01 of 08
Proposal Weekend: Bucks County, PA
Though Bucks County, PA is located a mere 75 miles from New York City and just 25 miles from Philadelphia, the area feels worlds (and centuries) away, making it the perfect destination for a romantic country getaway.
Especially if you’re planning to pop the question during your stay. Historic inns and romantic B&Bs are plentiful, as are the potential proposal backdrops, whether you work with your concierge to stage something elaborate or decide to take advantage of the area’s incredible... scenery (we’ve done a little scouting and narrowed the options for you).
Most routes into the area culminate on a tangle of meandering country roads that take you past wide expanses of farmland, red barns trimmed in white and old steepled churches. Horses and goats graze behind white split-rail fences while handmade signs beckon you to stop for fresh eggs and produce. A canopy of trees, lush and green in the spring and summer, resplendent orange and yellow in the fall, will accompany you on this leg of your journey, along with glorious riverscapes, stately 18th century homes and rustic cottage dwellings.
Have a map with you as the reliability of your GPS will be a little wonky in such rural surroundings. But getting lost means you’re bound to encounter an old-timey covered bridge, or even better, a cute riverside town you never knew existed.
There are, in fact, innumerable towns to explore, all quaint and picturesque, though not all are in Pennsylvania: The area is crisscrossed with tiny bridges that magically drop you in various hamlets along the Delaware River in New Jersey (Lambertville, Stockton and Frenchtown are all worth a stop).
We recommend making New Hope, PA your home base. Not only is this low-key hideaway exceptionally charming (with a quirky-artsy slant), it’s close to attractions that appeal to all kinds of romantic travelers, including hiking, antiquing, wine-tasting, and sampling the area’s locavore food scene.
If you visit New Hope during the warmer months, you’ll find the town abuzz with nightlife options (the town is also famous for its LGBT community and cultural events). Many of the restaurants and bars have lively patios and porches, the perfect place to celebrate your engagement (or calm your nerves once it’s official) over al fresco craft beer or cocktails.
From the ring to the restaurant to the prettiest proposal spots, click through to start planning the ultimate Proposal Weekend in Bucks County…Continue to 2 of 8 below.
02 of 08
Shop for Engagement Rings Here: Diana Michaels
A Proposal Weekend in Bucks County could involve two scenarios. One has you and your sweetie using your time there to shop for and buy an engagement ring together. The other hinges on the proposal being a complete surprise, the engagement ring having been selected and purchased in advance of the big moment.
No matter what approach you take, make Diana Michaels first on your list. Conveniently located right on New Hope’s North Main Street since 1989, the elegant boutique is outfitted in polished... wood fixtures, furnishings and vitrines offset by ruby-red Scalamandré wallpaper, gilded mirrors and chandelier lighting. It’s a lovely setting in which to take in the jewelry, a collection led by glamorous statement jewels, many of them designed in-house by owner Diane Thomas and her team. This includes a wide array of engagement rings marked by rather large center diamonds (and sapphires and emeralds…), which are the store’s specialty.
A certified gemologist with a discerning eye, Thomas is a passionate gem hunter who travels the world over to bring her clients one-of-kind stones. “I have a lot of calls for canary yellow diamonds and ovals seem popular right as well,” says Thomas, who sees some trends but strives to cater to the individual tastes of her clients. A revolving selection of antique and estate engagement rings further ensures her couples have access to a trove of unique options (at a variety of price points, too). 25 North Main Street, New Hope, 215-862-5747Continue to 3 of 8 below.
03 of 08
Shop For Engagement Rings Here – David Craig Jewelers
That David Craig Jewelers is located in a strip mall in Langhorne has been a non-issue for the store’s loyal Bucks County clientele since it opened more than 37 years ago. Offering incredible professionalism without snootiness, it’s worth a special visit during your proposal weekend both to browse the glass cases stocked with finished rings and mountings by popular designers like Ritani and Forevermark, and to receive personalized guidance from owner David Craig Rotenberg. In fact, though the... store isn’t loud about it, the real draw is getting to work one-on-one with Rotenberg on a custom design.
A veteran gemologist and jewelry appraiser, Rotenberg is a pillar of the Bucks County business community and a jewelry industry luminary. (He’s also a sought-after expert who has testified at government trials.) Seated at his executive desk, he always has a pencil and pen handy, ready to quickly whip up a sketch that delivers, or improves on, any engagement ring you show him, effectively transforming the design into precisely what you’re looking for (pro tip: come to the store with some visual aids handy).
Come for the engagement rings, stay for the two adorable resident Portuguese water dogs (Rotenberg’s wife breeds and shows them), who add a bit of levity to the whole shopping for an engagement ring experience, which can be baffling elsewhere. But not here—instead, you feel welcomed into an atmosphere of warmth and 100 percent transparency. And with Rotenberg personally educating and looking after you, you sense immediately that when all is said and done, you’ll be leaving the store in possession of the most beautiful engagement ring you can afford. 10 Summit Square Shopping Center, Langhorne, PA, 215-968-8900Continue to 4 of 8 below.
04 of 08
Propose Here – Sand Castle Winery
Although the Bucks County Wine Trail consists of nine solid wine-tasting destinations, Sand Castle Winery stands out as particularly proposal-worthy because of its secluded location on the banks of the Delaware River and 360-degree views. The architecture, inspired by the owners’ Czechoslovakian heritage, also has a certain storybook charm to it, with its cinnamon-sugar exterior and crenellated towers.
Stop in for a tasting of the Maxian family’s popular European-style wines ($10 per person), buy... a bottle of your favorite vintage (the Chardonnay and Riesling varietals get rave reviews), and then stroll the grounds in search of a picnic spot (stop by Annie’s in Lambertville, NJ for provisions on your way). You can also work with staff to arrange a private tasting with a customized cheese pairing in the elegant Bride’s Room, or to stage a more elaborate scene on the winery’s intimate terrace complete with flowers and fairy lights. And every February, the winery hosts “Sweetheart Pairings,” guided five-course, food-and-wine tasting experiences (think: lobster bisque and filet mignon); check the winery’s event calendar for details.
Another reason why we love the idea of proposing at Sand Castle? You can return to the venue and host your wedding here—“where we got engaged” offers a backdrop with built-in romantic significance and the winery is more than equipped to match your vision to a number of indoor and outdoor event scenarios. 755 River Road, Erwinna, 800-722-9463Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Propose Here – Raven Rock Bridge
Located in the town of Lumberville, this pedestrian-only bridge is less than 15 minutes from New Hope and makes for an exquisite proposal backdrop—we love the symbolism of “crossing the bridge” one way as individuals, then returning to where you started from as a couple engaged to be married, your lives forever entwined. Spanning just 688 feet across the Delaware River, the Raven Rock Bridge connects Bull’s Island Recreation Center, a nice spot for a picnic or scenic stroll, with a stretch of... Route 32 best known for the Black Bass Hotel.
Originally built in the 1740s, and one of Bucks County’s culinary standouts, the establishment is literally within steps of the bridge, making a celebratory meal here a fitting and memorable endnote to your proposal. Request a table by the window for the ultimate view: At night, the bridge is dimly lit, as though staged for a duet scene in old-fashioned musical; after dinner, adjourn to the Black Bass’s riverside patio with a nightcap to linger a while longer in closer proximity to a sight (and site) you’ll never forget.Continue to 6 of 8 below.
06 of 08
Propose Here – Uhlerstown Bridge
Bucks County is home to 12 completely picturesque covered bridges dating from the 19th century, many set in off-the-beaten-path locations accessible via the area’s zig-zagging back roads. Each is a uniquely idyllic setting for a relaxed, yet memorable proposal, but we’ve singled out the Uhlerstown Bridge in Tinicum Township for two reasons. Hovering over the tranquil Delaware Canal, the oaken structure is postcard-ready with its red-and-white color scheme and surrounding landscape of towering... trees and hills. Seriously, hire a photographer to lie in wait, especially if you can somehow manage to time the big moment to a recent snowfall—instant holiday card! The second reason is that the bridge is just a 10-minute drive or so from the Golden Pheasant Inn, whose romantic restaurant is the place to celebrate your engagement over a luxurious fireside dinner. More on this in the next slide…Continue to 7 of 8 below.
07 of 08
Celebrate Here – The Golden Pheasant Inn
Celebrating your engagement over a memorable meal in a refined and elegant setting, where you’ll feel pampered and indulged—without a stitch of starchiness or pretension—is a proposal weekend must. With its distinctive white-trimmed fieldstone exterior and porch overlooking the Delaware Canal, the Golden Pheasant Inn is a 25-minute drive from the heart of New Hope, but the journey is worth it, and the dinner you enjoy there will be a highlight of your visit to Bucks County.
A few reasons why:... Co-executive chefs Blake Faure (who owns the inn with her two sisters) and Jon Ramsey work with a hand-picked network of local farmers, artisans and producers to develop enticing French-meets-New American menus that incorporate the freshest ingredients. We’re talking right down to the honey (from Tassot Apiaries) used to prepare the succulent Frenched chicken breast, and the elba potatoes (from Tuscarora Farms) that that accompany the mouthwatering braised lamb shank.
The dining room is spacious, dimly lit by candles and the glow of a fireplace, and it’s the kind of place where your server takes meticulous care of you, walking you through the menu options with a true foodie’s knowledge of, and passion for, what makes each dish so special. Kick off your engagement celebration with oysters or the inn’s signature onion soup (a gorgeous creation smothered in melted Swiss cheese) and we’d recommend having ice cream for dessert. Why? The inn sources it from local favorite Owowcow Creamery; the assortment of flavors includes an exquisite custom blend of candied citrus, Grand Marnier, chocolate and Tahitian vanilla that was clearly commissioned by the restaurant with the particularity of an Old World parfumeur concocting an exotic fragrance. 763 River Road (Route 32), Erwinna, PA, 610-294-9595Continue to 8 of 8 below.
08 of 08
Sleep Here – Inn at Bowman’s Hill
For the ultimate proposal weekend in Bucks County, stay at the Inn at Bowman’s Hill, a top-rated B&B offering plush accommodations balanced with a relaxed, homey vibe. Secluded and special occasion-worthy, its carefully tended lawns and gardens, pergola-covered walkways and an expansive poolside terrace rimmed with azalea-red loungers and parasols effortlessly set the scene for romance. There’s even a little a family of Embden geese roaming the property, lending it a certain a Kate Greenaway... illustration charm (though the sublime fresh eggs you’ll enjoy with each hearty breakfast come from a chicken coop out back).
Situated on the rural outskirts of New Hope, the inn is just down the road from Bowman’s Hill Tower (Bucks County’s rustic 125-foot answer to NYC’s Empire State Building), which offers miles and miles of views of the Delaware River valley in all its glory—proposal backdrop perfection. Or let innkeepers Mike Amery and Louisa Haggerty stage something truly magical for you back at the inn. While you’re out, they’ll transform the glass-enclosed Orchid Conservatory into an intimate, candlelit private sanctuary, filling it with red roses and setting a table with chocolate-dipped strawberries and a bottle of Champagne, all offset by soft music in the background (or live violin, played by Amery himself). And when you and your beloved return to this breathtaking setting? The element of surprise just adds to the moment—the rest is, of course, entirely up to you…
Later, you’ll repair to your room for snuggling by the fire or a relaxing soak in your whirlpool tub—book the Penthouse Suite to do so beneath a fiber optic starlight ceiling, complete with shooting stars that appear every five minutes. Make as many wishes as you like! Rates from $395 to $895 per night; custom pricing for proposal and romance packages. 518 Lurgan Road, New Hope, 215-862-8090