1. Where to Stay
An eyesore for years, historic (circa 1812) Lambertville House (from $200), a former stagecoach stop, has transformed into the town’s most upscale digs. For ultimate seclusion, book one of the carriage-house suites.
B&Bs abound, but a fave is York Street House (from $185), which loves solo travelers and serves up a multicourse, candlelit breakfast.
The nearby thirteen-room Woolverton Inn (from $145) is a country estate where Ella Fitzgerald and the Supremes reportedly hung out. Most popular is the two-story Sojourn, a travel-themed cottage loft which comes with a bathtub (and bath hammock) for two.
If oriental rugs, baby grand piano, and a resident family of alpacas are more your style, book the Chimney Hill Inn (from $135).
2. Where to Eat
Manon’s (19 N. Union St.; 609-397-2596) saffron-yellow and deep-blue exterior and its intimate, 36-seat interior (with a ceiling painted like Van Gogh’s Starry Night) is reminiscent of dining in a family home in Provence. But the true French connection comes from the kitchen where Arles-born owner and chef Michel Dumas serves an inventive menu that includes all the classics.
Sometimes you just want pizza, and for this nothing beats family-owned Giuseppes (formerly Jacks). Although the décor and menu are more refined since Jack’s daughter took the reins, the elder’s original, secret-crust garlic pizza remains sacred. Jim Hamilton built Broadway sets (The Subject Was Roses, The World of Suzy Wong), before switching gears to cook with Alain Saillac, Jasper White, and Jeremiah Tower. Not surprisingly, his renowned Hamilton’s Grill Room comes with a theatrical charcoal grill as the centerpiece. The only disappointment about the BYOB Thai restaurant Siam (61 N. Main St.; 609-397-8128) is its popularity; without reservations, expect a long wait for the house’s beloved crispy whole fish and mee krob.
3. What to Do
Hunt for gourmet and antique treasures. Michel Cluizel (Paris) and Fritz Knipschildt (Denmark) are the headlining chocolatiers at the Chocolate Box where choices include rosewater white chocolate, passion fruit, and classic French truffles. Taste-test local ice and fruit wines (cranberry, blueberry) at Tomasello Winery; join fashionista Kate Moss at the tiny Mill Crest Antiques (72 Bridge St.; 609-397-4700), crammed with fifties Dior and Armani; or antique at People’s (28 N. Union St.; 609-397-9808), Lambertville’s oldest and largest (40-store) antique co-op center.
4. Insider’s Tip
Bring cash and wine—many of the area’s restaurants don’t take credit cards or serve liquor—and pack comfy shoes. The town’s towpath offers endless walking. Stroll south a few miles to the Golden Nugget outdoor flea market where Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert occasionally turns up to hock her collected Balinese treasures (open year-round, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
5. An Oddball Day
Dig through your attic and see what Aunt Millie’s antiques and treasures may be worth. David Rago, the popular appraiser from the PBS series Antique Road Show is based here and does free walk-in appraisals every Monday afternoon at Rago Arts and Auction Center.
6. Related Links
Art Chatter links to nearly all the art galleries in and around Lambertville.
Frenchtowner runs down the area’s restaurants, antique stores, and accommodations.