Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Value for Money:
Personality Types that Like it Best
Did You Know … ?
- George Washington’s famous 1776 crossing of the Delaware started from a riverbank in Bucks County.
- Tiles from Doylestown’s Moravian Pottery and Tile Works were used in Monte Carlo’s casino.
- Ringing Rocks Park is full of rocks that ring hollow when struck with a hammer.
- The Bristol-to-Easton Delaware Canal is America’s only fully intact 19th century canal.
- The Pulitzer Prize-winning James Michener was born in Doylestown (1907).
Art and historic inns
Best known as a picturesque and artsy sort of place, Bucks County traces its modern history to the earliest days of European settlement when William Penn founded the county and named it for Buckinghamshire, his family home in England.
Located in southeast Pennsylvania on the Delaware River, it is an easily accessed retreat for city dwellers in the U.S. Northeast. Trenton, New Jersey’s capital, is across the river to the east, while Philadelphia County abuts Bucks at its southwest corner. New York City is less than two hours away by car.
Beginning at the turn of the last century, Impressionist landscape painters, let by Edward Redfield and William Lathrop, moved to Bucks County. They invited or attracted other artists, thus forming the core of a artist colony that thrived in the early 20th century. Many of the artists migrated to the area, with New Hope as the hub, in order to paint the county’s beautiful landscapes and to do so outdoors.
Such colonies become magnets for related developments — the pursuit of other art forms, support for performing arts and, soon enough, the appearance of restaurants and inns to serve the visitors who, like the painter who comes with his brush, are attracted to the area for the beauty and who want to relax — and shop — where artists are at work. New Hope boasts more than 200 art galleries, antiques shops and boutiques.
Given its location, key figures associated with the American Revolution appear in the Bucks County story, most notably George Washington who certainly did sleep here! The net effect is tourist attractions, such as the Washington Crossing Historic Park, and a sizeable collection of inns and B&Bs that were built in the 18th and 19th centuries, sometimes originating as someone’s mansion and sometimes said to be haunted.
As to the original attraction, a particularly inviting countryside, visitors drive scenic routes, but can spice things up with themes, such as the covered bridge and wine trails. The Delaware River is popular for canoeing, kayaking and river tubing. At its side, active travelers may use the 19th century 60-mile Delaware Canal towpath for cycling and jogging.
Things to do for Venturers
- Hike some part of the 35 miles of trails in Nockamixon State Park. Or, slow down a bit and fish on Lake Nockamixon.
- Cycle or jog on the towpath that parallels the Delaware Canal, in the Delaware Canal State Park.
- For additional companionship, book a night or several nights in one of the county’s haunted inns. The Logan Inn, the county’s oldest continuously running inn (1727), has been called as one of America’s most haunted places with at least eight ghosts. Book Room 6 for the most action (maybe).
- Camp in one of the Bucks County state or county parks.
- Apply through the Washington Crossing Historic Park to participate in the Christmas Day reenactment of Washington crossing the Delaware. Participants don’t have to be members of any organized reenacting unit to get involved.
- For a tasty approach to the music, come around for the Peddler’s Village Bluegrass and Blueberries Festival in summer.
Things to do for Centrics
- Glimpse Colonial and pre-Colonial life at living history museums: Pennsbury Manor, William Penn’s reconstructed home in Morrisville and the Lenape Indian Village in Churchville.
- Place your bets at PARX Casino and Racecourse in Bensalem.
- Choose your arts event. For example, springtime offers Arts Alive in Quakertown and the Spring Art Show at Cedar Maze. Arts festivals come to Doylestown and New Hope in autumn.
- Sip your way around the countryside as you drive the Bucks County Wine Trail.
- Contemplate the history but entertain yourself at the springtime Washington Crossing Brewfest at the Washington Crossing Historic Park.
- If an aspiring or professional writer, attend a writers conference or a workshop at the Pearl S. Buck House and Historic Site in Perkasie. Some learning events are half- or full-day affairs, but others require a larger time commitment.
Things to do for Authentics
- Take the family tubing on the Delaware River. Point Pleasant calls itself the world’s river tubing capital.
- Make a day of it on the so-called Mercer Mile in Doylestown, beginning with Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, founded by Henry Chapman Mercer, where artisans in living history demos still make tiles using Mercer’s methods. Then, see his castles, now the Fonthill Museum and Mercer Museum, plus the nearby James A. Michener Art Museum.
- Shop in the art galleries and antiques shops in New Hope.
- For themed drives — and a clever way to drive scenic routes — consider the county’s Covered Bridge Driving Tour or the more unusual Barn Voyage, a tour focusing on the county’s most picturesque barns.
- See a production at the Bristol Riverside Theatre or at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope.
- Treat the kids to Sesame Place, America’s only theme park based on the TV show “Sesame Street.” It is in Langhorne.
For more information, consult Visit Bucks County at www.visitbuckscounty.com