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To Plan A Trip

June 2024
1min read

Start by calling the Bucks County Conference and Visitors Bureau in Doylestown (1-800-836-2825) for a map and calendar of events. New Hope and Bucks County (in the Getaway Guides series) is a good source for information about hotels, restaurants, and attractions.

Although the riverfront towns exert a strong pull, save at least a day for Doylestown and its museums. The Mercer Museum grew out of a lifetime of collecting by Henry Mercer, a Bucks County resident who studied archeology at Harvard and was inspired to do his digging close to home. His collection of pre-industrial artifacts—hardware, lighting fixtures, guns, swords, fishing gear—is now housed chock-a-block in a six-story concrete castle; baskets and baby carriages hang from the ceiling. Each item bears a number, should anyone want specific information, but most visitors seem to glory in the wild profusion. You can also tour his Moravian Pottery and Tile Works and, provided you make an appointment in advance, the castle he lived in, Fonthill, designed in 1907 and built between 1908 and 1910 without benefit of architectural plans. (For reservations, call 215-348-9461.)

Just a few miles south of New Hope is Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, eighty acres of trails closed off from marauding deer but open to the public. And a few miles beyond that is the point from which Washington and his boats took off to surprise the Hessians. This, of course, is a whole other American story (see “History Happened Here,” American Heritage , December 1987). But in the early morning, before the tour buses start to arrive, the park at Washington’s Crossing is a great place to get a feel for the landscape that has fired the American imagination from the very beginning.

Finally, read Act One by Moss Hart. It contains hardly a word about Bucks County, but it gives a sense of the astonishing effort that went into those evanescent plays and musicals that occupy such a lasting place in our collective soul.

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