Date of Trip: March 2007
Cancun, Panama City Beach, Nassau: Typical hot spots for the spring breaker. This year, I decided to try something a little more on the beaten path; I decided to stay at home in Lambertville, New Jersey. Here’s what I observed in my little town.
The Marshall House, home of the Lambertville Historical Society, taught me a bit about the town’s roots. Lambertville was first settled in 1705 and has actually changed very little over the past one hundred years. Named the “land of promise” in 1866, the town was a mecca for carpenters, masons, architects and artists, much like it is today. The town is still resplendent with Federal, Victorian and neo-Georgian homes sitting on tree-lined streets. The factories of yore are no longer churning out rubber and hairpins, but urban renewal has led to restoration and repurposing, all while sensitively preserving the architecture for future generations.
Lambertville has more recently been named the “Antique Capital of the World” and aptly so, as it boasts over 40 antique shops. Treasures from just about every era can be found in any of the the town’s fine shops. A 10-minute window shopping stroll down Bridge Street turned up 18th Century Italian furniture, glass from the 1930’s and PA Impression-era paintings. (What? In MY town?) Continuing my walk down N. Union Street, I was reminded of the many art galleries showcasing impressive work by local artists past and present. Lambertville gained recognition in the early 1900’s as being an artist colony; the scene has since flourished.
But this isn’t a town that lives solely in the past either. On one of my daily strolls during spring break, I came upon couture handbags, hip clothing by designers like Free People and 7 Jeans, and contemporary jewelry. (Hello? I thought I had to trek into NYC for these, ahem, necessities). This town possesses two coffeehouses — neither named Starbucks — one of which is even a Fair Trade certified, small batch artisan coffee roaster that distributes beans and machines internationally.
And please don’t think we go hungry in Lambertville. Even though we have a small population (3800 according to the last census), we are treated to a dizzying selection of dining possibilities — Italian, Japanese, innovative American, Mediterranean, Mexican, Old World, French and Thai — that truly rival New York City. My personal dining recommendations? Siam on Route 29/Main Street — with an owner/chef from Thailand, the food is authentic as can be; Bell’s Tavern on N. Union Street — home of one of the few Guinness Certified taps in the entire United States and Zagat-rated quality food to boot. (Again, somebody pinch me. This is MY hometown?)
There’s more to the town than shopping and eating. Lambertville is located on the Delaware River in the southwestern portion of Hunterdon County. Bring your kayak, canoe or bike — or rent one when you get here — and take advantage of the river, canal towpath or nearby countryside.