|As a New Jersey native, I am proud of the role that my state has played in the history and eventual prosperity of New Hope, Pennsylvania.
If it were not for the mismanagement and miscommunication of those two
early colonial governing bodies, this tourist mecca and legendary haven
for writers, musicians, artists and craftsmen might have never come into
being. In 1710, responding to the need to develop a better route
between the fast growing cities of Philadelphia and New York, surveyors
were employed by both colonies to engineer a new road over the waterways
and through the dense forests of the Delaware River valley. The
professionals from Pennsylvania founded a path that brought them to the
banks of the Delaware at a place that would eventually be known as
Centre Bridge, while their counterparts in neighboring New Jersey
thought it best to make the crossing a few miles to the south. As a
result of some political horse trading, and perhaps the influence of
those wealthy ambitious investors that had owned the grist and saw mills
on the tract of land that is present day New Hope, it was decided to yield to the engineering expertise of the lads from New Jersey.
The coming of the new roadway would also require the establishment of
ferry service across the Delaware. And with that would also be the need
to provide proper lodging and libations on both sides of the river. The
combination of transportation, industry and those aspect of commerce
that enhance our creature comforts, would cause the area to flourish
over the next several decades. And because of its strategic importance
the town, then called Coryell’s Ferry, would play an important role in
America’s struggle for independence. Its inns and taverns were often the
center of rebel activity, and by some historic accounts General
Washington dined and drank in town the evening before his Christmas Day
attack on Trenton in 1776.
In May, 1790, the town suffered a severe economic setback as a result of
fires that destroyed two mills belonging to Mr. Benjamin Parry. Within a
year this industrious and well respected businessman rebuilt the
operation calling it New Hope Mills. His personal dedication to the
rebirth and revitalization of the community prompted its citizens to
adopt its current name. My own need to find my personal inner phoenix
from time to time has often brought me to this majestic setting on the
banks of the Delaware.
On most occasions, my travels to New Hope
have had me lifting a glass in those establishments south of the bridge
that connects it to the city of Lambertville. But on one particular
afternoon in late fall, I found myself seeking realignment and
refortification on the north side of town. My comrade and counselor for
that session requested my presence in the riverside terrace bar at the Landing Restaurant.
I was not necessarily in the frame of mind to experience unfamiliar
surroundings, but the gravity of the situation dictated that I comply
with his wishes. As I soon as I sat down at the bar, and gazed out over
the river, my mood vastly improved. And after a couple of pints from
their superior selection of lagers and ales, I had almost forgotten the
difficult circumstances that had brought me here—but I knew that I had
found a new place to call home. There was only one catch though; this
bar was a seasonal affair. But a run of unusually mild November days,
would allow me to return a couple of more times before this section of
the restaurant was shuttered against the approaching winter.
On my last visit to the Landing,
I was hoping to spend one more time on the terrace, but the Jet Stream
had finally resumed its usual December position over North America, and I
was forced to seek my beverages indoors. But there was a roaring fire,
and the warmth and cordiality of the staff and locals gathered around
this welcoming intimate bar. I had found a second home inside, complete
with a view of Main Street bedecked in its Christmas finery. The Landing had given me new hope for the holidays—and new hope for all the other days of the year!