Review: The River House at Odette’s Is a Bucolic Hidden Gem 90 Minutes From NYC
The former site of a French actress and socialite's buzzy restaurant has made way for a magnificent riverside inn
When it comes to local fall travel, New Yorkers are fairly spoiled for options: a venture Upstate, a final weekend in Montauk, a slightly longer drive to the Berkshires in Massachusetts. The only issue is that practically every New Yorker knows these spots, so they tend to become a bit inundated with fellow travelers.
Fortunately, when you begin to think outside of the box, tons of overlooked options begin to come into view—charming, smaller towns that don’t take the whole afternoon to get to, but still make you feel like you’re distinctly away from it all. Case in point: New Hope, a small town in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. A less-than-two-hour drive from the city, New Hope is a surprisingly quirky, unique town situated along the Delaware River. For those who know, its vibe is reminiscent of Halloweentown, with famous ghost tours at night to match.
New Hope is a gem in the rough when it comes to autumn travel destinations, with gorgeous foliage covering the sloping terrain that surrounds it, locally owned boutiques galore, quality antiquing, apple picking and five-star dining. We suggest you plan your weekend escape soon before everyone else finds out about it — this handy guide will help get you started.
The River House at Odette’s became Bucks County’s first luxury boutique hotel when it opened last fall. Inspired by French actress Odette Myrtil Logan, the River House sits on the same location as the original Chez Odette — a now-moved stone building in which Odette once entertained her well-heeled guests. Besides their cozy lobby and Piano Lounge, 38 modern, art-forward rooms and suites are the highlight of the property, especially if you can nab one with a balcony that looks over the stunning Delaware River. As an ode to Odette, musical artists make regular appearances, and you don’t even have to be a hotel guest to watch them perform.
You do, however, need to be a guest (or a member) to hit the “R” button in the elevator and spend your evening at ROOF, the property’s exclusive restaurant and lounge. A boldly designed hallway bearing the names of the original members of the hotel — including celebs like Yolanda Hadid — leads you to the spacious rooftop. There, post up by the fireplace and enjoy a tasty cocktail that would probably be twice as expensive in NYC.
The River House offers three dining and drinking options: ROOF (dinner and drinks), the Piano Lounge (small plates and drinks) and Odette’s (all-day dining). For our money, the perfectly cooked octopus and flavorful scallops at ROOF are the dishes not to be missed.
But the good eats in New Hope go well beyond the River House if you’re looking to leave the property.
Ask any local for an indication that you’re in a town in the middle of an evolution and they’ll point you toward the Ferry Market, a historic building that was renovated a few years ago and now houses 13 independent vendors. The businesses within the Ferry Market run the gamut, so you can sip on coffee and eat a slice of pizza, then grab a bottle of wine and artisanal chocolates to enjoy later.
New Hope also has a surprising number of upscale bistros to choose from once dinner time rolls around, like gastropub The Salt House, which occupies a stone building built way back in 1751. There, a charming yet laid back vibe is well-complemented by their famed burger and curated cocktails. And at the Nektar Wine Bar, Mediterranean small plates are the name of the game.
Just as its name implies, Main Street is the center of the action in New Hope, where on weekends it can be surprisingly bustling as people bop into the various boutiques, cafes, vintage shops and more. For a chance at even more antique and vintage finds, head to the Golden Nugget in neighboring Lambertville, where vendors have been setting up stalls to sell their one-of-a-kind wares for the past 50 years.
For the perfect fall activity, you can head just a couple miles out of town to Solebury Orchards — an impossibly charming family-run farm — for apple picking, totally bangin’ apple cider doughnuts and fresh-pressed cider. Once you leave you’ll pretty much be an apple, but you’ll be happy about it. Fall isn’t the only time to visit the orchard, either. During the summer you can pick berries and cherries and cut your own bouquet of flowers.
The next morning, wake up early and bike off those doughnuts along the scenic Delaware River Towpath. The canal towpath is a local haven for cyclists and hikers, and stretches for 60 miles along the river, running right through town, where you can grab a much-needed coffee after.
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