Riverside Symphonia’s Concert Under the Stars: Cancelled. Washington Crossing Historic Park: Open, but all events, including its annual, multiday Fourth of July celebration, are cancelled through July. Peddler’s Village: Shops and restaurants (outdoor dining) are open, but all festivals, including the annual Red, White, and Blue Bash on the Fourth, are cancelled through July. First Friday Fireworks: Prohibited by the current large-group gathering guidelines.
We knew going in that the summer of 2020 was going to be unlike any we’ve experienced before in the Delaware River Towns. But as we approach the Fourth of July, a day (and, usually, a weekend) that’s typically loaded with formal and informal gatherings, the silence surrounding the occasion amplifies all over again just how surreal this moment is.
But, rather than dwell on missed opportunities, let’s try to focus on all the ways we can make this Fourth feel relatively normal. We’ll start in the most obvious place: The natural beauty that surrounds us. State parks are (mostly) open on both sides of the river. None are able to offer any programming just yet, but their trails are fully functional. And that includes the towpaths.
So, whether leisurely strolls are your jam, or you’re more into picturesque bike rides or challenging hikes, head to your go-to locale. Just be prepared to don a mask when you’re in close proximity to others.
Bucks County River Country and Delaware River Tubing are also newly reopened—with a number of new restrictions. Which is good news for those of us who consider drifting down the Delaware on our backs for hours on end an idyllic summer day.
While you should probably forego the barbeque this year (or, at least, cut your guest list down to your closest friends and have them bring their own everything), restaurants in Bucks, Hunterdon, and Mercer counties are open again. As of this writing, they were relegated to takeout and outdoor dining, but there’s a good chance they could begin offering limited indoor dining, too, by, or around, the Fourth as long as the infection rate continues to drop.
Either way, eating out with a couple of good friends is one of those experiences that now feels infinitely more enjoyable since we had it abruptly removed from our lives. And it was pretty damn enjoyable before all this.
This Fourth may lack the customary fireworks and three-legged races, but there’s comfort and hope in seeing a lot of the most vital parts of life in the Delaware River Towns return.