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A Road Trip Through Bucks County, Pennsylvania

A two-day adventure just an hour outside of Philadelphia...

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View from Bowman's Hill Tower Photo by Paul Kruger Photography
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Peddler's Village Photo by Paul Boger Photography
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Travel Responsibly: As the region recovers from COVID-19, safety guidelines have evolved at attractions, restaurants, shops and hotels. Advance tickets or reservations remain recommended or necessary at many spots. Your best bet: Check online or call ahead.

Tucked within Philadelphia’s countryside amid both rolling hills and picturesque towns, Bucks County, Pennsylvania — located just 25 miles outside of Philadelphia — offers a particularly inviting landscape for a road trip.

On this two-day exploration, you’ll explore Bucks’ deep cultural offerings (Fonthill Castle), peruse shops and galleries (Peddler’s Village, New Hope), immerse yourself in the county’s outdoor spaces (Peace Valley Park, Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve), and treat yourself to comfort food (Sputino’s and Yardley Inn), hazy IPAs (Vault Brewing Company) and more, all at eateries and attractions that have implemented new precautions to keep guests comfortable and safe.

Note, too, that Bucks County is massive — 622 square miles in total. Additional days could easily be added for stops at Sesame Place, Parx Casino, Neshaminy State Park and more. 

Happy travels!

Note: This article was last updated on July 28, 2020.

Day 1: Doylestown

01

Fuel up with sit-down or to-go breakfast in Doylestown

Huevos rancheros at THe Hattery in Doylestown Huevos rancheros at THe Hattery in Doylestown
Huevos rancheros at The Hattery Stove & Still — Photo courtesy Visit Bucks County

Fuel up for your first day of adventure-ing at one of two spots in the very center of Doylestown, a charming town located about an hour north of Philadelphia. Ease into your day with sit-down brunch (indoors or out!) at The Hattery Stove & Still, located in a former hat factory that now doubles as the Doylestown Inn. Or take your breakfast on the go with bites from Native Cafe, with dishes broken down into two categories: east (Thai) and west (American).

Where: Various locations, including The Hattery Stove and Still, 18 W. State Street, Doylestown

02

Hike or rent a boat at nearby Peace Valley Park

Walk off breakfast on 14 miles of trails — most around pretty Lake Galena — in nearby Peace Valley Park, just a 10-minute drive outside Doylestown. More adventurous visitors can rent a boat and paddle out onto the lake, while others should seek out the bird blind at the Peace Valley Nature Center, which offers a quiet observation of cardinals, woodpeckers, finches, titmice, sparrows and more.

Where: Peace Valley Park, 230 Creek Road, Doylestown

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03

Choose your own arts-and-culture adventure among Doylestown's attractions

Exterior of Fonthill Castle in Doylestown, Pennsylvania Exterior of Fonthill Castle in Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Fonthill Castle — Photo by K. Crawford

Next, retreat indoors to one of Doylestown’s fascinating arts and culture attractions. Nineteenth-century archaeologist and industrialist Henry Chapman Mercer built the borough’s three most striking landmarks: Fonthill Castle, a sprawling 44-room concrete palace (set to reopen on August 3, 2020); the Mercer Museum, a six-story Gothic and Byzantine historical repository for pieces of early Americana that Mercer collected; and Moravian Pottery & Tile Works, where employees preserve fading methods of production with care and attention. A final option: the stellar collection of paintings by impressionist artists at the James A. Michener Museum. Note that advance tickets are recommended or required for all of these spots, so plan ahead!

Where: Various locations, including Fonthill Castle, 525 E. Court Street, Doylestown

04

Munch on wood-fired pizza or Peruvian food for a late lunch

Swing back through downtown Doylestown for a late lunch at one of two great spots. The Doylestown location of Spuntino serves up mouthwatering wood-fired pizzas, while Quinoa offers up an enticing fusion of Peruvian and Mexican food.

Where: Various locations, including Quinoa Peruvian & Mexican Restaurant, 54 E. State Street, Doylestown

05

Peruse the dozens of boutiques and shops at the charming Peddler's Village

Visitors at Peddler's Village Visitors at Peddler's Village
— Photo courtesy Peddler's Village

While away the late-afternoon hours browsing the dozens of shops in the charming countryside Peddler’s Village, a 15-minute drive northeast of Doylestown. The 42 acres of landscaped grounds and winding brick walkways offer more than 70 independently owned and operated boutiques and shops, perfect for a relaxing stroll or a dose of retail therapy.

Where: Peddler's Village, 100 Peddlers Village, New Hope

06

After dinner, settle in for a sound sleep at the Golden Plough Inn

Interior of a room at Golden Plough Inn Interior of a room at Golden Plough Inn
Golden Plough Inn — Photo courtesy Peddler's Village

Cap off a busy day one with sit-down dinner at one of Peddler’s Village restaurants (don’t sleep on the burger at Buttonwood Grill), then settle in for the night at the village’s Golden Plough Inn, a 67-room boutique inn offering modern comforts (and new safety precautions) in a classic town-and-country setting.

Where: Golden Plough Inn at Peddler's Village, 5883 Lower York Road, New Hope

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Day 2: New Hope

07

Start the day in New Hope with breakfast and coffee in Ferry Market

Set the GPS for New Hope to start day two. A 10-minute drive from Peddler’s Village puts you at Ferry Market, where patrons grab seats indoors or in the garden, or simply pick up takeout at this local take on Manhattan’s Chelsea Market. A baker’s dozen or so small shops offer such things as coffee, seasonal produce and more.

Where: New Hope Ferry Market, 32 S. Main Street, New Hope

08

Stop in the galleries and stores in New Hope

Ease into your day by strolling and perusing the galleries and shops that line New Hope’s riverside Main Street and side streets. Keep an eye out for rainbow flags; New Hope has been a premier destination for LGBTQ travelers since the mid-20th century. Extend your stroll by hopping on the nearby Delaware Canal Towpath.

Where: New Hope, North Main and Bridge streets, New Hope

09

Picnic amid wildflowers at Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve

Two kids at Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve Two kids at Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve
Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve — Photo courtesy Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve

Place an order for pick up from a spot in downtown New Hope (think vegetarian fare from Sprig and Vine), then it’s back in the car for a quick five-minute drive south. Perfect for a hike and a picnic lunch, Bucks County’s 134-acre Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve comprises nearly 1,000 species of native plants, a meadow, a pond and a creek. Note that reservations are required to visit the preserve. Can’t snag a reservation? You can also picnic at the next stop…

Where: Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve, 1635 River Road, New Hope

10

Find the spot where George Washington crossed the Delaware River

Your next stop is the site of perhaps the most famous river crossing in American history. In 1776, General Washington gave the British troops a morning-after-Christmas surprise — a sneak attack that ultimately turned the tide of the Revolutionary War. Echoes of that historic event are evidenced throughout Washington Crossing Historic Park, where centuries-old historic houses and buildings recount that daring trip. The park makes a fine spot for a picnic (more info on picnic pavilions here) or an afternoon hang. Want more? Extend your experience by making a reservation to tour the park’s historic village, a historic house that served as a field hospital for Washington’s troops, or the 125-foot-tall Bowman’s Hill Tower, offering bird’s-eye views of surrounding Bucks County and New Jersey.

Where: Washington Crossing Historic Park, 1112 River Road, Washington Crossing

11

Make room for a tasty pre-dinner craft beer or glass of wine

The ultimate choice: wine or beer? Brew lovers should make a reservation for an outdoor table at Vault Brewing Company, where hazy IPAs and imperial stouts blend nicely with session-friendly IPAs and pilsners. Those craving wine should swing through Crossing Vineyards, where restrained, European-style wines are made on the grounds of a 200-year-old estate.

Where: Various locations, including Crossing Vineyards and Winery, 1853 Wrightstown Road, Newtown

12

Pair dinner with views of the Delaware River

An epic two days calls for an epic dinner. If you like what you’re sipping on during happy hour, grab a couple of bottles to go and roll up at Charcoal BYOB at Yardley. (Save room for the hot chicken.) Elsewhere, the Yardley Inn Restaurant & Bar offers a new perspective on the Delaware River with its romantic porch seating paired with a contemporary play on comfort food.

Where: Various locations, including Charcoal BYOB, 11 S. Delaware Avenue, Yardley

13

Sleep off a stellar two days at a hotel or bed-and-breakfast

Outdoor pool at Clarion Inn Levittown in Bucks COunty outside Philadelphia Outdoor pool at Clarion Inn Levittown in Bucks COunty outside Philadelphia
Clarion Inn Levittown — Photo courtesy Clarion Inn Levittown

End your Bucks County adventure with a good night’s sleep. Families can make the 20-minute drive to the Clarion Inn Levittown, which offers an outdoor pool, among other amenities. Two nearby bed-and-breakfast options: the cute Bucks County Cottage on the Delaware in Yardley and The Temperance House in Newtown.

Where: Various locations, including Bucks County Cottage on the Delaware, 699 River Road, Yardley

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Day 1: Doylestown

Fuel up with sit-down or to-go breakfast in Doylestown
Hike or rent a boat at nearby Peace Valley Park
Choose your own arts-and-culture adventure among Doylestown's attractions
Munch on wood-fired pizza or Peruvian food for a late lunch
Peruse the dozens of boutiques and shops at the charming Peddler's Village
After dinner, settle in for a sound sleep at the Golden Plough Inn

Day 2: New Hope

Start the day in New Hope with breakfast and coffee in Ferry Market
Stop in the galleries and stores in New Hope
Picnic amid wildflowers at Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve
Find the spot where George Washington crossed the Delaware River
Make room for a tasty pre-dinner craft beer or glass of wine
Pair dinner with views of the Delaware River
Sleep off a stellar two days at a hotel or bed-and-breakfast
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