Make a Day of It!
Your best bets when it comes to fun, summer travel close to home
Summer is only half over, and that means there is still plenty of time to use a few vacation days or devote a Saturday or Sunday to a day trip. We put on our thinking caps (and revved up our online search engines) to offer a few suggestions for the best bets when it comes to day trips. Let’s go!
Peddlers Village, Lahaska, Pa.
Peddler’s Village is an 18th century style destination in Bucks County, Pennsylvania that sprawls 42 acres and features more than 70 shops and restaurants. It has numerous festivals, craft competitions, horse drawn carriage rides, an antique carousel and is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary. The destination is also used for weddings, holiday parties, reunions, retirement parties and family picnics.
Located in Lahaska, Pa., near Doylestown and New Hope, the village’s seasonal festivals draw nearly 2 million visitors each year. There is a Summer of Rock ’n Roll Concert Series featuring ‘60s cover bands, a Rube Goldberg Challenge on Saturday, July 14 where contestants compete for over $3000 in prizes, and The 50th Anniversary 5k and Fun Walk takes place on July 25. The village also hosts Summer Movie Nights in August as well as a Peach Festival and Annual Sidewalk Sale. Yearly events include an art and contemporary crafts fair, strawberry festival, scarecrow competition, apple festival, gingerbread house competition, Christmas festival and a wide variety of restaurants to meet your dining needs.
Don’t Miss: Any of the festivals. The family friendly village has a little bit of something for everyone in your group.
From Scranton: 103 miles. From Wilkes-Barre: 95 miles. Travel time: approximately 2 hours. Information: www.peddlersvillage.com. — tom graham
Adventure Aquarium, Camden, N.J.
We were first introduced to Adventure Aquarium on the Camden, N.J. waterfront, by Kelly Connors (featured in a past Up Close & Personal, she hosts a travel show on Blue Ridge Cable. Check out her travel video online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYfAo-kMkgA).
Adventure Aquarium is the fifth largest aquarium in the country and it’s the only aquarium in the world to exhibit hippos. It’s also one of only two aquariums in the country featuring a Hammerhead Shark. While you’re there, you’ll have the chance to touch and hand-feed stingrays and experience the Touch-A-Shark exhibit – all the education and excitement of sharing space with these fellows without the danger. Sounds good to us!
There is nearly 200,000 square feet of space, more than 2 million gallons of water and 8,500 animals on site. You’ll come face-to-face with sharks, stingrays, schooling fish and a 500 pound Loggerhead Sea Turtle. The Aquarium also offers interactive games, free live shows, and plenty of activities suitable for children.
Don’t Miss: Your chance to visit with African Penguins and Harbor Seals.
From Scranton: 128 miles. From Wilkes-Barre: 115 miles. Travel time: approximately 2 hours, 26 minutes. Information: www.adventureaquarium.com. — julie imel
Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, N.J.
Did you ever just want to rip off all of your clothes and jump into the ocean, but you were afraid of getting caught by the authorities? Visit the East Coast mecca of nudies and let it all hang out (literally) at Gunnison Beach in Sandy Hook, New Jersey. This is not your typical Joisey Shore experience.
The two-mile stretch of sand is the largest nude beach on the East Coast and the only legal nude beach in New Jersey. Past the signs that read “Beyond This Point You May Encounter Nude Sunbathers,” you enter a world of clothing optional casualness where people socialize, swim and play sports, all sans bathing suits. The crowds of beach goers are friendly and feature all walks of life; don’t be surprised to see naked families having a picnic or a topless grandmother looking for seashells. The beach has a snack bar, a volleyball court and there is no need for beach passes; there is only a parking fee.
Remember your sunscreen. The sun will be shining on places the sun usually doesn’t shine.
Don’t Miss: The plethora of boats offshore stopping to gawk at the naked folks.
From Scranton: 149 miles. From Wilkes-Barre: 151 miles. Travel time: approximately 3 hours. Information: www.gunnisonbeach.org. — tg
Not only is it home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, N.Y. possesses a very eclectic array of activities to keep the adventurous NEPA daytripper very busy. You can check out a ball game at Doubleday Field or visit one of the five state parks in the heart of Otsego County. Hop on the trolley to tour Cooperstown all day long for only 3 bucks. Take a tour of the Fenimore Art Museum along with 30 more museums and galleries or hunt for antiques at more than 50 shops in and around Cooperstown. Observe the landscapes that inspired James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales and The Last of the Mohicans.
Visit The Farmers’ Museum and cook over the fire like the good old days and prepare meals using period recipes using farm fresh ingredients. You can also try your hand at making soap, dipping candles and making your own cheese. Tour the Cooperstown Beverage Trail to sample locally made brews at Ommegang and Cooperstown and taste America’s oldest beverage at the historic Fly Creek Cider Mill.
Don’t miss: Barry Bonds’ record setting home run ball with asterisk at The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. From Scranton: 140 miles. From Wilkes-Barre: 160 miles. Travel time: approximately 2.5 hours. Information: www.thisiscooperstown.com. — tg
Mercer Museum & Fronthill Castle, Doylestown, Pa.
Ever dream of living in a castle? Neigbors getting to you and you just wish you had a moat to separate you from the rest of the world? If you’re fascinated by castles, you may want to take a short drive to Doylestown for a self-guided tour of the Mercer Museum and Fronthill Castle. The towering concrete castles, designed and constructed by Henry Mercer, are National Historic Landmarks and architectural gems.
While you’re there, view the exhibits at the Mercer Museum, and be sure to take the Building Henry’s Castle Tour, which runs through Sept. 3. The tour is held Monday through Friday at 1 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30 p.m. If you’ve ever stood in front of a beautiful structure and wondered how it was built, here’s your chance to capture a glimpse into the creative process behind building a concrete castle.
Don’t Miss: The Annual Beer Event: Eat and Drink Local: A World of Beer, Aug. 17, from 7 to 10 p.m. at Fronthill Castle. The event features neighborhood breweries, homebrewers, farm to table groups, cheese makers and musician Dallas Vietty to share the freshest craft brewed beer and homegrown food. Beer plus castles equals one great day trip.
From Scranton: 102 miles. From Wilkes-Barre: 90 miles. Travel time: approximately 1 hour, 59 minutes. Information: www.mercermuseum.org. — ji