UPDATE 9 p.m. Saturday: Power came back on in downtown New Hope.
Several hundred thousand suburban Philadelphia residents remained without power Saturday, including all of New Hope’s 1,944 PECO customers, but that didn’t stop a small but high-spirited crowd from taking to the streets and piling into the few establishments that were able to open their doors in the borough.
Friday’s nor’easter left residents of the borough, along with 71% of Solebury Township and most nearby communities, feeling powerless (literally), and predictions on restoration of the energy flow were grim, with some saying it would be days.
“PECO is reporting that more than two-thirds of its customers in Solebury Township are without power,” read a statement issued by Solebury authorities Saturday morning. “Crews made some progress overnight in our area, but the damage is significant. Based on last night’s information, it would be prudent to prepare to spend much of the weekend without electricity.”
Nearby Lambertville, New Jersey, was largely unscathed by the storm, although several streets had lingering power problems. A large part of Hopewell was nearly hopeless, and 39% of West Amwell remained without electricity Saturday afternoon. All told, around 50% of Hunterdon County was without energy according to JCP&L who, like PECO, was not providing an estimate on power restoration timing.
Many around this area of Bucks County, apparently not hit as hard as Montgomery County, according to reports, were whispering that it could be days until the lights came back on. That said, and while officials sought to dampen hopes of a quick comeback, one source with a contact at PECO said that crews were working at substations around New Hope, and that the energy company could surprise on the upside. Power was returning intermittently to the Village 2 section of the borough Saturday afternoon.
Meanwhile, in downtown New Hope, clutches of tourists could be seen walking about South Main Street, enjoying the sunny skies and lack of crowds.
The dining room and bar area at Fran’s Pub were doing a brisk business, and were expected to remain open (bring cash). The Logan Inn was carrying on admirably, with a small but cheerful crowd seated around a crackling fireplace. And Marsha Brown had a great vibe, with a happy group of revelers quaffing the cocktails, chowing down, and thoroughly enjoying themselves.
Indeed, laughter and food with friends and family seemed the best way to sit out the blackout this weekend.