by Theta Pavis
Plenty of people like to take day trips to Lambertville, NJ since it’s only an hour and a half away from Hoboken and offers a variety of adorable shops, good restaurants and great antique hunting. What drew us there this spring, however, wasn’t just the close proximity to home, but the miles of waterfront trails.
In 1830 the state of New Jersey chartered the Delaware and Raritan Canal Company to build a canal connecting the Raritan and Delaware Rivers. According to the local historical society, the canal starts in Bordentown on the Delaware and from there the 44-mile canal follows the river to Trenton, cutting across the state to New Brunswick, where it empties into the Raritan River. A feeder canal was built to tap water from the Delaware six miles north of Lambertville. It flows south through Lambertville to Trenton, where it joins the main canal.
The canal’s main purpose was to move coal from Pennsylvania to New York City, which was usually done with a team of mules or with steam tugboats. Thirty-six miles of the main canal and 22 miles of the feeder canal still exist, and there are historic structures along its entire length.
Today this area in central New Jersey is perfect for strolling along the quiet old towpaths. When we walked there on a recent sunny afternoon we saw ducks and turtles enjoying the water.
Lambertville is also part of the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park which covers 70-miles and offers, at various points, canoeing, jogging, hiking, bicycling, fishing and horseback riding.
You can also walk across a bridge linking Lambertville to New Hope, PA. When we were hungry for lunch, there were almost too many options. The main part of town is filled with all sorts of shops and Victorian homes. A few standouts: Lambertville Station Restaurant and Inn which is big enough to offer a lot of options, including canal-side dining with a relaxing outdoor view (and spacious looking rooms).