Once an industrail town that attracted artists, to its stone farmhouses, barns and mills, New Hope has transitioned into a favorite spot of tourists with a heritage profound in its roots in theater, art and the antiques trade.
It’s not just a spot for weekenders and couples on leaf-peeping trips, however, as its proximity to Philadelphia and New Jersey make it a popular spot for meetings and events.
Where to Stay
Lisa Menz, manager of The Fox and Hound Bed & Breakfast of New Hope, says the inn is known for the special individualized attention that the innkeepers give to each guest and meeting and creating a unique experience with relaxed elegance. “The Innkeepers truly care about each guest and the success of their meeting,” she says. “Our location is walking distance to downtown New Hope with its live entertainment, river and world-class restaurants and it’s on 2 landscaped acres, giving it a country feel.” The inn offers a meeting room in a historic building (with room for up 30-plus) that has Wi-Fi, a projector and screen for presentations as well as a large screen for computers. “There is also a unique breakout room that is very popular,” Menz says. “The relaxed elegance in this historic building is inviting and creates a bonding and productive experience for meeting participants.” The inn also offers catering of hot and cold meals and snacks, in-room massages, on-site yoga sessions and can help organize off-site teambuilding activities such as boat rides, guided cycling trips, spa visits and guided hiking.
Originally built in 1790, the Ash Mill Farm Bed & Breakfast has more than 200 years of history, attracting small businesses to its manor. “We have a dining room that can host a small meeting of about a dozen people, and a room over the barn that holds up to 45 people for meetings,” says Linda DiFulvio, innkeeper. “The barn has electricity, heating and air conditioning, and has projectors and screens.” With 11 acres, the B&B also has plenty of things for attendees to do on the property during breaks—including numerous team-building activities. “The atmosphere is old and quaint and gets everyone in a relaxed mood,” DiFulvio says. “Our open atmosphere, multibuilding facility and serene landscape make this the ideal location for getting away from the office.”
The Bridgeton House on the Delaware is perfect for team-building, corporate meetings and executive settings with its private dock, water sports and for a little more serious work, a knockout river-view penthouse with a huge river deck off the spacious meeting room. “We have a seasoned staff of professionals who excel at creating extraordinary meetings and events,” says Bea Briggs, owner. “Our last buyout from a Fortune 500 company told us we ‘hit this one out of the park’ and then they scheduled another event.”
There are a total of 12 guest rooms and the hotel is capable of providing breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as breaks for meetings. Wireless internet, in-room phones, dataports, flip charts and easels are all available. “Our Penthouse, with its wrap-around deck and panoramic view, is perfect for up to 25 people,” Briggs says. “If a dramatic setting is required this is it—it’s unlike any meeting setting. With over 900 square feet and a cathedral ceiling, this room can be configured to meet your needs. The main dining room offers separate tables that seat up to 20 people. It also offers a more intimate Boat House that can be used for break-out sessions for up to 10 people.
Where to Eat
All visitors to New Hope will definitely want to stop by Peddler’s Village, a 42-acre outdoor shopping village that boasts shops and restaurants. Two of these fine eateries offer both great food and space for meetings and events. “The Cock ‘N Bull is known for its traditional American cuisine and in their colonial setting they serve favorites such as chicken pot pie, prime rib and beef burgundy,” says Kathleen Persing, director of sales for Peddler’s Village. “Earl’s New American has a rustic charm and a contemporary cuisine. Start off with their she-crab bisque and finish with the filet of beef or grilled salmon.” Each restaurant has a halfday or full-day meeting package. These packages include buffet-style breakfast, a luncheon, standard audio-visual, all day unlimited beverage service and free Wi-Fi. There are multiple rooms upstairs that can accommodate up to 310 guests, classroom-style and 200 seated. Peddler’s Village also features other restaurants, including Buttonwood Grill (good for breakfast and burgers) and Hart’s Tavern (good for drinks and pub food).
Wendy Kelly, general manager at Marsha Brown Creole Kitchen and Lounge (which serves cuisine that is native to New Orleans), says the restaurant offers private and semiprivate events of up to 50 and weekend daytime events are available for the entire restaurant for up to 200 guests. The menu at Marsha Brown includes both steak and seafood dishes as well as an abundance of Marsha’s own Southern family favorites.
For those companies holding multiday meetings, The Black Bass Hotel has beautiful and unique meeting spaces, but also a top-notch restaurant. “The serenity of our setting makes the Bass an ideal place for a small boardroom gathering to a week-long strategy session for 20 attendees,” says manager Kate Lear. “Our restaurant can provide your group with quality fare in a relaxed and beautiful atmosphere before, during and after your busy work day.” Its signature dish, Charleston Meeting Street Crab, is a local favorite. The Baxter Retreat, a newly renovated conference facility, has French doors that can extend the meeting outdoors onto a secluded brick patio nestled into a wooded hillside.
What to Do
The Bucks County Ale Trail is not just about sampling great beer, but also about seeing the beauty of Bucks County. “From the Proper Brewing Company where you can find live music in Upper Bucks, to the outdoor patio of the Station Tap House in Central Bucks, to the Broken Goblet in Lower Bucks where you will find a twist on traditional beer, the Ale Trail offers a ton of variety,” says Alexa Johnson, public relations manager for Visit Bucks County. “This is a great activity for people attending meetings in the area because it gives them something fun to do after their meeting. Let’s face it, everyone goes out for happy hour after a work conference anyway. Why not do it at a fascinating new brewery?”
Between 1930 and 1950, Bucks County became a hot spot for notable people in the art world looking to escape the big city and live the country life. The area became such a well-known haven for creativity that the New York media coined it The Genius Belt. “Today, Bucks County has many sites where visitors can be inspired by this rich cultural and artistic tradition,” Johnson says. “After your corporate meeting, take a trip to see the homes of Oscar Hammerstein II and Henry Mercer, Highland Farm and Fonthill Castle respectively. Tour the James A. Michener Art Museum or the Pearl S. Buck home. See it how people from the past did, understand what it is about this beautiful place that made them want to form roots.”
Another great spot to see while in New Hope is the Parry Mansion, which was built in 1784 by Benjamin Parry, one of the town’s original community leaders. Roy Ziegler, past president and a current board of directors member for the New Hope Historical Society, says the furnishings of the 11 rooms reflect 125 years of decorative changes and it’s a great place to learn of some history. Tour guides are trained to offer historical information along with the stories that have been passed through generations. “It’s one of the best examples of late 18th century Georgian-style mansions [in Bucks County],” he says. “It’s different than most houses people tour because each room is converted to a different period of history, which goes from 1785-1900. You’re not just seeing the same stuff from room to room.” The grounds are also available for garden parties and private functions up to 125 people and tours are part of the function.