Two years ago, our family got a puppy at Thanksgiving. Dedicated to crate and potty training him before Christmas, my husband and I slept in the family room to get the new pup adapted to his new life. To keep the vibe cheery and festive, we had the Hallmark channel on in the background most nights. To be honest, before that stage of life I’d never watched a Hallmark movie all the way through, and definitely did NOT understand the hype.
Welcome Home Rocket!
I’ve gotta say though, that bleary-eyed season of puppy training, waking up in the middle of some unlikely holiday love story in progress, and falling asleep to cheesy one-liners set amidst twinkling lights and magical towns had it’s charms. You probably won’t find me curled up on the couch for hours, willingly watching these movies at present, BUT I totally get that the universal qualities and overarching themes in Hallmark Christmas movies are appealing, especially this time of year. Absurdities and enchantments, small towns where everyone appreciates and accepts one another, problems that take less than 2 hours and very little effort to solve, happy families, age old traditions, and, of course, most importantly, that thrill of hope and a happily ever after. Whether or not you’re a fan, it’s not hard to relate to the appeal and maybe even, from time to time, get sucked into the blissful simplicity.
What I AM a huge fan of, is those towns and places that FEEL like all the best parts of a holiday movie come to life. Towns decorated and rolling out the welcome mat at Christmas time and all year round! I’m excited to tell you about three of those real-life magical towns in particular, each located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania with so much to offer during the holidays and any other time you need a sweet escape!
Bucks Co Holiday Travel Guide
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!
Welcome to Bucks County, PA
If you’re looking for that trademark holiday feeling, we recommend you start in New Hope and make that your homebase for visiting the other towns, however, each place has it’s own unique charms and options to discover so make sure you save time to wander and explore.
New Hope, PA
If you’ve been following us for a while, you know we’re big fans of this charming Pennsylvania river town. We love the walkable streets, the beautiful views, the charming restaurants and neighborly vibe of New Hope. Street corner minstrels and a tucked away tow path add to the magic of exploring and engaging in this charming town, There is just something intoxicating about the energy of New Hope and the spirit of Christmas is alive and well everywhere you turn.
Small Town Christmas
Hallmark Christmas Movie Pairing
Released 2018 IMDB 6.8/10
Wax On Wax Off
after shopping and eating, biking and browsing, we highly recommend a stop at Wax N Scent Studio at 15 North Main Street. Reservations are recommended, although we were able to pop in and snag a time for later that same afternoon. In the studio, you can create the perfect candle, by selecting and assembling everything from the wax and wick to the container and the scents. Customizing your candle with shapes, glitters, crystals and other accessories makes this activity an art that’s so much fun to share with a group or a loved one. The studio is BYOB (beer and wine only) and has a fun and helpful atmosphere for candlemakers of every age and skill level.
We loved the warm welcome and expert advice from owners Moe and Ningi Simmons whose passion and sense of fun is contagious. We especially loved being able to make memories and beautiful Christmas gifts to bring home at the same time!
Nektar Wine Bar
Small plates and unique wine and whiskey flights set Nektar apart and make it a destination in and of itself. We were drawn in by the ambiance and waterfront views and swept up by the flavorful pairings and the adventure of trying something new and finding new favorites! The intimate space is the perfect twinkling and fresh setting to catching up and getting nostalgic with old friends or falling in love with someone new…or a new wine or whiskey you haven’t tried before! Right across the street from the Bucks County Playhouse, and sitting riverfront with a beautiful garden patio in the back, Nektar is the kind of place you’ll sit and stay and savor life for a while.
Olde Stone Church
What says magic and romantical settings more than a 150 year old church converted into a restaurant/bar/jazz club? A breathtakingly beautiful building restored and transformed, but still holding so much history, art and stained glass is the setting of your next night out in New Hope. Each space inside Olde Stone Church has been transformed with the intent to sweep visitors away. Although we didn’t have dinner here this trip, the menu with New-American options and creole-inspired steak and seafood dishes was enticing. We DID have the opportunity to tour the beautiful space and watch the bartenders make some cocktail magic that was as delicious as it was entertaining.
The Tow Path
Pop back behind the main street of New Hope and you’ll find yourself on the scenic Delaware Canal Towpath. You can walk or bike along this route for a truly magical change of pace. In the summer, it’s like a secret garden path that winds around waterways and through gardens and back streets. In the winter, it’s a physical step back from the hustle and bustle of the main streets to stop and breathe in and take in the lights and sights at a slower pace.
The Burgerly is our new @wildpreciousnow obsession! Hungry and overwhelmed by great lunch options, we reached out to our instagram audience for suggestions and The Burgerly is what came up for us first (Extra special thanks to our favorite local sommelier Carrie Lyn Strong for the Burgerly shout out). The entire restaurant is a vibe. Great music and a stylish and inviting atmosphere, you just feel GOOD the moment you walk in the door. The menu walks the perfect balance of familiar and innovative and the flavor profiles are out of this world! We walked in with an appetite and walked out with new friends, full stomachs, and the longing (already) to go back for more!
Here were our top faves (but believe me that evErYthInG about this place is our favorite!) “The Wonderful” : havarti, griddled mushrooms, Canadian bacon and spicy BBQ sauce lives on in my soul! “New Hope For Chicken” : perfectly crispy and juicy and not too spicy but definitely bringing the heat! The Salmon BLT was flavor perfection! Seasoned Fries: skin-on, double fried, crispy on the outside, melt in your mouth inside AND don’t sleep on the sauce flight!!!! We ate so much we were full for days! The only regret we had was running out of room for milkshakes!
New Hope Railroad
After this trip you can truthfully exclaim, “Santa! I know him!” 🎅🏼 The poet, Pablo Neruda has made trains both whimsical and melancholic for me. There’s a certain stature and grandeur about the old-time engines and a train station situated right in the middle of town and decorated for the season. Try not to be swept away! There are special train rides and excursions all year, but at Christmas they offer something truly magical.
Santa Steam Spectacular and North Pole Express is a Christmas memory for believers of all ages and stages! (The only true difference is being pulled by a steam or Diesel engine).
The coach train ticket gets you a magical and entertaining trip around Bucks County countryside with live sing-along, hot cocoa, cookies and guaranteed FaceTime with the man, the myth, the legend himself! Upgrade your ticket for a curated, more private experience and there’s even caboose rentals for an extra special trip for your crew!
If you’ve ever watched a holiday movie and scoffed, “there’s nowhere that actually looks like that” then you’ve never been to Peddler’s Village. Walk through a tunnel of glittering lights to a courtyard filled with fire pits to gather around, hot cocoa drinkers, friends laughing while strolling arm in arm, lovers gazing at each other across small tables. Not to mention the beautifully decorated shops, the elaborate outdoor lights displays (Over 1 million holiday lights get the whole village twinkling and sparkling like a dream), and the live musicians playing carols in the gazebo.
Earl’s New American
In the middle of this dreamiest village stands a warm and inviting restaurant that makes any meal feel celebratory! The She Crab soup is delicate and creamy bliss that you eat with a spoon! The cocktails are as delicious as they are beautiful! A perfectly cooked steak, tender, flavorful scallops…it’s the perfect place to end a day exploring in Peddler’s Village!
Ask for a window seat to combine your glittery dining experience with some people-watching fun. Earl’s does such a great job of finding the balance between upscale and approachable. The menu is extensive and offers plenty of options for picky palettes (and family friendly tables and group dining areas) but also feels special and elevated without being at all stuffy. Having visited Earl’s more than once, I can safely say that it’s worth the visit and consistent all year..however..during the winter holiday season, the atmosphere here REALLY twinkles and glows!
Where to Stay:
There are SO many options for dreamy places to stay in New Hope. You can read about our Riverfront stay at Riverhouse By Odettes, on our last Bucks County Blog. We love the ambiance and location of The Logan Inn and if a bed and breakfast fits in best with your plans, we think you should check out the Fox and Hound Inn.
Fox And Hound Inn
Is a dreamy, historic mansion turned Bed & Breakfast, all dressed up for the holidays and just steps away from the storybook town center of New Hope, PA! Sip your coffee on the porch, warm up by the fire, meet fellow travelers over breakfast, take in the sights from the rooftop terrace and get the inside scoop on the area from friendly and knowledgeable staff. It’s a quick walk from the Inn right into the center of town but the house is set back on the property for a quiet escape. We especially loved the angels and beautiful artifacts around the mansion and it is a beautiful Hallmark-like setting to pull up to after a day of exploring!
Once you’ve fully explored New Hope, we suggest you pile your people in the car to pop over to these two festive neighboring towns!
Let’s go below zero for the most delicious dinner in the most enchanting setting! Nothing says magic like eating dinner in an actual life-sized snow globe. (It’s heated so you’re not freezing in the slightest!) The ambience of having a private dinner in sparkling igloo might be what draws you in, but we know the menu and the incredible Solstice staff are what will ensure you’re coming back season after season. We were blown away by the service and the FOOD! Everything that came out to our table (and it was ALOT) was fresh, flavorful and piping hot! We loved the inventive and utterly instagrammable cocktails and the seasonally inspired menu wows! When you get there, here’s some of our favorite menu items to get you started!
We LOVED the crabcakes (so full of fresh, lump crabmeat!) The mushroom fritters were like elevated po boys for mushroom lovers! Malbec braised waygu short ribs were melt in your mouth delicious and the gnocchi is not to be missed!
Brussels and pears were a side favorite and Literally EveRytHInG that touched my lips was dreamy!
Rose Bank Winery
Light Up The Vines Event
From the rustic barn turned tasting room to the vineyard draped in glittering lights, this winery is a dream destination when you’re visiting Bucks County, especially during the winter holiday season! French-American hybrid and viniferous grape varieties make crisp, fruity, French-style wines that appeal to every palate. Visitors can book a tasting to truly savor Rose Bank’s red, white, and award-winning American fruit wines. What’s more swoon-worthy than a vineyard at Christmas? A vineyard illuminated by glittering, twinkling lights! You’ll find a treasure trove of breathtaking properties set aglow for the holidays along the Bucks County Wine Trail. We were swept away by the lights and wines, music and history of Rose Bank Winery. We loved the classic cars and the live music, the inviting fire pits and walking through the glittering vines with a glass in hand, taking it all in.
Most of the participating vineyards light up around 5pm, and have various events going on to welcome you in from the cold! We loved our evening at Rose Bank winery! Walking the vineyard, laughing around the fire, dancing to the live music, and of course sampling their hand-crafted, French style wines! Light Up The Vines is a free event. Fees apply for food and drink purchases.
You can choose one winery to visit or see them all!
258 Durham Rd, Newtown, PA 18940
Rustic elegance in the heart of Bucks County, PA
2730 Hilltown Pike, Perkasie, PA 18944
21+ Delicious Wines 100+ Years in the making
1521 Durham Rd, Buckingham, PA 18912
Award winning sparkling wine
1853 Wrightstown Rd, Newtown, PA 18940
Best of Bucks for eleven years in a row
2665 Rushland Rd, Jamison, PA 18929
Growing our vines to make your favorite wines
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. The seasonal menu means there’s always something new to experience.
On our tour we learned all about the Pemberton family, their legacy and their impact on the community. We also enjoyed a live hearth cooking demonstration. The friends of Bolton mansion offer ghost tours, historic demonstrations as well as host public and private events on site. You can check their website to see what’s going on during your visit.
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