You would have to go all the way back to mid-January for my last post not related to overseas travel, and even that was an output of a multi-day trip. Appearances notwithstanding, we do occasionally get out and about for short trips in our local area. Here is a recap of one such occasion back in May.
The first on our itinerary was the Mercer Museum, an incredible compendium of artifacts related to practically every known field of human endeavor at the beginning of the 20th century.
The heart of the museum is the seven-story atrium, where larger in size artifacts are suspended from the ceiling and balconies, and the smaller ones are grouped around specific fields of enterprise in rooms around the perimeter.
Fragments of various collections.
The amount of items in this museum is a bit overwhelming, but there are several “highlight stations” on each floor that focus the visitor on the most impressive objects. The self-guided app available for smartphone download (free wi-fi is provided throughout the museum) is very well executed.
You also see Moravian tiles, production of which was one of Mercer’s main passions and which we will see yet a lot at other sights in Doylestown.
After the museum, we proceeded to the Fonthill Castle, Mercer’s unusual private residence.
Mercer was a big enthusiast of construction using reinforced poured concrete, and all of his buildings are made according to that then revolutionary method. The interior of the castle leaves a dual impression. Many of the spaces in the house are a bit too tight and get limited natural light – I doubt many visitors would answer in the affirmative to the question of Would you see yourself living here? However, so much of the interior is covered in the aforementioned Moravian tiles that the place also looks dazzling, in some instances going well overboard.
The guided tour takes visitors to an outside terrace, for a closer look at the roof and chimneys.
In a corner of the castle grounds sits the still operational tile factory, Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, which offers an in-depth look at the production process as well as tons of additional artifacts related specifically to the tile-making field.
Beyond the “Mercer Mile”, central Doylestown is a piece of quaint/modern Americana that does not lend itself to pass-by photography. Parked cars dominate every angle and reduce the visual impact. Here are a just a few shots.
Nonetheless, very pleasant overall – and Mercer Mile is a remarkably cool place to visit, especially with inquisitive youngsters.