If adorable Peddler’s Village seems as though it must be imagined, well, it was. In 1962, inspired by a visit to the picturesque California town Carmel by the Sea, Earl Hart Jamison set about transforming six acres of farmland known as “Hentown” into what would become a 42-acre village, replete with its own lovely inn, restaurants, and shops galore—all recalling a quaint 18th-century community.
Today, from its pretty perch among the rolling hills of Pennsylvania’s Bucks County, Peddler’s Village has the feel of a picture-perfect Main Street, where spring is ushered in by a strawberry festival and scarecrow contests welcome fall. The village forged from hankering for tradition has become a place where traditions are made.
Everybody Knows Your Name
Although it attracts visitors from all over, Peddler’s Village is at heart about community. This charming town, with its inventive scarecrows lining the lanes during our visit, is full of endearing eccentrics and an oh-so-friendly feel.
Skip, of Skip’s Candy Corner (and the nut-free Skip’s Sugar Shack across the street) will wave hello to you on his way to take treats out to the Civil War reenactors who happened to be in town for the weekend. Next is Chris, from House of Coffee, who likes to show off his gorgeous coffee roaster and explain the process of roasting his own beans.
Then there are the multitudes of delightful shops, from the purveyors of all things deliciously Italian serving up olive oil tastings at Casa Casale, to the family of cookware experts at the Cookery Ware Shop (now run by the third generation), to the artists at Eldreth Pottery, continuing Pennsylvania’s tradition of gorgeous salt-glazed stoneware.
Pedder’s Village Year-Round Festivities
Peddler’s Village is a place of community and a place of tradition, the combination of which means annual festivities galore. Here, a glimpse of what’s in store—at any time of year.
January – April
Late April/Early May
Late November – December
For the full schedule of events, see the Peddler’s Village calendar
A Pretty Peace
After all that shopping and tasting, a luxurious treatment at Skin ‘n Tonic may be in order. The tranquil salon and medspa offers everything from hair cuts, to a wide array of body wraps. We opted to banish our toxins with a customized 60-minute Phytomer facial, which uses seaweed from the Brittany coast to balance and refresh the skin.
A Taste of the Past (and Present)
Dining-wise, Peddler’s Village has a little something for every taste. We tucked into a traditional lunch at the Cock ‘n Bull Restaurant. Overlooking the town square, this Peddler’s Village mainstay serves up American favorites from the classic cheeseburger to pot roast in a capacious, rustic setting. Their evening events, like Monday night colonial cooking demonstrations and weekend murder mystery dinners, are also quite popular.
Come dinnertime, we tried the very modern Earl’s Bucks County, a newcomer to the Peddler’s Village scene, marked by brushed metals, dim lighting, and a celebration of all things local—from the artwork that adorns the walls to the farm fresh delicacies that grace each plate. Chef Chris Tavares turns out gorgeous (and delicious) New American cuisine, all made with ingredients sourced from Pennsylvania’s bountiful farms and the restaurant’s own garden. Our meal included plump heirloom tomatoes with soft mozzarella, skirt steak market tacos, a juicy pork chop with local succotash, and (certainly not least) artisan ice cream for OwowCow Creamery.
A Room of One’s Own
Hotel-keeping ran in the Earl Hart Jamison’s family, so it’s no surprise that the Golden Plough Inn is as much an elegant, old world experience as it is a place to sleep. Think antique furnishings, fireplaces, and four-poster beds, with extra friendly touches like a complimentary bottle of local Chaddsford wine with your room reservation.
But the best part of the Golden Plough Inn is that your room may be in the main building, or you could have your own separate entrance above one of the village shops. Many repeat guests, we were told, have their favorite rooms. Others, on the other hand, are working their way though all 70. (We can’t blame them.)
For more ideas on things to do in Bucks County, read The Quintessential Fall Escape: Historic New Hope, PA and The Bus Stops Here: Traveling on the Bucks County Wine Trail
How to get there: Take the Transbridge Bus (Doyleston/Frenchtown/Flemington line) from Penn Station to Lahaska. The bus will stop right in town, near the candy shop.
Photos: Courtesy of Peddler’s Village and A. Sinagoga for GPTMC. Photos in gallery by the author.