Welcome to Bucks County, PA!
Just under two hours drive from Lancaster, an hour north of Philadelphia, and a mere 68 miles from NYC this region is known for its perfect balance of small town charm, and big city culture. A tranquil river, storybook settings, bustling towns, and a vibrant food scene make this part of Pennsylvania one that you’ll want to come back to again and again! You can’t see the whole county in just a couple of days, but here are our suggestions if you want to get a taste of the New Hope/Doylestown Area of Bucks County, PA.
Video Travel Guide
Come explore New Hope and Doylestown PA with us in this Bucks County Travel Guide! All the best things to do (places to see, eat and explore) in this part of Pennsylvania.
Where To Stay
For this visit, we chose to stay at Riverhouse at Odettes. We loved the historic nods, the nightly music, colorful vibe, and little touches of luxury like a rainshower, a rooftop hot spot, gorgeous lighting (especially in the main floor restaurant) and river front balcony views to start and end the day!
Odette’s is edgy but elegant in feel, with spacious rooms, beautiful gathering spaces and scenic views. This hotel is a great option if you want to be a little bit removed from the heart of town, but still able to access the main strip easily. There is a great rooftop bar with a modern speakeasy feel that’s a great option on busy nights in New Hope since it is reserved for members and guests of the hotel only.
Our favorite amenity though, were the bicycles for borrow that you can use to explore the town and follow your whims. Vintage style bicycles, complete with handlebar baskets became our favorite mode of getting around New Hope.
You can reserve the bicycles (and helmets) through the front desk and leave your car in the garage when you’re exploring town. There’s a bike path that leads from Odette’s straight into the main street area of New Hope.
Places to Eat (& Drink)
Great Barn Taproom
After a morning exploring, we bet you’ve worked up a thirst. Great Barn Taproom is a stop on the Bucks County Ale trail and a scenic spot to slow down and try something new. When you get there, say hi to our friend Maryanna who is an expert at helping people find their favorite brew.
The grain to glass philosophy of Great Barn Brewery means they grow their own grains on their farm and support other farmers by locally sourcing specialty ingredients such as hops, fruits, honey and anything else that piques their curiosity. Have you ever tried persimmon? How about in your beer? The unique flavor combinations and freshly sourced ingredients make these beers a standout and a favorite place to meet locals and have strangers become friends. The waterfront patio makes it a charming spot to sip and savor in the warmer months.
Joel recommends trying the pilsner as the clean refreshing beer really allows the grain to shine through! With so many different options, you’re sure to find more than one that makes your tastebuds sing.
While you’re in Doylestown, we highly recommend you take a break for lunch at Heirloom. The guiding light of this restaurant is to provide heartfelt cooking and genuine service and it shows.
If you are lucky enough to meet Chef Tim, be sure to ask him about the connection between the name of the restaurant and his visit to the Mercer Museum. We know you’ll love the taste-awakening menu full of inventive takes on fresh, farm-to-table staples. The seasonal bread and spread (blueberry and mascarpone) was a party in my mouth. I’m a bread person and I’m telling you this bread was exceptional in taste and texture, and the crab and avocado salad was summer joy on a plate – fresh, flavorful, light and delicious!
The Salt House is a gastropub along the main street of New Hope. They offer a seasonal menu sourced with local ingredients in a historic setting. The 1751 stone house feels like a setting pulled from a fairy tale and the whimsical art and furnishings inside give a Wonderland feel to this beautifully preserved building.
Try the burger and thank us later. The fig and goat cheese appetizer was also amazing! We sat upstairs in the library lounge with a birds eye view of the street below. There is also seating in the tavern (set into windows or cozy by a roaring fire when the weather is cold) as well as seating outside on the brick patio. The Salt House offers lunch, dinner and late night supper and is an enchanting and delicious way to fuel up for more exploring in town.
Stella is located right on the river in New Hope. We were smitten by their awesome atmosphere and delicious food! From the house-made sourdough with cold pressed olive oil and butter, to the perfectly cooked steak and scallops and the unfathomably delectable dessert (a seasonal cheesecake mousse that was heavenly and a blueberry biscuit that tasted like Maine on a plate) every dish was packed with flavor and cooked to perfection, making this a true foodie destination in New Hope.
The cocktail menu was stellar and extensive. “The Spring Fling” and “Stella Spritz” soared. Save time to sit outside under the lights to soak in the night time views of the river and definitely save room for coffee and dessert. The Bucks County Playhouse is right next door and the two share a riverfront promenade that is especially magical when lit up after dark.
The Inn At Barley Sheaf Farm.
Rolling up to this bed and breakfast/wedding venue feels like visiting an enchanted garden and happens to boast an award winning restaurant that shouldn’t be missed. With a four course tasting menu that can be enjoyed in any order or combination that you choose, each course feels like a main event.
The open kitchen means you can have a bit of a show with your dinner. Save room for dessert and time to explore the magical property before you head home! I loved the gorgeous garden paths, romantic fountain, and the pasture of friendly ponies on the property. A perfect place to celebrate a special occasion, this establishment is BYOB
Things To Do
Exploring New Hope
Kicking things off in the River front town of New Hope Pennsylvania, the main stretch feels other worldly, like a cross between a European village and a vibrant beach town, New Hope is filled with local businesses and eateries to explore but also little pockets of green, winding paths and scenic detours.
We highly recommend setting some time aside to explore the Main Street of New Hope, PA. The myriad of colorful, eclectic and unordinary store fronts with vibrant and curious window displays and sudden pathways that wind around to new spaces, is the perfect place to explore and discover while supporting small businesses.
Right off the main strip is the bridge over the Delaware River that leads to New Hope’s sister town of Lambertville New Jersey and in the middle of the bridge there’s that elusive moment where you can actually be in Pennsylvania and New Jersey at the same time. Grab some coffee on your way across the bridge at the Starbucks on the corner if the local coffee spots hours don’t line up with your visit.
A Castle in Pennsylvania
Just a few minutes from New Hope is Doylestown PA, best known for the royal vibes of the Mercer Mile, Doylestown boasts not one, but THREE castles built by the same fascinating man, archaeologist, philanthropist and famous resident Henry Chapman Mercer.
Fonthill Castle was Mercer’s home and a stunning and fascinating place to explore. With over 40 rooms and corridors, including a library that feels straight out of a fairy tale, Fonthill is a place to let your curiosity take the reigns as you explore and piece together the life story of Henry Mercer with help from one of the knowledgeable and captivating tour guides. We loved deciphering the hidden stories that the tiles seemed to tell, the library took my breath away, and following corridors and winding stairways all around the property was so much fun. There’s a great spot on the roof of the castle for a birds eye view and some great photos!
The Mercer Museum
The Mercer Museum is a tribute to craftsmanship, trade and innovation with a vast collection of pre industrial artifacts from everyday life in America literally suspended. It’s like falling down the rabbit hole into wonderland while exploring the engrossing and telling history of things. There are interactive exhibits as well as an enormous collection of artifacts related to industry and innovation over time. The museum is a treasure trove of Americana and the way that the artifacts are literally suspended overhead is sure to leave visitors of all ages wonderstruck!
We were so fortunate to have Christian Murgia (my Millersville “Alum-Chum”) as our personal guide while we were exploring and we learned so much more by having his expertise as we pondered our way through each floor.
Insider tip: even without a private tour there are guides posted around the museum who are a wealth of knowledge and stories and information…do engage them in order to get the most out of your experience. When we visited there was an interactive exhibit from the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum that made the Mercer even more appealing to young visitors, however with so much to see, interactive exhibits and even a hologram of Henry Mercer that answers questions, we think the Mercer Museum will enchant visitors of all ages.
Shop Local: Peddler's Village
If shopping small makes your heart happy, we’ve got just the place for you! Peddler’s Village offers more than 60 boutiques and shops and the vast majority of those are locally owned businesses.
With winding brick pathways, beautiful gardens, and community gathering areas, the village feels like stepping into the pages of a story book. With so many opportunities to taste, and explore you could spend the day getting lost here and find treasures all along the way. There are shops dedicated to gifts, unique home decor, woodwork, and even hats! You can check out our reels about hat shopping in Peddlers Village on Instagram (Hats Galore & More shop #36).
Our other favorite shops that you should be sure to visit were Extra Virgin: Flavors of the Amalfi Coast (shop #64) and Sticky Situation (shop # 63) which were connected. We stocked up on flavored honey after tasting our way through Sticky Situations and loved the experience of tapping honey from the tree “growing” in the middle of the shop. We were enamored by the pastas and sauces that we brought home from Extra Virgin: Flavors of The Amalfi Coast. The owner was passionate and helpful. The shopping experience is fun, experiential and tasty!
The Total Animal (Shop #38) was a pet lover’s paradise. I brought Rocket home some delicious treats and unique toys from this shop!
Check the events page of the Village for special events, live music and performances, festivals, comedy nights, murder mysteries and more.
For a pick me up, BE SURE to stop by Mama Hawks Kitchen and Coffee for a delicious caffeine jolt and a bite to eat! The latte’s at Mama Hawke’s were caffeinated perfection and the sticky buns and breakfast sandwiches were melt-in-your-mouth delicious!
Rock Concert, Anyone?
Finally, If you’re ready to get outdoors and explore the wonders of nature, Ringing Rocks Park is yours for the adventuring. Known for its melodic boulder field of ‘ringing rocks” the 123 acre park offers manageable hikes for travelers of all ages to grab a hammer and make some noise… you get to decide if it’s melodic or not, a little further up the wooded trail you can find Bucks County’s tallest waterfall. We think this stop is the perfect place to climb, explore, take a deep breath and daydream about the great trip you had in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and figure out when you’re going to come back for more!