Yesterday I made a trip to Doylestown and New Hope in Bucks County. This was sort of a preliminary trip for an overnight trip I have planned for August 6 to August 7. I had nothing better to do this weekend so I decided to visit the James A. Michener Art Museum and the Mercer Museum to give myself more time for other things on my weekend getaway. But since it did not take that long to see both museums I had time to drive to New Hope too.
It takes three hours to drive from Williamsport to Doylestown. I used the Pennsylvania Turnpike and drove pass the Hickory Run Service Plaza, through the Lehigh Tunnel, and pass the Allentown Service Plaza to get off at the Quakertown exit, Exit 44. I had to pay a toll of $6.05. Although I had detailed directions on where to go once leaving the turnpike, I still relied on GPS to get to Doylestown. Things went very smoothly even though I encountered some tricky intersections.
I parked in the James A. Michener Art Museum’s parking lot and took some photos of both museum exteriors while waiting for the James A. Michener Art Museum to open at 10:00 a.m. Fortunately, I had timed my departure just right so I arrived at my destination only a few minutes early. The James A. Michener Art Museum is a fairly small museum. I think it only took me 45 minutes to see all the exhibits. I saw the Lenfest Exhibition of Pennsylvania Impressionism, the George Nakashima Reading Room, Daniel Garber’s “A Wooded Watershed”, and the James A. Michener: A Living Legacy exhibit.
At the museum store I bought The Ladies of the Corridor, a play by Dorothy Parker. Dorothy Parker used to own a farmhouse in Bucks County. I did not know that she ever wrote a play. I also bought a novel by James A. Michener, The Fires of Spring. I’ve never read any of his novels even though you see them at used book sales all the time.
I then walked over to the Mercer Museum which is just across the street from the James A. Michener Art Museum. This completed my tour of the Henry Chapman Mercer attractions since I saw Fonthill Castle and the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works on a bus trip in the Spring. I didn’t expect to like the Mercer Museum but it was more interesting than I expected. A collection of pre-industrial hand tools doesn’t sound very appealing but there were also old carriages, sleds, a whaleboat, and a Conestoga wagon to see. All of these objects hang from the walls of the central courtyard of this immense concrete castle. After exploring the six floors of pre-industrial artifacts I walked through the special exhibit, Long May She Wave: A Graphic History of the American Flag, which included a lot of flag art and flag-related objects and artifacts.
The final establishment in Doylestown I visited was the Doylestown Bookshop, a large book store on Main Street. It was a short walk from the museums but the temperature that day reached a high of 97 degrees so even a short walk was a bit of an ordeal. I had trouble finding any interesting books at the Doylestown Bookshop but eventually I settled for New York City: A Cultural History since I am very interested in New York City’s many contributions to American culture.
I left Doylestown around Noon so I had plenty of time to drive to New Hope. I have been planning my overnight trip to New Hope for the past three weeks so I was thrilled with the prospect of a sneak preview. I wanted to take plenty of photos to complete my custom travel guide for New Hope. Although this tourist town is very popular, I still found it difficult to find decent photos of many establishments.
Driving to New Hope was more difficult than I expected since there were several turns where it was not obvious in which direction to go. Still, I managed to always make the correct decision and my GPS helped me to keep on track. I will need to do some more research on the roads for my overnight trip. Eventually I drove pass the place where I will be staying, a roadside hotel outside of town. There are many fancy bed and breakfast places in New Hope but most of them required a two night stay.
Finding a place to park in New Hope is a real challenge, but I managed to find a spot at the end of New Street near the American Legion on the Delaware Canal Towpath. This cost me $10.00 but there was plenty of room to park.
I walked along South Main Street and took lots of photos of various establishments which I knew about from my research. However, there were a few surprises since Google Street View is a little outdated and many of the tourist photos I’ve collected are old. I was quite thrilled to see the Bucks County Playhouse which was the major inspiration for my trip. This is the official State Theater of Pennsylvania. The play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang is set in Bucks County and the playwright actually appeared in his play in a production at the Bucks County Playhouse. I wish I had seen that. I am going to see the play The Divine Sister by Charles Busch. I’m a bit familiar with the work of Charles Busch, a cross-dressing playwright, since I’ve read a few of his plays and bought many of his books. I suppose the theater is doing his play because New Hope PA has a lot of gay pride.
New Hope PA also seems to have many psychics and pagans. I saw at least three storefronts for Psychic Readings and there were two stores selling Wicca merchandise; Mystickal Tymes and Gypsy Heaven. I visited both of those stores. I was interested in buying some books but both stores had a poor selection. They were both selling mostly New Age books on Wicca. Now you might say that I take mysticism seriously and I can tell if someone else really knows anything about it by the kinds of books they would choose to read or sell. Neither of these stores offered anything of interest to me. But at the Gypsy Heaven I did buy the book The Goddess and The Shaman by J. A. Kent Phd since I’m trying to finish my full length play on shamanism. I need to read a good book on shamanism to get a few ideas on how to expand my play and maybe replace some bad lines.
Although I planned to spend as much time in New Hope as possible it was brutally hot so it became impractical to remain outside for long. By 3:30 p.m. I was completely exhausted and feeling very poorly so I had to leave. But before that I managed to walk across the bridge over the Delaware River to explore Lambertville in New Jersey. I also visited Farley’s Bookshop where I bought the book Five Plays by Anton Chekhov. I really don’t need another book of his plays but this one was translated by a different person and I really need to familiarize myself with this plays. I am constantly coming across references to his plays. For example, Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is based on Chekhov’s plays, mostly The Seagull and Uncle Vanya. I had lunch at the Blue Tortilla Restaurant where I ordered a pink lemonade and Enciladas Verdes. After that I was finally out of cash so I had to go to the PNC Bank to use their ATM.