River Road. Not only is there one in probably every state, but more than one in many states. Our River Road (PA Route 32) is also part of a National River Scenic Highway that runs along the Delaware River, cutting into New Jersey and back, and allowing for nice views of the river and opposite banks. Don’t forget that there are miles of scenic walks and rides to experience in Delaware Canal State Park. There are numerous access points along River Road. For a lovely, self-designed day along the river and canal, here are some places to put at the top of your list.
Golden Pheasant Inn. The staff is extremely friendly, thoughtful and professional. Views of the river, canal and gardens make every room special and the huge classic dining room with fireplace is juxtaposed nicely with the newer solarium-style dining room, where breakfast is served. The food is excellent and much is locally grown, some even foraged by season. Edible flowers, ramps and fiddlehead ferns were all on our spring menu. Stop in for a meal or enjoy happy hour on the patio.
A short hike up the road behind the Inn takes you to the Sand Castle Winery but go ahead and drive up — it's a steep walk. Another one of Bucks’ notable wineries, it is situated in a grand space that entices with views, vino and a pace that urges one to slow down and smell the vintage. Take the tour if for no other reason than it will entice your palate, and at the private tasting you may be honored by the owner himself describing the wines and pairings.
Black Bass Hotel. Brunch is a fixe prix of $35 and the champagne never stops flowing. Pâté, waffles, eggs Benedict, Nova lox? Yes, please. Not just great food, but one of the best views for riverfront dining in the state. It is also a nice spot to stop for an afternoon break from the winding road. Grab a cup of tea or other libation and get your peace on. Weekend dinner reservations are a must. There are a handful of suites at the hotel, so if you overindulge and there’s a vacancy, staying over may be a good idea.
Across the street you will also want to check out the Lumberville General Store. It reopens later this spring after extensive renovations, but our last visit we picked up a fabulous jalepeño mustard and an orange blossom honey plus some seasoning packets for rubs and dips. You can also find baked goods, pickled vegetables or get a great deli sandwich. Just what the general ordered.
Upriver from Golden Pheasant Inn a long mile or so and past Tinincum Park is the bridge to Frenchtown, N.J. This tiny intersection of a town is home to a number of pretty cool and unique shops to wander through, and the slowed-down feel of the town is nice.
When you cross back into Pennsylvania, instead of going back down the road, do the road jog to the Uhlerstown Covered Bridge in Tinicum. You can see it from River Road. When you drive through; you have very few choices for going forward or turning around, so continue forward if you’re adventurous. I won’t give away anything, but the road will take you to the top of the hill for some magnificent views before you head home.