Philly’s Best Day Trip Destinations: Visiting Bucks County
New Hope: 13 East Randolph Street
Few people possess the keys that gain entrance to this members-only riverside morning hot spot; to score a seat, you’ll have to come with someone lucky enough to have one. It’s loud and diner-like, but the locals who come here are treated like family; coffee and tea are free at the serve-yourself coffee bar, and the grilled blueberry muffins and pancakes are positively mouth-watering. Can’t get in? Do the next best thing and head to sister restaurant the Landing.
Go here for: The chance to pretend you’re a local for the day.
The Boat House
Lambertville: 8½ Coryell Street
Down an alleyway, in a leaf-shaded cluster of old buildings known as the Porkyard, sits this quaint two-story tavern. Step inside and you’ll feel you’ve entered the home of a grizzled ship’s cap’n, one who regales guests with Moby-Dick-esque tales of the open sea. The steeply sloping walls are adorned with nautical memorabilia, and close-quarter seating is limited to cozy vignettes—weathered leather club chairs, a well-worn blue velvet sofa (upstairs—and the best seat in the house). Dive into the complimentary basket of sourdough pretzels and a roster of classic drinks your grandfather would appreciate.
Go here for: A pre-dinner drink in serious atmosphere.
Bucks County Dry Goods
Doylestown and Lambertville: 8 East State Street and 5 Klines Court
Shopping here is like sifting through the home of a very eclectic globe-trotting friend. You’ll want everything, from the vintage (mid-century modern furniture) to the only-looks-old (industrial-metal alphabet letters) to the handcrafted (custom lighting by Robert True Ogden). Of course, there are the clothes, too—racks of earthy styles perfect for some globe-trotting of your own.
Go here for: Flea-markety treasures without the hunt.
Linden Hill Gardens
Ottsville: 8230 Easton Road
Visit this charming spot—more horticultural destination than garden center—and you’ll likely see affable owner Jerry Fritz wandering the impeccably designed grounds. He’ll show you the greenhouse (which, starting in the fall, is filled with more than a thousand varieties of plants), the “gift cottage” (succulents in antique teacups make for adorable hostess gifts), and the property’s countless display gardens. Ask him for plant recommendations, for advice about your garden dreams, and what it was like to work with Martha. (Yes, that Martha.)
Go here for: Can’t-miss Friday-afternoon farmers’ markets.
The Zebra-Striped Whale
Newtown: 12 South State Street
Owner Shari Faden Donahue based this color-splashed shop—part throwback ice-cream parlor, part children’s wonderland—on her best-selling children’s book of the same name. And the ice cream? It’s of the supremely decadent cold-stone variety. Pair it with a few toppings and a crisp waffle cone, then enjoy it in the shop’s back seating area, or during an early-evening stroll through Newtown’s insanely quaint town center.
Go here for: The graham-cracker scoop.