Evy Inoue has many, many friends in and around New Hope, where she and her husband, Ted, have lived since 1999. However, her circle grew exponentially larger this spring when Christopher Ullery, a reporter for The Intelligencer, posted a video of a bunch of people dressed as ballot drop boxes dancing their way toward the Bucks County Board of Elections office in Doylestown.
Inoue was at the front of the line, hamming it up in an Uncle Sam top hat. She and a voter engagement group called Bucks Voices were protesting the county’s relative lack of ballot drop boxes – four. Every other county in the Philadelphia suburbs has at least 10, and Delaware County has 44, according to the group.
Rachel Maddow retweeted Ullery’s post, which went viral after that. At last count, the 40-second video had been viewed nearly 227,000 times and counting. The board took notice, apparently. Weeks after the protest, it voted to increase the total number of ballot drop boxes in Bucks County to 11.
Inoue, an accomplished children’s book author, has always been invested in her community. She first volunteered for the Delaware Valley Food Pantry, in Lambertville. Since then, she’s helped further the causes of several local nonprofits, making friends at every stop.
“I’ve met some of my very best friends through volunteering,” Inoue says. “When people ask me, ‘How can I meet nice people?’ I always answer, ‘Volunteer!’ I find that people who volunteer care about others.”
She played an especially vital role during the early months of the pandemic. When so many felt helpless and simply wanted to help however they could, Inoue, as the pantry’s social media coordinator, communicated its evolving needs and shared its many wins.
“It was heartwarming and exciting to witness the level of generosity and support our community had for the pantry,” she says.
She also helped organize a Christmas gift drive, where Santa (Felix Ciattarelli) and Mrs. Claus (Lauren Speis), masked and socially-distanced, distributed hundreds of donated presents and articles of winter clothing to local families in need.
And when Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve’s biggest annual fundraiser was cancelled, Inoue helped promote a virtual auction that benefitted the New Hope preserve. Similarly, she was integral to getting word out last fall about the Hopewell Valley Arts Council’s annual Pumpkin Carve, the only fundraiser the organization could stage last year.
During the first few months of this year, when COVID-19 vaccinations were in high demand, Inoue secured appointments for about 40 people.
“We’re not out of the woods yet,” she says. “But I must say that it’s been wonderful to finally get together with fully vaccinated friends and family. And, especially, to give and get hugs.”
Here, Inoue shares some of her most coveted spots throughout the Delaware River Towns.
Favorite place to grab a dessert for a dinner party: Pierre’s Chocolates. We are so fortunate to have some of the most exceptional chocolates in the country made here in New Hope. Pierre’s is a family-run business, and their handmade chocolates use the highest-quality ingredients, many of which are sourced locally.
Go-to place for a respectable bottle of wine: Stockton Fine Wines & Spirits has a broad, eclectic selection of wine at all different price points. Plus, it has the advantage of being next door to the Stockton Market and across the bridge from Dilly’s.
Favorite spot to pick up a housewarming/thank-you gift: The Living Earth is a family-owned business that has everything from beautiful plants and living floral arrangements to jewelry, local jams and jellies, puzzles, and local artist’s cards. And it is an absolutely gorgeous store – I often go there to lift my spirits. They have been in New Hope since the seventies for good reason.
Favorite place to walk your dog: I love going on walks on the Delaware Canal towpath. My favorite section runs from Washington Crossing to Delaware Canal State Park (across the street from Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve) because there are few people, no road traffic, and there is a gorgeous stretch where the Delaware River and Delaware Canal are just feet apart, so you get to admire beautiful views of both waterways simultaneously.
Where you go to reconnect with nature: Bowman’s Wildflower Preserve is truly our area’s hidden gem. It is home to over 700 native plant species. I love their spectacular nature trails that wind through forests and meadows and along streams and ponds. The other cool thing is that no matter what time of year you go it’s an ever-changing palette of trees and flowers.
Go-to place to get lost for a little while: I love to walk on Lower Creek Road in Stockton. Being off-the-beaten path, and with its babbling brook, beautiful trees and shade, and frequent wildlife sightings, makes it one of my favorite places to get lost. Cuttalossa Road in New Hope is also a favorite place of mine. It’s picture-postcard perfect!
Where you go for a little culture: My concept of culture includes all types of lifestyles and customs. My favorite way to get a little culture is attending FACT Bucks County Bingo in New Hope. There isn’t a better place to go for local color, drag queens, fun, amazing costumes, fabulous decorations, great people, and an amazing cause (helping people chronically ill with AIDS and HIV/Aids). The cherry-on-top is Miss Pumpkin of New Hope as the wise-cracking, R-rated mistress of ceremonies.
Where you go to be pampered: David J. Witchell Salon & Spa, in Peddler’s Village. When you first go, you can actually ask David to give you a free consultation on the perfect hairstyle to fit your lifestyle and how you want to look. Depending on your budget, he can suggest a junior or senior hairstylist for you (or you can book David himself). I can honestly say that no one (including me) has ever cared more about how I look than David.
Favorite coffee spot: Union Coffee is a great new place with a wonderful vibe. The service is friendly, the drink selection is fabulous, and the far wall serves as an art gallery of local art. They have locally-sourced food, too, including baked goods from Factory Girl Bake Shop, milkshakes and ice cream from The Bent Spoon, and quiches and soups from The Peasant Grill. They even have a small gift shop in the back. I highly recommend the iced matcha latte or a milkshake made with Bent Spoon ice cream.
Favorite place to get a drink with friends: The Salt House or The Boathouse. They are wonderful places with great cocktails, comfortable couches, and overstuffed armchairs that make me very happy to be among friends.
Favorite restaurant for dinner with friends: I love the ceviche at El Tule Mexican & Peruvian Restaurant. I also love the owners there, the Egoavil family. They are such warm, hard-working people who put love and care into their food and service.My friends and I love to hang out on their cute patio adorned with flowers and Peruvian art while eating their delicious, flavorful food. My favorite is their Tacu Tacu Encevichado.
Favorite restaurant for a date night: Ted and I love Hamilton’s Grill Room. Brian Held (who also owns Brian’s) is such a talented chef and all-around great guy. I love the murals by Jim Hamilton throughout and all the local nautical touches. And the patio along the canal is very romantic.
Favorite pizzeria: I love going to pizzerias, and I even make a point of going to as many of the pizza places on “best pizza” lists as possible. The local place that always draws national attention is DeLorenzo’s Tomato Pies, in Yardley, and deservedly so. I’ve had pizza in Italy, and not event that compares to DeLorenzo’s. My favorite is their White Clam Pie. When I first heard of it, I thought it sounded disgusting. Then I tried it and fell in love. It’s crazy good!
Favorite local cause(s): You can’t go wrong with any of these great nonprofits: Delaware Valley Food Pantry, FACT Bucks County, New Hope Celebrates, Delaware Canal 21, Hopewell Valley Arts Council, and Bowman’s Wildflower Preserve.
Favorite local follow on social media: I enjoy keeping up-to-date with the local community, so I follow “Community of New Hope,” “New Hope & Lambertville Community,” and “Lambertville, NJ” on Facebook. It’s fun for me to get to know some of the people in our community as well as stay aware of local happenings and events.