Hi guys. I’m still here. It’s been a busy summer and apparently my kids are wearing me out because when I finally have the time to blog (like at 9pm), I’m exhausted. And despite all the fighting, whining, wrestling, screaming, crying, scrapes, cuts, bruises, spills, messes, and wildebeest behavior that is the theme of my children this summer, we have had some really, really fun excursions. And by fun I mean fun for the kids AND the adults. No amusement parks with long lines and scary characters that will have you running for the nearest bar upon exiting (no thank you sir, readmission handstamp will NOT be necessary). These are places where your kids can pretty much run wild and free and you can enjoy some of the most beautiful, well-kept secrets from the city to the countryside. And Philly readers, you’re in luck because they are all local. And there is something for everyone – one for the urbanites, one for suburbaners, and one for those who are happiest out in the boondocks. But save time for all of them because, trust me, you and your kids will love these places.
Here are our picks:
3 Philadelphia area places you need to visit this summer!
The low-down: The secret garden of Wayne, Pa is not to be missed. Beautiful, tranquil gardens, ponds, bridges and architecture will have you wondering, “Um, why haven’t I come here before?” The popular (yet oddly secretive) BYOB Friday night picnic is parental bliss (happy kids running in nature which leaves ample time for adult relaxation and conversation). Park admission is required, but it might be worth it to get a membership. Stake out your spot in the grounds, let the kids play tag and catch fireflies, pour some wine, and you’ll soon realize that this, this, is the new Friday night. A post dinner walk around the grounds is a must. Don’t worry about getting locked in the park when it closes at 8. A cute little lady in a Lily Putlizer dress will walk around shooing everyone out. Only on the mainline….
When to go: Friday night 5-8. It’s a beautiful place to visit any time, but the dinner picnic component made it extra memorable.
What to bring: Grab your funnest friends (and your kids), some yummy apps, dinner (we grabbed some Jules Pizzas), picnic blanket (or beach chairs, but not really needed because plenty of tables and adirondeck chairs scattered throughout the garden), paper plates, a trash bag for clean up, spirits (yes, glass bottles are allowed), your camera (!!), and for the love of summer Friday nights do not, DO NOT forget your wine opener.
The low-down: If you own a tshirt that reads “Kale” or the phrase “farm to table” makes your heart pitter pat, dust off your gps and follow the winding, yet very scenic route to Honeybrook, Pa, home of Wyebrook Farm. Go for lunch or dinner served in an outdoor venue that has serious wow-factor. The architecture, the view, the decor – it’s rustic perfection. You’ll soak it all in and enjoy the fact that your meal is sourced from the farm itself. It doesn’t get much fresher than that. And bring the kids! Let them run up and down the hill and look at the farm animals while you sip and see from above. The kid’s pasta (and ice cream sandwich) is adult approved. Oh, and it’s BYOB too.
When to go: Friday or Saturday late afternoon (to check out the grounds) then stay for dinner. Or Sunday brunch. If you like live music, check the calendar for upcoming events.
What to bring: An appetite, a camera, and that special occasion bottle you’ve been holding on to. The ambience, the view – totally worth it. (Also, if interested in purchasing from the market you might consider bringing a cooler stocked with ice).
Wanna make a night of it? Pack up the van with smores and bug spray, go camping at French Creek on a Saturday night then stop at Wyebrook Farm for Sunday brunch before heading home.
The low-down: Sister Cities Park is the perfect alternative to a morning at the playground. Yes, it is in the city of Philadelphia, but those who suffer from Urbanphobia (or maybe just a fear of parallel parking), relax, it’s doable (and there is a parking lot just a few blocks away (on 15th and Cherry to be exact). Located on the cusp of Logan Square, Sister Cities Park is perfect for kids of all ages. There is a boat pond (you can BYO boat or purchase one there), a meandering stream for boat races or wading in, rocks to climb, a splash plaza AND a cute little cafe that boasts a bathroom with a changing table (a concern of all moms, right?) and a mean peanut butter and fluff sandwich. Rita’s Water Ice is a new addition to the park this year – but a little word to the wise, let them eat it in their suits and do one final run through the splash pad before getting dressed to head home. If your kids run around as much as mine did, they will all be out for the count before you get back on 76.
When to go: Weekday mornings are probably the least busy. Opens at 10am daily.
What to bring: Swimsuits, towels, sunscreen, water shoes (or rubber flips for adults), cash for water ice, cafe and pond toy kiosk take credit cards.
Want more? For those who have kids who can walk more than 2 blocks without whining, check out The Oval as well – a pop-up park .7 miles walk from Sister Cities. The Oval is an asphalt oasis of giant sized games like Checkers, Connect Four, and Jenga, plus food trucks, cold brews and more. Ok let’s be honest, you had me at cold brews.
Basically what I am saying here is, get out of Staples, save your back-to-school shopping for another day, and enjoy the rest of summer while it lasts. So. What other fun places have you visited this summer? What questions do you have about the places I mentioned?
*I was not compensated in any way to write these reviews. These are places we just genuinely love.