High-profile museum exhibits, a brand new driving tour focused on barns, new construction, town revitalizations and a very furry birthday combine to make Bucks County a must-visit destination in 2015 and beyond. Located 75 miles from New York City and 125 miles from Baltimore, Bucks County is brimming with reasons to plan your next visit now to Philadelphia's northern countryside.
Discover 10 reasons Bucks county needs to be on your travel bucket list this year:
1. The Michener Museum welcomes major Rodin exhibit:
The James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, PA welcomes a Rodin exhibit from February 28-June 4, 2015. The exhibit is titled "Rodin- The Human Experience, Selections from the Iris & B. Gerald Center Collections." The selected bronzes in the show represent the major achievements of Rodin's career, including the powerful Burghers of Calais, as well as works derived from his masterpiece, The Gates of Hell. Also featured are sculptures, such as Monumental Torso of the Walking Man, which demonstrates his admiration for Michelangelo, and Dance Movement D, which speaks to his interest in creating an illusion of movement. This Doylestown cultural hotspot has experienced major growth in the past few years thanks to the successful Uffizi exhibit in 2012 and the blockbuster Grace Kelly exhibit in 2013.
2.Create a LEGO® Kingdom at the Mercer Museum:
The Mercer Museum also in Doylestown, PA, will host a fun, family-friendly exhibit, LEGO® Castle Adventure, from October 3, 2015-January 17, 2016. Children and their families will be transported to a LEGO kingdom where they too can become master castle builders using LEGO bricks. Builders of all ages and skill levels can construct castles, learn about real-world castles, explore a giant castle full of secret passageways, build a virtual fortress and test its strength with an electronic catapult, climb a lookout tower, see a LEGO dragon and design and build their own courtyard landscape with LEGO topiaries. This popular exhibit recently finished a run at the Reading Public Museum.
3. Bucks County Children's Museum teaches little ones about healthcare with a kid-sized hospital exhibit:
The Bucks County Children's Museum has partnered with Doylestown Health's Della Penna Pediatric Center to present a brand new "virtual hospital" educational exhibit. Through play with "kid-sized" interactives, children will gain a better understanding of the human body, as well as hospital personnel, equipment and procedures, demystifying the hospital experience. Opening in spring 2015, this new attraction will feature an examination room complete with X-rays and heart monitor, life-sized operation game table, as well as a kid-sized ambulance. In addition, the museum's BIG DIG exhibit was recently renovated, allowing children to become paleontologists to discover Bucks County artifacts.
4. Sesame Place® turns 35!:
Join Sesame Place, the nation's only theme park dedicated to the television show Sesame Street®, as they celebrate their 35th birthday in 2015! The park will be decked out in festive birthday décor and the beloved Neighborhood Street Party Parade will transform into the new Neighborhood Birthday Party Parade. Elmo's Eatery, the largest in-park restaurant will change from its current cafeteria-style service to an updated technology-based service where guests can order food. Sesame Place will also introduce enhanced seasonal parades and rides for The Count's Halloween Spooktacular and A Very Furry Christmas.
5. A retail renaissance at Peddler's Village:
Beloved Bucks County destination Peddler's Village is experiencing a major retail renaissance. The 42 acre, 18th-century-style shopping village recently introduced nine brand new shops to the village, the most opened in a single year for the past 10 years. New shops include Saxbys Coffee, jaZams, Best Gift Idea Ever, Sunflowers and more. Three of the stores are "pop-up" shops, representing a growing trend in the retail industry. Peddler's Village also recently renovated the main building, lobby, business center and 22 guest rooms of their on-site country inn, the Golden Plough Inn. The next phase of the project includes renovating the remaining 49 guest rooms peppered throughout the Village. Stay tuned for the Village's popular Strawberry Festival in May, Bluegrass & Blueberries Festival in July, Peach Festival in August and Apple Festival in November.
6. Barn Voyage!:
Known for its scenic back roads, historic covered bridges and charming small towns, Bucks County is a fantastic destination for a picturesque drive through the countryside. Because of the popularity of the Covered Bridge Self-Guided Driving Tour, the Heritage Conservancy recently created a brand new driving tour centered on Bucks County's historic barns, aimed at preserving their history and heritage. Hit the open road and embark on Barn Voyage! a self-guided driving tour passing by nearly 20 of Central Bucks County's barns and a brand new tour introduced in early 2015 through 15 Upper Bucks County barns. Turn-by-turn directions are available at VisitBucksCounty.com/Barns.
7. Join the beer and spirits revolution in Bucks County:
Bucks County has long been home to nine family-owned wineries along the Bucks County Wine Trail, but beer and whiskey's popularity is taking the county by storm! A growing trend in the tourism industry, beer and spirits are hot right now and Bucks County has plenty of spots to crack open a cold one or sample the best in rye whiskey. Dad's Hat Rye Whiskey in Bristol and Hewn Spirits in Pipersville bring Prohibition back in style with handcrafted whiskey, moonshine and rum. Breweries like Free Will Brewing Company, Vault Brewing Company, Bucks County Brewery and Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company are creating craft beers to rival the best from major cities. Follow Bucks County's "ale trail" and make a stop at these distilleries and breweries for a getaway your taste buds will thank you for.
8. En Garde! Fencing takes over Bucks County this spring:
Bucks County is a favorite destination among many sports tournament organizers around the country thanks to its prime geographic location and large selection of both indoor and outdoor venues. In April, the Bucks County Sports Commission, a division of the tourism office, will welcome more than 1,000 fencers and their families when it hosts the 2015 United States Association of Collegiate Fencing Clubs National Championship Hosted by Liberty Fencing Club & Swarthmore College Fencing Team at Bensalem Township High School. The tournament, which is the largest collegiate fencing event in the world, expects a projected 800 hotel room nights, generating economic impact throughout the region.
9. Quakertown and Bristol - Revitalized:
It's an exciting time in two Bucks County towns! Quakertown and Bristol are in the midst of serious revitalization and transformation, making the towns even more visitor-friendly with new programs, tours and attractions. Raising The Bar, a civic group in Bristol, has signed an agreement of sale to turn a property on Mill Street into a new Center for the Arts with a gallery, artist work space, museum shop and a multipurpose event room. The Center for the Arts will be a new addition to Bristol's "Cultural Corridor" spotlighting tourism attractions, including the Bristol Riverside Theater and Grundy Museum. Renovations are set to begin this spring.
In Quakertown, construction will begin later this year on a new 30,000-square-foot building on Broad Street. The building will house office space, as well as a 10,000-square-foot anchor restaurant with outdoor seating. Construction is also moving along at the new Quakertown Borough Park, which will feature paved walking trails, a pond, butterfly gardens, gazebo and beautiful amphitheater for outdoor concerts for more than 1,200 when it opens in June 2015
10. A gem along River Road, the Lumberville General Store, gets a complete facelift:
Many visitors love Bucks County for its old-time feel and nothing transports people back in time like an old-fashioned general store. Established in 1803 and reopened in 2009, the Lumberville General Store is undergoing extensive renovations in 2015. Closed until renovations are complete later this spring, the General Store will get a new dining room, kitchen, deli and brand new sitting rooms that have never been open to the public with a café-like feel for visitors to rest and relax. New breakfast and lunch menus will be introduced and the store will begin grinding their own coffee beans, producing and smoking their own meats and serving up homemade ice cream. The Lumberville General Store will also serve as a new BYO meeting or event venue in the county perfect for private events and parties.
For a complete list of things to do this year in Bucks County, check out VisitBucksCounty.com.