Watching the reenactment of George Washington Crossing the Delaware is an annual tradition, but this year one of the Borough's park benches took a very nontraditional trip across the river, courtesy of Hurricane Ida.
Sometime on the night of Sept. 1, as the hurricane's remnants swept through the region and flood waters breached the riverbank, one of the benches in Ferry Landing Park was swept away through an iron fence and into the Delaware River. New Hope Public Works noticed the bench was missing the following morning, and added it to the growing list of storm damage and losses.
A week later, the phone rang at Borough Hall. Members of the Red Dragon Canoe Club in Beverly, N.J. were wondering if New Hope had lost a bench.
The solid teak wood bench had wound its way down more than 30 miles of river, dodging rocks and bridge pilings, arriving safely on the New Jersey riverbank across from Neshaminy State Park. Teak is prized by shipwrights for its durability and water resistance, but this particular watercraft is not what they generally have in mind.
The crew from Red Dragon paddled out and brought the wayward bench to shore, made a note of the inscription on the plaque that was still safely attached to the backrest, and began searching for clues on the internet.
It didn't take long. The bench is dedicated to the memory of Adi-Kent Thomas Jeffrey, best-selling author of "The Bermuda Triangle," lecturer on the paranormal, legendary ghost hunter and founder of The Ghost Tours of New Hope. Once the canoe club connected the dots and called the Borough, the team at New Hope Public Works was able to match the name on the plaque with their sponsorship list.
Public Works drove down that afternoon to haul the hefty bench back home, where it will once again look out on the river from the site of historic Coryell's Ferry, launch point of another, far less dramatic, crossing by Washington to begin the Battle of Monmouth.