Renaissance in River Country


By Bonnie C. Sovinee

Lambertville's resurgence began at the Lambertville Station (below, left) and continues at the recently completed Lambertville House (below, right). Buildings throughout town have been converted into prime antique, collectible and specialty shops.

The tree lined streets of Lambertville are made more captivating by a medley of Victorian buildings, pridefully decorated with flowers carefully planted in window boxes or perched atop an iron rail or brick wall. Small white picket fences front some houses, while others have decorative wrought iron gates. Porches sport white wicker chairs, and Victorian colored paints cover the brick, accentuating the trim. This is a charming town, indeed. But it wasn't always so....

A sleepy village which lost its industrial steam, the town was in slow decline until, in 1980, a man with a vision purchased the old Pennsylvania-Belvidere Railroad headquarters and train station depot. Dan Whitaker and his partners had been looking to "do a restaurant in Pennsylvania," he recalls. "I had seen the (train station) property eight years before, and had contacted Victoria Station, where I was working. They felt the demographics were all wrong, so they didn't take it. In hindsight, it was probably risky, but I felt New Hope had a lot of great restaurants, and this was just across the river." Today, the large windows of the Lambertville Station Restaurant are decorated with tiny white lights which reflect gracefully in the nearby Delaware River. But more importantly to Mr. Whitaker is the food. "The unique location and building will get people here once," he says, "but it's up to us to keep them coming back." And keep them coming back, they do. Specialties include "A seafood crepe which people love so much I couldn't take it off the menu if I wanted to. For dinner, Rack of Lamb is a favorite, but the offering of wild game year 'round has been a real draw." Next door the 45 room Inn at Lambertville Station, built about five years later, generally sells out for the weekends. (Guests should make reservations a month or two in advance.) An addition is being planned to double the number of rooms, and expand the conference/ banquet capacity to accommodate 300 people.

As the old Rail Station transformed into an elegant casual restaurant, other business owners started fixing-up their buildings, and new investors came to this quaint tiny city on the river. Artisans and up-scale antiques shops arrived, slowly at first, and then in a steady stream. According to Whitaker, "Once people looked at it (Lambertville), and saw it was a beautiful river town, they realized property values would only go up, so they began buying."

Today's Lambertville offers 45 Antique & Collectible shops, 16 Art Galleries, 25 restaurants, 9 B&Bs and Inns, 2 book stores, 2 flowers stores, 7 home accessory stores, 5 jewelry stores, 5 sports & recreation stores, a micro-brewing company and a unique lighting store along a bustling grid of charming streets about one mile square. Although the sidewalks are always busy, the general ambiance is one of leisure. Permission is granted to take in the sights at your own pace, and the town's popularity among those wishing to escape the daily work routine has not soared to levels of over-saturation.

Across the street from the Inn at the Station, another exquisite restoration has recently seen completion at the Lambertville House. Built in 1812, the historic inn was once a stagecoach stop serving U.S. Presidents, business leaders and dignitaries traveling between Philadelphia and New York. A significant investment revived its early 19th Century splendor and, with great attention to detail, transform it into an intimate country inn. The Renaissance continues.

Nearby accommodations and attractions

  • Decoys and Wildlife Gallery
  • This wildlife art gallery contains the area?s largest selection of hand carved decoys, representing carvers across the US, as well as an extensive collection of original paintings by some of the nation's most renowned artists.

    55 Bridge St., Frenchtown 08825, 908/996-6501

  • Made To Order
  • Delightful fantasies beyond words! Gold, Platinum & Silver Jewelry, Wildlife Photos, Crystal, Lighthouses. Perfume Bottles, Santas, Witches Balls, Oil Lamps, Paperweights, Chimes, Art Glass, Wishing Stars. Now featuring Pandora Jewelry.

    44 Main St., Clinton 08809, 908/735-4244

  • Ship Inn Restaurant and Brewery
  • New Jersey''s first brewpub where, in addition to14 British ales and hard cider on tap, you can enjoy selections brewed on-site. The menu is derived exclusively from cuisine from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Lively weekend entertainment, on and off premise catering.

    61 Bridge St., Milford 08848, 908/995-7007

  • Bouman Stickey Farmstead
  • 114 Dreahook Road, Stanton 08885, 908/236-2327

  • Bobolink Dairy and Bakehouse
  • Artisanal cheeses, wood fired breads, 100% grass-fed beef, whey fed pork, and suckled veal, 100% grass-fed ice cream, pasta made with Emmer wheat and our own free-range eggs, and pesto made with our own basil! Bread and cheesemaking workshops are held on the working farm as well as weekend tours and occasional concerts.

    369 Stamets Road, Milford 08848, 908/86GRASS


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Margie Housman Pitbladdo
23 Nov 2012, 10:19
I am looking for a long lost childhood friend named Barbara Clauston who went to school with me in Flemington NJ. I have tried every way possible to find her and so far I have had no luck. Could you help me with an email, address, phone number or any other way that I may contact her?
Steve Robbins
29 Jun 2010, 12:05
There is apparently no html posting permitted (see my comment below). Below is the link I was trying to include for our new Lambertville Area Guide, which has links and events related to that area of the Skylands region.\r\n\r\n
Steve Robbins
29 Jun 2010, 09:38
This is a very good summary piece about Lambertville! More photos, videos, links and information can also be found at <a href="">this new website<a> about Lambertville and the surrounding area.\r\n\r\nFor those who asked, alas, the train is not running here any longer. Most of the tracks coming up from Trenton were pulled in the late 1970s and early 80s, and many of the old track beds are now beautiful recreational bike and hiking pathways that run within the <em>Delaware & Raritan Canal</em> parkland areas, often alongside the actual towpaths that ran beside the feeder canal itself. There are several stretches of track still in place, especially within Lambertville and heading north out of town, but no train runs on them these days.
Barbara Clauston Rigg
14 Oct 2009, 12:01
Is anyone familiar with the Clapper family, they lived in Lambertville in the 1940's and 1950's. James and Bert, Howard and Doris and their son Terry
Ed Sheedy
02 Mar 2009, 11:39
I used to hang out in New Hope, Pa. and, Lambertville in the late 60's and early 70's. I am certain I would not recognize a thing. My question is there an antique dealer in the area that specilizes in oriental vase antiques. Would you reply with name and contact info. Ihave a blue on white porcelin vase dated 1910 with orientsl writing on the bottom. I need to know the value for insurance or,auction purpose. Thanks
Lorraine Sutera
07 Oct 2008, 07:16
Looking too for any antique flea markets in Lambertville the weekend of November 1, 2008
01 Sep 2008, 05:45
Can you tell me if there are any antique dealers who are interested in tiffany lamp shades. I have two I would be interested in selling.
jean vick
16 Jul 2008, 08:54
I am asking the same question; where is the train? I want to take a senior group to Lambertville and New Hope in September and would like to ride the train but cannot find one. The only one I see is the one from New Hope to Lahaska.\r\n\r\nPlease give me any information that you have. Thank you.
Fernnado Guzman
22 Jun 2008, 08:45
Hello Im whont see lambertville photos thanks
Steven Gallin
18 Jun 2008, 20:02
Can you e-mail me a list of the antique stores in the Lambertville area and flea\r\nmarkets.
14 May 2008, 05:57
I have stayed many times in Lambertville and New Hope. Can you e- mail me a list of the antique stores in this area? Looking forward to coming again.
27 Feb 2008, 13:39
where is 119 douglas street?
12 Feb 2008, 15:28
where's the train?!

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