The Scoop: The Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm in New Hope, Pennsylvania, was an off-the-beaten-path hangout for entertainment stars in the 1930s. Since the 1970s, The Inn has been an upscale bed-and-breakfast frequented by East Coast travelers from New York City, Washington, D.C., and everywhere in between. Couples can unwind in The Inn’s comfortable rooms, enjoy the on-site restaurant’s fresh cuisine, and relax together in the spa. For its commitment to helping couples celebrate relationship milestones and offering rustic, romantic experiences, The Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm earns our Editors’ Choice Award.
Mark Frank was a corporate executive, but he missed the job he held earlier in his life: managing resort cottages near Cape Cod where he grew up. His wife Deena, a teacher who had operated her own business, was also looking for a change.
Mark and Deena decided to buy The Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm, a farm in New Hope, Pennsylvania, that dates to the 1740s. Its owners turned the property into a bed-and-breakfast in the 1970s. They completely renovated the property, including many buildings on the farm’s 31 acres, to focus on the guest experience.
“My wife and I bought The Inn years ago. You get a lot of chapters in life, and we wanted to start a new one together,” Mark told us.
Mark and Deena’s relationship is reflected in everything they do at The Inn, and guests notice.
“It’s nice for them to see that Deena and I are so hands-on, that we work together, and are still married and happy,” said Mark.
Today’s version of The Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm is the latest in the property’s long history. In the 1740s, Barley Sheaf Farm was a working farm. Today, The Inn’s gardens, ponds, and surroundings reflect that legacy.
“We have such a serene atmosphere, with buildings that work with the landscape and have a rich history,” Mark said.
At the turn of the 20th century, a New York City artist purchased the property to escape the city. She added a pool that guests still use and began updating the property to modern standards.
In the 1930s, she sold the property to playwright George Kaufman, who invited some of the era’s most prominent entertainment stars to hobnob at the property.
“He used it as his place to write and hosted the Marx Brothers, Gershwin, Hammerstein, and other well-known names of the day. If you name a famous person from that time, they were probably here,” Mark told us.
Today, couples can book a room at The Inn to celebrate their relationship milestones and immerse themselves in the farm’s rich history.
Make Lasting Memories on Weekend Getaways
The Inn attracts couples who appreciate the easy drive from major cities nearby — and some come back to relive memorable moments. Mark told us about one couple who stayed at The Inn in the mid-1990s and recently returned for another visit.
“Some people come here to celebrate their special events, while others come for recharging and relaxation,” Mark tells us.
Couples who need a weekend away can book a room in the main house, in one of the cottages, or in the converted barn. The peaceful surroundings give visitors the space to read a good book, visit local Bucks County museums, or connect with the rescue farm animals that wander the grounds during the day.
And those celebrating relationship milestones should plan to enjoy a gourmet dinner at The Inn’s restaurant.
“We’ve created one of the best restaurants on the East Coast here. Our menu changes almost every week. We have a lobster and homemade pasta dish and the best foie gras,” Mark told us. “Everything that goes into the various dishes is made right here at The Inn.”
After a gourmet breakfast the next morning, couples often spend the day at the on-site spa. Guests choose from Swedish, hot stone, or deep tissue massages and can also opt for full-body scrubs, herbal baths, or scalp treatments.
“We have a half-day experience that really pampers you,” said Mark.
In the evening, guests can head to their room to enjoy more amenities, including fireplaces, jacuzzi tubs, and balconies overlooking ponds and woods. The Franks have updated each room with high-end featherbeds, imported sheets and towels, and steam showers for a more luxurious experience.
Plan a Rural and Luxurious Destination Wedding
Many couples plan weddings at The Inn because of its idyllic setting. The Inn’s location also makes it ideal for city dwellers to host easy destination weddings.
Couples have a wealth of venue options on the property, including gardens, wildflower fields, a gazebo, and the manor house. The Inn can accommodate weddings as small as 30 or as large as 300.
“We have room for outdoor ceremonies and receptions, but we also went through a remodel to host receptions indoors for up to 200 people,” Mark told us.
Since COVID-19 restrictions went into effect, The Inn has made accommodations to ensure couples and guests can feel safe at weddings. The Franks installed windows into a formerly enclosed space to add more ventilation. In the warmer months, they also host more outdoor weddings and smaller indoor ceremonies.
Even if couples aren’t familiar with Bucks County or Holicong, Pennsylvania, The Inn’s team can help them plan every aspect of their special day. The team helps couples choose where they want to host each event of their wedding weekend and connects them with local florists, musicians, and photographers.
The Inn’s dining staff also prepares wedding meals using locally-sourced ingredients.
Sarah, who got married at The Inn, wrote a glowing review of her experience: “This is going to sound more like a love letter than a review, but I hope this helps you understand how amazing this place is. My husband and I got married here, and I cannot imagine doing it any other way.”
The Franks: Owners Who Always Think One Step Ahead
Before the Franks purchased The Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm, the property was owned by innovative thinkers. In the 1970s, they turned the property into one of the first bed-and-breakfasts in the country — a trend that has exploded in popularity.
The Franks want to continue thinking outside the box. Next, they plan to modernize The Inn by focusing on sustainability and environmentally friendly projects.
“Every year, we look to conserve the land associated with The Inn. We also look for ways to generate alternative power,” Mark said.
When couples decide to celebrate their relationship milestones at The Inn, they’ll have plenty of opportunities to reconnect. They can have private conversations as they walk through the grounds and woods, and meet farm animals along the way.
“We’ve maintained our heritage as a beautiful, upscale inn where couples can come and relax,” Mark told us. “There’s not a lot that’s better than helping others enjoy a wonderful day, a delicious dinner, or a beautiful wedding.”