Bucks County, PA, is a beautiful and unique slice of America. I wanted to provide some reasons, in no particular order, why Bucks County is an ideal place to live. If you’re thinking of moving and you’re considering this section of Pennsylvania or the Northeast in general, or if you’re taking a new job in the Philadelphia, New Jersey, or New York City area and you’re not sure where your home base should be, I think you’ll find this list helpful.
- River Towns
Along the Delaware River are some of the most picturesque towns, including New Hope, Lumberville, and Washington Crossing. Just across the river in New Jersey is Lambertville, Stocktown, and Frenchtown. All of these towns offer their own style of restaurants, bars, local art, and culture. You can find influences from colonial America, France, and the Revolutionary War.
- Covered Bridges
At one time Bucks County had more than 50 covered, or “kissing,” bridges. Twelve of these original novelties still exist and 10 can still be driven over. Take a tour around the beautiful Bucks County back-roads in search of these treasures. Bucks County’s tourism website visitbuckscounty.com has information and locations for each bridge.
- Close Proximity to Philadelphia and New York City
It’s a short 45-minute to one-hour drive to Philly and a quick one-hour and 15-minute to two-hour drive to New York City. You can easily take the train or bus to either city as well.
- Revolutionary War History
George Washington and the Continental Army literally marched straight through Bucks County. It’s hard not to notice the many buildings and landmarks that have commemorative plaques marking their significance. In Washington Crossing you can take a tour of the small river town where Washington so famously crossed the Delaware River on Christmas Eve to attack the British in Trenton. There are some original buildings and a visitor center.
- Stone Houses
Throughout Bucks County you’ll see centuries-old stone houses, barns, and walls. These structures hark back to an era when people built their own properties out of local resources to last and also look beautiful.
- Delaware River
Imagine floating lazily down the Delaware River on an inner-tube or kayak, or enjoying a cold beer on a restaurant patio overlooking the flowing water on a warm summer day.
- Blue Ribbon Schools
There are many schools in Bucks County that have been awarded Blue Ribbon School status. There are also 144 private schools in Bucks County, many of which are also award-winning.
- Town and Country
Bucks County offers a unique blend of farms, country towns, and suburban developments. No matter where in Bucks County you are, you’re never far from rolling hills, a local farm, or a bustling town with lots of shops.
- Close to Lancaster
Bucks County is only about one-and-a-half hours from beautiful Amish country in Lancaster, PA, as well as the famous chocolate town of Hershey. You can see the Amish horse-and-buggies driving along the roads from farm to farm and you can purchase exceptional Amish-made goods like furniture and quilts.
- Vineyards and Microbreweries
Bucks County boasts dozens of vineyards and microbreweries where you can take tours and take part in tastings. Some of my favorites are Buckingham Valley Vineyards, Crossing Vineyards, Peace Valley Winery, Bucks County Brewery, Triumph Brewing Company, Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company, and Vault Brewing Company. Check out the Bucks County Wine Trail website for more information on all of Bucks County’s vineyards.
- Parks and Trails
There are an endless amount of parks and trails to enjoy. Running the length of the Delaware River in Bucks County is an old tow path that was used by mules to pull barges down the canal that runs parallel to the river. It is now maintained as a walking and bike trail. Along the canal you can still find some of the old lock mechanisms and wooden doors that were once used to hold back or release water in the canal. Ringing Rocks County Park is another unique spot where you can investigate what looks like a river of boulders. Bring your hammer and tap the rocks to hear them ring. A short walk away from there is a seasonal waterfall. Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve is another beautiful park. Enjoy the flowers all spring and summer season and climb Bowman’s Tower for a bird’s-eye view of Bucks County.
- Theme Parks
Sesame Place is located in southern Bucks County where kids can visit their favorite characters from Sesame Street and enjoy rides, shows, and water attractions. Not far from Bucks County is the Crayola Experience in Easton, PA, Hershey Park in Hershey, PA, Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, PA, and Great Wolf Lodge in the Pocono Mountains.
- Peddler’s Village
Right in the heart of Bucks County is Peddler’s Village, a unique shopping experience inspired by the seaside town of Carmel, CA. The 42-acre development offers 65 shops, restaurants, and bars among manicured gardens, winding paths, and little bridges.
- Pocono Mountains
The famous Pocono Mountains are a short one-and-a-half to two-hour drive away. In the summer months you can enjoy great trail hiking and waterfall gazing at Bushkill Falls. There are many resort options, too, if you want to extend your stay. In the winter there are a number of excellent ski resorts such as Camelback Mountain, Jack Frost Big Boulder, and Shawnee Mountain.
- Haunted History
With houses and inns dating back to the early 1700’s and the rich Revolutionary War history, there’s a lot of strange activity and claims of ghost hauntings in Bucks County. New Hope is particularly ripe with haunted locales such as the Logan Inn and the Inn at Phillips Mill. It’s said that New Hope was once inhabited with more witches than Salem, MA. I’m sure this has only added to the paranormal activity people have claimed to experience here.
- Fonthill Castle, Mercer Museum, and Mercer Tile Works
One of the most unique and interesting places in Bucks County is the legacy that Henry Chapman Mercer (1856-1930) left behind. In the early 1900’s he constructed a castle in Doylestown that is comprised mostly of concrete and tiles. Each room has stories to tell through the tile he created in the tile works factory he developed behind the castle. His tiles were famous for the time and were bought from all over the world. Henry also constructed a six-story museum, also made of concrete and tiles, to house a collection of almost 30,000 items used in daily life pre-industrial revolution. You can tour all three unique structures, take classes, and attend events there.
- Art Museums and Art Galleries
There are many quality art museums and art galleries throughout Bucks County. The James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown is named after the famous author who grew up in Doylestown. The museum is built around the remaining stone walls of the 19th century Bucks County prison and houses impressionist art from the 19th and 20th centuries as well as temporary exhibits. The Bucks County Children’s Museum in New Hope is a great place for kids aged one to seven to learn, explore, and play!
- The Theater
The Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope became a famous theater where potential Broadway shows were first tried out. The repurposed grist mill has seen many famous actors through the years such as Grace Kelly, Robert Redford, Walter Matthau, Dick Van Dyke, and Angela Lansbury. Town and Country Players is another wonderful theater, also housed in a barn. The affordable shows are performed by local talent in Buckingham, PA.
- Hunting and Fishing
There are great opportunities for hunting, fishing, trapping, archery, and marksmanship in Bucks County. There are large populations of deer, wild turkey, and fox in the area. There are also many youth programs available to learn how to hunt and excel in outdoor skills.
- Fred’s Breakfast
Have you ever wanted to belong to an exclusive members-only breakfast restaurant? Living in or around New Hope, PA, is the first step to attaining a membership at Fred’s Breakfast. The doors are always locked, there’s no sign out front, the food is fantastic, and the coffee is free! On your birthday, the three resident Bernese Mountain Dogs might even sing to you. You can grab your coffee, warm up by the wood stove, and watch the Delaware River flow by.
- Hot Air Ballooning
Bucks County can also be experienced by air through one of the local hot air balloon companies such as the U.S. Hot Air Balloon Team or Endless Mountains. We’ve seen balloons going by overhead often. One morning we woke up to a loud whooshing sound and when I looked out the window I saw a balloon so close to the house that I could have had a conversation with the passengers! The balloons add an interesting and beautiful sight in the sky.
Of course, there are many more fantastic reasons to live in Bucks County, but I think this is a great overview of some of the highlights. If you’re preparing for a move to Bucks, feel free to reach out to me with questions about the area or for help in finding your new home.