Tuesday, July 26, 2011


What a wonderful town!  We just celebrated Bastille Day, and our little corner of the world was JUMPING!  Local residents and tourists alike meandered through the town, shopped, strolled, enjoyed the outdoor music and entertainers, as well as shared conversations and enjoyed some wonderful food and drinks offered at some of the Frenchtown establishments.

For us, at The National Hotel, it was a day to have our "peacock feathers" fully on display, proud to have the opportunity to share our love affair with this historic building and the warmth our patrons bring to all the guests who set foot for the first time in this building.  And it was wonderful to have new visitors to Frenchtown experience the fantastic culinary choices our executive chef, Lisa Frederick, has created.  From our wonderful classic dishes, such as Black Angus Strip Steak and The National Burger, to our more exotic and ethnic-inspired dishes, such as the Chicken Seekh Wrap (with Indian paratha bread) and Black Bean & Shrimp Empanadas (with lime-poached shrimp), our patrons continue to come back to The National Hotel because of the quality and the care that the kitchen staff puts into every plate--not to mention the creativity they express by incorporating international ingredients into the dishes on the menu, adding a twist to traditional fare, while introducing new favorites to our area clientele.

Sea food stew with clams, mussels, shrimp, lobster, and chunks of sea bass all stewed to perfection with tomato, white wine and fennel with grilled bread
Photo courtesy of Kimmy Schmidt

Chicken and Raita salad. Chicken seekh kabab (with Indian spices) over a mixed salad with a Indian yogurt dressing
Photo courtesy of Kimmy Schmidt

Homemade pizza with fresh mozzarella, asiago cheese, roasted garlic and fresh spring onions
Photo courtesy of Kimmy Schmidt

House made ravioli, filled with bacon, sweet peas and goat cheese, topped with three U-10 scallops, seared in bacon jus
Photo courtesy of Kimmy Schmidt
And those who visit Frenchtown, NJ this summer are treated to additional activities from the Frenchtown Business Association's (FBPA) Second Saturdays--a huge success and so much fun!!  Musicians entertain visitors and residents alike, performing throughout the town, outdoors.

You'll find more videos of Rainbow Fresh and other artists who have performed at The National Hotel on our youtube channel.  This flows so smoothly from The National Hotel's own arts and music programming:
  • Bi-weekly Tuesday Trivia night, 8 - 9:30 p.m.--ON TONIGHT...Thank you Russ Coen & Marlon Aranha!!
  • Bi-weekly Wednesday Scrabble night (brand new!!), 7 - 9 p.m.
  • Weekly Thursday Open Mic Night, 9 p.m. - closing
  • Weekly Saturday Night Live Music night, 9 - 11 p.m.
  • Weekly Sunday Musical Afternoon series, 5 - 7 p.m.
  • Monthly People's Poetry on the 3rd Sunday of the month (poetry open mic), 2 - 4 p.m.
There's something happening almost every night of the week--and every single program was started by one of our patrons.  They plan it, they initiate it, and they organize and execute the plan.  Just take a look at our brand new bi-weekly WEDNESDAY SCRABBLE NIGHT program, 7 - 9 p.m. that kicked off last Wednesday and will be on again on August 3rd--organized, sponsored, and launched by Frenchtown's own Paddle Creek--immediately following our Wednesday Ladies' Night with 1/2 off drinks (5 - 7 p.m. every week).  Only one word comes to mind:  blessed.  Yes, Pete and I are blessed.  The success of The National Hotel is owed to our patrons, and the help of our friends, family, and not least, our talented and wonderful staff.  If you've stopped by to have a drink and have had a chance to chat with Kasey Goyette, our lead bartender, or Donna Jane Sampler, our Rathskeller libation maven, you know exactly what I mean!

August will surely be another great month.  Frenchtown, NJ is just an absolutely delightful place to spend an afternoon, an evening, or for a few days.  You'll find friendly people, welcoming merchants, scenic vistas, and lots of activities to suit you, whether you're looking to relax or to have an active stay enjoying the outdoors.  Please feel free to contact our knowledgeable staff with any questions, at 908.996.3200, and do continue to email us your comments and feedback...they are truly helpful...or just leave a comment on this page.  Stay up-to-date with everything being planned, by:

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Friday, July 1, 2011


Just a few more days before we celebrate our nation's birthday!  All around Frenchtown there will be Independence Day actitivies--and we are lucky to have one of the country's most famous historic sites just a short drive down Route 29 from Frenchtown itself:  Washington Crossing State Park!!! 

"On December 25, 1776, the icy waters of the Delaware River provided the setting for one of the pivotal events of the American Revolution. The Continental Army had little to celebrate that Christmas and seemed beat by hunger and cold. After crossing the rough winter river at night, General George Washington and the Continental Army landed at Johnson’s Ferry, at the site now known as Washington Crossing State Park. At 4 am, they began their march to Trenton where they defeated the Hessian troops in an unexpected attack."
Happy July Fourth!  Happy Independence Day!

I hope you'll be able to visit our quaint little corner of the world over the weekend or make plans to come another weekend during the summer.  Frenchtown, NJ has so much to offer our visitors, from adventure sports such as cycling (the Cycle Corner) and kayaking (Paddle Creek), to relaxing activities from one of the area's best-known spas, Euphoria Studio, to family activities such as bicycling down the D&R Canal Path that runs parallel to the Delaware River and has beautiful and scenic vistas of Bucks County, PA, or renting a tube from Delaware River Tubing and float down the river for a few hours surrounded by nature, or how about some good old-fashioned family fun of going to the local roller skating rink, the Frenchtown Roller Rink!  We have included much of this information and activities on the NJ side as well as the PA side of the Delaware River listed on our website.  Just click on the Concierge tab for more listings of things to do.  But we are also fortunate to have publications such as Skylands Magazine (online and print) providing information on new events and activities that are taking place in our area.  They just did an incredibly nice write-up on The National Hotel in their print and online publication:

Lisa Frederick and Zack Rovner
It was a wonderful treat to have this publication focus on our establishment.  They always have a lot of information about area activities, and are very supportive of local businesses and events.  On our end, we also try to be supportive of our local shops, vendors, and community events.  Being part of the Frenchtown Business and Professional Association (FBPA) definitely helps all of us know what we're planning, how we can support each other, and moreover, how we can provide a wonderful experience for out-of-towners who make the time to visit Frenchtown, while always maintaining high standards of service and products available to our local residents.  On a micro level, The National Hotel also makes a point to support local sustainable farmers, and we are very lucky to reside in an area of the nation that allows us to turn these fresh ingredients into flavorful and delightful dishes.  Having Lisa Frederick leading this area of the business has brought us many accolades from our dining guests, and she continues to push herself and the kitchen staff to always exceed expectations.

And then there's the Second Saturdays planned (thanks again to our FBPA) with live outdoor music filling the streets of Frenchtown throughout the summer months, as well as Frenchtown's own 13th Annual Bastille Day Fete, July 16th, noon to 6 p.m., featuring street performers, clowns, a puppet show, live music, and more.  Mark your calendars for this special day!

What an extraordinary month July is going to be.  If you're planning to make a day trip, there's plenty to do in Frenchtown and in the surrounding scenic areas, on the NJ side, and the PA side.  If you're making plans to stay a little longer, then feel free to contact our General Manager, Marlon Aranha, who will help you make your stay memorable and customized to your needs.  Ask him about our Summer Celebration special, where you'll receive a special discount to be used in the Restaurant during your weekend stay.  But there are other special packages too, that you'll find on our Hotel page of our website.  Just scroll down to find one that will enhance your stay in Frenchtown, or speak with Marlon and he'll create a special program for you.

And after our 2nd annual National Palooza II, we feel completely energized to continue to provide community programming that is fun for everyone, whether you are a local resident or coming to our little town from far away.  From our weekly Thursday Open Mic Night, to our Saturday Night Live Music series, to our Sunday Musical Afternoons, to our bi-weekly Tuesday Trivia, and our monthly 3rd Sunday People's Poetry (poetry open mic), we have activities the whole family (or just the adults) will enjoy.  And we've just added a bi-weekly Wednesday Scrabble Night to our menu of activities, so there's now another night of easy and relaxing fun to enjoy in Frenchtown.  We wrote about much of this on our last e-newsletter.  Did you catch our very own bartender EXTRAORDINAIRE, Donna Jane Sampler, doing a fire-breathing act?  OMG!!!  Fantastic!  And then she went right back downstairs to our wonderful cellar pub, The Rathskeller (a.k.a. The Rat), and continued to chat up clients and get to know newcomers to our town.  Donna is a fantastic bartender, always caring, always attentive, and always making everyone feel welcome.  I see her, and I feel the need to hug her!  She's just one of my absolute faves.

Lisa Frederick, left & Kasey Goyette, right

But I'm just echoing what our patrons tell us time and again.  And they compliment Donna just as they compliment the other members of The National Hotel family.  You know I've written about Lisa before (and today--because she absolutely deserves praise in so many ways--from choosing a fabulous menu, to how she interacts with her staff and everyone who enters The National Hotel--just gracious, welcoming, always warm!!), and about Kasey Goyette too...but I just wanted to share just a few extra kudos for Kasey just now...SHE IS A FANTASTIC WOMAN!!!  She not only served up some fabulous libations during The National Palooza II, as she always does every night of the week she works, but she also helped in so many ways--went out of her way, in fact, during our June 4th event--that she deserves a medal.  And of course, we are grateful to our wonderful friend, Kristine Marinelli and Jodi McGill, for volunteering and stepping in to be our fun cheeleaders, all-around guest welcomers, and "fun girls."  Thank you!!! 
Kristine Marinelli & Lisa Frederick
And if you want a few glimpses at what happened, visit our youtube channel for some of the webclips, such as:

As we approach the day that honors the birth of this great country, Pete and I feel its significance more than ever this year.  Yes, it's a time when families get together, picnic blankets hit the ground, and people light up their grills to have some summer fun.  Yes, it's a time when people get in their cars and take a little vacation taking advantage of the three-day weekend.  Yes, it's a time when many towns put on their Fourth of July "best" and some even feature fireworks, parades, or concerts.  But for us, having delved deep into the history of The National Hotel, studied the area's revolutionary past that predates even the creation of Frenchtown, NJ itself, it is a date that grants us the opportunity to remember the conviction and determination of those who came before us and took a stand to create a nation that would give new life to so many generations that followed, and invite people from all over the world to set roots in this wonderful land.  We honor this country's birthday, a unique place in the world, where one can truly become a citizen of the nation, equal in every way to his/her fellow citizens.  We are blessed to be here, to be citizens, to be a part of this great nation, contributing to its growth--even in our own miniscule way--but creating our own legacy for our daughters just the same.

I invite you to leave a comment here (or as you seem to prefer, to email me directly at marie@thenationalhotelnj.com), visit our facebook fan page, follow us on twitter, visit our youtube page, or continue to read our blog.  Thank you for your patronage, and here's to a fantastic summer ahead for all of us!!!