When I search for vacations, I look for destinations full of good food, unique experiences, a craft beer (or two), and a touch of mother nature. “A high of 30 is not hiking weather”, kept ringing through my head as I searched for a birthday destination within two hours of West Chester, PA. After creating quite the warm weather bucket list, we decided to make Doylestown and New Hope our destinations for my birthday celebrations.
My Kind of Town: Coffee and Dessert Shops on Every Corner
The first stop on our tour was Doylestown, a charming borough boasting plenty of places to eat, drink, and be merry. Of course, when I saw Paganini Ristorante was offering daily house made pasta, I knew we wouldn’t be dining anywhere else. Our meals began with a buttery, 15-month aged prosciutto, followed by Maccheroncini alla Vodka for me and a burger for my husband. Paginini’s spacious and comfortable dining room contains cascading staircases and doors that gave diners private dining rooms to enjoy their classic Italian and European fare.
The Father of the Arts and Crafts Movement in America
Next, we headed to Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, a place that’s been on my bucket list for years. Founded by Henry Chapman Mercer, whose bricks and tiles make up PA’s most prominent buildings. In the 1890s, rather than just study archeology at Penn, he decided to travel the work searching for ancient, artisan tools and artifacts.
He returned home, built Moravian Tile Works, and revolutionized the tile making process. His tiles are all made by hand, during a time when people started to turn to machines. This process is still in practice today in this working museum and factory. It’s not a very long tour, so I’d recommend also visiting Fonthill Castle on the property or the close-by Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle to see his creativity in action. All three places close at 5:00 p.m.
Downtown New Hope
After a champagne stop, we strolled through New Hope’s quaint streets filled with shops, bars, and restaurants in search of a culinary adventure (my favorite past-time). Then, we spotted our dinner destination–Karla’s Restaurant and Bar–a beacon in a sea of stuffy dining rooms and hum drum menus. You felt like you were entering the home of a long-time friend, rather than a restaurant.
My problem with Karla’s is I wanted to have everything on the menu! After much deliberation, I settled a blood orange martini, tuna turtare, and my husband settled on Korean tacos and habanero and mango wings. The only thing better than our incredible dinner was live music floating through this friendly and warm watering hole that was beloved by locals and tourists alike.
After a few drinks at different bars, we decided to head back to the hotel for a nightcap. It turns out the real party was taking place in our hotel bar–Thursday nights were Bingo/Karaoke/Dance Party Night (aka the best combination ever).
Fuel for the Ride Home
The New Hope Ferry Market caught my eye the night before. This market had a fantastic lineup of vendors to please any palate. I jet-setted around the globe under one roof with a cappuccino from SkyRoast Coffee, empanadas and Mexican street corn from Lima Fusion, and birthday cake macaroons from Sciascia Confections to enjoy when we got home.
Doylestown and New Hope are the kind of adorable towns that call for spring strolls, and we have plenty more exploring to do.