree for no good reason. I’m not saying he definitely did it, but you never hear anyone else’s name come up. If he wants to chop down a banana tree, be my guest because I hate bananas.
A great thing to do here in New Hope is to bicycle along the Delaware Canal and Tow Path. It’s 60 miles long but you don’t have to do the whole thing in one day. It is super peaceful except for my constant jabbering, and there are great views of the river and abundant wildlife. Luckily there are no hills to mention, or I would have mentioned them by now. For someone who rides a bicycle every single day, I am deathly afraid of hills, the sight of which result in weeping and the application of smelling salts to both me and my bicycle. Along the way we saw a great blue heron, and also one that was not so great, and if you turn around at the second one you will have ridden about 5 miles. If you make it to the snapping turtle you went too far.
You shouldn’t miss a show at the Bucks County Playhouse. We took in a production of “42nd Street,” and it was so professionally staged that I was wowed, and actually said “wow” several times. Practically the whole cast was singing and tap dancing from curtain to curtain, and even somebody who is not a great lover of musicals was entertained the entire time. It made me think of my mom, who was always showing off her tap dance training at any opportunity. She was so light on her feet during this demonstration that the floor would shake, and me and my sisters would have to catch the dishes as they fell off the mantel before they hit the ground.
So take a little visit to New Hope, spend a few days, and sneak out when your family is at breakfast. As you’re driving away on Route 202 across the bridge, don’t forget to snap an historically accurate picture of yourself crossing the Delaware. It worked pretty nicely for George Washington.
Are you a female who likes to sing harmonies? Join me in a new musical trio: firstname.lastname@example.org