June 26, 2014

180 Miles: Your New Favorite Getaway Outside of Philly

Once a small and sleepy colonial mill town, these days the mile-long New Hope, Pennsylvania, is bursting with sophisticated culture and scrumptious eats. We picked our top spots for a jam-packed day trip to this quaint locale, less than 80 miles from both Philly and New York City. (Perfect for booking a Zipcar from either location — score!) And if New Hope whets your whistle, we've got plenty more Philly day trips ready to go.

New Hope goes old school. (And you can, too, when you visit this charming community.)New Hope goes old school. (And you can, too, when you visit this charming community.)

From bikers buzzing up River Road to enjoy breakfast on South Main Street, to out and proud couples strolling down Bridge Street during annual Pride Week, to the Philadelphia mummers dancing in the Winterfest parade, there's something for everyone in this bucolic Bucks County borough on the Delaware River, just an hour outside Philadelphia. Best of all: Park your car once, and nearly everything you would want to do during a day trip is within walking distance.


Comfort food + authentic BBQ + sidewalk seating = happy patrons at Bitter Bob’s.

Bitter Bob's (110 S. Main St., New Hope, PA, 215-862-0262, bitterbobs.com) Bob Kascik, the restaurant's namesake, grew up in the area and sources his menu from local farms and orchards, such as the eggs in the South Trenton Benedict, which subs in pork roll and rye for ham and the English muffin of the traditional eggs Benedict. If you can't make breakfast, definitely come back for lunch or dinner, and try the barbecue (Kansas City and North Carolina style are two options), or something called a bowl of deliciousness. Choose three items for your bowl — collard greens, corn bread, and pulled pork, for example, covered in barbecue sauce and cheese — then dig in.


Far from the city sparkle of Broadway, take in a premier show at “America’s Most Famous Summer Theater.”

Bucks County Playhouse (70 South Main St, New Hope, PA, 215-862-2121, bcptheater.org) Seventy-five years ago playwrights Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein, and George Kaufman summered in New Hope and "tested" future Broadway shows here. After drifting away from its original mission, this theater along the Delaware has come full circle. Famous faces appearing at the theater this season include Marsha Mason in "Deathtrap," and Marilu Henner in the Tony-award winning "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” (based in Bucks County, where New Hope is located, and penned by a local playwright). Grab a drink or a meal of small plates before the show at one of the two waterside bars. Pro Tip: Ask for your spirits in a covered cup with a straw, so you can take it into the theater once the lights go down.


Come to Red Tulip Gallery for the local handmade furniture, pottery, and folk art, stay for the demos in Irish fiddling and basket weaving.

Red Tulip Gallery (19C West Bridge St., New Hope, PA, 267-454-0496, redtulipcrafts.com) New Hope was once home to its own school of impressionist painters. These days, artists in nearly every media call New Hope home. A terrific example of modern, local art is at this cooperative of 22 artists who are all members of the Bucks County Guilds of Craftsman. Rather than travel to juried craft shows every weekend, they decided to pool their resources and open this charming, bright gallery in June 2014. Selections include jewelry, stained and blown glass, turned bowls, pottery, and even basket weaving. Currently, the gallery is open Thursday through Sunday only. At least one artist mans the gallery during business hours, so you have a great chance of chatting with the person who made the pieces you're buying.


I scream, you scream, we all scream for…Belgian waffles? Oh yeah — family-owned Nina’s Waffles has ice cream, too.

Nina's Waffles (31 West Mechanic St., New Hope, PA, 215-862-1660, ninaswaffles.com) Though it sounds like a breakfast spot, Nina’s is where you can get artisanal ice cream made from the hormone-free milk of Bucks County cows served on genuine Belgian waffles. Choose from more than a dozen ice cream flavors, including salted caramel, double espresso crunch, and key lime raspberry. Though flavors change daily, you can count on at least one of the four different vanillas to be in the freezer. Waffles are made while you wait, and can be drizzled with toppings of your choice. (Nutella is a huge favorite.) Enjoy your dessert at one of the cafe tables inside this corner location or outside on the sidewalk. Nina's is open seven days a week until 10 p.m. during warm-weather months (perfect for those summer nights that never seem to end), and Thursday through Sunday at other times. Note that Nina's closes in January and February, so get your fill when you most need the tasty cool down.


Started on a farm in 1860, Rice’s Market now hosts 400 vendors to the tune of 8,000 bargain-hunters per week.

Rice's Market (6326 Greenhill Rd., New Hope, PA, 215-297-5994, rices.com) While New Hope borough is where most of the action is, the Solebury township countryside offers two drivable excursions worth investigating during your day trip here. If you happen to be in town on Tuesday or Saturday, March through September, check out Rice’s Market, thought to be the nation's oldest and largest (30 acres) outdoor flea market. At Rice's (as the locals call it), you'll find typical flea market fare (t-shirts, jewelry, and posters) along with antiques from local dealers, fresh produce from nearby farms, and flats of annuals and perennials.  Rice's is open 7 a.m. to 1 p.m, so plan your day trip accordingly.

Also in Solebury is Carousel Farm (5966 Mechanicsville Rd., Solebury, PA, 917-837-6903, carouselfarmlavender.com), which grows its own lavender, and uses it in soaps, creams, and essential oils it sells. You'll know you have arrived when you see the sea of purple among the horse and dairy farms. Carousel Farm is open to the public on Saturdays only. You can arrange a private tour (for a small fee) on any day of the week if you really need that floral fix.

This city guide is part of our series: 180 Miles. We’re highlighting enticing and accessible day trips Zipsters can embark upon with the 180 miles included in every Zipcar reservation. Good eats? Scenic views? Hidden gems? From the Pacific Northwest to New York’s Hudson Valley, and all the sights and sounds in between, we’ve got your itinerary.

Can't wait to take more Philly day trips? Lucky for you, there are plenty more Towns of the Philadelphia Countryside to explore.