On the Market: Expanded 18th-Century Farmhouse Retreat in New Hope
Long Willow Farm, once home to writer John Hess, boasts a beautifully expanded 1788 farmhouse, a barn converted into a second residence, original outbuildings and more than 36 acres of protected open space.
James A. Michener may be the best-known literary figure to have called Bucks County home, but he wasn’t the only one. Long Willow Farm, today’s featured house for sale, was for many years the private retreat of playwright and writer John David Hess, who moved here when the Bucks County Playhouse named him its playwright-in-residence in 1954. The author of numerous plays, screenplays and magazine articles, he may be best known as the creator of “Love of Life,” one of the first soap operas on television.
Hess’s own love of life came to an end in 2004. Five years after that, the family that succeeded him at Long Willow Farm gave the vintage 1788 farmstead a totally modern yet historically respectful makeover that roughly doubled the size of the original farmhouse.
Both the 1788 original and the 2009 addition contain many rooms with wood-beamed ceilings, fireplaces, or both. Perhaps the most dramatic is the two-story-high library in the original farmhouse. Not only does it have both of those items, but it also features a grand curving staircase leading to a balcony lined with built-in display cases.
You’ll also find built-ins framing the fireplace in the adjacent tavern room.
The newer extension contains the contemporary living spaces, including an almost square formal dining room, a handsome living room and a family room with plenty of windows and access to a porch that overlooks the property’s in-ground saltwater pool.
The family room also has a pass-through breakfast bar connected to the chef-quality kitchen, which boasts not only a commercial-quality range and oven but a restaurant-grade range hood. Also on the main floor are a room that can serve as an in-law, guest or au pair suite as well as a media room and a bonus room finished in Mercer tile.
The master bedroom, on the second floor of the extension, has a fireplace, a vaulted ceiling, and a bathroom with an extra-large soaking tub.
Four years after expanding the farmhouse, the owners converted the bank barn on the property into a second residence. The conversion added a wing to the barn and installed an elevator connecting the first and second floors. The elevator and a main-floor master suite make this an ideal space for those with impaired mobility.
Besides the pool, this property has several other great outdoor spaces, including a stone-paved terrace, manicured gardens, a children’s playground and a bog pond for frogs and toads and a paddleboat pond that also makes a great fishing spot.
Whether or not you have literary ambitions, this historic house for sale makes an ideal retreat for you, your family and your friends. And if you want to enjoy some nightlife or dine out, lively New Hope is just a few minutes’ drive away.
THE FINE PRINT
(all figures except the sale price are for the main house only)
BATHS: 5 full, 1 half
SQUARE FEET: 6,811
SALE PRICE: $3,190,000
OTHER STUFF: The farmstead is protected by an Act 319 conservation easement held by Natural Lands and the Aquetong Valley Association, thus reducing your property taxes. This house’s sale price was reduced by $260,000 on Sept. 25th.
2811 Aquetong Rd., New Hope, Pa. 18938 [Hellen Cannon | Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty]