Your Next Weekend Escape: Lambertville, New Jersey
The multimillion-dollar townhouses of today’s West Village may be a far cry from the neighborhood’s bohemian past, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a taste of what it once felt like (sort of). The small town of Lambertville has become a haven for artists, and the closer you look, the more its charming streets will surprise you with galleries, antique stores and mom-and-pop shops. No car? No problem. A bus drops off day-trippers and weekenders just steps from the cultural hot spot, making it easy to get out of town and experience something new.
Your Instagram followers will swoon over the Victorian and Federal-style mansions, brick row homes and vernacular architecture lining the quiet streets, as well as the adorable steel truss bridge that connects across the Delaware to New Hope, Pennsylvania. There are plenty of photo ops to be had inside and outside of town, where the scenic Delaware River offers plenty of opportunities for hikes, leisurely bike rides and exploration of historic Revolutionary War sites.
What really sets Lambertville apart, though, is its quirky boho vibe. It’s evident the second you arrive that many artists not only work and live here but are inspired by the village and the region. During a stroll around town, don’t be surprised if you see a painter with an easel on a sidewalk. Or you might stumble upon artist Eleanor Voorhees working on one of her mixed-media streetscapes. Gallery-hop on Bridge, Church and North Union streets as well as Lambert Lane, stopping into favorites such as Gallery Piquel, Artists’ Gallery, Jim’s of Lambertville and Haas Gallery.
Along with galleries, Lambertville is jam-packed with tiny shops, mainly focused on interior design and antiques. Pop into Pirela Atelier for upscale home accents with a few rare, heritage-brand pieces mixed in. There’s also Reinboth and Alba Home for posh decor items and design services, and Zinc, where two floors are loaded with a range of vintage and new furniture with an industrial and farmhouse feel. You could easily spend a lifetime going through the treasures at The People’s Store, which has everything from furniture and artwork to vintage postcards and costume jewelry. If you’re seeking some edible souvenirs, stop by Savour Cheese & Gourmet Provisions for farm-fresh local cheeses, preserves, pastas, breads and honeys. Neighboring Stockton—ten minutes north of town—has an awesome farmers’ market on the weekends too.
D’floret is a local institution; stop by to try the seasonally driven menu by chef Dennis Foy, who’s also behind the artwork at the BYOB dinner spot. The hospitality is what really makes the restaurant special, thanks to Foy’s partner and wife, Estella, a longtime New Yorker who was charmed by Lambertville. For lunch, try the wood-fired pizzas at Caffe Galleria. Both this and the Lambertville Station Inn have alfresco dining options for warmer weather, with the latter’s directly overlooking the Delaware River.
Meanwhile, the casual and health-focused Jess’s Juice Bar could put any hipster Brooklyn juice shop to shame with its carrot cake smoothie. Another must if you’re visiting Lambertville (and you have something of a sweet tooth) is Owowcow Creamery, which churns organic ice cream made from local cream and eggs. The flavors here—like chocolate salted caramel pecan, blood orange raspberry and cinnamon bourbon—change daily. For cocktails, The Boat House and its nautical-themed artifacts are everything you could want in a small-town watering hole.
For a small town of about 4,000 people, Lambertville has some quality accommodation options. There’s this converted 19th-century firehouse apartment, which sleeps four guests and boasts a pretty enviable gourmet kitchen and rooftop deck. Or you can opt for something totally glam at this light-filled suite, just ten minutes from Lambertville in the adjacent and equally charming and eclectic town of New Hope, Pennsylvania. The outdoors meet the indoors at this secluded space, which boasts a soaking tub, posh contemporary design and even bike access—all right across from the enchanting river and its canals.
The Lambertville House is popular and well known for its large porch, a great place to grab a snack and people watch in the most bustling part of town, on Bridge Street just west of Main. Upstairs, the comfortable rooms are decorated in a traditional style with floral prints, and many have their own fireplace and private terrace. More cozy lodging can be found at Lambertville Station, a restaurant and inn located in a converted train station, where many of the rooms have direct views of the river. And the hard-to-miss, fire-engine-red Inn of the Hawke is another intimate option with just four rooms and a restaurant that houses a lively patio filled with outdoor diners in the summer months.