Best of Bucks County
Where to dine, shop, learn, play, and more.
by Bill Donahue

I spent my childhood in Northeast Philadelphia, and moved to Bucks County at the age of 12 or 13. I didn’t start to appreciate Bucks County’s charms until my friends and I were old enough to drive, at which point I began to explore the likes of Doylestown, New Hope, and Newtown, among others.

As an adult, I see Bucks County as the best of all worlds—rightfully celebrated for its history and artistic heritage, its restaurants and retail offerings, and its varied landscapes, particularly its forests, parks, and wild places nestled in the towns along the Delaware River.
Following are some of the best food, shopping, and culture, among other attractions, Bucks County has to offer.
Led by founder Ashara Shapiro, ArtWRKD in Newtown seems to remove the barriers that sometimes prevent members of the community from forming relationships with art and those who create it. ArtWRKD focuses on “an experiential relationship with artist, art, and patronage.” Translation: Besides offering an elegant exhibition space featuring works from emerging artists, ArtWRKD devotes space for workshops, education, and events to facilitate interaction with artists. In other words, it builds community by making art accessible to everyone.  
The Black Bass Hotel in Lumberville is the kind of place everyone should go to at least once. It’s also the kind of place most visitors will want to return to again and again. An historic inn dating back to the 1740s, the Black Bass is on the National Register of Historic Places, but there’s so much more here than history—namely, well-appointed guestrooms, gorgeous artwork, and a restaurant lauded for its elevated menu and memorable views of the Delaware River.
Pizza is pizza, right? If you’ve ever been to Buckingham Pizza in Buckingham Green, you know that’s not the case. Buckingham Pizza’s Naples-style pies are in a class all their own; whether you prefer regular cheese, white, or something from the gourmet menu, Buckingham Pizza’s offerings are bound turn you into a repeat customer. It’s worth noting that the menu of this Bucks County establishment includes much more than pizza, but we admit we’ve never felt the need to venture away from its perfect pies.
There’s nothing as intimate or entertaining as live theater, as evidenced by pretty much any production staged by Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope. Since opening as a playhouse in 1939, this historic spot has hosted some of the biggest names of stage and screen, including Bea Arthur, Grace Kelly, Angela Lansbury, Robert Redford, and George C. Scott, among many, many others. It still hosts its share of plays, of course, but also an assortment musicals, concerts, and educational programs. It also has a view of the river that’s tough to beat.
Fans of Harry Potter or, really, any iteration of the fantasy genre will fall in love with The Cloak and Wand at Peddler’s Village in Lahaska. Given its name, one might expect this curiosity shop to offer its share of cloaks and wands—and it certainly does—though you’ll also find interesting books galore, fantasy-specific apparel, and an assortment of “magical” items. It even has its own “Potion Bar,” which serves up whimsically named concoctions of the hot and cold sort (hot chocolate and custom sodas to you muggles).
There’s nothing commonplace about the Commonplace Reader, a gem of a bookstore in Yardley devoted to “community exploration, inspiration, and connection.” Whether you prefer history or horror, New York Times bestsellers or tomes from emerging authors, the Commonplace Reader scratches the itch for those who savor the written word. It’s also a community hub, home to book clubs, writers groups, and more.
A building right at the corner of York and Edison-Furlong roads in Furlong used to house the cutest, quaintest little diner, its exterior painted hot pink. We were heartbroken when the diner closed, but we cannot be more thrilled with the entity that took its place: Curiosity Doughnuts. Its menu abounds with a delightful assortment of doughnuts, including many classic and signature varieties, as well as “curiosities,” which are better tasted than described. Even if there’s a line, these doughnuts are worth the wait.
Bucks County is swimming in excellent breweries, so it’s an almost possible task to choose just one. Still, one of our favorites is Neshaminy Creek Brewing Co.’s taproom in Croydon—and not only because of its excellent (and inventively named) beers. It’s a community builder with a refreshing lineup of happenings, from punk shows (Iron Chic!) and movie nights (’80s classic Rocky IV!) to workshops (glass blowing!) and one-of-a-kind events (Kaiju Big Battel!). If Croydon isn’t quite close enough, you’ll be happy to know that Neshaminy Creek Brewing has satellite locations in Dublin and New Hope.
In terms of spas, Nurture Spa has few peers. This New Hope spa includes 13 treatment rooms, three relaxation lounges, and a 1,200-square-foot outdoor terrace, as well as a 2,000-square-foot retail shop featuring a well-curated collection of fashions, gifts, and beauty products. The spa grew out of founder Carolyn Holdsworth’s desire to satisfy an unmet need: a simple, spacious, and luxurious spa designed to nourish and restore the face and body, as well as the soul, with an assortment of massages, facials, medi-spa treatments, and a whole lot more.
There’s nothing quite as relaxing as a contemplative drive along the stretch of River Road between New Hope and Upper Black Eddy. North of New Hope’s Main Street, between Cuttalossa and Lumberville, veer away from the river and arrive at Paxson Hill Farm. An accredited arboretum, sculpture garden, and nursery spread across 30 beauteous acres, Paxson Hill Farm is the perfect place to wander, scout out a quiet place to read or write, or ponder one’s place in the world in peace and relative solitude.
Perkasie is the quintessential small town: quaint, quiet, an American flag flying on almost every stoop. It also has an excellent culinary scene, made better by entrants such as Rams Pint House and Rooftop Lounge. Its menu may be described as “elevated brewpub fare,” supplemented by an array of craft cocktails, house wines, and an extensive list of draught, bottled, and canned beers. In fine weather, the rooftop lounge provides a view unlike any other in Perkasie.
Dry salt therapy, or halotherapy, has been hailed for more than a century as a natural form of self-care for respiratory issues, inflammation, and mental health. The Salt Cave, which has locations in Doylestown and Newtown, provides a Zen-like experience in an atmosphere that’s difficult to describe—surrounded by pink Himalayan salt designed to soothe, relax, and enhance one’s overall wellbeing. Looking for someplace interesting to host a party or group outing? The Salt Cave will likely fit the bill.
Restaurants serving only plant-based fare have become a rarity in Bucks County, with favorites such as Blue Sage in Southampton, Clean Roots in Quakertown/Telford, and Nelli Bird in Revere all having closed their doors. Thankfully, New Hope’s Sprig & Vine continues to serve knockout vegan dishes such as the jerk-grilled tofu and the oyster mushroom po’boy. Sprig & Vine’s continued success can be traced to the fact that its menu appeals to a wide range of customers, not just those who follow a strictly plant-based diet.
The following artisans, institutions, and professionals contribute to the high quality of life enjoyed by those who live, work, and play in Bucks County: Anej Skin Studio in Yardley (, The Borscht Belt Delicatessen in Newtown (, Bucks County Orthopedic Specialists with multiple locations throughout the county (, Dorfman Orthodontic Group in Southampton and Bensalem (, Harvest Seasonal Grill in Newtown (, Innova Wealth Partners in Newtown (, Lower Bucks Hospital in Bristol (, The Mary Ann O’Keeffe Team of Keller Williams Real Estate in Yardley (, Robert A. Lantzy, DMD, LLC in Newtown (, and Dr. Todd Welsh and his team at Bucks County Orthodontics in Doylestown (
EDITOR’S NOTE: Our “Best of Doylestown” feature from a few months ago included this photo but neglected to share its origin: The Paper Unicorn (, a one-of-a-kind purveyor of gifts, jewelry, and home décor, among other fine goods, located at the corner of State and Main streets in Doylestown.
Photo by Jody Robinson
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Life, December 2023.