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Emerging Destination: New Hope in Bucks County, PA

BIG things are happening in Bucks County, PA

The town of New Hope has long been known for its riverside dining, eclectic merchants, boutique shopping, cultural attractions, inns and bed-and-breakfasts. With an already strong reputation as a one-of-a-kind, walkable destination along the Delaware River, it appears as though the best is just beginning here.

New Hope has some very exciting new offerings that are expected to take this already popular and well-known town and ascend it to new heights.

According to Paul Bencivengo, president and COO of Visit Bucks County, "The travel industry is a leading contributor to Bucks County’s economic growth and prosperity. Our county’s tourism and hospitality industry continued to break records in 2018 with the total number of visitors and visitor spending. New Hope will now see more meetings and special events generating additional impact on top of leisure tourism. New room inventory will allow for larger groups to stay in the area and extend stays leading to more economic hospitality activity.”

“Today’s traveler is seeking a unique mix of downtown charm, arts, culture and a thriving food and drink scene,” he continues. “New Hope is delivering all of these with the opening and renovation of several venues. We are thrilled to be able to offer something distinct to meeting planners - a riverside town with a scenic, refreshing backdrop for meeting attendees and now plenty of reasons to extend their stay and enjoy all that the revitalized town has to offer."

Bencivengo notes that the hospitality workforce is integral as New Hope continues to emerge. He says that Visit Bucks County is consistently working with the County of Bucks to identify opportunities to attract top talent to the area, as customer service is a leading contributor to repeat visitation.

Transportation infrastructure also is pivotal to the area’s continued growth. Bucks County is a countryside destination that is easily accessible from Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey, and Visit Bucks is researching ride share and other opportunities to create a seamless link from transit and major highways to ensure ease of access to the county.

“Bucks County is thrilled to continue to welcome conference attendees and to be able to offer them larger spaces in the New Hope area,” notes Bencivengo. “We will continue to encourage planners to utilize Bucks County’s meeting planner resources - sourcing venues, coordinating site inspections, assisting with promotional materials and room blocks - as they begin planning meetings and conferences in the area."

In addition, Visit Bucks County is currently conducting a product development assessment to identify areas of growth and opportunity within the county. Business travel is a key component to overnight visitation. With developments in New Hope, Peddler’s Village, at Parx Casino® and throughout the countryside, Bucks County is poised to continue to attract meetings and business travelers.

Peddler’s Village in Lahaska boasts plenty of retail shops and boutiques, full and quick-service restaurants, team building activities, and the 66-room Golden Plough Inn on its 42-acre countryside property.  Attractive features like its winding brick pathways, Giggleberry Fair, flower gardens, as well as its seasonal fairs and festivals serve to further broaden Bucks County’s appeal.

“The county has long been the perfect destination for small to mid-sized meetings or retreats, but new expansions are attracting larger meetings and a broader interest from planners seeking spaces that can accommodate more breakout rooms or larger tradeshow spaces,” explains Bencivengo. “The assessment will help us to identify areas for development, whether it be a resort hotel or expansion of conference space - these are all opportunities that we are researching in terms of feasibility and demand."

Among the most recent developments in New Hope was the opening of the Ghost Light Inn and its on-site restaurant, Stella by Jose Garces (both of which opened in June 2019). Elsewhere in the county, new venues that also opened this year include: Durham Springs Culinary Event Center in Kintnersville, Nostalgia 1720 in Chalfont, and Rafters in Newtown. Coming in mid-2020, excitement is building for the highly anticipated opening of River House at Odette's in New Hope, as well.

River House at Odette’s

Refined Hospitality, a luxury-lifestyle hotel, restaurant, and catering management group that specializes in developing, managing, and cultivating successful brands, has origins that date back to the group’s development of a luxury hotel steps from the beaches of Stone Harbor, NJ on the Shelter Haven Basin in the center of town.

Surrounded by unique boutiques, independently owned restaurants, and cultural attractions, The Reeds at Shelter Haven opened as Stone Harbor's only year-round luxury boutique hotel in the summer of 2013, quickly garnering both local and national attention for being one of the most sought-after destinations along the New Jersey coast.

As demand grew, so did the need for additional rooms and experiences, leading to the development of a second building featuring new guestrooms and suites, the Salt Spa, a retail store, and a cutting-edge hotel fitness center in 2018.

Now, in Bucks County, the Refined Hospitality team is developing the River House at Odette’s, a riverfront luxury lifestyle hotel and events destination in historic New Hope. Sitting at the entrance to town and located directly along the Delaware River, it is set on a historic site for hospitality that dates back to 1794.

The original River House was home to boatmen looking for rest while traveling the river to New York. Years later, this iconic property became Odette’s, a wildly popular French bistro and cabaret.

Set to make its debut in spring of 2020, these historical elements have been woven into the new property's architecture and design as an edgy, yet elegant, hotel well suited for leisurely stays, dining, and hosting events.

Ron Gorodesky, president of Refined Hospitality, explains why New Hope was the right place for a project of this magnitude.

“New Hope and the greater Bucks County community have been near and dear to our ownership group for decades with Tom Lynch and Ed Breen, as well as myself having all lived and raised our families in the area,” explains Gorodesky. “I’ve spent many evenings with Ed and his wife Lynn where they reminisced over cocktails about the date nights they shared at Odette's in its heyday. It's this unbreakable tie to the community that makes this project so special to each of us [who are involved with it].”

“We're honored to contribute to the revitalization of this vibrant riverfront community through the development of a luxury lifestyle hotel featuring residentially inspired guestrooms and suites, seasonally inspired dining destinations, boldly designed event spaces, and live entertainment on the historic Odette's footprint,” he continues. “My team at Refined Hospitality brings more than 100 years of collective experience in developing and managing quintessential destination-driven experiences for both guests and residents in some of the nation's most sought-after vacation destinations, and I'm excited to bring this expertise to the New Hope community."

Gorodesky adds that his familiarity with the area also gives him a unique perspective in terms of how this project could fit cohesively with the community in a way that’s beneficial for all. “Throughout my time living here and researching the economic dynamic of New Hope, it became clear to me that the community is in great need of additional keys to accommodate the growing number of business and leisure travelers looking to visit this quaint, artsy town. River House at Odette's will undoubtedly provide the additional guestrooms required to attract more and larger groups in New Hope, but that's just the beginning.”

“We have developed River House to be a complete meeting, retreat and event destination with sought-after river view dining venues, roof top lounges, cutting edge-meeting facilities, and unparalleled amenities that I am confident will drive new visitors and revenue to the community through corporate groups, wedding parties, and vacationers,” he asserts.

“We look forward to seeing a continuation of the exciting growth that we've seen over the past few years,” Gorodesky adds. “New Hope is unlike any other community I've ever lived in or visited. There are cultural experiences around every corner here, making it the perfect destination for a weekend getaway, team building experiences, and wedding celebrations. Over the next decade, we hope to see continued expansion of these lifestyle experiences that make New Hope such a unique destination, like the charming storefronts, independently operated restaurants, and art galleries that will add value to the overall guest experience.”

Stella by Garces

Located on Main Street in New Hope, Iron Chef Jose Garces unveiled a restaurant this past summer called Stella on the site of the newly opened Ghost Light Inn. Garces says the opportunity to open this new location came about while he hosted a charity dinner for the Bucks County Opportunity Council at his farm a few years ago. “While there, I connected with Kevin and Sherri Daugherty who shared this great opportunity with me and their vision for the area. When I visited the site, the natural beauty that encompassed the soon-to-come restaurant really spoke to me and I couldn’t wait to get started."

Garces says that Stella seeks to bring a unique perspective on American small plates (tapas) while incorporating creativity in the kitchen and having the opportunity to offer guests the chance to taste a variety of dishes. “We are proud to bring our attention to detail and warm hospitality that Garces is known for to New Hope."

"We’re excited to re-engage the community in this area as well as be a draw for outside businesses whose larger groups can utilize our new events space,” he notes, adding that the venue, with its scenic backdrop, is a fit for everything from corporate retreats to social functions and exemplifies New Hope’s reemergence.

Stella’s menu is inspired by local ingredients from some of the region’s top farmers and artisans, while adding Garces’ own culinary twist to American classics. Among the local/regional purveyors that Garces works with are: Norwich Meadows Farm - Norwich, NY; Hepworth Farms - Milton, NY; Bazzini - Allentown, PA; Hudson River Fruit - Milton, NY; Jersey Fresh Program, which supplies fresh locally grown produce from various farmers in New

Jersey; Gilberties - Westport, CT; Lancaster Farm Fresh - Lancaster County, PA; Murrays Chicken - Northern PA; Eckerton Hill Farm - Fleetwood, PA; Clover Farms Dairy - Reading, PA; Saltopia - Long Valley, NJ; Sun Valley Orchards - Swedesboro, NJ; LoRe Pasta - Hamilton, NJ; and Blue Moon Acres - Buckingham, PA.

The Logan Inn

Landmark Hospitality acquired and reopened the Logan Inn back in May of 2015 and the Hotel du Village soon after.

“Jeanne and Frank Cretella have loved the town of New Hope for so many years, spending countless weekends there with family and friends,” explains Maddy Cretella, director of marketing for Landmark Hospitality. “When the opportunity to purchase these properties presented itself, the Cretellas jumped at the chance."

The Logan is currently in the midst of an expansion that, when finished, will bring a total of approximately 40 new rooms to the center of the New Hope business district, as well as a new event space and multiple breakout rooms.

“In addition to our increased room inventory, our goal was to create a very social and well programmed main level, which will include our restaurant, bars, private dining space, and curated entertainment," Cretella notes.

At Landmark’s Hotel du Village, multi-day retreats are very popular. During their free time, guests can lounge poolside in cabanas, bike ride into town, make s’mores by the hotel fire pits, go fishing in a pond on property, play tennis, or even light up in the on-site cigar room.

“We also offer countless experiences that our event stylists will coordinate with you. These include, but are not limited to: yoga classes, hot air ballooning, cooking classes, team building, and paint and sip classes," says Cretella.

The surrounding New Hope community adds to the draw of the destination, as well, she notes. "The unique retail, theater, art and music culture really define New Hope and make it a must visit. We are excited by the prospects of adding more overnight rooms, in turn bringing more corporate groups to town and helping all local businesses flourish."

Exciting developments like the expansion of Landmark Hospitality’s The Logan Inn, the opening of Garces Group Restaurant’s Stella, and the highly anticipated River House at Odette’s by Refined Hospitality are bringing New Hope to the forefront as an emerging destination for corporate retreats, meetings, events, team building, group dining, social functions and more.

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