Philadelphia’s Best Excursions
Best Place to See the Brandywine Valley in Still Form: The Brandywine River Museum displays American art in a former 19th-century grist mill on the Brandywine River. Among the excellent collection are many paintings of the local landscape by renowned Andrew Wyeth, who is credited with bringing much fame to the area with his renderings.
Best Historic Gardens: One of the best estate gardens and horticultural showcases in the world, Longwood Gardens offers more than 1,000 acres of landscaped gardens, a large greenhouse, and a small museum and display in the former family home of the founders of the estate. It is yet another local du Pont family legacy.
Best Decorative Arts Collection: One of several lavish du Pont family estates in the Brandywine Valley, Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library boasts America’s most esteemed collection of decorative arts. In addition, 1,000 lush acres are filled with rolling hills, streams, and gardens to explore.
Most Charming Town: The artist enclave of New Hope straddles the Delaware River and attracts hordes of Philadelphians and New Yorkers alike. They come for the shops, restaurants, art galleries, antiques, and bed-and-breakfasts that offer bustling culture in a small-town setting.
Best Castle Museum: The Fonthill Museum in Bucks County was built in a mix of architectural styles. Inside the mazelike interior, the collections of its former owner, famed local Henry C. Mercer, are on display.
Best Way to Cool Off on a Hot Day: Several Bucks County companies offer water sports on the Delaware River. Two to try for tubing, rafting, canoeing, and kayaking are Delaware River Tubing Co. on the New Jersey side of the river, and Bucks County River Country on the Pennsylvania side.
Best Market: Lancaster’s Central Market is reminiscent of Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market, but with lower prices and even more homemade Amish goods and crafts for sale among its diverse offerings. Originally an outdoor market in the 1730s, it is the oldest continually-operating market in the country.
Most Historic Theater: Take a tour — or even better, see a show — at Lancaster’s historic Fulton Theatre, built in 1852. The intimate venue has seen many a famous actor grace its stage, including most of the Barrymore family, Sarah Bernhardt, W. C. Fields, and Mark Twain.
© Karrie Gavin from Moon Philadelphia, 1st Edition