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Crossing the Delaware: Visiting New Hope, P.A., Lambertville, N.J.

The New Hope & Ivyland Railroad makes hourly

The New Hope & Ivyland Railroad makes hourly jaunts into the countryside. Credit: The New Hope & Ivyland Railroad makes hourly jaunts into the countryside.

Just a few miles up the road from where George Washington crossed the Delaware River in 1776, New Hope, Pa., and Lambertville, N.J., are equally invadable by modern travelers. The towns are especially attractive to New Yorkers; they're just a 90-minute drive from the city.

Separated by a narrow section of the calm and scenic Delaware River, the two quaint towns are linked by a bridge for visitors to traverse. On either side, you'll find streets flanked with charming architecture, antique stores, art galleries and restaurants. And while the towns seem to attract couples, young and old, they also welcome singles and families, including the LGBT community.

This month, the towns' Winter Festival (215-862-5067, winterfestival.net) takes center stage. From Jan. 24 to Jan. 27, there are special food tastings and concerts, and many free activities, including a parade, musical performances, tours and hikes.

But no matter what time of year you head down, there's something to please everyone.

What to do in town
Take an hourly excursion through the picturesque countryside aboard a real steam train on the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad (32 W. Bridge St., New Hope; 215-862-2332). Tour the Marshall House Museum (60 Bridge St., Lambertville; 609-397-0770). The Federal-style brick building was the boyhood home of James Wilson Marshall, who first discovered gold in California in 1848.

Sample four craft beers for $1 and take a tour of the River Horse Brewing Co. (80 Lambert Ln., Lambertville; 609-397-7776).

Have an upscale Creole dinner at Marsha Brown's (15 S. Main St., New Hope; 215-862-7044), a former church, or keep it simple at Italian Cucina (95 S. Main Street, New Hope; 215-862-3818).

Grab a drink at the cozy Boat House (8 1/2 Coryell St., at The Porkyard, Lambertville; 609- 397-2244) or head to one of the many bars in New Hope.

The Bucks County Playhouse (70 S. Main Street, New Hope; 212-862-2121) offers Broadway-quality productions beginning in May.

Outdoor activities
Two towpaths, New Jersey's D&R Canal towpath and the 60-mile Delaware Canal towpath, run along the riverbanks.

They are ideal for a scenic walk or bike ride, bird watching, or even cross-country skiing. If the river isn't frozen, you can launch kayaks and canoes onto the Delaware from an access point in Lambertville.

Bring your own, or seasonal rentals are available. Year-round bike rentals are available at Pure Energy Cycling (99 South Main St., Lambertville; 609-397-7008).

A canal and river tour of the two towns and a historic walking tour of Lambertville are offered as part of the Winter Festival.

Lodging options
Inviting local inns may just tempt you to spend the night in the area. For a sprawling, elegant countryside B&B just outside of town, try The Inn at Bowman's Hill (518 Lurgan Rd., New Hope; 215-862-8090; theinnatbowmanshill.com).

To stay in the thick of the action, check out the Lambertville House Hotel (32 Bridge St., Lambertville; 888-867-8859; lambertvillehouse.com), a historic inn turned boutique hotel.

For a less expensive option, consider the rustic New Hope Lodge (400 W. Bridge St., New Hope; 215-862-2081; newhopelodge.com). The hotel sports wood-paneled walls and is just a short walk into town.

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