Doylestown is a borough in, and the county seat of, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. It is situated 35 miles north of Philadelphia and 80 miles southwest of New York City. It was founded in 1745 at the intersection of what is now known as US Route 202 and Pennsylvania Route 611. It is named after William Doyle who set up a tavern at that point. The population of the settlement waxed and waned and at one time, the entire historic town center was threatened with demolition until it was saved by civic action. There have been several notable residents of the town, such as Henry Chapman Mercer, Pearl S. Buck, James A Michener and Oscar Hammerstein. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Hours/availability may have changed.
© Kids Castle
The concept of Kids Castle play center was inspired by Henry Mercer's castles in the town. It is a community project funded by individuals and facilitated by volunteers. It was established in 1997 and through constant use needed to be refurbished in 2013. The center is divided into four 'kingdoms' and caters for children of all abilities, specifically those with special visual, auditory, cognitive and mobility needs. It is constantly evolving, with new activities being added. Commemorative bricks and children's artwork, inspired by Mercer's tiles, are sold to raise funds.
425 Wells Rd, Doylestown, PA 18901, Phone: 215-348-9915
2.Fonthill Castle, Doylestown, PA
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Fonthill was the eclectic and eccentric home of Henry Chapman Mercer. It is an autobiographical representation of his life as an archaeologist, historian and leader of the American Arts and Crafts Movement. The design was drawn from his readings, his travels and his own fertile imagination. The castle was constructed using poured concrete and comprises 44 rooms, 32 staircases and 18 fireplaces. There are more than 200 windows of varying shapes and sizes that bring light into the multiplicity of interior spaces. Tiles that he made and collected around the globe are used extensively. There are are 7000 prints on the walls and 6000 of his books in the library.
525 E Court St, Doylestown, PA 18901, Phone: 215-348-9461
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3.Mercer Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania
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The six-story Mercer Museum is one of three concrete buildings erected by Henry Chapman Mercer. He foresaw the advent of the industrial revolution with its plethora of machine-made goods and set about collecting outmoded hand-made artifacts from daily life from the 18th and 19th centuries. Of the 40000 items on display, 30000 were collected by Mercer himself. He designed the building and devised a cataloging system for his collection. The towering central atrium houses large objects such as a whaling boat and a stage coach. There are a total of 55 exhibit areas and alcoves. The museum has been declared a National Historic Landmark.
84 South Pine Street, Doylestown, PA 18901, Phone: 215-345-0210
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4.Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania
James A. Michener, a popular novelist, Pulitzer Prize winner and Doylestown resident, was a major driver of the establishment of this museum. He initially donated $500000 and a portion of his art collection. Ultimately, his contribution would total $8.5 million. The private museum was established in 1988 in a former prison building that had been built a century earlier. The premier attraction is a collection of Pennsylvania Impressionism, a movement from the early 20th century. A replica of Michener's office is a permanent exhibit. The museum also has a sculpture garden, reading room, shop and café.
138 S. Pine Street, Doylestown, PA 18901, Phone: 215-340-9800
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5.Moravian Pottery and Tile Works
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The pottery works were built and used by Henry Chapman Mercer who was the director of the enterprise from 1898 to 1930. It is now a living, working museum. Tiles are produced using molds made from Mercer's original designs. The clay is locally sourced and is much the same consistency as that used by Mercer. During his tenure, no potters' marks were used. After his death, a mark was introduced to distinguish the reproductions of his tiles that are made at the works. Self-guided, audio tours run every half hour and visitors can purchase memorabilia on site. Workshops and apprenticeship programs develop the skills needed to keep the industry alive.
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6.Pearl S. Buck House, Doylestown, PA
Pearl Buck lived on Green Hills farm for almost 40 years, from 1933 to the late 60s. She completed several of her works on the 67 acre homestead. The house is an example of 19th century Pennsylvania architecture and was constructed out of coursed fieldstone. The author added several extensions, including two libraries. In 1980, a museum was established and the property was listed as a National Historic Landmark. Twelve rooms are open for viewing and in the grounds are her gravesite, greenhouse and award-winning gardens. Pearl S. Buck International runs diversity and inclusion programs at the museum.
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7.Bucks County Civil War Library and Museum
© Bucks County Civil War Library and Museum
Learn about one of the most crucial wars in American history at the Bucks County Civil War Library and Museum. Situated amongst the hustle and bustle of downtown businesses in the historic Bucks County, the museum offers a unique look into the county's life 140 years ago along with its important contributions to the war. Look through the museum’s collection of rare and priceless Civil War artifacts such as art, sculptures, photographs, maps, and flags, or learn from over 1,500 books, databases, and periodicals in the library and research room. Through their many exhibits, visitors will learn all about the legacy of the local 104th “Ringgold” Regiment who served in the war for three years and hopefully leave with a greater appreciation for the local community as well as the country as a whole.
32 North Broad Street, Doylestown, Pennsylvania 18901, Phone: 215-822-1562
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8.What to Do in Doylestown, PA: Central Park
The Central Park in Doylestown is 125 acres of green space on the outskirts of the city. It was purchased from the Delaware Valley College in 1995 and 30 acres are leased back to the college for urban farming. It is the home of Kids Castle and the Environmental Education Center. There are basketball courts, soccer fields, tennis courts and trails for walking and cycling within the park. The amphitheater is the venue for music concerts and movies in summer. A sensory trail has been laid out for people with special needs and a large portion has been left as uncultivated meadowland.
9.Peace Valley Lavender Farm
What once started as a vision of a field of lavender is now a tranquil reality at Peace Valley Lavender Farm. Owned by a husband and wife, the farm first started with vegetables and herbs until the wife imagined a beautiful field of lavender and they decided to try it out. Years later, and with a lot of hard work and a major garden overhaul in 2019, Peace Valley Lavender Farm boasts of a beautiful, sun-soaked hillside filled with 3,000 lavender plants of different species and varieties. Take a visit to their farm and find almost every kind of lavender product you can think of from growing plants to dried bunches to essential oils and more. Whether for yourself or as a gift for others, you can be sure to leave the farm with a heightened sense of tranquility.
802 New Galena Road, Doylestown, Pennsylvania 18901, Phone: 215-249-8462
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10.Honey Restaurant, Doylestown, PA
© Honey Restaurant
Honey restaurant serves aggressively seasoned, unique dishes. The meat, fish and vegetarian menu items are served on small plates so that diners can taste more than one dish or order a variety for the table. The menus are constantly evolving as the popularity of dishes changes. The slow cooked meals are designed for slow dining. The bar offers a range of specialty cocktails, Pennslyvania craft beers, liquid desserts and non-alcoholic beverages. The restaurant opens at 5 pm and serves dinner only. It is closed on Mondays.
42 Shewell Ave., Doylestown, PA 18901, Phone: 215-489-4200
11.Things to Do in Doylestown, PA: Lilly's Restaurant and Catering
Lilly Salvatore brought her extensive restaurant expertise to Doylestown in 1998. She offers full service dining in a relaxed café-style atmosphere in the historic heart of Doyleston, across the street from the court house. On the same premises, Lilly opened the Jury Room, in collaboration with Geronimo Brewing. A rotation of micro brews, served with her overstuffed artisan sandwiches, attracts business people, jurists and tourists. Customized menus are developed for catered occasions, from intimate occasions to large celebrations. The eatery is open from 10 am to 3 pm daily.
1 West Court St., Doylestown, PA 18901, Phone: 215-230-7883
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12.Piccola Trattoria, Doylestown, Pennsylvania
© Piccola Trattoria
The first Piccola Trattoria was opened in 1999. In 2016, a branch was opened in Doyleston. They serve modern and traditional Italian cuisine and have a range of menus for brunch, lunch, dinner and Sundays. The restaurant offers an event planning service and can cater for outside events, from buffets to banquets. The preparation and other processes are constantly being refined and the company has recently launched Piccola Pronto, a fast food, build-your-own pizza and pasta parlor which has been franchised. The chain runs a range of fundraising campaigns with names like Dough-nate, Feed the Knead and Raising the Dough.
1745 South Easton Road, Doylestown, PA 18901, Phone: 267-485-4000
© Heritage Conservancy
Beautiful and filled with awe-inspiring history, the Aldie Mansion is a treat for the eyes of anyone who loves history or architecture. The English Tudor manor dates back to 1927 as the home to William and Martha Mercer. It serves as a prime example of American craftsmanship with its pristine brickwork, antique tiles, gargoyles, and carefully sculpted architectural details. Visitors will also be impressed to hear about the many gatherings the family has hosted in the mansion including those with the Von Trapp family and Groucho Marx. Through the years, the mansion has been faithfully preserved and now serves as the home base for the nonprofit Heritage Conservancy as well as a beautiful events space for weddings and other occasions.
85 Old Dublin Pike, Doylestown, Pennsylvania 18901, Phone: 215-345-7020
Standing at about 518 acres in size, Quakertown Swamp is known as one of southeastern Pennsylvania’s largest inland wetlands. As you explore the area, be ready to find a plethora of plant and animal wildlife throughout the swamp’s thriving ecosystem including beavers, over 91 species of birds, and Eastern Pennsylvania's largest Great Blue Heron rookery. Quakertown Swamp is also well protected as it’s recognized as a Wild Plant Sanctuary as well as a crucial wetland by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. On top of its contributions to the surrounding wildlife, it also plays an important role to the neighboring communities as it stores water during floods and absorbs pollutants from the water. Before visiting, be sure to check out their self-guided tour and birding guide, both of which are available on their website.
15.Hellerick's Family Farm
© Hellerick's Family Farm
Find a number of opportunities for family bonding at the Hellerick’s Family Farm. If you and your companions enjoy fun adventures, try accomplishing their obstacle course, or for more of a challenge, climb up and complete their suspended ropes obstacle course called Aerial Adventure. Animal lovers can enjoy activities such as goat yoga and check out the different animals in their petting farm. Seasonal activities are also available such as the fall festival which includes hayrides, corn mazes, and sunflower fields. Depending on what crops are in season, you and your family can also pick and bring home produce such as berries, pears, pumpkins, and flowers. Whether for a simple family activity, birthday party, or even photoshoots, be sure to check out this farm filled with beauty and fun.
5500 N. Easton Road, Doylestown, Pennsylvania 18902, Phone: 215-766-8388
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16.Doylestown Escape Room
© Doylestown Escape Room
Test your imagination and wits at Doylestown Escape Room. With a selection of unique and award-winning escape rooms, families and friends will enjoy the fun adventures awaiting within each room. Immerse yourself in the different themes available such as time-hopping science fiction, a thrilling adventure, a murder mystery, or a Hollywood Christmas adventure—all of which will surely bring about loads of laughter, bonding, and collaboration. Rooms accommodate parties of two to eight players and may be booked in advance online. Party packages along with team building packages are also available. Ideally located in the center of Doylestown Borough, it will be easy to grab some food nearby after successfully making your way through the escape room.
140 South Main Street, Doylestown, Pennsylvania 18901, Phone: 215-340-1729
17.Doylestown Rock Gym
© Doylestown Rock Gym
Standing at 12,000 square feet, the massive Doylestown Rock Gym has something to offer climbers of all ages and abilities. Climbers can choose between various indoor and outdoor climbing walls which include variations such as overhangs, boulders, chimneys, cracks, caves, and lead walls. The gym also offers a great array and selection of classes. Beginner classes are available to people of any level—even for kids as young as two and a half years old. Advanced classes are also offered for those looking to pick up new tricks and further their existing skills. Climbers may also visit with friends and avail themselves of the gym’s group classes, while students can attend the gym’s summer camps and homeschool classes.
3853 Old Easton Road, Doylestown, Pennsylvania 18902, Phone: 215-230-9085
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18.Quinoa Peruvian and Mexican Restaurant
© Quinoa Peruvian and Mexican Restaurant
Get an authentic taste of Peruvian and Mexican cuisine in this proudly family-owned restaurant. Quinoa Peruvian & Mexican Restaurant has brought authentic family recipes center stage and wowed customers since its opening in 2013. Creating and serving dishes with only the finest and freshest ingredients, it’s no surprise to see the restaurant's endless positive reviews on platforms like Trip Advisor, Yelp, and Facebook. Get a taste of their savory meats such as the Peruvian Lamb Stew Tacu Tacu which is slow cooked for 48 hours or try some of their fresh seafood like the Ceviche Limeno. Quinoa is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays, and if you have the opportunity, be sure to stop by Taco Tuesdays to take advantage of their delicious and special taco promotions!
54 E State Street, Doylestown, Pennsylvania 18901, Phone: 215-348-2826
18 Best Things to Do in Doylestown, Pennsylvania
- Kids Castle, Photo: Kids Castle
- Fonthill Castle, Doylestown, PA, Photo: World Travel Photos/stock.adobe.com
- Mercer Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Photo: David LoGiudice/stock.adobe.com
- Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Photo: murika/stock.adobe.com
- Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, Photo: Jackson Photography/stock.adobe.com
- Pearl S. Buck House, Doylestown, PA, Photo: 1jaimages/stock.adobe.com
- Bucks County Civil War Library and Museum, Photo: Bucks County Civil War Library and Museum
- What to Do in Doylestown, PA: Central Park, Photo: ipopba/stock.adobe.com
- Peace Valley Lavender Farm, Photo: emperorcosar/stock.adobe.com
- Honey Restaurant, Doylestown, PA, Photo: Honey Restaurant
- Things to Do in Doylestown, PA: Lilly's Restaurant and Catering, Photo: nataliaderiabina/stock.adobe.com
- Piccola Trattoria, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Photo: Piccola Trattoria
- Aldie Mansion, Photo: Heritage Conservancy
- Quakertown Swamp, Photo: maykal/stock.adobe.com
- Hellerick's Family Farm, Photo: Hellerick's Family Farm
- Doylestown Escape Room, Photo: Doylestown Escape Room
- Doylestown Rock Gym, Photo: Doylestown Rock Gym
- Quinoa Peruvian and Mexican Restaurant, Photo: Quinoa Peruvian and Mexican Restaurant
- Cover Photo: Jin/stock.adobe.com
Attraction Spotlight: Mercer Museum
Located in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, the Mercer Museum preserves the historical collections of archaeologist Henry Chapman Mercer, showcasing a variety of pre-industrial tools and technologies common to American life prior to the 20th century.
Born on June 24, 1856 in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Henry Chapman Mercer developed an interest in historical preservation and archaeological collection from a young age, serving as a founding member of the Bucks County Historical Society after beginning law school at the University of Pennsylvania. In the early 1890s, Mercer became the Curator of American and Prehistoric Archaeology at the University of Pennsylvania Museum and soon thereafter began cultivating an extensive collection of pre-industrial American artifacts, wishing to preserve the technologies and tools common to American life prior to the Industrial Revolution.
Throughout his career, Mercer became known as a noted expert on ancient toolmaking and ceramics, founding Moravian Pottery and Tile Works in 1898, which supplied the tiles for the floor of Harrisburg’s Pennsylvania State Capitol Building. He also constructed three unique structures throughout his life, including the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works facility, his Fonthill Castle residence, and what would become the Mercer Museum building, completed in 1916. Following his death in 1930, the three buildings, commonly referred to as the “Mercer Mile,” were acquired by the Bucks County Historical Society. In 1972, the museum building was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and in 1985, the three Mercer Mile buildings were incorporated into a National Historic Landmark District. In June of 2011, a major expansion was added to the museum, featuring a new visitor center and expanded exhibit space.
Today, the Mercer Museum displays more than 40,000 American artifacts created prior to the 20th century, most from Mercer’s original collection of pre-industrial tools and artifacts. As an American Alliance of Museums-accredited facility, the museum is visited by more than 65,000 annual visitors. The nonprofit museum is operated by the Bucks County Historical Society and supported by a number of regional and national organizations, including the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. It is credited as a major inspiration for the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan and was noted to have been considered by Ford to be the preeminent museum in the United States in the early 20th century.
More than 55 exhibit rooms are showcased throughout the museum, highlighting artifacts of tools and technologies commonly used in American everyday life throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Visitors may explore the museum’s seven floors of exhibits at their leisure with the assistance of an audio exhibit tour, available for checkout at the museum’s reception desk. Permanent exhibit rooms focus on the tools and technologies of individual pre-industrial crafts and trades, including items related to food preservation and harvesting technologies, stoneworking, glassblowing, pottery making, clothing production and shoemaking, tinsmithing, gunsmithing and weapon-making, and other industrial and home technologies. Large artifacts are also showcased within the museum’s halls, including an authentic Conestoga wagon, a whaling boat, a cider press, and an antique fire truck.
In addition to permanent exhibits, a number of temporary rotating exhibits showcase artifacts and topics related to aspects of American history and culture. The museum’s third floor also features the Bucks County Historical Society’s Spruance Library, which contains an extensive volume collection of historical materials and allows visitors to research their family history through a collection of archival records held within the area’s County Archives. Two family galleries, the Children’s Gallery and the Imagination Gallery, are located on the museum’s fifth and sixth floors, allowing young visitors to explore the museum’s collections with their families in a safe, hands-on environment.
Ongoing Programs and Education
Group tours of the Mercer Museum are available for small groups and organizations, featuring a 15-minute orientation lecture by museum docents. Field trip opportunities are also provided for elementary and secondary school students, incorporating Pennsylvania curriculum elements. A traveling trunk program is also available for students in grades 1-9, bringing museum materials and staff directly into the classroom. Themed in-class programs and school assembly programs are also available, focusing on a variety of topics related to pre-industrial American history and culture. Programming is also available for scouting groups, including badge-focused workshops and overnight museum experiences. A variety of Bucks County Historical Society public special events are hosted throughout the year at the Mercer Mile facilities, including a Sunday storytelling sessions series for children, an adult crafting workshop series, and a number of holiday home tours and events hosted at the nearby Fonthill Castle facility. The Cocktails at the Castle fall gala also serves as the Society’s annual fundraiser, offering food and cocktails from a variety of local vendors and opportunities to freely explore the castle’s preserved rooms and historical collections.
84 S Pine St, Doylestown, PA 18901, Phone: 215-345-0210
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