Sister Cities Food and Shop Tours get New Hope visitors off beaten path

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 12/11/17

LAMBERTVILLE – I’ve been to Lambertville and New Hope many times. However, virtually every single time, I end up wandering into the same shops, the same restaurants and the same bars.

Sisters Liz Horvath and Kat Pacelli, who founded Sister Cities Food and Shop Tours in August of this year, get that in an area so bustling, it can be easy to fall into this trap – which is one of the reasons why they started their tour company.

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Photo by Jenna Intersimone

“We can provide visitors with guidance and help them get the most out of their time here,” said Horvath, who has lived in Lambertville since July of 2015. “A lot of people come on their own, become overwhelmed and end up just window shopping with their heads in their phones.”

The two-and-a-half to three-hour tours, which cost between $45 and $60 and can accommodate about 15 people per tour, include a light food spread with the shopping portion of the tour and then include samples from four to six rotating local restaurants as the tour moves onto each eatery, leaving visitors “pretty satisfied,” said Horvath.

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Photo by Jenna Intersimone

“The food scene is special because there is such a variety,” she said. “You can go to one corner and have a New Orleans-style steak and then turn another corner and have Indian food. There’s so much here that you don’t see. Plus, there’s old stores that have been here for years and new stores that have popped up, so we think it’s important to spread the ‘shop small’ message.”

Horvath started the company because, as an entrepreneurial-minded businesswoman, she wanted to find a way to bring her love for the area into the public and help the small business community. Plus, she saw it as a respite for her sister who lives in Raritan, who was going through personal issues at the time. “I didn’t ask her – I just said, ‘You’re going to do this with me,’” Horvath said with a laugh.

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Currently, Sister Cities Food Tours operates about one tour a month but as the weather warms, they plan on hosting multiple tours per weekend and are also open to working with a transportation partner to bring people a bit further away than walking distance as well as partnering with other local River towns. Already, the Penn. borough of Bristol has asked the two to bring their tours to their downtown.

Coming up, Sister Cities Food Tours is hosting their Winter Festival tour ($50) on Tuesday, Jan. 23 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. as a part of the area’s annual Winter Festival, as well as their Valentine Tour ($60) on Saturday, Feb. 17 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. If you would like to book these tours, you can do so by visiting sistercitiestours.com/book-online. Tours tend to sell out a few weeks advance or the week of, so book your tour dates accordingly.

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Photo by Jenna Intersimone

“Since I’m local to the area, I know a lot of the best kept secrets around here and I have a lot of relationships with the business owners so when we are putting together the itineraries, we focus on how we can bring that uniqueness to the tours,” Horvath said. “We are trying to get foot traffic in all of the establishments and get people off the beaten path.”

Sister Cities Food and Shop Tours

Where: 50 S Main Street, Lambertville

Contact: sistercitiestours.com, 908-268-1720

Cost: $45 – $60

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