The boys and I had a recent excursion out with my parents while they were visiting. Sadly, Daddy Nomad had to work, and didn’t get to join in on this day. We decided to spend our day in Doylestown, PA. Why would we spend the day in Doylestown? Well, if you haven’t been there; it’s charming, for starters. And I mean, extremely charming. The downtown area is lovely and would be a wonderful town to walk around and window shop. We weren’t there for that though. We were there for a museum and a castle; more specifically Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle.
The Mercer Museum is a concrete castle, with 7 floors full of artifacts from the 1800’s and early 1900’s that were all collected by Henry Mercer. I have never in my life seen such a collection. The museum houses everything you could imagine from these time periods and probably some things you wouldn’t have imagined (like the vampire hunting kit that might or might not be real; it’s not real, but still pretty neat).
There are beyond too many items to list, but here’s a smidge of what can be seen: farming equipment, housing necessities, a general store, an apothecary, buggies, bicycles, carriages, boats, and more. And yes, all of these are stored in the museum. It’s quite a site to see. You might think that with a collection of this size that it would be messy, but it’s quite the opposite. The entire museum is organized, and it makes it very easy to see, read, and learn.
By the time we arrived at the museum, we only had about an hour and a half to explore before we needed to head to the castle for our tour. I wish that we would have had more time to look around. While we were able to see it all, the time didn’t allow for me to read all that I would have liked to read.
After our time at the museum, it was time to head over to Fonthill Castle for our tour. Fonthill was also built by Mr. Mercer, and (like the museum) is made from all poured concrete. Unfortunately, pictures are only allowed on the outside of the castle. While the outside is interesting, and beautiful, it is really the inside that I wish I could share with y’all.
Before my mom shared these castles with me, I had never heard of Henry Mercer. I was interested to go because I like eccentric things and people; and Mercer was quite the eccentric character. While touring the castle, they share some information about Henry, but the focus is really on the tiles in the castle. I do wish that they filled you in a little more on what made Mr. Mercer tick because it seems like he would have had to have been a rather interesting fellow.
The castle is phenomenal. If castles are of any intrigue to you at all, this is one you’ll want to see. Like the museum, I’ve never seen anything like it and I don’t think I could have fathomed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. The nooks, the crannies, the staircases; all cool to explore. I would have loved to have been able to see the entire house, but I was pleased with what they do share.
While our family outing to Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle were a fun day out for us; it should be noted this might not be an outing for everyone. Some things to note, and keep in mind. Both places have a lot of stairs. While the museum does have an elevator, there is still a lot of walking, and the castle only has stairs, no elevator. If stairs are difficult for you to maneuver, this might not be the right outing for you. I would not recommend this trip for small children either. It is all concrete and (again) all those stairs. It could be dangerous, especially in the museum. Some of the railings would have made me very nervous if the Nomad Brothers were still little guys. While we found the artifacts interesting and had a great time, you should know your audience. Last thing to make a note of for a visit, no heating or a/c; so dress appropriately.