Home » Passport Concierge: Matthew Hoffer, River House at Odette’s New Hope, Pennsylvania

Passport Concierge: Matthew Hoffer, River House at Odette’s New Hope, Pennsylvania

by Our Editors

Matthew Hoffer shows us the best to see and do in the flourishing small town of New Hope, Pennsylvania

Written by Barry Hoy (Image courtesy of River House)

Matthew Hoffer

Located in New Hope, Pennsylvania, the River House at Odette’s is a luxury lifestyle hotel that is well known for its stunning riverside views and architecture. The hotel just opened last year and features a variety of locally-inspired guestrooms and suites where guests can enjoy the comfort and luxury of the hotel while only being steps from some of the region’s best hiking and biking trails.

Not sure what there is to see in the area?  No worries, our insider guide, Matthew Hoffer, the hotel’s concierge, knows exactly what you need to see, do, taste, and experience while staying at the hotel.  Matthew was born and raised in PA and has worked in the restaurant/hospitality industry for over a decade, so he knows a thing or two about New Hope. His interest in hotels began during a trip to China where he experienced impeccable service from a concierge. Matthew has been at River House since November of 2020 (around the time the hotel opened) and he strives to ensure that guests have a memorable, world-class experience.

 

Can you mention any notable guests who have stayed at River House at Odette’s?  

 We here at the River House are incredibly fortunate to attract a wide range of clientele, and some of them are incredibly influential in a variety of industries. We respect the anonymity of our guests, but I can share that we have hosted a few local politicians, some personalities who have been featured on major TV programs, and executives from companies such as Roku, American Express, and Comcast.

River House’s Bow Suite (Image Courtesy of River House)

Any interesting/memorable stories about the hotel or from hotel guests?  

The most memorable guests are the ones that reciprocate your efforts to be friendly and hospitable. One particular couple from Ohio comes to mind as standout guests. They were celebrating the husband’s birthday and they had been to the area before, but not for a long time. They began asking me questions about what was new, and it organically turned into a lively conversation about where I was from, my experience growing up in the area, and what my favorite things to do are in this “new” New Hope. From then on, every time they passed the front desk, they would report back to me on how much they enjoyed my recommendations. I arranged to have something special sent to their table when they had dinner at our lounge, ROOF, for his birthday. After their stay, they wrote a novel of a review about how wonderful their experience was. I encounter numerous guests on a regular basis, but I will never forget this couple and how our services had such a positive impact on their stay.

 

Tell us more about ROOF. Why is it so exclusive? 

The ROOF lounge (Photo Courtesy of River House)

ROOF is our members-only rooftop lounge, also available to overnight guests of the hotel depending on availability. The space itself is a 1970s inspired bar & lounge that encapsulates the glamorous art influences of New Hope’s heyday with spectacular views of the Delaware River. Our goal was to create an elevated and exclusive experience where locals and frequent travelers to New Hope could call their own and feel like they can relax, entertain friends or meet fellow community members.

 

Where is the coolest place for cocktails in New Hope?

Aside from our spectacular cocktail offerings here with Odette’s (River House’s main restaurant) and ROOF, the New Hope area is blessed with an abundance of interesting places to sit back and grab a cocktail! One of my favorites is The Salt House, a colonial tavern with an endless charm that was repurposed into a gastropub. It features a very cozy environment that really makes you feel like you are in a tavern in the colonial days. The environment is perfect for a casual lunch between friends or a romantic night out. Their menu is very simple, but very well-made bar food, and their cocktail selection is perfect for both modern and old-fashioned palates alike.

 

What are the best restaurants in the area for a romantic dinner?  

While I like to think that ROOF and Odette’s are some of the best places for romance in our area, I would be remiss if I did not mention a wonderful place in Lambertville called Brian’s. Brian’s is a charming, independent French bistro-style restaurant with incredible French offerings made with locally sourced ingredients. This is the closest thing to a Parisian experience that you can get in Bucks County and is definitely a must-try for a night of romance. Another romantic spot I can recommend is Lambertville Station. This cottage-turned-restaurant features elegant colonial decor, a beautiful wine cellar, and a very well-designed menu that is approachable for all preferences.

The charming town of New Hope (Photo: David Cianetti)

Who serves the greatest weekend brunch in town?  

The brunch offered at the Lambertville Station Inn across the river is a force to be reckoned with! Set in their beautiful ballroom with a wonderful view of New Hope and the river, the team at Lambertville Station has created a local staple for brunch and has been doing so for many years. Another place that I recommend very highly for brunch (and for all other meals) would be Caleb’s American Kitchen. This chef-owned property has grown to become a prominent force in the New Hope food scene, and their brunch is simply stunning. While it is BYOB, this place makes up for it in not only the quality of their dishes, but for the overall value of your experience.

 

What are the must-see attractions or activities that you recommend to visiting guests?

Peddler’s Village is a MUST in the New Hope area. This incredible little shopping district is located about ten minutes away from the hotel by car and is filled with things to do for everyone! They have a plethora of different shops to explore, as well an ice cream parlor, a candy store, and three different restaurants to pick from for a light lunch or a family dinner. It also features beautiful scenery that is perfect for a photo-op.

Another must in the New Hope area would be to explore our wonderful natural landscapes. Nature is an important part of our local way of life and culture, and we insist that our visitors and guests take part in that as well.

Summer on the Delaware River (Image: Vadim777)

For fans of history and museums and the like, I would definitely recommend the Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle. This museum features the life collection of Henry Chapman Mercer, a prominent American archeologist and architect. The collection features relics of all kinds from all over the world, showcasing his travels and the different projects he was involved in throughout his life. Fonthill Castle is a beautiful building that was once the home of Henry Chapman Mercer. It reminds me of Downton Abbey!

 

What is the perfect one-day itinerary in the area? 

If you are traveling with a family, I would recommend spending half the day at Peddlers Village, then going over the Mercer Museum to explore the Indiana Jones-style life of Henry Chapman Mercer, and then a wonderful dinner at Odette’s or at Earls New American. Ice Cream from Nina’s Waffles in Peddlers Village is also a must!

If you are a couple of friends looking to go out and explore, I would recommend starting the day with a refreshing walk through one of our many nature trails, then head on over to one of our many wineries for an afternoon tasting and lunch. After that, take a walk through either New Hope or Lambertville, exploring the different shops, and then a wonderful dinner with us at Odette’s or ROOF.  Stella is another wonderful restaurant option right on the river. Finally, after-dinner drinks at The Salt House to top off the night before a relaxing night’s sleep!

 

What annual events in the area should we add to our “must-see” list?

My top three events to keep an eye out for in the area would be: New Hope Celebrates and The New Hope Pride Parade, the various harvest-related festivals at Peddlers Village, and the unveiling of the Christmas Lights at Peddlers Village.

New Hope Celebrates and The New Hope Pride Parade is a fabulous showcasing of our pride and support for our friends in the LGBTQ Community! This community effort has everyone who walks into town feeling the love! The parade travels from downtown New Hope across the bridge to Lambertville and features various attractions from local vendors to show their support!

Peddlers Village has become famous for its various harvest-related festivals. Essentially, they host a festival to celebrate whatever fruit is in season at the time. They have a festival for Blueberries, Strawberries, Peaches, and Apples. During these festivals, shops and restaurants in the village are encouraged to offer special things related to the harvest they are celebrating. They also have contests for best baked goods featuring the in-season fruit as well as pie-eating contests and so much more!

Peddlers Village has also become incredibly well known for the lights that they set up around the village for the holiday season. As someone who worked there over the holidays before, believe me, people go nuts for it! The village becomes a beautiful winter wonderland that attracts tourists of all denominations from all over the country. The scenery is so beautiful, words can’t do it justice. You’d just have to come and see it for yourself.

A summer fog rolls in around Odette’s (Image Courtesy of River House)

How does the River House at Odette’s participate in New Hope Celebrates?

River House at Odette’s has partnered with New Hope Celebrates for two different initiatives this year including the New Hope Celebrates’ Best Cocktail Contest, which encourages both locals and travelers alike to cast their votes to determine which property has the best cocktails, and also a new Pride Cocktail flight – a collection of several specially designed drinks with a portion of proceeds benefiting New Hope Celebrates. We also plan on hosting a Tea Dance at the River House with New Hope Celebrates.

 

Are there any LGBTQ bars or LGBTQ-friendly bars/restaurants in the area that you would recommend to visiting LGBTQ guests?  

We are incredibly blessed to live in a community that is unabashedly accepting and welcoming to the LGBTQ community. Every business in our town is VERY LGBTQ-friendly. LGBTQ Pride runs very deep in our community culture.

Lambertville, located just across the river (Photo: EQ Roy)

Where can someone go at 3 A.M. for a good meal?

New Hope is a town where people come to be lazy and to take it easy. That being said, most of the prominent restaurants and bars in the area are closed by 3 AM. Fear not though! There are plenty of bars in the area that are open until 2 AM! A few favorites would be The Salt House, Havana (a very popular spot for the locals), and John and Peters Place (very well known for their live music).

 

What is the iconic tourist souvenir from the area? 

If it is one thing that our county is very well known for, it would be our beautiful covered bridges. They play an incredibly important role in the rich history that we love to share with our visitors. You’re definitely missing out on a great memory if you leave Bucks County without walking through our nature spots and snapping a photo of yourself with one of our cherished covered bridges.

A beautiful covered bridge in summer (Photo: Colin D Young)

Please finish the sentence – Don’t leave the region without…  

Don’t leave the region without taking a few hours to walk/hike through the natural landscapes that we are blessed to have right in our backyard! It’s the perfect way to escape the stress of life and to adjust your focus to where you are in the moment.

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About the Author

Barry Hoy is a travel, food, and lifestyle writer who showcases great destinations, local experiences, and all of the must see (#bucketlist) places around the world. Travel is his passion, so he is always on the road or up in the air. If he’s not travelling, he’s most likely already planning his next trip. Follow along his adventures via Instagram @asianmapleleaf or on his travel blog at www.asianmapleleaf.com.


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