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Every summer, the wondrous Delaware bathes us in hope and delight


Summer along the majestic Delaware River has always been special to me and my family in our beloved Bucks County. The reawakening, with nature outstretching its arms in bucolic splendor, is breathtaking. That very moment has served as inspiration for some of America’s greatest artists — artists who called Bucks County “home.”

It’s the place that Michener, a child of Doylestown, addressed so lovingly. Oscar Hammerstein wrote songs about it from his cherished Highland Farm, and New Hope impressionist painter Edward Redfield drew inspiration from it for his breathtaking “Road to the River.”

Hammerstein once said, “I just couldn’t write anything without hope in it.” That’s truly what summer along the Delaware in Bucks County is for me: A time for hope and delight. Each summer rekindles treasured memories from my childhood, and for Kathy and I as parents of three young children. To be sure, those moments were long ago, but they remain as some of our most precious.

Lifelong residents of Bucks County know the feeling of being born into a community that offers us the unwavering loyalty of the Delaware River. After winter batters us and spring offers its onion snow, the Delaware delivers a refreshing summer as we meander barefoot along its endless banks and provides a cool respite for tubing and fly fishing. Evenings reunite us with fireflies, while ice cream shops nearby wait for our visit.

Through the years, communities around the Delaware have become home to countless unique local businesses, stretching from Riegelsville to Washington Crossing to Bristol in Pennsylvania. Our New Jersey neighbors to the east share that experience in picturesque towns like Lambertville and Stockton.

Travel in shore just a few miles and the Delaware’s impact can be found in historic, bustling towns like Doylestown, Quakertown and Frenchtown. A day trip provides an exciting abundance of offerings with virtually every step leading you to museums, antique shops, restaurants, parks and bed-and-breakfasts.

All these years later, our children are grown. But Kathy and I still spend time on the Delaware each summer. For us, it can take the form of a casual walk across the Uhlerstown-Frenchtown Bridge, as sturdy as when first constructed in 1843. Its riveted steel trusses are a beautiful gateway to an easygoing experience. We will put away the trappings of technology and the buzz of modern life to enjoy one of the more special vistas anywhere.

Walk quietly and you can hear the flow of the Delaware’s waters below, welcoming all back to a calmer time. In those moments, a lifetime of memories rush in, all born of one place that means so much to us, as it did for countless generations of Bucks Countians who came before.

As the Delaware River prepares to welcome another summer to its beautiful shores, it awaits, filled with hope, ready to furnish new memories. Just how Hammerstein would want it.

Mark Schweiker and spouse Kathy celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary in June. They raised three children in Langhorne. Schweiker served as Bucks County Commissioner from 1988-1994 and from 1995 thru 2003, as Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor and Governor.

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