Artists, Cyclists are September’s Headliners in Doylestown

The days are getting shorter, but there are still so many summer events happening around town.

The Doylestown Arts Festival is one of the town’s biggest celebrations of all things related to art, music and of a literary nature. The two-day, juried festival – Sept. 12 and 13 – is always a popular time in town, with more than 160 artists, a food court, and five music stages placed throughout the downtown area. An added attraction is the Thompson Bucks County Classic on Sunday. Throughout the day, bicycle races for men, women and children will keep the weekend atmosphere exciting. Keep in mind some roads will be closed and parking will be limited during these two events. The Doylestown Arts Festival website has maps and parking information to help you navigate smoothly during that busy but fun weekend.

Doylestown’s appeal lies in its restaurants, quaint shops, museums, art-house movie theater, and lively nightlife. Top it off with this fall celebration of the arts – held now for 24 years – and you’ll know why this historic town is easily a leading destination for visitors. Come see us!

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Recent Guests from Half a World Away

We have had an assortment of interesting guests staying with us over the years. Recently, we provided lodging for a visiting film crew from Beijing who were in town to document the part explorer William Edgar Geil played in mapping the Great Wall of China.

Geil, a contemporary of Henry Mercer, is thought to be the first Westerner who traveled the entire length of the wall. Our neighbors at Doylestown Historical Society hold his archives.

Geil’s journey will be the subject of one segment of a six-part documentary planned for Chinese television in 2016. The crew shot footage at a handful of Doylestown sites, including his boyhood home on Court Street, Doylestown Cemetery (where the Geil family is interred) and The Barrens, a stately manor at the south end of town where Geil and his wife lived. Plans are in the works for the documentary to be released internationally and reformatted for IMAX viewing.

The Philadelphia Inquirer and Bucks County Herald covered the event. Go to the links for their respective stories.

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Shop ’til You Drop at the End of the Month in Dtown

Calling all shoppers: Have we got some deals for you!

Take a stroll through town July 24 to 26, and you’re bound to find that special something for that special someone during the annual sidewalk sale. Participating stores will display some of their wonderful items outside their shops. You might find an interesting piece of jewelry, snatch up a copy of a book you’ve been meaning to read, or pick up a cute skirt or top that fits like it was made just for you! It’s a great way to explore some of our fine boutiques while getting some bargains as well.

Sidewalk sale hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. all three days. It’s one of the many activities sponsored by the nonprofit group Doylestown Business and Community Alliance.

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Start Your Motors for the Doylestown at Dusk Car Show

There is just SO MUCH going on around town this month! One of our favorite events is coming up mid-month. That’s when the Doylestown Rotary Club hosts the Doylestown at Dusk Car Show. This year, it’ll be held July 18, beginning at 5 p.m.

Parts of State and Court streets downtown will be closed off to allow the assortment of street rods, classic cars, antique trucks, motorcycles and more to park and show themselves at their best. The show can host up to 500 vehicles, with prizes doled out at the end.

Even if cars aren’t your thing, you can definitely people-watch while listening to some great live music playing around town. It’s a fabulous activity the whole family can enjoy!

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July is Hot as a Firecracker With Fun Activities

Coming into town in July? We’ve got you covered. Here are just a few fun and interesting activities going on:

— July 4: Ring in Independence Day with an Old-fashioned Fourth of July Celebration on the grounds of Henry Mercer’s Fonthill. Test your mettle in games like tug-o-war, bucket brigade relays, watermelon-eating contests, the cake walk, obstacle course, stilt walking, sack races, and wheelbarrow races. Don’t miss the decorated bike contest and parade, either.
— July 8: Hotsy Totsy will perform hits of the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s, as well as their own “reinvented” current chart toppers at Chapman Park in town. Marking 20 years, the Sounds of Summer music series is in partnership with both Doylestown Township and Doylestown Borough.
— July 15: Bring your lunch and listen to Eco-Man as he brings his own style of environmentally conscious children’s music to the Brown Bag It With the Arts series on the lawn at Bucks County Courthouse. It’s all interactive, and kids young and old will love it!
— July 26: This’ll be the last day to see Adolph A. Weinman’s Baltimore Civil War Monument silver galvano plaque on display at the Bucks County Civil War Round Table and Museum. Weinman is best known as designer of the Mercury dime and the walking Liberty half-dollar for the U.S. Mint.
During the summer, the museum’s hours have been extended to Saturday and Sunday.

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A Special Birthday, a New Bride, and a 3,300-mile Odyssey

All of our guests have interesting stories to share.
Some, though, are particular standouts.
Take Butch Fioretti, for instance.
He celebrated a milestone birthday – his 50th – earlier this year.
He married his sweetheart, Karen, on May 1.
Then, three days later, he began a 3,300-mile journey as a personal quest – to ride his bicycle across the United States, pedaling from San Diego to Asbury Park, N.J.
An avid recreational cyclist and electrician by trade, Fioretti had thought, off and on, about taking the long road trip, but life commitments had always stood in the way. As he approached his half-century mark, he began to think now might be the best time to act on his dream.
And 48 days after setting out from the West Coast, his dream was close to being fulfilled when he pulled into Doylestown Friday night.
There was a necessary stop at Doylestown Bike Works for some repairs and maintenance products before heading out on the last leg of his trip.
Fioretti averaged about 75 miles a day on his Fuji bike. When he started out, he rode with a trailer hitched behind that was loaded with camping gear. His bride followed via car for the first week, but then flew back east to their home in Peckville, just north of Scranton, Pa.
The extra 55 pounds of the trailer, he decided, turned out to be a major nuisance and hindered his travels. He finally ditched it when some extreme, tornado-bearing weather in Dodge City, Kan., made him re-think his travel mode.
From then on, his wife at home would use the Internet to scout out the areas through which he would be traveling and make arrangements for him to spend the night at various inns or hotels.
“I can’t say enough about that woman,” he said, clearly talking like a smitten newlywed. “She is my biggest fan, my biggest supporter.”
He blogged about his trip on his Facebook page, and those interested could also follow him in real time on the website mapmyride.com.
Unpredictable weather was definitely a hazard, leaving the cyclist sunburned or rain-soaked, depending on what part of the country he was in at the time. Spending so much time on the road, he also had to deal with flat tires and some not-so-courteous drivers. But those issues paled when realizing that he was a witness to some of the most incredibly breathtaking scenery this country has to offer.
“It’s been fabulous,” he said over an early breakfast with us Saturday morning.
“There are so many nice people out there – so friendly and willing to help you out.”
One thing he did not like during his trip of a lifetime was the loneliness he felt by missing his friends and family. “Being away from everybody for that length of time was hard,” he admitted.
But that would all come to an end later that day. That day would be his last one on the road. He left around 8:30, figuring he’d hit Asbury Park around 1:30 p.m. He planned to stop at Bruce Springsteen’s haunt, the famed Stone Pony (“I’m a huge Springsteen fan”) before dipping his bike’s wheels into the Atlantic Ocean.
As he readied his bike to follow the BicyclePA Route S southeast toward Washington Crossing and then into the Garden State, Fioretti chatted about being amazed that so many people in his hometown were following his daily progress on his “Bike Across America” trip.
“It makes me feel so good that I’ve touched people in ways that I can only imagine. They inspire me as much as I can inspire them.”
Hargrave House B&B wishes a long, love-filled marriage for Karen and Butch Fioretti, as well as more awe-producing cycling adventures.

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Driving Us Batty With Youthful Creativity

A wide variety of guests stay at Hargrave House. Of course, we have couples staying with us for a romantic getaway as they visit charming Doylestown. We have corporate clientele, traveling to the area on business trips. Recently, children’s author/illustrator Brian Lies came to town for a series of programs he presented to some of the area’s elementary schools.

Lies is making the speaking circuit these days to promote his latest book, “Bats in the Band” (Houghton Mifflin Co., 2014). He is one of several children’s authors who have stayed at Hargrave House over the years as they spend a few days giving presentations about their profession to youngsters – how they go from getting an idea for their book, to writing, to creating the artwork, to finally seeing their end result in print – as well as usually stopping by Ellen Mager’s Booktender’s Secret Garden for a book signing.

Driving here from his home in Massachusetts, Lies brought his own vehicle – which was anything but ordinary. To promote his book, Lies had his van “shrink-wrapped” with illustrations of the furry, flying characters from his book. When in full BATSmobile mode, there are a couple of larger-than-life bat musicians hanging out on top of the vehicle – perhaps waiting to jam with someone stopping by to play the portable “sewer pipe organ” affixed alongside. Lies’ Bats in the Band Facebook page has a wonderful picture of his stylin’ ride, along with a great video of drummer Daniel taking his turn at the pipes.

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History and Art: Doylestown Showcases Both

Summer has unofficially started, and the activities around town have ramped up in response. A new exhibit is set to open next door at Doylestown Historical Society. The display will focus on “Wilma Rezer: “Doylestown’s 20th Century Historian and Author.” Photos and information about her life (she would have turned 100 this year), as well as contributions she made to the community, will be showcased.

June 4 is also the first day of the second annual Doylestown Art Days (June 4-7). More than 80 artists and local merchants are paired. This year again, Hargrave House will feature one of the paintings done by the late David Frame, another Doylestown institution. Stop by and visit! You can see the whole list of artists and businesses at by clicking on the link.

Both events will hold kickoffs June 4 at the pocket park behind DHS: 4 p.m. for the historical exhibit followed at 5 with a wine and cheese reception for the four-day art happening.

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Ready, Set, Shop at the Doylestown Farmers’ Market

We’re REALLY looking forward to this Saturday. That’s when the Doylestown Farmers’ Market reopens for the season. And this is the 40th year its sponsor – Buckingham Civic Association – has been hosting it. That’s a long time!

If you’re staying with us, it’s an easy walk to get there. It’s right around the corner from our parking lot on Hamilton Street. Stop on by when it opens. With more than 25 vendors on the scene, there’s bound to be some fresh-from-the-oven pastries and aromatic coffee to help you get started. You’ll find a bountiful assortment of homegrown veggies and fruits, picked right from the field or orchard. Farmstand fresh cheese, non-GMO chicken and natural pork and beef are also available. Couple the good eats with unique products, such as handcrafted soaps, gourmet pickles, socks woven with cozy alpaca yarn, and re-purposed feedbags turned into totes and messenger bags, and you’ll be quick to understand why the BCA calls the market “a Saturday morning institution in Doylestown from April to November.”

Hours run 7 a.m. to noon, rain or shine, every Saturday during the season. See you there!

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Crafting the Perfect Spirit or Brew for You

We thought we would tell you about a relatively new, “spirited” venture near us. You may know that Bucks County has numerous wine trails, which many of our guests have followed, sampling some of the area’s best vintner goods. But a growing movement in the beverage industry is the resurgence of craft distilleries. Hewn Spirits is right near us in neighboring Pipersville. The distillery is proud to source its grains from local farmers and currently produces rum, rye whiskey and “moonshine.” Some of our area restaurants also offer the brand on their menus. The hard stuff doesn’t do it for you? No worries. The distillery shares its digs with another craft beverage site – Bucks County Brewery. Beginning in mid-April, the weather should cooperate enough for Food Truck Fridays to begin a new season. Both businesses will be open in the evening to sell their wares, and with food-truck vendors on-site and live music to complete the festivities.

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