The Best Bucks County Inns
For some, B&Bs are happy places where wine is sipped on front porches, logs are thrown onto fireplaces, and antiques are artfully placed on wide-plank pine floors. To others, the very words “bed and breakfast” send terror shooting to their core. (To wit: Rent the Ben Stiller movie Flirting with Disaster.) We can help: You might be looking for a simple farmhouse bedroom from which to head out antiquing, or for a Jacuzzi-fueled love suite. You might require cable TV, or prefer to gaze instead at chickens outside your window. So read on, and find the inn that's right for you.
1814 House Inn
Seven rooms. Rates from $135 to $225. 50 South Main Street, Doylestown; 215-340-1814 or 800-508-1814.
THE FIRST THING that caught our eyes after we were ushered up a private staircase to the charming, secluded Michener Suite of the 1814 House Inn in Doylestown was the hardbound guest book by the window:
“Happy New Year!!!” a recent entry read, in exacting cursive. “Cozy romantic atmosphere! While relaxing in the Jacuzzi surrounded by burning candles, my girlfriend told me she loved me for the first time. I will remember 1814 House Inn forever!!!!!!!!” Gabe and Cheryl were the happy customers, and Gabe and Cheryl lent a two-kids-after-the-prom tone to our whole excursion. 1814 House is on the homey side — a sign on one wall reads, “If you're smoking in this place, you'd better be on fire!” — but the elegant, antiques-filled common room was a very civilized venue in which to ponder places to go for dinner. (It was a wet Monday night, so unfortunately they weren't extensive.) We ended up settling on the comfy (and open) Chambers Restaurant a few yards up Main, where the service and steaks were superior, and succumbing early to the temptation of the queen-size four-poster bed (without a stop in Gabe and Cheryl's Jacuzzi). In the morning, we found that the room's alarm clock was set just fast enough that we caught the 8 a.m. eggs and potatoes even though we straggled in at 8:20. And over breakfast, we were surprised to find that the inn was practically full; we hadn't heard a peep all night. Back in the city, we felt like we'd spent a week away. — Maureen Tkacik
FIREPLACES: In some rooms. COFFEE: Weak. MUFFINS: Fresh-baked; the guest book even made mention of them. INNKEEPER: Nice, unobtrusive, friendly. LINENS AND QUILTS: The best! Luxuriant. BUCOLIC QUOTIENT: Low. It's walking distance from everything in Doylestown, but there's not much green around it. SNACKS: None. HOST EVENTS: Small meetings — it's only seven rooms!
The Black Bass
Nine rooms. Rates from $65 to $175. 3774 River Road, Lumberville; 215-297-5770.
THE BLACK BASS seems to offer hotel rooms the way saloons used to offer cots in the coatroom: You weren't really expected to sleep over, but if you had to, well … do your best to get comfy. We arrived on a warm spring afternoon when every face in New Hope and Lumberville seemed to be smiling except, unfortunately, our innkeeper's. After we introduced ourselves, she welcomed us with a brief speech that recalled the words of that other great concierge, Lurch Addams: “Oh. This way.”
Kids are not generally welcome at the Black Bass; the reason given is that the hotel is close to River Road. Since we depend on ourselves to keep our daughter from playing in traffic, we asked if we could bring her along. The manager agreed, but no cot was offered or even available, leaving us to make do with one double sleigh bed between a heavily pregnant woman, a 220-pound man, and a bewildered four-year-old who found herself wedged between pillows on a chaise lounge.
But all the cheesiness upstairs was washed away by the shrimp bisque downstairs, not to mention the duck-and-artichoke gumbo, the lobster-and-saffron risotto, the wild mushroom ravioli in smoked garlic cream sauce, the kill-your-mother-for-seconds apple pie with homemade cinnamon ice cream. The Black Bass's restaurant is where you want to have your last meal before execution. It's entirely candlelit, giving the centuries-old wood a centuries-old glow and blending with reflections off the Delaware River just outside the massive windows. Our waitress was speedy and pleasantly chatty, and the food was so beautifully presented that I was still smiling the next day. — Christopher McDougall
FIREPLACES: A few rooms have nonfunctioning ones, just for decoration. COFFEE: Weak. MUFFINS: Fresh-baked, but cut into tiny slices. INNKEEPER: Nonverbal. LINENS AND QUILTS: Poor. BUCOLIC QUOTIENT: High. A pretty view of the Delaware and nearby bridge. SNACKS: Nope. Hell of a good restaurant, though. HOST EVENTS: Up to 80 people.
The Woolverton Inn
13 rooms. Rates from $125 to $425. 6 Woolverton Road, Stockton, 888-264-6648; woolvertoninn.com
WE COULDN'T DO it at home, in front of our own fireplace. We couldn't do it in the car, on long road trips. It had started to seem, as our wedding rapidly approached, that my fiancé and I would never finish writing our tailor-made vows. Then we spent a night at the Woolverton Inn, an over-the-top romantic, vow-inspiring b&b in Stockton, New Jersey, where within minutes we'd turned on a fire, plopped in lazy leather chairs, toasted each other with port from nearby Phillips' Fine Wines, and started on the cheese plate delivered by one of our charming innkeepers. Ours was the travel-themed Sojourn loft, one of five separate rooms on the Woolverton property, about 50 yards from the main house and gardens, with a private entrance and porch. We had another gas fireplace upstairs, in a loft next to a couple-sized Jacuzzi, a two-person shower, and an incongruous but delightful hammock. We looked out at quiet fields of undeveloped pasture from our huge high bed, where the next morning we had our gourmet omelets. And there, with a fire blazing amidst the tranquility of Woolverton — a popular wedding-night destination, for good reason — we finally found the words to put in our vows. — Roxanne Patel
FIREPLACES: In 10 rooms. COFFEE: Good. MUFFINS: No, but the best freshly made, family-recipe chocolate chip cookies. INNKEEPER: Charming. LINENS AND QUILTS: Great. BUCOLIC QUOTIENT: Very high. Our view was of untrafficked rolling farmland, with an occasional goose or sheep wandering by. SNACKS: The innkeepers will bring an afternoon cheese platter, with fancy sheep's-milk varieties, to your room — for $35. You can also order a picnic. HOST EVENTS: Very few, limited to 150 people.
Golden Pheasant Inn
Six rooms and a cottage. Rates from $95 to $225; two-night weekend minimum. 763 River Road, Erwinna, 610-294-9595; goldenpheasant.com
THE GOLDEN PHEASANT is family-owned, and feels like it: The historically certified inn and tavern manages to be dignified without being stuffy. Its six rooms (five of which are named after the daughters of owners Barbara and Michel Faure) are set on the second floor, and are lovely, with canopy beds and velvet chairs; each has a view of the Delaware or the canal. We stayed in the cottage suite adjacent to the main house, which was wonderfully roomy — with its kitchenette, Jacuzzi tub, and a patio on the canal — and decorated simply, with patchwork quilts. It did, however, feature a folk-art checkerboard, which we immediately put to good use. I won't say who won, but my husband demanded a rematch after dinner.
At the inn's French restaurant, in the old tavern room, we skipped escargots and frogs' legs in favor of a rich seafood bisque, rosemary-and-thyme lamb, and juicy filet mignon. The restaurant was full; patrons lounged at the bar, basking in the glow of the fireplace. With Michel Faure in his kitchen whites, hostess Barbara greeting diners by name, and two of their daughters waiting tables, the environment felt warm, familiar and relaxed. Or maybe that was the Guinness talking. As my husband drained his glass, he looked at me with a gleam in his eye. “Are you thinking what I'm thinking?” he asked.
I was. We raced back to our room and played checkers till the wee hours. — Sabrina Rubin Erdely
FIREPLACES: Our room had a gas-powered one; rooms in the main house have electric versions. COFFEE: To our surprise, our morning java tasted bitter and overwarmed. MUFFINS: Homemade. INNKEEPER: Friendly without being fawning. LINENS AND QUILTS:A heavenly down comforter. BUCOLIC QUOTIENT: Highest rating. SNACKS: No. HOST EVENTS: Weddings and corporate meetings.
The Inn at Phillips Mill
Five rooms and a cottage. Rates from $100 to $150; two-night minimum for cottage. 2590 North River Road, New Hope; 215-862-2984.
THE MILL WAS across the street, and the property bears more of the atmosphere of the adjacent farm. There is a little cultural dissonance paces from the Delaware River: The small 18th-century wood-frame house evokes the Cotswolds, but the inn is best known for its classic-French restaurant. It's a romantic place to dine — cozy rooms, intimately lit with fireplaces — and is, austerely, byob, and cash/checks only. The guest rooms each take a distinct form: One is on its own floor; a suite has a living room; the smallest, outfitted in a motley array of floral prints and pastels, is the most charming, its bed nestled in a window alcove, with a curtain to close it off from the rest of the room. (The bathrooms tend to be less glorious.) On a recent visit, one of the innkeepers spent minutes fumbling around in the dark for a light switch. “Each room is different, each room is unique,” she said apologetically. — Sasha Issenberg
FIREPLACES: In the cottage, main dining room and lounge, but none in the other guest rooms. COFFEE: Eh. MUFFINS: Almost cloyingly sweet, served in the room, along with croissants, coffee and tea. INNKEEPER: Totally unobtrusive. LINENS AND QUILTS: Blah. BUCOLIC QUOTIENT: Medium. SNACKS: No. HOST EVENTS: Yes, up to about 65 people.
Maplewood Farm Bed and Breakfast
Five rooms. Rates from $105 to $165; two-night minimum from May through New Year's Day. 5090 Durham Road, Gardenville; 215-766-0477.
WHEN WE PULLED up to Maplewood Farm, a 20-minute drive north of New Hope, we were greeted by one humongous black Lab and 16 chickens of every color and size. They made a big fuss over us for a few minutes, then left us to ourselves for the rest of our stay, except for when we engaged them. The same could be said of our wonderful hosts, Cindy and Dennis Marquis, who've owned the five-acre property, complete with an 18th-century farmhouse, since 1989. Whether reclining in our TV-free bi-level suite (tastefully decorated with country antiques), sipping sherry in the living room, or getting lessons in animal husbandry from Dennis, who raises sheep as a hobby and usually has a steer or pigs around for future consumption, we felt like part of the family — but without the farm chores. For dinner, try the smoked Maine trout, fried oysters or roasted raspberry duck at the nearby Piper Tavern. Breakfast is very well provided, complete with freshly gathered eggs. — Victor Fiorillo
FIREPLACES: None in the rooms. There is a wood fireplace in the living room for the cooler months. COFFEE: Bracing. MUFFINS: What's served for breakfast, which is sometimes muffins, is always homemade. INNKEEPER: Charmingly chatty. LINENS AND QUILTS: Basic but good — like you'd get at your aunt's house. BUCOLIC QUOTIENT: A bit of road noise, but the farm setting made up for it. SNACKS: Always a sherry decanter in the living room, and a variety of fruit, cookies or treats might be available. Just ask. HOST EVENTS: No, too small.
The Brick Hotel
15 rooms. Rates from $90 to $175. 1 East Washington Avenue, Newtown, 215-860-8313; www.brickhotel.com
BEHIND A WHITE picket fence, with candlelit gardens and a sweeping front porch, the 15-room Brick Hotel is the perfect image of a country home — on the corner of State Street and Washington Avenue in the heart of Newtown. The attentive staff of this very Victorian inn can't convince the birds to out-sing the motors of the cars idling at the intersection, but is in all other ways accommodating. There are chocolate-covered strawberries and a bouquet of peach roses, yellow mums and white freesia on the nightstand; classical music CDs in the stereo; and two plush terry-cloth robes hanging beside the deep Jacuzzi (available in the fourth-floor suites). The Brick Hotel restaurant — breakfast is served in the eerily empty dining room — has a lively bar with weekend-night entertainment and a full, eclectic menu. — April White
FIREPLACES: Gas-burning fireplaces in top-floor suites. COFFEE: Strong — Douwe Egbert's, from Holland. MUFFINS: The continental breakfast spread — including the mass-produced muffins — is disappointing. The fluffy vegetable omelets are better. INNKEEPER: Attentive but unobtrusive. LINENS AND QUILTS: Comfortable and colorful. BUCOLIC QUOTIENT: Waking up to the rooftops of Newtown is more town than country. SNACKS: Chocolate-covered strawberries. HOST EVENTS: Weddings up to 200 people.
Holly Hedge Inn
15 rooms. Rates from $35 to $200. 6987 Upper York Road, New Hope; 800-378-4496.
WHEN WE CHECKED into room 11, typically reserved by honeymooners thanks to the rustic romance of its huge fireplace, hanging dried-flower bouquets, and exposed stone walls circa 1730, our curiosity was aroused by the blinking light on the phone. It was a message from one of the innkeepers, profusely apologizing to the previous tenants for walking in on them the night of their wedding. This was an omen of things to come. While no one interrupted us doing our thing, we didn't exactly have a restful stay. Between the constant pittering-around upstairs, the squeaky bed, and noisy wedding-party antics, even a bottle of Vouvray couldn't keep us asleep for long. At 4 a.m., I gave up and decided to read one of the many choices on the bookshelf. Unfortunately, they were all Reader's Digest Condensed Books. — V.F.
FIREPLACES: Big points for the real wood fireplace in our room. There are also fireplaces in two other rooms. COFFEE: Sanka-esque and barely warm. MUFFINS: Freshly baked. INNKEEPER: There seemed to be a lot of them — all pleasantly talkative. LINENS AND QUILTS: Crisp, clean and comfortable. BUCOLIC QUOTIENT: The room could be perfect, if it were somewhere else entirely. SNACKS: In addition to the to-die-for homemade cookies and toffee at check-in, there's a free snack-and-soda area in the kitchen. HOST EVENTS: There are weddings every weekend from May through October. Ceremonies take place on the laboriously manicured grounds or in the 18th-century barn.
Colligan's Stockton Inn
11 rooms. Rates from $65 to $170; two-night weekend minimum, depending on season. 1 Main Street, Stockton, 609-397-1250; www.stocktoninn.com
AFTER CHANGING HANDS last August, this 11-room inn is now co-owned by the acclaimed Doylestown catering firm Max & Me — and the improvements are immediately apparent. The inn's two dining rooms are warmed by stone fireplaces, and complemented by newly painted murals. But it's the food that's markedly different — chef Max Hansen's smoked salmon salad and roasted Chilean sea bass are beautifully presented and prepared. (While dinner was delightful and worth the drive, the continental breakfast is merely muffins, bagels and cold cereal.) Ask for one of two rooms above the main inn, overlooking the garden and furnished with large beds, colorful (and warm) quilts, and brick fireplaces. At $65 on weeknights, $90 on weekends, these are far less expensive than the rooms at most Bucks inns. But pass on the rooms across the street in a 19th-century Federal house; though renovations are planned for this year, these look more like a Hampton Inn than a quaint b&b. — Blake Miller
FIREPLACES: In nine of the 11 rooms, some gas, some wood. COFFEE: Weak. MUFFINS: Homemade. INNKEEPER: Nice and unobtrusive. LINENS AND QUILTS: Run-of-the-mill. BUCOLIC QUOTIENT: The inn itself is very rustic and attractive; the rooms, though, are relatively boring. SNACKS: You can order them from the menu. HOST EVENTS: Yes, up to 175 people.
Evermay on the Delaware
18 rooms and cottages. Rates from $145 to $275; two-night weekend minimum, depending on season. 889 River Road, Erwinna, 610-294-9100; evermay.com
LET'S START WITH the sheep, because the moment I saw them in their pen behind the inn — fat and wooly and yellow-eyed — I knew my Bucks getaway had truly begun. Built in the 1700s and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Evermay sits on 25 verdant acres between the Delaware River and the canal. It's elegant inside, its 18 rooms decorated in flouncy fashion, with floral wallpaper, ruffled curtains and Victorian antiques. It's peaceful, quiet. Maybe a little too quiet — for some reason, guests tend to speak in whispers, as though they're in a museum. Perhaps that's why my husband and I spent much of our time outdoors, eschewing the cozy parlor fireplace to instead tour the grounds and stroll the canal towpath.
We returned in time for Evermay's six-course prix-fixe dinner (a requirement during a weekend stay, at $68 per person), feasting on duck confit and sesame-crusted grouper. Up in our room, we discovered the sheets invitingly turned down and two glasses of sherry on our dresser, with a postcard with the next day's drizzly forecast perched on top. We slept to the tune of crickets, and woke to the bleating of sheep. — S.R.E.
FIREPLACES: None. COFFEE: Good. MUFFINS: Delicious. INNKEEPER: So unobtrusive that if we met, I have no memory of it. LINENS AND QUILTS: Very nice. BUCOLIC QUOTIENT: Highest rating. SNACKS: Afternoon tea. HOST EVENTS: Weddings, parties and retreats up to about 65 people.
26 rooms. Rates from $189 to $339. 32 Bridge Street, Lambertville, 888-867-8859 or 609-397-0200; lambertvillehouse.com
THE EXCELLENT AND pricey Lambertville House has modern marble-and-tile bathrooms; pillowy Egyptian cotton towels and robes; a bar downstairs, Left Bank Libations, that looks like the smoking room of a British men's club (except you can't smoke). But oh, for a New York decorator to spend a few days updating this pretty, circa-1812 stone hotel in the center of town. The furniture in our room was well chosen: There was a (cable) TV hidden inside a handsome armoire, a Victorian-style bed, and a little white writing desk. If a Jeffrey Bilhuber type dropped in to switch up the bed linens and window treatments (say, Frette duvets and billowing white sheers), we'd return monthly. (And could they find room to offer spa services?) The setting lends itself to festive nights, since it's a three-minute walk to have dinner in the tented courtyard at Hamilton's Grill Room. An item Jeffrey Bilhuber would immediately wheel out of the hotel: the lobby's life-size “butler” statue holding a tray of brochures. He spooked me three times. — A.D.
FIREPLACES: In most rooms, yes, but not in ours (218, the Dr. John Lilley room). COFFEE: Pretty good, and available in the early morning on each floor. MUFFINS: Not homemade, but still very good. INNKEEPER: Pleasantly anonymous front-desk attendants. (A bellhop would be helpful.) LINENS AND QUILTS: Wonderful towels and robes. BUCOLIC QUOTIENT: Lovely small-town feel. SNACKS: No. HOST EVENTS: Meetings or weddings up to 100 in the 1812 Room; additional rooms are available.
The Mansion Inn
Seven rooms. Rates from $195. 9 South Main Street, New Hope, 215-862-1231; themansioninn.com
THE BEST PART about staying at the Mansion Inn in New Hope is that we really didn't want to leave. The cheerful 141-year-old Victorian manse is right on Main Street, with its cool shops and restaurants. But we were content to watch the world saunter past from our perch on the wraparound porch, sipping a champagne cocktail (an 18th-century recipe from the owner's family) as we waited for our table at the inn's restaurant, the Champagne Room. We couldn't agree on what was more impressive — the dining room's huge arched doors and windows, the Juilliard-trained classical guitarist strumming show tunes, or the chocolate torte. (Dinner for two, with wine, was $130.) Warmed by a bottle of Ruvei, we climbed the long staircase to the Hampton Court Room, a bit cramped but decorated carefully and completely in Victorian rose and green, with a carafe of sherry waiting. We'd planned to spend the evening at Odette's piano bar, but once we lay down on the feather bed, we were in for the night. — Vicki Glembocki
FIREPLACES: In some rooms. COFFEE: Good and strong, and served in your room with a full breakfast, including freshly squeezed O.J. MUFFINS: Homemade muffins or fresh-baked breads each morning. INNKEEPER: Delightfully chatty. LINENS AND QUILTS: Down comforters, feather beds, Frette sheets and Egyptian cotton towels. BUCOLIC QUOTIENT: Above average. SNACKS: Homemade chocolate chip cookies are waiting for you when you retire, plus there's fresh fruit in each suite. HOST EVENTS: Weddings and parties up to 135 people (60 in winter).
23 rooms. Rates from $150 to $325. River Road, Lumberville, 215-297-5661; 1740house.com
THE DECORATIVE ROOSTERS are abundant. The toile wallcoverings hang neatly in place. The sultry richness of Sade swells throughout the sitting room of the 1740 House, located six miles north of New Hope. The late Harry Nessler would be proud: If the former owner of this riverside bed-and-breakfast in the village of Lumberville were still alive, he'd admire the upgrades made over the past two years by innkeepers Jim Brewer and Mark Turner (though Nessler might not approve of the credit-card machine, or the new TVs tucked inside armoires crafted by a local woodworker).
The 23 rooms have rustic furniture, comforters and matching valances, wooden beams, and walls papered and painted in barn red, hunter green and cornflower blue. Even though you have to toast your own bagels and pour yourself tea at the inn's casual buffet breakfast, Mark's perfect eggs make up for the DIY factor. In the afternoon, come back to the bricked dining room overlooking the towpath, and nibble on white chocolate macadamia cookies and white almond cake. And if the hair dryer in your bathroom breaks down, Mark will run right down to the storage room for another. — Erica Levi
FIREPLACES: Six rooms have remote-controlled gas fireplaces. COFFEE: Not terribly strong. MUFFINS: Sometimes muffins, sometimes Danish, depending on the day. INNKEEPER: Friendly. LINENS AND QUILTS: Comfortable. BUCOLIC QUOTIENT: High. SNACKS: Homemade cookies, lemon bars or brownies are served. HOST EVENTS: Private parties and small weddings up to 45 people.
Stepping Stone Bed & Breakfast and Spa
Five rooms. Rates from $145 to $210. 67 South Main Street, Stockton, 888-817-0300; stepinn.com
INNKEEPERS RICK AND PAULA Baxter opened Stepping Stone B&B nearly two years ago in a renovated 1840s Federal manor house set along Brookville Creek in Stockton — and though new, it has character. The British Colonial-style Stoddard Room, named after local artist and former resident Carol Stoddard, has a romantic canopy bed, a remote-controlled fireplace, and interesting antiques, including an authentic WWI military cap that we couldn't help but model. The large bathroom, which overlooks the grounds, has a jet tub and a bidet. We helped ourselves to afternoon wine and sweets as we browsed the library's shelves (with everything from Zane Grey to Shakespeare); you can also relax under wisteria and trumpet vines on the patio of the stone-walled garden. But the most unique and brilliant feature of the Stepping Stone is its mural-walled spa, set in a barn just behind the house. Hot stone, Swedish and shiatsu massages ($75) are available, as are private yoga sessions ($70), plus there's an indoor Finnleo sauna and private creek-side hot tub for all the inn's guests. Rick's the chef, and gets creative with pineapple-mango smoothies, fresh melon and brie, and a spinach-tomato frittata. — Suzi Piker
FIREPLACES: Remote-controlled versions in three rooms. COFFEE: Good. MUFFINS: Fresh-baked. INNKEEPER: Nice and unobtrusive. LINENS AND QUILTS: Good. BUCOLIC QUOTIENT: High.SNACKS: Homemade brownies and cookies each afternoon. HOST EVENTS: Yes, starting this summer, up to 15 people.
Martin Coryell House
Six rooms. Rates from $155 to $275. 111 North Union Street, Lambertville, 609-397-8981; martincoryellhouse.com
THERE'S ABSOLUTELY NO reason you should need to watch TV during your weekend stay at Lambertville's lovely Martin Coryell House. You're in Lambertville: You can't swivel your neck a millimeter without seeing some inviting furniture store, art gallery or used bookshop.
Second reason you won't be watching TV: The Coryell House layers on so much old-school charm that the Newlyweds/Sopranos portion of your brain will be lulled into dormancy. Built in 1864, the brick, Federal-style manse is the former homestead of descendants of Emmanuel Coryell, who founded this here town. Owners Rich and Mary Freedman bought the place from a Presbyterian church, and they've restored it admirably — beefing up the warmly lit parlor, stashing Scrabble and chessboards in the library. It's the high life, circa 1890. And that's before you even get to your room. Queen-size featherbed, fireplace, even (in some rooms) a Jacuzzi — who needs a TV?
What? You do?
Fine. There's cable TV in every room. High-speed Internet access, too. Enjoy, you hedonists. — Jason Fagone
FIREPLACES: Yes — sweet remote-controlled gas numbers in five rooms, and a Franklin stove in the other. COFFEE: Weak. MUFFINS: Even better, fresh scones. INNKEEPER: Rich and Mary Freedman proved perfect hosts — pleasant, competent and unobtrusive. LINENS AND QUILTS: Good. BUCOLIC QUOTIENT: Medium. It's on a quiet street two blocks from the main drag. SNACKS: We had homemade chocolate chip cookies. HOST EVENTS: Intimate weddings up to 25 people.
York Street House
Six rooms. Rates from $100 to $225; two-night minimum most weekends from April to December. 42 York Street, Lambertville, 609-397-3007; yorkstreethouse.com
A FRONT LIBRARY at this turn-of-the-century brick mansion in downtown Lambertville serves as an exhibit space, with old maps, postcards and prints attesting to the building's patrimony: As a private home with copious stained and leaded glass, it was pictured in the December 1911 issue of House & Garden magazine; when later owned by the corner church, the house took on a less earthly aura. Today, there are six guest rooms on the second and third floors, and an inviting parlor with a beautiful fireplace and comfortable couches. Breakfast is one of the best — if sweetest — one-woman shows around: Innkeeper Laurie Weinstein prepares a different multi-course menu every morning. On one winter day, she brought out a poached-pear puff pastry, and followed it with pecan waffles with caramelized bananas (a combination she insisted had to be paired with maple syrup). After dropping a utensil, the do-it-all innkeeper turned sheepishly and said, “I'm one of the waitresses you would have made fun of in restaurants.” — S.I.
FIREPLACES: In three rooms. COFFEE: Unmemorable. MUFFINS: No, but there was that puff pastry. INNKEEPER: Nice, not too chatty. LINENS AND QUILTS: Unremarkable. BUCOLIC QUOTIENT: None. SNACKS: Fresh-baked cookies and hot chocolate are available all day. HOST EVENTS: Yes, for small parties up to 60, or 120 in warmer months.
The Golden Plough Inn
71 rooms. Rates from $130 to $380. Route 202 and Street Road, Lahaska, 215-794-4000; peddlersvillage.com
WHEN THE GAS fireplace in our small, romantic room at the Golden Plough Inn at Peddler's Village wouldn't respond to our attempts to light it, we informed an apologetic front-desk staff, and were promptly offered a large “carousel room,” named for the adjacent 1922 restored grand carousel. This was our good fortune: The new space, with its high ceilings and dark wood beams, had personal touches of artwork, intricately crafted furniture and plush carpets. We made ourselves at home once again, this time in the whirlpool, where we sipped champagne and watched the flicker of our new fireplace. Later, we peeked in the windows of the many boutiques in the village (there are 70 shops here, from Sterling Leather to the Soap Opera), and stopped for a tasting at the Chaddsford Winery shop on our way to dinner at Jenny's Bistro. At Jenny's, the most upscale of Peddler's Village's dining options, we enjoyed the piano player crooning classics from Billy Joel and Elton John, and the rich American menu. — Karrie Gavin
FIREPLACES: Gas fireplaces in 40 of the 71 rooms. COFFEE: In-room coffee is okay; that at the Village Bakery next door is better. MUFFINS: Continental breakfast at the Spotted Hog restaurant is included. INNKEEPERS: Nice, and quite helpful. SNACKS: Mini-bottle of champagne, soft drinks and snacks waiting in all rooms. BUCOLIC QUOTIENT: Medium. Peddler's Village bustles during the day and is bordered by two highways, but many rooms have nice pastoral views. HOST EVENTS: Up to 350 people for cocktails, or 200 for weddings.
Hotel du Village
20 rooms. Rates from $120 to $145. 2535 River Road, New Hope, 215-862-9911; hotelduvillage.com
HOTEL DU VILLAGE'S 10-acre property dates back to a 17th-century land grant from William Penn. Once an estate, then a finishing school, the Tudor-style main building and converted stable were purchased from the Solebury School by Barbara and Omar Arbani in 1976. Omar, who is the chef, cooks in a traditional French country style: His menu includes everything from Ris de Veau Financiere to St. Jacques Provencal's. It seems not much has changed here in the past 28 years, an approach that has worked better for the restaurant than the hotel. Granted, there's a swimming pool and two tennis courts, but the sizable rooms felt empty and impersonal despite their antique furnishings. Don't expect a cozy B&B — this is a hotel. In the morning, the very basic continental breakfast was a letdown after the excellent meal the night before. — S.P.
FIREPLACES: No. COFFEE: Good. MUFFINS: No, although the croissants and Danish were okay. INNKEEPER: Absent. (Let's say they put an uncanny emphasis on privacy here.) LINENS AND QUILTS: Good. BUCOLIC QUOTIENT: Other than the squawking geese on the roof at 5 a.m., it was fairly peaceful. SNACKS: None. HOST EVENTS: Up to 150 guests.
Chimney Hill Farm Estate and the Ol' Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast
12 rooms. Rates from $140 to $350. 207 Goat Hill Road, Lambertville, 609-397-1516; www.chimneyhillinn.com
A MILE AND a half from the antiques epicenter of Lambertville and New Hope, Chimney Hill is a quiet country escape — sometimes too quiet. Until your breakfast of fresh fruit, French toast and sausage in the main house's fireplace-warmed, sunlit dining room, you may not see a soul on the estate's eight acres. Pick up your keys in a mailbox, and head to a room in the house or the renovated barn; the other guests are already busy enjoying the accommodations. (Those in the rustic-chic barn rooms have Jacuzzis or jetted tubs, fireplaces and kitchenettes.) And if you get lonely, visit with Beatrix, Zsa-Zsa, Magnum and Enrico, the property's prized alpacas. — A.W.
FIREPLACES: Gas-burning fireplaces in the barn suites and throughout the common areas in the main house. COFFEE: Hot and Colombian. MUFFINS: Moist pumpkin-walnut bread is set out before breakfast. INNKEEPER: Always on call, but not always on-site. LINENS AND TOWELS: Plentiful. BUCOLIC QUOTIENT: Lacks only a babbling brook. SNACKS: Always a selection of coffees, teas and granola bars. HOST EVENTS: Many corporate retreats; weddings up to 175 people outdoors.
Barley Sheaf Farm
15 rooms. Rates from $115 to $285; two-night weekend minimum. 5281 York Road, Holicong; 215-794-5104.
BARLEY SHEAF FARM, built as a working farm in 1740, became the first B&B in Bucks County in 1979, 20 years after it belonged to playwright George S. Kaufman (A Night at the Opera). The ceilings in the Colonial-era main house are low, and the decor is appropriately plain — iron beds, white pine sideboards, plaid sofas and red wingback chairs. Barley Sheaf's 15 spotless rooms — all with unobtrusive TVs — are divided between seven in the main house, three smaller ones in an adjacent cottage (formerly the icehouse), and five big units, good for families, in the renovated barn. All have modern bathrooms. A delicious breakfast is served in a sunny glass-enclosed porch overlooking the pool as a canary serenades you from her cage. Isolated on 30 acres, Barley Sheaf has the wonderful feeling of being in the middle of nowhere, yet it's 10 minutes from Peddler's Village. — Carol Saline
FIREPLACES: All the barn rooms and two rooms in the main house have gas or wood fireplaces. COFFEE: Strong and frequently poured. MUFFINS: Baked fresh every morning. INNKEEPER: A pleasant couple runs the place. LINENS AND QUILTS: Linens are good quality but nothing special; quilts are substantial and have covers sewn by the innkeeper in cheerful cotton fabric. BUCOLIC QUOTIENT: High as it gets. Dorset sheep graze in the pasture, and geese wander the grounds. SNACKS: In mid-afternoon there are cookies or cheese, with hot or cold drinks depending on the season. HOST EVENTS: Outdoors, party size is virtually unlimited, since the property is 30 acres.
NOTE: The bridge linking New Hope and Lambertville is undergoing construction and is closed on weekdays to cars and pedestrians through June. Weekday visitors can use the Route 202 toll bridge instead. But the New Hope-Lambertville is open weekends, from Friday at 5 p.m. through 6 a.m. Monday.