Twenty-seven miles outside Philadelphia, the town of Doylestown is a place of rosy brick buildings, fanciful Victorian houses and scattered examples of Federal-style town houses. All in all, it's a pleasant mix of 19th century architecture and 21st century commerce, with a little culture - in the form of the Michener Museum, Fonthill and the Mercer Museum - thrown in.
With a fine choice of shopping, restaurants and country inns, it makes for a relaxing weekend getaway.
By car Doylestown is about 75 miles south of New York City. Follow Interstate 78 west to Interstate 287 south. At exit 17, take Route 202 south to Doylestown.
Info 215-639-0300, visitbuckscounty.com (Bucks County Conference & Visitors Bureau)
WHERE TO STAY
Doylestown Inn, 18 W. State St., 215-345-6610, doylestowninn.com
Rates $170-$195 Sunday-Thursday, $205-$230 Friday-Saturday
Right in the center of town, the Doylestown Inn has been a favorite place to stay since it opened in 1902. Rooms are classically decorated; some have fireplaces. After a day of roaming through town, relax over a pot of tea or a drink in the ground-floor bar.
Highland Farm Bed and Breakfast, 70 East Rd., 215-345-6767, highlandfarmbb.com
Rates $160-$220 Sunday-Thursday, $200-$270, Friday-Saturday (January-April). Slightly higher May-December.
The buildings are more than 260 years old, but the inn's biggest claim to fame is that it once was the home of Broadway composer Oscar Hammerstein II, who, it is said, composed the song "O What a Beautiful Morning" for "Oklahoma!" here at the farm. Today, its guest rooms are tastefully decorated and common areas are comfortable.
WHERE TO SHOP
If shopping is your game, Doylestown - and nearby Peddler's Village - offer plenty of places to exercise your talent.
West State Street
Right in Doylestown, you can browse the shops along West State Street, where you'll find everything from high-fashion shoes to garden furniture. Some favorite places to check out: Cowgirl Chile Co., with its hand-wrought sterling-silver jewelry (Main Street Marketplace, 22 S. Main St.); Secret Garden bookstore, with its superb collection of kids' books (42 E. State St., rear); and, at 19Donaldson, the Doggie Deli, with all manner of treats for man's best friend.
If you're looking for classic women's clothes, there's Chico's (31 S. Main St.); for fine vintage clothes and accessories, try Chelsea (18 N. Main St.). For up-to-the-minute fashion, there's Mode in the Main Street Marketplace.
About a 10-minute drive along Route 202 brings you to Peddler's Village, a collection of shops ranged around gardens and grouped in courtyards. Browse through A Touch of Britain, which carries English china and collectibles; Eldreth Pottery for stoneware; Steel Magnolia for feminine fashion; and Periwinkle Place for kids' stuff (peddlersvillage.com).
TAKE A BREAK
Visit a museum
Doylestown's Michener Museum is exhibiting a collection of Charles Ward's modernist paintings through Feb. 14 ($10 admission, 138 S. Pine St., 215-340-9800, michenermuseum.org). The nearby Mercer Museum, housed inside a six-story castle, displays objects of everyday early American life, including those used for trades ranging from tinsmithing and glassblowing to hat-making and animal husbandry ($9 admission, 84S. Pine St., 215-345-0210, mercer museum.org). Fonthill, Henry Mercer's home, has 44 rooms, 18 fireplaces and more than 200 windows. It's open for guided tours only, $10 - reservations recommended (East Court Street and Route 313, 215-345-0210, fonthillmuseum.org).
Take a walk
Take a break from all that shopping with a walk in the wild - or the nearly wild. Peace Valley Nature Center offers 14 miles of wooded trails through forest and meadow. Or follow the paved hike and bike path that skirts Lake Galena and keep an eye out for some of the 250 species of birds that call the place home (170 N. Chapman Rd., 215-345-7860, peacevalleynaturecenter.org).
WHERE TO EAT
Honey Restaurant, 42 Shewell Ave., 215-489-4200, honeyrestaurant.com
Honey has won raves from the locals and gotten notice as far away as Philly. Innovative food shines in small plates for dinner, with specialties such as black tea-glazed spareribs. The cocktails offered are amazing.
Let Them Eat Cupcakes, 17 E. Oakland Ave., 215-345-7750
Sensational sweets here.
Sweet Lorraine's Café, Route 202 and Street Road, Lahaska, 215-794-4040, peddlersvillage.com
Break up a shopping trip to Peddler's Village with a simple lunch at Sweet Lorraine's: sandwiches, salads, burgers and the like.
Black Bass Hotel, 3774 River Rd., Lahaska, 215-297-9260, blackbasshotel.com
About a 20-minute drive from Doylestown, the hotel offers a three-course Sunday brunch with superb views of the Delaware River. Built in the 1740s, the hotel also makes much of its involvement in the Revolutionary War - on the British side, with memorabilia and posters.