Eye on Travel – Lambertville House in New Jersey – Pre-Covid-19
This week’s special additional episode of Eye on Travel broadcasts from The Lambertville House Hotel in Lambertville, New Jersey. (The show was recorded right at the beginning of the pandemic). The Lambertville House was built in 1812 and is part of the National Register of Historic Places — like many other buildings in the town. Joining us is the official city of Lambertville historian, Lou Toboz, who discusses the industrialized pre-20th century town’s transition into a preserved, artistic area. Then, Peter is joined by the co-host of the PBS series Market Warriors and interior designer, Bob Richter, who talks about the real antiquing history of the town, and the reality of George Washington in Lambertville. And we’ll learn about the generations of families that keep the smallest town in New Jersey, historic. There’s all this and more when Eye on Travel broadcasts from Lambertville House in Lambertville, New Jersey.
Caroline Fassett, News Reporter at NJ.com, explains common New Jersey stereotypes and why New Jersey is sometimes called the Garden State. Hunterdon County has preserved more farms than any county in the state. She explains how this is shown in the stunning backroads surrounded by farmland. Within the small town of Lambertville, she gives recommendations among the many historic diners. People from New York have been moving to the town bringing new development, but the friendliness of the community stays in place.
Lou Toboz, City of Lambertville Historian, speaks about the town’s past. Rubber bands, hair pins, and toilets were just some of the things made in factories here, as he claims the town went through the Depression early. The canal was a catalyst for their industry and soon after, the railroad brought more development. Now, he describes how the town has transformed into an industry of tourism. While the industry has changed, everything within the historic district is protected by the Historic Preservation Commission. One family has owned the same house that George Washington stayed in for eight generations and counting. With no fast food chains, many of the families as well as the infrastructure remain in Lambertville.
Bob Richter, Co-Host of the PBS series Market Warriors and interior designer, explains a few of the ways he seeks a vintage life in Lambertville. He says one of the best ways to get cheap and sometimes rare antiques is to take a trip to the Golden Nugget Flea Market. If you can’t make it there on Wednesday, Saturday, or Sunday, there are about 20 antique stores to choose from in the town. There are no shortage of estate sales in the town either. His house was built in 1854, and he plans on keeping the integrity of the home. Many residents have been doing the same for generations. He mentions how quiet the town is, making a great place for artists to create.
Geoff Kline, Owner of J.B. Kline & Son, discusses his musical instrument store as well as his family’s past. His family moved to Lambertville in the 1600’s and opened a general store in Lambertville. Originally selling tobacco, the store is now selling musical instruments and vintage guitars. His established musical career brings forth stories that may or may not involve the mafia, and he currently teaches music lessons and plays gigs in Lambertville. He feels that Lambertville is a creative town, but music is just one of the many ways creativity is displayed in the town.
Amy Coss, Owner of Sojourner, discusses her personal experience with not only owning a local antique store, but also attending the Annual Shad Festival that takes place on the last weekend of April. Shad are fish that, along with salmon, migrate up the Delaware River and through Lambertville. During this highly anticipated local event, she wears a shad-costume and a crown, and has been doing so for 30 years. The Shad Festival has contributed over $500,000 towards scholarships for graduating seniors pursuing degrees in the fine or performing arts. There is a strong art community in the town, and some nationally recognized artists even have studios here.
Jeffrey Vasser, Executive Director of the Division of Travel and Tourism in New Jersey, explains how the city of Lambertville still looks as though it’s in the Federalist Era, creating the antique capital of New Jersey. As America nears the 250th anniversary of its independence, he hopes that New Jersey’s 140 Revolutionary War sites will be showcased in a historic way. After all, the state has more Revolutionary War sites than any other state. While the city’s population has decreased, he says most people want to keep the town the same way, and building regulations don’t allow for much construction regardless.