by Erin McNelis, Photography Michael Becker
“If you can’t be a houseguest in Bucks County, be ours.”
Those were the words chosen by the original proprietor of 1740 House in Lumberville. Harry Nessler opened the inn in 1968 as an upscale motor lodge that catered to a Manhattan clientele looking to escape to Bucks County, where it was considered prestigious to be invited as a house guest. Built on the sight of an old farm situated right on the Delaware River, the inn was built around the central farm house. Two wings were added extending from either side, giving each room a view of the river.
In 2010, New Hope hotelier and restaurateur Joe Luccaro, along with friends Ross Choate and Neil Cohen, purchased the 1740 House. The three decided to run the inn in the spirit of Harry Nessler, offering that same golden era of motor lodge feel, while offering the high end accommodations for which the area is known.
The 24-room bed and breakfast at 3690 River Road in Lumberville, is just three miles from Stockton, NJ and six miles from New Hope, just a short drive to the areas famous parks, museums, restaurants, shops, and art galleries. The inn provides private baths for each rooms as well as wireless internet and cable television. The inn staff serves breakfast daily, and the private tavern for guests and club members serves cocktails and light fare Wednesday through Sunday.
In addition to the inn, the three friends, all long-time residents of the community who had grown frustrated fighting the crowds on weekends, wished to offer a place for like-minded individuals to gather and not fight for parking or seats at an establishment. The Club at 1740 House began as that quiet place to hang out with about 30 of their friends. Now the club has over 250 members. While The Club is not exclusive, there is a number limit on members, and there is currently a waiting list to join. For an annual $100 fee, members enjoy top quality cuisine, drinks, and a quiet place to sit and enjoy the river and the small town atmosphere.
“Because we aren’t strictly a restaurant, we don’t just have to worry about turning over tables,” says Luccaro. “We have full-time innkeepers and chefs who are able to focus on clients and build relationships.” This kind of quality service adds to that small town hospitality feeling and sense of history for which 1740 House has always strived.
General manager Tim Luccaro says that the family-owned business has worked to maintain the feel of the original inn as a rural escape for people from the city. “We still get a lot of artists from New York who come to sit on the balcony and be inspired by the river going past,” says Luccaro. The high class accommodations and high end quality cuisine draw visitors as well. The inn offers, in the words of Luccaro, “a nice oasis outside the hustle and bustle of the area so guests can enjoy a quiet part of the community.”
1740 House still offers glimpses of a serene landscape and the small town hospitality that Manhattanites craved half a century ago and still appeals to the 21st century traveler.
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