When I was growing up in rural Bucks County, Pennsylvania, I couldn’t wait to grow up and get out. I’m a city girl afterall. I’ve known that since my first trip to New York City at a snotty age six when I ordered calamari, ceasar salad, and tea in a midtown restaurant, much to my mother’s amusement. I was convinced I was Eloise, destined to live in the Plaza, but tragically trapped in a small Pennsylvania farm town. I knew there was a whole world to explore outside of cow pastures and corn fields and I was determined to see it.
It wasn’t until after I returned from Paris when I brought my closest friend from abroad (we’ll call her The Scholar) home with me to Bucks County, that I realized just how lucky I was to grow up in my town. Turns out, Bucks County is a picture-perfect illustration of rural American beauty. The Scholar couldn’t get enough of the stone farm-houses, red-paneled barns, and historic covered bridges. And I couldn’t either.
Now, in my ripe old age of 25, there’s nothing I love more than a weekend back home. This past weekend, I traveled back to Bucks County for my little brother’s college graduation party, and the signs of autumn were already in full bloom. The corn stalks were yellowing, pumpkins littered all the fields, and hay bales were stacked high. It made me realize, for the thousandth time, how much I love Bucks County.
I give to you, on the first day of autumn, the best of Bucks County:
Doylestown, Pennsylvania is the colonial, picture-perfect town that you see in post-cards from Bucks County. Today, the borough of Doylestown remains one of the most posh (and most expensive) places to live amongst the Philadelphia suburbs. In high school, my friends and I would hit up Doylestown on the weekend to grab Starbucks and sit on the stoop of a brownstone to people-watch. Now, in my old age, I go to Doylestown for the restaurants, bars, and shopping. I recommend 86 West purely for its Beef Carpaccio and Jules Thin Crust for their innovative gluten-free recipes.
#2. Moravian Pottery & Tile Works
Five minutes outside of downtown Doylestown is the Tile Works, a mysterious castle-like factory that was once home to Henry Chapman Mercer, an early 20th century archeologist, art collector, and potter. You can take a tour of both his private quarters, which is laden with handmade mosaics and bizarre artwork, or the tile factory, which still produces beautiful ceramic tiles. Mercer’s home, with its curved stone walls, looks straight out of Alice in Wonderland. The grounds that the buildings sit on are beautiful on their own and are great for a fall afternoon walk (fun fact: the Romantic and Hubs thought about getting married here!) When I studied abroad in Paris, we were asked to bring our hosts a token from our hometown – I brought tiles from the Tile Works!
#3. Peddler’s Village
Peddler’s Village looks exactly as it sounds – straight out of a 19th century English novel. Except, instead of cobblers and blacksmiths and muppets running around reciting Dickens, its chock full of specialty stores and restaurants. One of my dearest childhood memories is coming to Peddler’s Village on cold December nights, when the entire village is lit with Christmas lights and the Gazebo shows off the Gingerbread houses submitted for its annual contest. Driving by last weekend, I noticed that its annual display of scarecrows already lined the brick paths. To me, nothing says autumn like the scarecrows in Peddler’s Village. Many of the shops have changed since I was little, but my favorite, Pine Wreath & Candle, is still going strong. I also highly recommend the French Onion soup at the Cock n’ Bull Restaurant on a cold winter night.
#4. Peace Valley Park
Peace Valley Park will always be dear to my heart, as its only five minutes away from the house I grew up in. The Park surrounds Lake Galena and has over 14 miles of trails, perfect for bike riding or jogging. One of my favorite things to do when I’m home is stop by Tabora Farm & Orchard, pick up an array of freshly baked treats, and have a picnic in Peace Valley.
#5. New Hope
Yuppie is to Doylestown as artist is to New Hope. This hippie mecca sits along the Delaware River and might have the most eclectic mix of restaurants and shops of any town I’ve ever been to. A mixture of quaint stone-front B&B’s and incense burning head shops line the main street, which turns into a thriving hotspot on the weekends for anyone from my age to my grandmother’s. Because I grew up in the area, the Wiccan store next to the medieval gift shop seems commonplace, but to tourists and non-Bucks Co. residents (aka my New Jerseyian boyfriend) this town can seem a little odd. I promise you, it’s worth a visit. My must-sees include Triumph Brewing Company for its micro-brews and The Landing Restaurant for its delicious menu and scenic views of the Delaware.
corn fields & covered bridges,