Sister Cities Food & Shop Tours will offer guided tours of Bristol and its local businesses starting in 2018
By Samantha Bambino
As 2017 quickly comes to an end, many of us are left to look back with thoughts of “would’ve, could’ve, should’ve.” But not the people of Bristol Borough.
Together, they kicked off a complete rebirth of their town. From the opening of the docks to new shops popping up left and right, Bristol laid down a strong foundation to be the next great tourist spot. And people have taken notice.
With the borough experiencing more foot traffic than ever before, Sister Cities Food & Shop Tours will begin offering guided tours of its restaurants, boutiques and favorite local spots in early spring 2018.
Sister Cities, an online-based tour agency, is run by sister duo Liz Horvath and Kat Pacelli. According to Horvath, the two have always been entrepreneurial, trying their luck at a number of projects and side businesses, but none ever stuck.
It wasn’t until July 2015 when Horvath moved to Lambertville, New Jersey, that she found her and her sister’s calling. Horvath noticed there was a lot to do in the area, especially in regard to eating and shopping. However, the majority of tourists were aimlessly wandering, taking in the scenery rather than experiencing local businesses.
“As a business owner in the community, you want people to come in your doors,” she said.
Horvath soon discovered most tourists were unaware of good, local spots. They simply walked around, hoping to find what they were looking for. As her entrepreneurial spirit kicked in, the idea for Sister Cities was born. Its sole mission is to eliminate the confusion of finding the best spots in town by personally taking visitors on guided tours of restaurants, bars, shops and other establishments.
Fairly new, Sister Cities became an official tour agency this past August, with its first tour taking place in October. Horvath and Pacelli kicked things off by offering tours of New Hope and Lambertville, and Bristol Borough will be added to that list come early spring 2018.
This partnership between the agency and borough formed after the Bristol Borough Business Association reached out to Visit Bucks County (which Sister Cities is a member of), inquiring about potential walking tour options for the area. Dawn Craven, partner relations coordinator at VBC, then relayed the message to the sisters, who were immediately on board.
“Since the Small Business Revolution, they’ve been getting a lot more foot traffic,” Horvath said of the borough. “It seemed like a good fit.”
While Bristol tours are still in the early planning phase as the sisters determine which spots to include, a number of aspects from the New Hope and Lambertville tours will carry over. Each will include four to six stops, which range from retail locations to restaurants.
Though stops are usually predetermined, Horvath explained that each tour is customizable to its particular group. For example, if it’s a private party that’s just interested in local cuisine, the tour will include only restaurants.
The group usually spends about 30 minutes at each stop, giving tourists ample time to shop and speak with business owners, who have a chance to truly showcase all they have to offer. Though nothing is set in stone, it’s safe to say the tour will hit at least a shop or two along Mill Street, a hub for new businesses.
“We were excited to consider Bristol,” Horvath said. “It’s off the beaten path from what we’re used to.”
Tickets typically range from $45-$60, and everything from public holiday-themed tours to private bachelorette parties and corporate outings are available.
As planning continues for Bristol Borough tours, Horvath encourages shops and restaurants interested in having their business featured as a stop to contact email@example.com. For more information and updates, visit www.sistercitiestours.com/.
Samantha Bambino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org