Moravian Pottery & Tile Works, Fonthill Castle, and Mercer Museum
One of my favorite places is the Moravian Pottery & Tile Works and Fonthill Castle in Doylestown. I visit here almost every time I go home to see my family. Created by Henry Chapman Mercer, these two architectural features, along with the Mercer Museum a little way down the road, are amazing. The tile works are my favorite, for this is where they [still] create tiles using similar techniques and designs from when Mercer constructed the tile works. I have several tiles in my house and I would love to someday include them as a feature when I buy a house again. I was channel flicking the other day and came across the show Barn Hunters on Great American Country. Never heard of the show, or the channel for that matter. What caught my eye on this particular episode was the tile fireplace surround made from tiles from the Mercer Tile Works. Stopped me dead in my tracks! So I watched the show a bit and it turns out that the host, Sean Tracy is a craftsman from Bucks County! Many people convert barns to living quarters in PA and some are quite spectacular. Anyway, I digress!
The Moravian Pottery & Tile Works is a National Historic Landmark managed by the Bucks County Department of Parks and Recreation as a “working history” museum. The tours are self guided and there is much to see! If you are lucky you’ll see one of the artisans working on making tiles like they did back in the day. During my last visit there I watched an artist make the Henry Chapman Mercer was a supporter of the Arts and Crafts movement, which immediately brings to mind Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, mission style furniture, and Tiffany glass-for me anyway.
Mercer was an interesting fellow, to say the least. He was an archaeologist, in addition to a tile maker, and his collections (there are many) can be seen at the Mercer Museum. You could spend a day at the tile works and Fonthill and another day entirely at the museum. There is so much to see and absorb that one day simply isn’t enough.
James A. Michener Art Museum
The Michener Art Museum is an all things Bucks County art and culture institution. It is a great place to visit to see regional art/artists and the cultural heritage of the area in and around Bucks County. Named after the Pulitzer- Prize winning author, they have special exhibits, a sculpture garden, regional cultural and art exhibits, as well as educational and research opportunities, events such as concerts. I highly recommend visiting if you are in the area! I’ll snap some photos on my new camera the next time I go home so y’all can enjoy!