THE NEW OWNERS OF A CENTURIES OLD INN ARE ADDING MODERN AMENITIES WHILE PRESERVING A STORIED LEGACY
BY AMANDA McCoy • PHOTOS BY LANDMARK HOSPITALITY
New Hope is a small town in eastern Pennsylvania with beginnings that date back to the early 18th century. John Wells laid the seeds for the town in 1722 when he was granted a license to keep a ferry and tavern in an unsettled area on the western bank of the Delaware River. The structure, named the Ferry Tavern, marked the halfway point of Old York Road (the route connecting Philadelphia and New York City) and became a popular stop for tired travelers in search of a meal or a place to rest. Today, nearly 300 years later, long after the ferry and the colonial road have faded into history, parts of the original tavern still stand in the center of New Hope. It’s now called the Logan Inn.
“It’s the gem of the town,” said Maggie Smith, the inn’s longtime general manager. Thirty one years have passed since Smith first started working here, and she points to her love and passion for the property as the reasons for her continued stay. With 16 guest rooms, an acclaimed farm to table restaurant, a historic tavern, an outdoor patio, and a private event space, the longest continuously operating inn in Bucks County has come a long way from a colonial way.
The general manager has seen several different proprietors and renovations during her tenure. But in 2015, new owners took over, and they, Smith said, have taken it to an entirely new level. Frank and Jeanne Cretella, founders of New Jersey based Landmark Hospitality, specialize in weddings, fine dining, and other events, and own boutique venues and restaurants throughout Pennsylvania and the Garden State. As long standing repeat guests of the inn themselves, the pair had been interested in the property for many years. Three years ago, they finally bought it.
“The property is rich with history and falls into the uniqueness of a Landmark venue, so it certainly was a good fit for our company,” said Jeanne Cretella. “My husband and I fell in love with the town of New Hope many years ago, and the Logan Inn was our go to place. Throughout the years, we actually formally expressed an interest in purchasing the property, but it wasn’t until 2015 that this finally came to fruition. We now look forward to the future of the Logan Inn, with an expansion on the horizon.”
Once the Cretellas had acquired the deed, they set out to make needed improvements while preserving the original bones and stonework of the structure.
“One thing we always needed was a lobby where guests could be comfortable,” said Smith. Now, that once Spartan space has been expanded, and the new owners have added large, comfortable sofas where guests and tavern patrons can relax and read a magazine, play a board game, or enjoy a cocktail. Each of the inn’s 16 rooms was stripped down to the studs and remodeled to reflect its colonial heritage, but with modern amenities like private baths, cable TV, and wireless internet. The tavern, cottage, and other areas were also given updates, and additional improvements are planned for the fall. This November, Landmark Hospitality will break ground on a new building next door that will house additional guest rooms and a small event space. That second structure is expected to be open for business in as little as nine months. The main building’s overall facade will remain largely unchanged, although its porches will be uncovered to convey a better sense of the original exterior.
Despite all the updates, the owners are committed to preserving the sense of history visitors feel just being in the structure. The tavern’s original stone walls, for example, have been preserved by repointing their stones. Inside the lobby, a massive, hand painted portrait, circa 1903, hangs in the same space it’s occupied for 115 years. And the bed of the inn’s most famous apparition, Emily, still sits in the guest room that was once her permanent home.
History has it that famous playwrights wrote some of their greatest works in the tavern, and murals promoting play performances, uncovered during a renovation undertaken in the late 1980s, now adorn the walls.
This storied history, in tandem with the gourmet dining and craft cocktails, attracts all types of visitors: locals, couples, even amateur ghost hunters.
“We have a regular clientele for the restaurant and the bar,” said Smith. “It’s a favorite local hangout. They come in and they feel like they are enjoying themselves at home. Everyone knows each other. It’s a very comfortable place to be. As for the lodging, we are the perfect day trip or weekend getaway for those coming from New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Washington. People love to eat, drink, shop, people watch, and stroll the historic streets.”
Even with its intimate size, the inn hosts a wide variety of events, both formal and casual. “Any kind of party you want to do, I’m going to host it” is the general manager’s motto, and so the inn has accommodated everything from small weddings and rehearsal dinners to corporate cocktail parties and baby showers. For larger gatherings, Landmark Hospitality owns a bigger hotel and space nearby called Hotel du Village. For these events, the Logan Inn will typically offer supplemental guest rooms or rehearsal dinner space.
“We really have come leaps and bounds with Landmark,” Smith said. “The zeal that Frank has to build and design I stand there in awe. And Jeanne, I admire her passion for hospitality. Hospitality is their business, and it shows. We are all sisters, every one of the properties. We all have different houses, but we are all a part of the same family.”
10 West Ferry Street, New Hope, PA
215.862.2300 / loganinn.com