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Most writers experience block at some point. The corollary is that urbanites experience occasional brain cramping from sensory overload. Fortunately, New Yorkers need only visit nearby Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to get their creative juices, chi or whatever it may be flowing again. Once dubbed 'the Genius Belt' by New York media, Bucks County is a theoretical two-hour drive from Manhattan, with car-free options to get there as well.

Doylestown street (R. Kennedy for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®)

This pastoral landscape, boasting quaint hamlets such as Doylestown and New Hope, has long beckoned authors, playwrights and performers. Strolling Doylestown's streets in the 1930s and '40s, visitors may have spotted Dorothy Parker or Oscar Hammerstein II dining at the Doylestown Inn (which is now serving 'comfort fusion' and wicked cocktails like the Hattery Highball in a former hat factory—The Hattery Stove & Still); perhaps laid eyes upon author Pearl S. Buck grocery shopping for her large family; or seen local hero James A. Michener out and about, famous for his epic novels including Tales of the South Pacific (which scored a Pulitzer and became the musical and movie South Pacific), The Drifters, and more.

Pearl S. Buck House (Pearl S. Buck Institute)

Today's visitors can draw inspiration from these artists by touring the Pearl S. Buck House in Perkasie and the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown. The Pearl Buck House sustains the legacy of the first woman to win both the Nobel and Pulitzer prizes for literature. Buck spent almost 40 years here and penned most of her 120 books, more than 400 short stories and 10 children's books. It's an 'intact collection' that includes the desk and typewriter Buck used to write her classic novel, The Good Earth.

Pearl S. Buck's library (Sarah Jaquay)

Perhaps more importantly, guests can truly see the reach of Buck's life via the work of Pearl S. Buck International, a foundation whose mission is 'building better lives for children around the world.' Buck made mixed-race adoptions possible in the U.S. and was particularly sensitive to the needs of Amerasian children brought here. The prolific author adopted seven children and fostered many others. Guided tours of this historic house provide a vivid reminder of the power of prose and how it can advance global understanding.

James A. Michener Art Museum (Facebook)

The Michener Art Museum occupies a robust Doylestown venue, formerly the Bucks County Prison. The structure seems congruent with Michener's Dickensian upbringing as a 'foundling' whose mother earned income doing laundry and taking in children. Now this impressive stone building contains collections of photography, sculpture and literature. Michener was a stellar student who attended Swarthmore College on a scholarship. His wanderlust took hold early as he hitchhiked the country after high school. After serving in the Pacific in World War II, he began writing his most popular novels.

This highly regarded museum specializes in local artists, especially the Pennsylvania Impressionists, including Edward Redfield, Daniel Garber and Robert Spencer. Michener buffs will enjoy the 'The Living Legacy' section displaying the author's typewriter and other artifacts.

See visitbuckscounty.com for more information.

New Hope-Ivyland Railroad (Anthony Sinagoga Photography)

Car-Free Options:

Trans-Bridge Lines depart daily for Doylestown from JFK and Port Authority Bus Terminal.
Amtrak travels through Bucks County and SEPTA has commuter stations throughout the county. (Check to make sure Amtrak is running.)
Bucks County's Rushbus provides connections to some SEPTA stations.

Sarah Jaquay writes about food and travel for AAA Journeys Magazine, Country Living, Currents, TheWineBuzz and many other publications.