Thursday, March 27, 2014

Three Wineries on a Spring Sunday

A warm March Sunday beckoned me out of my winter hideout, and what better way to do than to go visit a few wineries in the beautiful Maryland countryside?
I've lived in my neighborhood for over a decade, but I've not been a good neighbor. I like my neighbors but I realized recently I hardly knew them. I thought an exploration of some wineries not too far from our homes would be a nice way to start fixing that, so I invited my neighbors to join me on this "day trip." Two neighbors, Terrie and Paula, graciously agreed to join me.
One of the wineries I selected was one I've been to and enjoyed before: Serpent Ridge. New owners Karen Smith and Hal Roche took over in December. I was curious, so after the visit, I asked them: why purchase a winery? To me, it seems like a lot of work!** 
"Owning a vineyard and winery was a passion of ours and something we had been dreaming about," Karen said. She noted that after doing some research, it seemed like an "impossible dream" due to the amount of time and effort it takes to start a vineyards from the ground up. "We have visited numerous wineries and vineyards, enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere, the character of each one, and of course the experience of learning about and tasting new wines!" The difficulties in starting up a new vineyard from scratch caused them to explore purchasing one that was already operating.

Serpent Ridge was a logical choice, in part, she said, because they had volunteered at Serpent Ridge and learned more about growing grapes, harvesting them, and the whole production process. "Working with our friends, the former owners of Serpent Ridge, we learned about the business and all its operations -- we loved everything about it -- the hard work, the lifestyle, the beauty and serenity of the vineyard, and of course, all the wonderful people we've met and continue to meet!"

Zork the Cat greets visitors to Serpent Ridge's wine tasting room.
As before, Serpent Ridge's wine tasting cost $5, and came with a souvenir wine glass, with which you sample 6 wines: a 2011 Seyval Blanc, the 2011 Albarino, a 2011 Cab Franc rose, the 2011 Basilisk, the 2010 Vintner's Cabernet, and Slither, a desert wine.

The good news, for fans of Serpent Ridge, is that the new owners' philosophy on wine making is still very much aligned to Serpent Ridge's original philosophy. "We believe that small scale winemaking, with its hands on personal attention, takes on an artisan quality," she said. "Our wine making techniques vary according to the demands of the fruit rather than any preconceived recipe, using old world techniques while embracing new age technology."
Each vintage is grown and/or vinified in small lots followed by gentle ageing in stainless steel, traditional and new age oak. "We want to make a quality product, we want to show demonstrate all the goodness in Maryland wines, and most of all, we want to create a unique and pleasurable experience for all of our guests," she said.
But every new owner will exert some new influences, and Karen and Hal are no different, although they plan to keep Serpent Ridge's core (dry) best sellers, such as Vintner's Cabernet, Basilisk, and my personal favorite, the Albarino, based upon the grapes the vineyard grows and those the winery can purchase locally. "We would like to expand our selection slightly by offering one or two semi-sweet wines to ensure we appeal to all of our guests," she said.  They also plan to enlarge their production to 5 thousand cases of wine a year, expand the production room, and "infuse" their wines into a few more local restaurants and stores.
When we sampled Slither, a dessert red, the server advised us to take a sip of the wine, then eat a bite of a dark chocolate Hersey's kiss, then take another sip. Yum! The chocolate  really brought a cherry taste in the wine to life, and I could well imagine serving Slither with some chocolate candy as an after-dinner dessert. (This is why I usually like to bring a few Hersey's kisses with me. It's surprising how much the chocolate can affect the taste of the wine.) As with my previous visit, I very much enjoyed the Albarino, and left with a bottle of it to enjoy at a later time.
Fans of Serpent Ridge should be on the look out for a few additional changes. They will be extending the winery's hours and holding more events at the winery, including music, craft projects, yoga, wine dinners, and other special events so that locals, visitors, tourists, and bloggers like me can have a "unique winery experience."
From Serpent Ridge we headed to Basignani Winery. This is one of Maryland's older wineries, having been established in 1986. Basignani styles itself as a traditional winery, using traditional cellar methods and the wines, which are estate grown and bottled, are classically styled and produced.
Bertero Basignani inherited his love of winemaking from his grandparents, Annunziata and Scandiano Bechini, who brought the tradition of home winemaking with them from their native Italy. Just after he married his wife, Lynn, in 1974, he planted 60 vines, 10 each of 6 different varieties. Using his grandmother’s grape press, Bert began experimenting with winemaking. Four decades later, and his winery is highly regarded in Maryland, and his wine tasting room quite crowded!
At Basignani, we tasted a dry Chardonnay, as well as Marisa and Piccolo, two dry reds. ($5 for six selections from a list of 12 different wines.) Since I lean toward the sweeter wines, I chose evenly between dry and sweeter wines, so the next three were very sweet: Marisa Dolce, the delightful Monkton Moon Delight (I love it for the name!), and their Riesling, which I enjoyed. I surprised myself again: I preferred the drier Marisa over the Marisa Dolce. 
Terri and Paula preferred the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Villa Sangria, neither of which I tried. Terri and Paula also tried the Lorenzino Reserve, and when I noticed our server (whose name escapes me but was very chatty and nice--pictured here) pull out two Hersey's kisses, I offered to drop one of the sweeter wines I'd selected so I could try the Lorenzino with the chocolate. Our server pooh poohed that idea, and poured me a sample of the Lorenzino anyway. Although this wasn't necessarily a dessert wine, I was impressed by how, once again, the pairing of chocolate with a red wine really creates a nice palate change, changing both for the better (which just proves to me, again, that everything can be improved by adding either chocolate or wine). 
One of the nicer aspects of all three wineries we visited this Sunday was that none minded that we brought our own food along (most allow you to bring your own food into the winery, but some do not -- it's best to call ahead and ask what is permitted). We'd brought some whole grain and white baquette bread, assorted cheeses, and grapes.
Only minutes away from Basignani, our final stop was Woodhall Winecellars, one of Maryland's oldest "boutique family wineries."
Woodhall wines are fermented in small lots, keeping the fruit from each vineyard separate, so that Woodhall's blending program can take maximum advantage of "terroir" (the effects of climate and soils on fruit, hence wine, quality). The wines are aged in barrel and bottle until ready for consumption. 
In addition to its grape wines, Woodhall also offers two nice apple wines: a semi-dry apple wine and its "Sparks Apple Ice Wine," a rich dessert wine, both made from blends of six varieties of apples from Milburn Orchard in Cecil County, MD.
**I emailed all three wineries, in the interest of fairness, to ask them questions about their vineyards. Only Serpent Ridge responded.

Tip #1: Avoid the crowds -- go on Sunday. Wineries tend to be less crowded on Sundays than on Saturdays.

Tip #2: If you avoid purchasing wine and pack your own picnic, this is a budget-friendly day trip!
Getting there: Serpent Ridge is located at 2962 Nicodemus Rd, Westminster, MD 21157; Basignani Winery is located at 15722 Falls Rd, Sparks, MD 21152; and Woodhall Vineyards is located at 17912 York Rd, Parkton, MD 21120.
Hours: Serpent Ridge is open Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Basignani is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.; Woodhall Winecellars is open Tuesday through Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m.
Dogs: Nooooooo!
Websites: Serpent Ridge Vineyards www.serpentridge.com; Basignai Vineyards www.basignani.com; and Woodhall Winecellars www.woodhallwinecellars.com.
Check out the blog's FB page for updates on places we've visited and blogged about:  facebook.com/midatlanticdaytrips!
Have you daytripped somewhere interesting? I'd love to hear what you're doing! Email [email protected] if you're interested in being a guest-blogger! 
Wine bottles being labeled at Woodhall Winecellars.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cookies are the Goal on the B&A Trail

The recent warm weather in Maryland enticed me to try out my new bike. Since I hadn't ridden a bike for 20 years, we decided to start with small goals. A comfortable 2.5 mile ride to -- get this, a coffee shop along the scenic Baltimore & Annapolis Trail purported to sell the most delicious breakfast harvest cookies (sounds healthy, doesn't it?) -- and back.

We started at convenient parking at Earleigh Heights (mile marker 7.0). The ranger's station is located in a quaint old Victorian building that was built in 1889 as a store, post office, and, you guessed it, train station. It was run as a store until 1943, and then was a private residence. The county obtained the property in 1988 and restored the building in 1990.

The B&A Trail runs for just over 13 miles between Glen Burnie and Annapolis, following the old Baltimore and Annapolis Railroad. Managed by Anne Arundel County Department of Parks and Recreation, the trail is associated with the Rails to Trails Conservancy (RTC), a national organization advocating for transforming abandoned railroad rights of way into public trails. In fact, you can still see evidence of the old railroad along the trail. There are switch boxes, sections of track, and the railroad station at Earleigh Heights, which serves as the ranger's station.

So what is the Rails to Trails Conservancy? The RTC is responsible for the fact that these old railroad rights of way are now multi-use trails, and not just in very rural areas of the country, but also in densely inhabited suburban areas like the B&A Trail. The RTC advocates to protect and align public funding with trail building, working with local advocates in communities to build support for paths like the B&A Trail. The rail trails have grown from 250 miles of open rail trails in 1986, when the RTC was founded, to 13,000 miles of open rail trails, thanks in large part to the RTC's efforts. Judging by how many folks were out two Saturdays ago enjoying the B&A Trail, these are efforts and tax dollars well-spent!

When we came to the coffee shop at mile marker 5.5 we decided to keep going a while longer. The day was one of those miraculous spring days and it felt great to be outside in warm, sunny weather.

A sign that graced a gazebo rest spot along the trail.
The "goal"of the bike ride: a delicious treat!
We continued another mile or two further along the trail, turning around at a maintenance station, and heading back to the coffee shop for what we thought was a well-earned cookie and a skim latte. The coffee shop thoughtfully offers picnic tables under trees, as well as water and a dog bowl for those who decide to hike along the trail with Fido. The cookie is worth the stop!

The trail for the most part is dead flat -- the inclines are slight at their worst, so a good trail to start biking on if you're returning to the sport or recovering after a winter of little exercise. Because the trail is located in such a crowded suburban area, it is likewise crowded with walkers, joggers, dog walkers, and bikers, including families with little children on bikes. Please be patient with the rest of humanity and observe trail etiquette. The least crowded time is early in the morning, before families with small children can get themselves organized and out the door.

Although the "park" is only 60 feet wide, many parts of it are wooded and it is relaxing to get away from the roads and the more suburban scenery of strip malls and shopping centers. It is also frankly interesting to peek into the backyards of homeowners along the trail. Many have superbly landscaped their back yards into what in summer must be lovely oasis-es. Even with such a narrow park, there is wildlife. On an early spring day we saw a lot of birds and the ubiquitous grey squirrels. There were also deer and what I believed to be fox prints in mud along the trail.


With energy to spare when we returned to the parking lot we decided to continue to enjoy the day by heading back to Downs Memorial Park, also in Anne Arundel County, to bike the perimeter trail -- a good 5-mile addition to our earlier ride. Located on the Chesapeake Bay, Downs Park offers a variety of natural and recreational activities throughout its 236 acres. It also offers more than five miles of paved and natural trails, including a self-guided nature trail. Although more hilly than the B&A Trail, the hills are slight and over with quickly, so very doable. We encountered numerous friendly dog walkers enjoying the trail, but no where near the number on the B&A Trail. We even happened upon a bog turtle!

A bog turtle at Downs Memorial Park. He wasn't as
enthusiastic about meeting us as we were to meet him!
I am often asked how I find out about these places. I am an avid reader and curious as heck. And I've yet to run into someone I don't want to talk to, so I often hear about places by word of mouth. But for the rails to trails, in addition to friends' suggestions, I rely on two excellent books. If you're interested in exploring rails to trails in the mid-Atlantic region, I recommend adding these to your library.

The first is Hiking, Cycling & Canoeing in Maryland, by Bryan MacKay (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008). This family-oriented guide is divided into three parts, each concentrating on hiking and walking, biking, or canoeing (and kayaking). It provides detailed information about the length of and what to expect along the walks or rides, the difficulty, whether appropriate for children or families, and how to get there. I've found this book invaluable for providing ideas and tips for future day trips.

The second is Rail-Trails Mid-Atlantic The Official Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Guidebook (Wilderness Press, 2007). This guide covers rail trails in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington DC, providing a short description, mileage, end points, directions to access the trails, and a "roughness index" which so far seems fairly accurate. There also are Rail-Trails Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York (2011) and
Rail-Trails Southeast: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Tennessee (2006).


Tip #1: Stop at the B&A Trail Rangers Station at Earleigh Station to pick up maps and other information about the B&A Trail, and information about other nearby bike rides. There are also bathrooms and a water fountain.

Tip #2: It is possible to extend your ride on the B&A Trail by almost double by continuing beyond the north end of the B&A trail. A well-marked and paved connector trail leads to the Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) Trail, an 11-mile loop that is rather scenic and features an excellent location (and playground for kids) to observe arriving and departing aircraft at close range.

Tip #3: If you're not into biking, both of these trails are pleasant walks/hikes.

Don't you want to be sitting there?
Getting there: The park offers two parking lots: the northern lot is located at Earleigh Road, adjacent to the Ranger Station, at 51 West Earleigh Heights Road, Severna Park, MD 21146; the southern lot is located on Route 450 and Boulters Way at the trail's end; in addition there are numerous shopping center lots on the east side of Route 2 that could be used, including the starting point of the trail at Marley Station Mall, at mile 2.8 near the junction of Route 100 and Route 2. Downs Memorial Park is located at 8311 John Downs Loop, Pasadena, MD 21122.

Locust Cove in Downs Memorial Park.
Hours: Parking lots for the B&A Trail are open daily dawn to dusk. Downs Memorial Park is also open dawn to dusk.

Dogs: Both are great trails for walking dogs and we encountered many happy pooches and their walkers along both trails. If you're biking, be sure to greet and compliment well-behaved dogs. It breeds good will and helps keep relationships between the various trail users friendly and cordial.

Check out the blog's FB page for updates on places we've visited and blogged about:  facebook.com/midatlanticdaytrips!




Have you daytripped somewhere interesting? I'd love to hear what you're doing! Email [email protected] if you're interested in being a guest-blogger! 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

From the AVAM to the BMA: An Afternoon of Art

Lynn is guest blogging for Mid-Atlantic Day Trips Blog this week. (Thanks Lynn!!)

My son and I met Mid Atlantic Day Trip gal and her son at the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) in January. While she wisked her 11-year-old son through to maintain his interest, we opted to stroll through at a more leisurely pace. Afterward, we stopped to have lunch at the restaurant in AVAM, Mr. Rain's Fun House (great art inside the restaurant and great locally sourced food!).



Then my son, an art major at nearby Towson University, and I headed over to the Baltimore Museum of Art for the afternoon. He had been there for art class assignments but wanted to take some time and see the whole museum (or almost the whole museum, one wing is being renovated, reopening this fall). It had been many years since I had visited and I'd never gone with my son, so we went!

The BMA's $28 million renovation features new presentations of four outstanding collections; a dynamic learning and creativity center; two engaging entrances with improved visitor amenities; and much more. The first phase of the BMA’s multiyear renovation was completed in November 2012 with the reopening of the Contemporary Wing. The historic Merrick Entrance, the Dorothy McIlvain Scott American Wing, and the East Wing Lobby and Zamoiski Entrance will reopen this fall, coinciding with the Museum’s 100th celebration. The African and Asian art galleries and the learning and creativity center are scheduled to be completed by late spring 2015.

One of the "must sees" there is Auguste Rodin's The Thinker (one of 10 original monumental size casts in the United States). The museum also has outstanding mosaics from the lost city of Antioch (now known as Antakya) in Turkey and an Andy Warhol room too.

Not all of it is "do not touch" -- you can walk on and actually sit on some pieces in the contemporary wing and a curtain of glass beads you can walk through is actually an art installation! They have great pieces by internationally renowned artists, including the largest collection of Matisse in the world (that's right, more than they have in France), many Degas sculptures (love his dancers), and masterpieces by Picasso and Van Gogh.

Really they have a little something for everyone. One of the best parts is that you can see all of this amazing art for free! There is a small fee for parking on the premises and a restaurant, Gertrude's, is on site too. Day Trip Gal's mother highly recommends Gertrudes! "Reasonable prices, good food, excellent service." 

Read about the blog's trip to AVAM at http://www.midatlanticdaytrips.blogspot.com/2014/02/american-museum-of-visionary-art.html.

Getting there: 10 Art Museum Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218-3898

Parking: There are several parking options, none of which are free but they are very reasonable: BMA East Lot (closest for Gertrude's patrons), The Johns Hopkins University South Garage, and metered spots on Art Museum Drive. The visitor drop-off and pick-up area has been temporarily relocated to the West Lot until renovations are complete and includes two accessible spaces.

Hours: Wednesday–Friday 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Saturday–Sunday 11 a.m.–6 p.m., Monday–Tuesday Closed

Website: http://www.artbma.org/index.html

Check out the blog's FB page for updates on places we've visited and blogged about:  facebook.com/midatlanticdaytrips!

Have you daytripped somewhere interesting? I'd love to hear what you're doing! Email [email protected] if you're interested in being a guest-blogger! 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Exploring Two Castles of Whimsy and Treasures

There once lived a man who, in the early part of the 20th century, built two castles. He was a visionary, for he recognized the importance of preserving items of a fading way of life for future generations. He was a artist, creating tiles that were reknown for their beauty. And he was a bit of an odd duck, because he created medieval castles out of a modern building material, and then let his imagination and whimsy loose on the interiors.

Last weekend, we traveled to Doylestown, PA -- about 45 minutes north of Philadelphia, and a good 2 1/4 hour drive for us, since we live near Baltimore -- to visit the two castles Henry C. Mercer built in the early 1900s. Mercer, who was born in 1856, was a noted tile-maker, archaeologist, antiquarian, artist, and writer.

When he was 13, he accompanied his aunt, who was quite wealthy, his mother, and siblings on a tour of Europe that was to have a lasting impact on him -- it was during this trip that he saw and sketched several castles, which influenced the design of the two concrete castles he built.

By 1897, handmade objects were being discarded in favor of new machine-made goods. As an historian and an archaeologist, he sought to collect and preserve the outmoded material of daily life in America, before it was swept away by the Industrial Revolution. His aunt left her favorite nephew her fortune, allowing him to start going to country sales and purchasing all the items in "penny lots." He built the museum castle in 1916 to provide a home for all these artifacts.

Mercer ended up gathering almost 30,000 items, ranging from hand tools to horse-drawn vehicles, and assembled this collection in a system of his own devising.

The towering central hall of the Museum displays the largest objects in the collection: a whale boat, a stage coach, and a Conestoga wagon. There is stuff hanging on the walls. There is stuff displayed on the floor. There is stuff hanging from the ceiling. Wherever your eye drifts, there is very, very cool, and interesting stuff. Whaling boats, buggies, wagons, old-time horse drawn fire engines, old wooden Indians (not very PC). Tools and chains, yokes and harnesses, baskets and boxes, and just item after item after item is hanging and on display (one wonders whether they ever dust it -- and what a huge chore that must be!).



Looking up at the ceiling in the great hall.
This was how he envisioned the museum, and this is how it continues to be displayed. Apart from saving space, Mercer's exhibit method illustrates a 19th century delight in the accumulation and display of material objects. Mercer had grown to manhood in rooms filled with cultural artifacts. His first ceramic studio was filled with objects dangling from the walls and ceiling. And the very first exhibit of his tool collection in 1897, he hung artifacts from trees. He had other motives as well. Many of these objects were still familiar to his contemporaries. Hanging them forced visitors to see familiar, everyday objects in a new way.

One of the dozens of display "rooms" -- sealed
off  behind windows or doors from the
viewer, forcing a separation of perspective.
Always with the blog in mind, I wanted to try to capture the experience in the photographs I took. I found it almost impossible. There was too much, it was hard to "frame" or make a photo composition that made sense. It was frustrating and amazing, at the same time.

On each level surrounding the court, he installed smaller exhibits in a warren of alcoves, niches, and rooms, each themed by the objects' purpose: healing arts, tinsmithing, dairying, illumination, shoemaking, candymaking, music making, and so on. The end result of the building is a unique interior that is both logical -- each category resides in its own space -- and provocative (the sheer quantity of artifacts, but separated from the viewer, forcing you to look in, as if you were peeking into windows, which, actually, you are). If you go, plan on spending a good two hours, maybe even more. I felt like I was poking around someone's very cluttered attic -- such treasures! (Thus, why they refer to the Mercer Museum as a "Castle of Treasures.") No, you won't be able to see or absorb everything, but I'm not sure that's even possible, anyway.

Browsing through the exhibits reminds me of country sales my parents dragged me to when I was a little girl. Like items were placed -- even heaped -- together, but with no or very little explanation. Although the museum identifies the objects, and does occasionally offer explanations of use, it's not enough. Even if they did provide detailed explanations, there isn't enough time to read it all. Since these tools and artifacts -- familiar and recognizable items to a 19th century American -- are mysterious to all except those who study a way of life long since past, it would be fascinating to see demonstrations of how the tools and items were used.

For lunch we decided to walk down State Street in Doylestown -- just a block or two away from Mercer Museum, and only about a mile away from Fonthill Castle. The quaint main-town area offers a variety of lovely restaurants. We followed our nose to Paganini's Ristorante, a delightful little Italian restaurant that specialized in wood-fired pizzas.


After lunch we headed to Mercer's dream house, another concrete castle built between 1908 and 1912. Fonthill Castle has more than 44 rooms, 18 fireplaces, 32 staircases, and more than 200 windows of various sizes and shapes.Mercer believed in recycling and reusing, so if he encountered at a sale an old window from an old house or church or other public building that he thought would fit his castle, he bought it and inserted it into his design. Thus, there didn't seem to be many windows alike, and often within a room there would be windows that didn't quite match the others. His castle seems organic, in that it seemed to have been designed from the inside out. The ceilings are sloped and rounded (all with tiles inserted), and few rooms are square or rectangular.

Fonthill is already "castle cool" enough. But here again, Mercer really let his imagination loose on the inside. Tiles from the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, which Mercer had founded in part to preserve the glazing and pottery tradition in Pennsylvania, are on the castle's floors, walls, columns, and ceiling. Mercer's furniture, print and book collections, and belongings are still there as well -- it's easy to sense his presence, as if he got up and left the room right before the tour group entered. 

This is one of the bedrooms of the Castle, and shows evidence of Mercer's penchant for re-cycling objects,
such as the doors that he incorporated into the design as paneling. Photo by Jack Carnell, from the Castle's
 website. Indoor photography by tour participants was not allowed. 
I definitely would like to go back to Fonthill Castle -- it certainly captured my imagination. In fact, there's a Behind the Scenes Tour being offered in a couple of weeks, on 29 March, beginning at 6:30 pm and running to 9:30 pm. This tour travels up the to the castle's top tower and down through back passages, visiting areas of the castle not on the regular daytime tour, including the kitchen, the crypt, and the terrace pavilion.

The Moravian Tile Works building is reminiscent of an old world monastery.

Afterward, it's worth a visit to the Moravian Tile Works, still run as a living history -- and still producing very lovely tiles! The Tile Works are adjoining Fonthill Castle -- just on the other side of the parking lot. 

Tip #1: Go in cool weather. If you go in the winter, dress warmly. The Mercer Museum is mostly NOT heated. Fonthill Castle is mostly heated, sort of, but you'll want a jacket for a few rooms that were quite cold, and the house tour leads you outside to one of the terraces. Neither castle is air-conditioned, and I can imagine it gets miserable in there in the hottest weather.

Tip#2: We made this a day trip, leaving Baltimore around 9 a.m. We returned home near 7 p.m. That didn't leave us any time to tour the Tile Works. So consider making it an overnight trip. The Michener Art Museum is just opposite the Mercer Museum; unfortunately, we didn't have enough time to visit it. There are also a variety of other things to go see and do in Bucks County, including 12 covered bridges, antiques stores galore, and several wineries.

Getting there: Mercer Museum is located at 84 South Pine Street, Doylestown, PA 18901; Fonthill Castle is located a mile away at East Court Street & Route 313, Doylestown, PA 18901.

Hours: Mercer Museum hours are Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sunday noon - 5 p.m.; Fonthill Castle is open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday noon-5 p.m., guided tours only. Last tour at 4 p.m. There is ample free parking at both places.

Eats: Stroll around Doylestown to one of the many restaurants.
Tile detail on the Moravian Tile Works building.

Dogs: No, not on this day trip. Sorry Fido!

Website: Mercer Museum http://www.mercermuseum.org; Fonthill Castle http://www.fonthillmuseum.org

Check out the blog's FB page for updates on places we've visited and blogged about:  facebook.com/midatlanticdaytrips!

Have you daytripped somewhere interesting? I'd love to hear what you're doing! Email [email protected] if you're interested in being a guest-blogger! 


Tile detail on the Moravian Tile Works building.