Bucks County played an important role as a way station and a transportation hub in the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad represented hope for a new life for so many. It was a secret network of hidden and safe places that helped runaways on the journey north. Abolitionists and kind communities, like those in many Bucks County areas, were a part of this incredible movement. My friend, Risha, and I had the opportunity to visit Continental Tavern in Yardley, Pennsylvania, just two blocks from the Delaware River. This location, which still has its original foundation, was built in 1877. Until recently, previous proprietors were not aware of the treasure of history that is being uncovered beneath the building as we speak! During this archaeological dig, so much evidence of the Underground Railroad and Prohibition times has been uncovered. It took sixteen years to go down twelve feet to uncover this rich history.
Frank, one of the owners of this establishment, a retired airline pilot, and American history enthusiast, showed us a short film on the history of the building. While viewing this interesting and informative video, we had the pleasure of munching on the Honey Toasted Almond Chicken Caesar Salad and Classic Caesar Salad which were both plentiful and delicious. Allison was an amazing server, friendly, and efficient while making us feel at home. A popular menu item at this establishment is its beef burgers. You can order anything from a Classic Burger to the Continental Burger which is topped with sauteed mushrooms, caramelized onions, and Swiss cheese. The food is so good and you can choose from the sixteen beers that are on tap, along with many other beverage choices like a bottled rootbeer! There are not many places where you can enjoy both the taste of amazing food, along with the taste of history like no other!
After viewing the film, we went on a tour of the building. A large cylindrical chamber was found beneath the building below the kitchen in recent years. This 15 by 15-foot space had stone walls and must have been accessible by a trap door from above because there is no entrance to the chamber from the outside or other parts of the basement. We learned that a stone tunnel with a five-foot diameter was found not too long ago, indicating by local Underground Railroad historians that this tunnel was connected to a series of tunnels that came up from the Delaware Canal. The excavation has turned into an archaeological dig where so many artifacts have been found, including over 10,000 empty whiskey bottles from the Prohibition Era. This building, along with a few other Yardley structures, were stations along the Underground Railroad back in the 1800s. What used to be an icehouse is now an exhibit celebrating the bravery of the people who came through this space for freedom.
So worth the mention is the sweet town of Yardley, itself. A day prior, my daughter and I took a quick trip to town to walk the canal on this sunny, winter day. The Delaware Canal Towpath is one of our favorite places to visit with family and friends and runs from Easton to Bristol and is sixty miles long. We parked in the lot adjacent to the beautiful mural painted on one of the buildings. There is so much to see and do in this amazing and historical town. Take your friends, family, parents, or YOURSELF to Continental Tavern in beautiful Yardley, PA and do a tour of the Bucks County Underground Railroad. There are suggested routes on the Visit Bucks County website https://www.visitbuckscounty.com/things-to-do/planning-ideas/underground-railroad/ which will give so much history and insight to the past. You will not be disappointed!