Hope Historical Society
323 High Street
Hope, NJ 07844
No Phone Number-Please email via their website.
Open: Sundays 1:00pm-3:00pm from June to October: Please check website for times
My review on TripAdvisor:
I recently went on a Lantern Tour of Hope, NJ’s downtown district for the Christmas holiday season visiting this once Moravian founded town. The evening was an interesting tour of the history of this small town near the Delaware Water Gap with visits to historical homes of the residents of the town and the manufacturing hub.
We toured the historic downtown district that was ablaze with lights and garland learning about the residential and commercial district and the role it played in the development of the town. We toured the former Grist Mill, Cannery, Distillery, homes and former barns and churches and given a short history of them.
We toured the Historical Society which had a collection of artifacts from the town including pictures of the town at various times of history, resident’s personal affects including gloves, shoes and glasses and family heirlooms. There is also a small assortment of vintage furniture from different periods. The building may have been small but it was packed with information.
The displays included old photographs and local memorabilia, an 1850 map of Warren County, NJ, genealogy of the town’s residents and historic documents, primitive furniture and Moravian history (Hope Historical Society). Two of the major fundraisers that the Society has is the Christmas Craft Market and the Lantern Tour.
The Hope Lantern Tour on December 11th and 12th, 2021
This is the ‘Hope Lantern Tour’ on December 11th, 2021:
We continued the tour as the night grew darker and the town lit up with all its Christmas glory. There were supposed to be 1500 luminaries but because of the upcoming rainstorm that was supposed to arrive later that evening, they canceled them. The rest of the town was adorned with white lights and garlands. We started the tour at the Hope Community Center where food and bathrooms were available.
The Hope Community Center on Hope Blairstown Road
We moved to what was once the manufacturing center of the town and passed the former factories and manufacturing took place. We then walked down the hill to the Inn at Millstone Creek, where the Christmas tree display was located. We then moved up the hill to visit the Hope Historical Society.
High Street leading to the Inn at Millrace Pond
This is “Trout Pass” where people avoided paying the tolls on the bridge
We then walked to the home across the street from most of the buildings where the businesses were located and heard the tales of Moravian Christmases past. All that talk about Gingerbread house making and baking to get ready for the holiday feast made us all hungry.
The home on High Street across from the businesses
We made our way to former homes that are now a local bank were light with white lights along the doors and windows. The First Hope Bank was once known as the ‘Gemeinhaus’, which was the church/community center of the Village of Hope. It was built in 1781.
The walking tour showcased the town beautifully
The First Hope Bank at dusk
The home on High Street where the “Live Nativity” was located
Our last part of the tour, we visited someone’s garage for a ‘Live Nativity’ of the Baby Jesus and was told the story from the Bible about the birth of Christ. The actors involved were very interesting but they could have cleaned the garage of the modern items located on the side of it.
Downtown Hope, NJ is so beautiful at Christmas
We ended up back at the Community Center as they were cleaning up and I went to visit the ‘Festival of Trees’ at the Inn at Millrace Pond that itself was closed for renovation. I was the last one on the tour to visit what was the dining room to see various Christmas trees decorated by members of the community. It was a very festive room with Christmas of various shapes and sizes each decorated with a different theme and tables set elaborately for Christmas Dinner. I really liked the one that the elementary school students had created with the handwritten artwork and letters to Santa.
After I left the Inn at Millrace Pond, everything had wrapped up for the evening and the town was really quiet. I was starved and found the only open restaurant in the area, Hope Pizzeria at 435 Hope Blairstown Road located in a small strip mall. The pizza here is excellent (see my review on TripAdvisor).
435 Hope Blairstown Road
My review on TripAdvisor:
The last part of the evening was spent at the Moravian Candlelight Service at the St. John’s Methodist Church. This beautifully run service included all the traditional Christmas Carols, a very engaging talk by the former pastor and a candlelight ceremony towards the end service. You can see the whole service on the St. John’s Methodist Church’s Facebook page.
(You can see the church service on their Facebook page)
My review on TripAdvisor:
This took about an hour. By the time I got to my car, it started to mist and then rain. It was pouring by the time I got on the highway. Still, it was a wonderful evening of touring and it put me in the Christmas spirit.
The History of the Hope Historical Society:
(From the Hope Historical Society website)
The Hope Historical Society & Museum are located at 323 High Street (Route 519 North) at the top of a stone bridge within the State and National Historic Register District in Hope Township, NJ. The tiny frame building was thought to be the original 1820’s toll keeper’s house. It was used as a private home until 1955, when it was restored by the Hope Historical Society and became the current museum and organizations headquarters.
Historical Society meetings with guest speakers of topics of historical interest are held April-November on the first Tuesday of the month, generally, at the Hope Community Center.