crafting a visit that connects kids to the town and country
Outdoor Appeal: 7
Setting: cultural hub of Hunterdon County Delaware River towns
Explorable Op's: A ton. Although the outdoor scene is mostly limited to the canal tow path, Lambertville has a lot to offer. With shops, parks, museums, bars, cafes, restaurants and New Hope right across the river, it is a choice destination for a visit with or without kids. In this post we'll be reviewing a more outdoors, kid friendly stroll through Lambertville and steering clear of what would be some of the highlights for an adult visitor.
Difficulty: Easy. The visit we are reviewing today is almost entirely flat. But there are times when we venture near the water so you need to be hyper-aware of your kids in these spots.
Facilities: Um... although the town is only a few blocks from where we parked, there were no bathrooms open to the public for us to use. I'm sure that with a little research there is a place you could duck into in an emergency. But for now we're going to have to say there were no public bathrooms on our stroll.
Review: Isn't it just so quaint and civilized to be walking through a picturesque town, with your kids happily amused in their stroller while you sip on some expensive coffee? Only there's one problem. Your kids aren't happily amused. They want out - now! And when they get out they don't want to walk. And if they do walk, they won't walk in the right direction or at an appropriate speed. This exact scenario kept me away from Lambertville for a while. I needed a place where the kids could run free for a bit so they would not be too unruly when walking through town. Lambertville's answer to this dilemma is Cavallo Park Tot Lot.
The park is located on St. Union Street and Mt. Hope Street. It has two novelties that are worth mentioning. First, it is next to a pond that is fed by they canal. There is a bridge on the tow path the goes over the pond and if you are into feeding water fowl, this is a stellar spot to do it.
Second, there is a merry-go-round the likes of I've never seen. It's a bowl that the kids can sit in. The kids think it's pretty neat and indeed it is.
Cavallo Park is a good place to start with the kids. You could easily be ready to hit the town after a few whirls around the playground. If you are looking for a bit more adventure and some more time in nature, we suggest a short walk down the tow path, south towards the dam. There are two long, flat cement breakers that jut out into the river from both sides of the river just south of Lambertville and New Hope. It's an great place to eat lunch and feel as though you are on the river.
Although most of the water on both sides of the barrier is shallow, there are places, especially near the furthest edge, where the water is deeper and swift. So you need to be extremely careful with yourself and your kids. Also, the dam could be under water after a heavy rainfall up stream. So if you venture down the path and don't see the dam, you may need to change your plans.
You can be relatively sure that your kids will have run off a lot of energy after Cavallo Park and exploring the dam. This was the case for us, so from the dam we decided to head back up the tow path towards town. Along the path there is a spillway that provides an impressive waterfall. A bridge on the tow path spans the falls. There is a small catwalk that crosses directly over the falls if you are looking to get real close to the water. We chose to stay on the tow path. One peculiar thing I noticed about the falls is that they seem to fall into a pond that leads to absolutely nowhere. Thousands of gallons of water are pouring into this pond every minute and there is no sign of another stream taking that water away. If you have information about where all this water is mysteriously flowing, please leave a comment.
At this point you are very close to town. Your options are many. We took a very short spin around Lambertville Station. The restaurant and bar are housed in the old station. There are train tracks, railroad crossing signs and a train car (although the car is well hidden by bushes.)
This was a big hit for Max and Frank. Trains are always a sure thing. From town you can easily make it back to Cavallo Park in under 5 minutes on the tow path.
Recommendations: A trip over the bridge to New Hope is well worth it if you have the time. You can take Bridge Street up a few blocks and actually see an old steam engine and tour the station at New Hope Ivyland Express. If you're into ducks, bring some cheerios to Cavallo park to feed the fowl. If you aren't sure you want to go out on the dam, don't! It's not a place to test your kids obedience. Finally, try to find a place with a bathroom for yourselves. Have fun and happy trails.