Borough of Doylestown, PA
When former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter traveled to The Vatican to visit Pope Francis, he presented the pontiff with a gift: a set of handcrafted Mercer tiles from Doylestown.
Many have discovered Doylestown through the legacy of Henry Mercer.
This 19th-century archaeologist and industrialist built the cheerful borough’s three most striking landmarks: Fonthill Castle, a sprawling 44-room concrete palace; the Mercer Museum, a six-story Gothic and Byzantine historical repository for pieces of early Americana that Mercer collected; and Moravian Pottery & Tile Works, where employees preserve fading methods of production with care and attention.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation praised Doylestown for “rival(ing) many large cities … with its world-class cultural facilities, elegant Victorian architecture and historic attractions.”
Originally a tavern, the historic Fountain House now houses shops, offices and apartments.
The town’s history dates back to the Irish-born Doyle family, who settled the area after family patriarch, Edward Doyle, received a land grant from William Penn in 1692. Today, buildings from that era remain, including the Fountain House. Originally a tavern, it now houses shops, offices and apartments.
Though George Washington and his troops camped near Doylestown, it’s Civil War history and rare artifacts that are preserved at Bucks County Civil War Museum & Library.
The SEPTA Lansdale/Doylestown Line Regional Rail stops in downtown Doylestown, taking approximately 90 minutes from Center City stations. By car, the trip along I-76, I-476, I-276 and Route 611 takes less than 60 minutes. Metered parking and lots are available.
Just outside town lie several wine attractions: Buckingham Valley Vineyards & Winery; Wycombe Vineyards; and Vivat Alfa Winery.
Back in town, it’s time for a beer at Maxwell’s on Main (or MOM’s as it’s known), which specializes in craft food and beer. Here, an assortment of dining rooms, bars and patios invite patrons to choose their favorite ambiance and enjoy American food with a touch of Southern inspiration and a stellar lineup of craft beer.
At bring-your-own-bottle spot Hickory Kitchen, diners wash down a full complement of barbecued meats, cornbread, fried pickles and secret sauces with homemade lemonade or sweet tea.
Henry Mercer’s castles and factory host some of the borough’s most cherished annual traditions.
In May, Moravian Pottery and Tile Works Festival brings artists, dealers and collectors of handmade tiles to the living-history factory.
Fonthill Castle hosts an old-fashioned Fourth of July celebration. Residents also know to visit the castles during the holiday season: Mercer Museum’s annual exhibition “Under the Tree: A Century of Holiday Trees and Toys” captures children’s Christmas excitement with historical toys and trees decorated in the style of past eras.
— Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia
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