Bucks County

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Picturesque Bucks County offers a myriad of unique activities, making it satisfying escape from the everyday, whether you’re seeking a relaxing B&B getaway, a lesson in living history, or simply a playful escape for the kids. Explore quaint hamlets and towns, discover wineries and historic covered bridges, or opt for fresh air and exercise by biking, tubing on the Delaware, and mule-drawn canal rides. Summer is the best time to take advantage of the region’s outdoor activities, many of which shut down completely in the winter. You’ll need a car to get around the 600+ square mile county, but don’t worry, the carriage paths have been paved into easily accessible country roads.

Things to do in Bucks County

Bucks County Playhouse

For a touch of culture, enjoy a Broadway-quality production at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope. Formerly a gristmill, the rustic, red-barn theater is located in a peaceful setting on the Delaware River. Known for its programming quality and variety, the playhouse has hosted many acclaimed actors on its stage, including Grace Kelly, Robert Redford, Leslie Nielsen, and Merv Griffin. The following performances are on the roster for 2009: Godspell, You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, My Fair Lady, The Music Man, and A Chorus Line. The theater is open from April 2nd-December 20th.

70 S. Main St., PA, 215-862-2041, www.buckscountyplayhouse.com
Tags: smart splurge | theater | things to do | culture

Bucks County Wine Trail

While it isn’t Napa or Bordeaux, Buck’s County’s rich soil is nonetheless suitable for grape production and the vineyards here yield delicate blends of vino. Sample the region’s many varieties (sweet, dry, or sparkling) and learn about the wine cultivation process at the rustic wineries scattered throughout the region. Pick up a map from the Visitors Center in Bensalem and follow the Bucks County Wine Trail self-guided driving route to see some of the region’s best wineries, such as the New Hope Winery (215-794-2331), Sand Castle Winery (800-722-9463), and Rose Bank Winery (215-860-5899).

Visitor Center, 3207 Street Rd., PA, 215-639-0300, www.buckscountywinetrail.com
Tags: things to do | tour | vineyard

Covered Bridge Driving Tour

Pennsylvania is widely considered the birthplace of the covered bridge phenomenon – an invention which made transporting livestock easier. As a whole, the state has preserved over 219 cover bridges, all from the mid-19th century; of these, 12 can be found in the rural hollows of Bucks County. Pack a picnic and spend an afternoon exploring these scenic structures by following the self-guided “Bucks County Covered Bridge Driving Tour,” courtesy of the Buck County Conference and Visitors Bureau. Pick up a map at the Visitors Center in Bensalem.

3207 Street Rd., PA, 215-639-0300, www.bccvb.org
Tags: historic | things to do | architecture

James A. Michener Art Museum

Legendary author James Michener founded this museum in his hometown of Doylestown. The sizeable collection includes a sculpture garden and the paintings of regional artists from the so-called “Pennsylvania School of Impressionism,” such as Edward W. Redfield. Throughout the year, the museum hosts dozens of touring painting and photography exhibits. Additional exhibits include artifacts exploring Michener’s life and an interactive program for kids through which youngsters can paint, sculpt, or draw their own artistic masterpiece.

138 South Pine St., PA, 215-340-9800, www.michenermuseum.org
Tags: art | things to do | culture | museum

Mercer Museum

Acclaimed American archaeologist and historian, Henry Mercer, spent his life collecting over 30,000 items from early American life, such as hand tools, cookware, handicrafts, looms, and horse-drawn carriages, in an effort to preserve a sense of everyday life before the Industrial Revolution. The exhibits are on display in his impressive six-story castle and private Fonthill residence. The impressive structure blends Medieval, Gothic, and Byzantine architectural influences, making this National Historic Landmark a attraction worth visiting. Open 10am-5pm Mon, Wed-Sat, 10am-9pm Tues, 12-5pm Sun.

84 South Pine St., PA, 215-345-0210, www.mercermuseum.org
Tags: editor pick | historic | things to do | architecture | museum

Mule-drawn Canal Boat Ride

Originally built to transport coal from northeastern Pennsylvania to the ports of Philadelphia, the 60-mile long route along the Delaware Canal was manned by some 3000 mule-drawn barges. In New Hope, visitors can be ferried through a section of the historical canal and its intricate lock system via a mule-drawn cruise with the Delaware River Canal Boat Company. Canal rides are offered at noon on Saturdays and Sundays in April and daily May-October.

Delaware River Canal Boat Company, 149 S. Main St., PA, 610-982-5560, www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/parks/delawarecanal.aspx
Tags: family | cruise | editor pick | historic | things to do

Pearl S. Buck House

Acclaimed Pulitzer and Nobel-prize winning author and humanitarian Pearl S. Buck spent most of her early life in China before retreating to the countryside of Bucks County in 1934, where she lived until she passed away in 1973. Her 68-acre estate, known as Green Hills Farm, is preserved in homage to her life and legacy as a writer. Exhibits include her Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes, as well as rare Chinese artifacts, such as a silk walling hanging, a present to her from the Dalai Lama.

520 Dublin Rd., PA, 215-249-0100, www.psbi.org
Tags: historic | things to do | museum

Peddler's Village

Five miles west of New Hope, graceful eateries, an inn, and over 70 specialty shops, including art galleries, antiques, and handicraft boutiques can be found in this quaint countryside shopping village. The grounds include a squeaking waterwheel and acres of meticulously landscaped grounds and gardens, as well as the kid-friendly Giggleberry Fair, with its authentic antique carousel.

5800 Upper York Rd., PA, 215-794-4000, www.peddlersvillage.com
Tags: family | shopping | things to do | crafts | gallery

Pennsbury Manor

In the late 17th century, Pennsylvania founder William Penn established his handsome private residence on a 43-acre spread along the Delaware River. Buildings on the restored grounds include a stately estate house, stables, and a brew house. Historical interpreters cloaked in colonial-period garments guide and inform visitors about Penn, the manor, and the early history of Pennsylvania. Open 9am-5pm Tues-Sat; noon-5pm Sun.

400 Pennsbury Memorial Rd., PA, 215-946-0400, www.pennsburymanor.org
Tags: historic | things to do

Quakertown Flea and Farmers Market

For a unique shopping experience, head to Quakertown. Every Friday and Saturday from 9am-9pm, and Sunday from 10am-5pm the town hosts a thriving, 250,000-square-foot flea market and a ‘Best of Bucks’ farmers market, with hundreds of vendors selling everything from antiques, collectibles, fresh produce, handcrafted novelties, homemade pies, and artwork.

201 Station Rd., PA, 215-536-4115, www.quakertownfarmersmkt.com
Tags: shopping | great value | things to do | market

Sesame Place

Tots and parents alike will love the amusement park home of Big Bird, Elmo, Oscar, and The Cookie Monster. Oodles of kid-friendly rides and attractions such as The Sesame Playhouse (a challenging play area for the entire family), Cookie Mountain (a fun twist on the game “King of the Mountain”), Ernie’s Waterworks (an all-ages water park) will thrill youngsters, as will daily entertainment, educational programs, and musical parades featuring the full cast. For an added bonus, make reservations to dine with your favorite character (1-866-464-3566).

100 Sesame Rd., PA, 215-752-7070, www.sesameplace.com
Tags: family | things to do | amusement park | water park

Shady Brook Farm

Over 270 acres of homegrown fruits and vegetables can be found on this open-to-the-public family farm. Visitors can head into the fields to pick their own produce – depending on the season, that may be strawberries, raspberries, peaches, apples, or pumpkins. The market, which is open year-round, features a variety of farm-fresh produce and homemade ice cream. Visitors in the late summer and fall will love the corn maze, a widespread network of paths cut through fields of corn stalks.

931 Stony Hill Rd., PA, 215-968-1670, www.shadybrookfarm.com
Tags: shopping | editor pick | things to do | outdoors

Tubing on the Delaware River

Suit up for day tubing down the gently rolling waters of the Delaware River. Float past scenic bridges and forested river banks in an inflatable inner tube. Delaware River Tubing provides the tubes a guided expedition through the Delaware’s lazy currents, as well as complimentary floating barbeque lunch from a pontoon boat along the way. The day-long float trip start 16 miles north of New Hope, upriver in Frenchtown, New Jersey and end 3 miles downstream, past Adventure Island. Open May-Sept (10am-7pm Mon-Fri; 9am-7pm Sat-Sun).

Delaware River Tubing, 2998 Daniel Bray Highway, Frenchtown, NJ, NJ, 908-996-5386, www.delawarerivertubing.com
Tags: family | water sports | things to do | adventure

Washington Crossing Historic Park

On a frigid Christmas night in 1776, George Washington crossed the icy waters of Delaware River with his Continental Army to defeat the Hessian troops in neighboring Trenton, New Jersey. Today, the picturesque riverfront park includes historical homes, a museum, and Bowman’s Hill Tower, a 125-foot commemorative monument in honor of George Washington and his army (climb to the top to enjoy a fantastic panorama of the region). Open 9am-5pm Tues-Sat; noon-5pm Sun.

1112 River Rd., PA, 215-493-4076, www.ushistory.org/WashingtonCrossing
Tags: family | historic | views | things to do | outdoors | tour | park

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