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A weekend in Bucks County

A weekend in Bucks County

Both my grandparents and my mother were born and raised in Hatboro, Pennsylvania: one of those quintessential small American towns where everyone knows everyone. My mom studied abroad in France and moved to California, and never looked back–she has very strong feelings about shoveling snow. My grandparents retired to Florida not long after I was born. So while I grew up hearing stories about life in Pennsylvania–Mimi used to pepper conversations with words like Doylestown, New Hope, Horsham–I’ve never actually explored the area myself.Christine Amorose & Jillian WishartSo when Bucks County Tourism invited me down for a weekend, I immediately said yes (!) and invited my friend Jillian to join me for a girls weekend. It’s only a two-hour drive from New York City, and we had grand visions of frolicking in fields of wildflowers, wine tasting with a view and staying in a super quaint B&B–aka a true weekend in the country, an escape from the chaos of the city. And it didn’t disappoint! We had such a wonderful time, and I’m already planning to go back in the fall: there are HOT AIR BALLOON RIDES (which I so wish we had known about in advance!) and the tree-lined roads must be insanely beautiful when the leaves are changing.

Caleb's American Kitchen in Bucks County, Pennsylvania Our very first stop in Bucks County was dinner at Caleb’s American Kitchen. It was a bit of a nightmare getting out of New York City at rush hour, so we were both hungry and ready to relax by the time we arrived. A glass of Pennsylvania table wine (it’s BYO!) and the fresh asparagus soup were the perfect start to the meal, and Jillian was still raving about the key lime pie dessert on our drive home on Sunday.Ash Mill Farm Bed & Breakfast in PennsylvaniaAsh Mill Farm Bed & Breakfast in PennsylvaniaWe stayed at Ash Mill Farm: it was my first time staying at a true B&B, and it was everything I imagined and more!We woke up to the smell of bacon wafting into our room, and went downstairs for homemade sausage French toast, just-out-of-the-oven coffee cake and hot coffee. We chatted with the other couple staying there, and then popped out to say hello to the sheep, goats, cats and miniature horse that live on the grounds.Ash Mill Farm Bed & Breakfast in PennsylvaniaAsh Mill Farm Bed & Breakfast in PennsylvaniaThere was a tree swing (hello photo opps!), and a porch with rocking chairs that was perfect to sit and listen to a thunderstorm roll through. For a place built in 1790, our room was super comfortable–and the innkeeper was just lovely.Sand Castle Winery in Bucks County, PennsylvaniaSand Castle Winery in Bucks County, PennsylvaniaHonestly, when I saw wine tasting on the itinerary for the weekend, I wasn’t that stoked. I had just been to three wineries in a day during my weekend in Austin, and although I love a glass of wine: I’m not enough of a wine connoisseur to differentiate between facilities tours or the nuances of a merlot. BUT. Sand Castle Winery was one of the most fun, informative and different wine tasting experiences I’ve ever had–and it all comes down to our hilarious and wonderful guide Vincenzio. We tasted chilled claret wine poured over orange slices (even more delicious and easier to prepare than sangria) and warm Alpine Spice wine (which tastes like a cozy night in a ski lodge); Jillian and I both bought bottles of each to recreate at home!Sand Castle Winery in Bucks County, PennsylvaniaAfter we finished the tasting, we took a glass of wine and some cheese and crackers outside: we chatted with a breeze blowing and view over the vineyards and the river, and it was just delightful.Covered bridge in Bucks County, PennsylvaniaCovered bridge in Bucks County, PennsylvaniaCovered bridge in Bucks County, PennsylvaniaAfter reading an article about America’s most beautiful covered bridges earlier this year, I’ve been on a bit of a quest to see as many as possible. I convinced my boyfriend to do a serious detour on our way to Providence on Valentine’s Day so that we could partake in the Pennsylvania good luck tradition of kissing under one. And even though we didn’t take part in the Covered Bridges scenic driving tour, we still stumbled across THREE beautiful covered bridges: Cabin Run, Erwinna and Frankfenfield. So picturesque!Ringing Rocks Park in Bucks County, PennsylvaniaRinging Rocks Park in Bucks County, PennsylvaniaRinging Rocks Park in Bucks County, PennsylvaniaWe saw something about bringing a hammer to Ringing Rocks Park, and thought it was a joke–until we showed up and saw everyone hammering away! The rocks sound as if they are metal and hollow and ring with a sound similar to a metal pipe being struck–it’s super bizarre. There’s also a waterfall, so we took a nice little hike.Goodnoe Dairy in Doylestown, PennsylvaniaWhen I told my mom that I was going to Bucks County, she immediately mentioned Goodnoe Farm: my grandparents used to drive the half hour from Hatboro on sticky summer days for the best ice cream in the area. My uncle (a strapping high school football star) once successfully completed the “Atomic”: a full gallon of ice cream with all the toppings, in one sitting! When I looked it up and saw it was still open–and had 4.5 stars on Yelp–we decided to go for an afternoon treat. Unfortunately, it was little disappointing–it’s been relocated from the original dairy to a little storefront on main street. But the ice cream is still darn good!Karla's Restaurant in New Hope, PennsylvaniaKarla's Restaurant in New Hope, PennsylvaniaThere was quite a rainstorm on Saturday afternoon, so we opted for a relaxing afternoon at Ash Mill Farm. But as soon as we drove into New Hope for dinner at Karla’s, we knew we would want to come back and explore! We loved Karla’s: blackberry margaritas, calamari with siracha aioli, all sorts of green plants and funky lights, and a really young, fun crowd.New Hope in Bucks County, PennsylvaniaAnd when we came back the next morning to walk around New Hope, we fell even more in love with the town! It’s right on the Delaware River–you can walk across the bridge to New Jersey–and there’s a network of canals that runs through town, with picturesque red bridges and lush green backyards lining it.New Hope in Bucks County, PennsylvaniaNew Hope in Bucks County, PennsylvaniaAn old-school train track runs through town, and New Hope & Ivyland Railroad takes people on scenic tours of the area–I actually want to go back and do one!Foothill Castle in Doylestown, PennsylvaniaFoothill Castle in Doylestown, PennsylvaniaFoothill Castle in Doylestown, PennsylvaniaWe took a tour of Fonthill Castle, which must be one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen. The home of archaeologist and tile-maker Henry Mercer, it was completed in 1912 and it’s now a museum that showcases his extensive tile and book collection.Hattery Stove & Still in Doylestown, PennsylvaniaDowntown Doylestown was just about as cute as it gets. We had lunch at Hattery Stove & Still: the salad was delicious, but the wall of vintage suitcases was even better.State Street in Doylestown, PennsylvaniaWe wandered down the adorable State Street–there’s an old school cinema, and some of the prettiest facades (and all of the flowers).Zen Den in Doylestown, PennsylvaniaBefore we started the drive back to NYC, we grabbed a rose lemonade at Zen Den. The baristas were so sweet, and I think I could have happily spent all day on the outdoor porch with a good book.

Overall, it was such a fun weekend–thanks to Jillian for being the official photographer!–and I already can’t wait to go back. Totally recommend for a low-key weekend away from the city.

*Note: Bucks County Tourism very kindly sponsored our trip, but all opinions are my own. 

What’s your favorite photo of Bucks County? Anything you would want to visit? 

 

  • This is right in between where I grew up and where I live now. And can you believe it, I’ve never been! It’s not a far drive at all, so now I have some good restaurant recs and I want to get to that winery! I would’ve never thought Bucks Country Tourism would reach out to bloggers, but this is awesome. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Hi Amanda! 🙂 My name is Jessica and I’m the communications manager at Visit Bucks County, the tourism office. We love hosting travel bloggers to experience our beautiful county!

    Hope you will come and visit us soon! Sand Castle Winery is a true gem.

  • Christine! I absolutely love this post…you and Jillian have captured Bucks County’s essence so perfectly. I’m glad you had such a wonderful time! Thanks for visiting!

  • A wall of vintage suitcases? AMAZING!!!!!!!

  • Right in my backyard! We’re closer to New Hope than Doylestown, but we get to Doylestown quite often. You’ve visited some of my favorite spots and I’ve made a list of places to try that I haven’t been . Thank you!

  • Oh, the wall of vintage suitcases is incredible! I want one for myself.

  • Such a fun, girlie weekend! And the pictures are just so America, love, love, love.

  • Brenna

    This is close to where I grew up! Goodnoes!!! My grandparents used to take us to the original creamery for root beer floats. I have heard good things about Sand Castle Winery and live so close to Doylestown and New Hope I have got to check it out.

  • That is so wonderful, Jessica! I am glad to see it. I hope to head up there sometime in June. It’s silly that it has taken me so long to get there. But I expect good things, for sure!

  • I’m from York County, not too far from Bucks, and these photos are definitely so Pennsylvania! Nice to see my little state get some love 🙂

  • Chloe Johnston

    New Hope is such a cute little town. So happy to see you exploring so close to us!

  • SisterSue

    The ice cream at Goodnoe’s is wonderful! Glad that
    you were able to experience it

  • camorose

    Yes! You should totally spend some time there, we had SO MUCH FUN! Definitely ask for Vincenzio at the winery–and our favorite restaurant was probably Karla’s in New Hope. The decor is super cute, margaritas are amazing and it’s just a really great neighborhood to walk around in!

  • camorose

    Thank you so much for having us! We had the best time, and we’re both already planning return trips with our SOs 🙂

  • camorose

    Right? I couldn’t pass up that photo opp!

  • camorose

    I really loved New Hope! So great that you’re able to enjoy city life AND country life. Need to pick your brain on the logistics next time I see you–hopefully soon! 🙂

  • camorose

    Yes! It was the perfect backdrop in this hotel lobby.

  • camorose

    Thanks hon! We had such a great time! Nice to have a girl along for photo opps and ice cream dates in the afternoon 🙂

  • camorose

    What a small world! My grandparents took my parents when they were little–I so wish that the original creamery still stood! Definitely head to Sand Castle, and ask for Vincezio. He was the best!

  • camorose

    Yay! My mom grew up there so I have a soft spot for Pennsylvania, and it was nice to explore it a little more on my own 🙂

  • camorose

    Thanks Chloe! We had such a fun time, I’d love to go back and explore more!

  • camorose

    Thank you! We enjoyed it!

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