Fonthill Castle, designed and owned by Henry Chapman Mercer, famous artifact collector
Jan 17, 2020 at 9:00 AM by
Steeped in history and a long tradition of hospitality, the Doylestown of today stands out as perhaps the most alluring town in Bucks County. Named after William Doyle, a gentleman that built the first tavern in the region in 1745 within Doylestown's lively downtown center, here you can find many nice places to drink and dine. It's a well-loved resort town that offers much in terms of food, shopping and history.
The Hattery Stove and Still is a great place to start for excellent food and drink in an historic setting. Dine on juicy burgers, avocado toast and lots of other tasty offerings in an eclectic decor that mixes the old with the new and antiques with industrial accents. Plan ahead and reserve a room at The Doylestown Inn at the same address. Established in 1903, a night in this small, boutique hotel furnishes all the charm and splendor that you find in an historic property.
From here, you can easily explore the Doylestown Farmers Market, one of the best farmer's markets of Bucks County; it operates from April through November.
They're clearly an educated bunch in Doylestown and it's delightful to see two independent booksellers located in such a small town. The Doylestown Bookshop serves as a hub for not only book browsing but also author's and bookclub events. They sell a nice selection of toys and gifts, too. Central Books, also in the heart of town, fills two floors of a Victorian building with their collection of used books. There are many more shops to discover within this central part of town, so allow yourself to poke around in them before moving on.
Henry Chapman Mercer is a name that's synonymous with Doylestown. Born in Doylestown in 1856, he was an archeologist, tile maker and collector of all kinds of artifacts. He's best known for having designed three well-known concrete structures including Moravian Pottery & Tile Works (shown), Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle, his home. Maintained as a "working museum," MoravianPottery & Tile Works exhibits and sells its creations here in addition to holding events and workshops. This National Historic Landmark is a must for lovers of ceramics. Mercer Museum showcases an extensive collection of objects from everyday life in the pre-industrial age. Fonthill Castle stands out for its unique architecture, entirely made of pour ed concrete. It's a vision of forty-four rooms, eighteen fireplaces and two hundred windows to behold.
The nature beauty and heritage of all of Bucks County are treasures to preserve. Thankfully there's the Heritage Conservancy of Doylestown to fulfill that mission. Aldie Mansion is one such historic property that's a delight to visit; it also makes for a lovely establishment for hosting an event.
The scenery here begs to be painted. And fortunately that was done by many artists that formed a group known as the Pennsylvania Impressionists. You can see many of theirworks at the James A. Michener Art Museum, a lovely little museum, also in Doylestown. Trying to place how you know that name? Why, you've probably read at least one Michener novel by this celebrated author. He wrote over forty of them and is best known for his fictional, family sagas that weave together history and geographic locales with aplomb.
Lahaska, Pennsylvania, which is located east of Buckingham Green and west of New Hope, is all about Peddler's Village, an extraordinary shopping, dining and entertainment complex (called Giggleberry Fair for kids and adults) that ranks as one of the biggest attractions within the greater Philadelphia area. You could spend a few days here with all there is to see and do and that's possible as well because there's even a hotel where you can book a lovely stay.
Browsing buffs should enjoy Cook & Gardener Collections, Antiques & Gifts as well as Lahaska Bookshop and many other interesting boutiques. Thank goodness there are also nice coffee shops at Peddler's Village to keep you going.