5 weekend getaways for Philly folks

No matter how much you love this city, there’s nothing like leaving it in the rearview for a couple days. Where to? Skip the shore traffic this time—there’s plenty to do right here in Pennsylvania.

Napa Valley not in the budget this summer? Consider hitting the wine trail closer to home. Thanks to its grape-friendly rolling hills, Bucks County is home to a number of family-owned vineyards. Sip safe and take a tour bus, then book a room for the night in New Hope. Although there’s no shortage of charming B&Bs to choose from, the Inn at Bowman’s Hill (www.theinnatbowmanshill.com) is front and center, a mere 8 miles from six different wineries.


With all due respect to Philadelphia, it’s almost impossible to believe that something as beautiful as Ricketts Glen could be a mere three hours away. A 13,000-square-mile state park just past Wilkes-Barre, it boasts 26 miles of hiking trails, more than 20 waterfalls, a 600-foot lake beach and a horseback riding loop. You could call it a day trip, of course, but do you want to ruin all that natural beauty with a traffic jam on 676? Of course you don’t. Camping accommodations range from roughing-it to microwaves.


If sleeping on the cold hard ground doesn’t quite say “ relaxing weekend” to you, consider “ glamping” (yes, that’s short for “ glamorous camping” ). At the Pocono’s Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort, you can reserve a posh tent equipped with electricity, Wi-Fi, area rugs and a private deck. As for the fire, a camp attendant takes care of that—as well as the evening snacks.

Rates vary; www.shawneeinn.com

Known among astronomers as one of the best places on the East Coast for stargazing, Cherry Springs State Park is famous for its pitch-black sky. The country’s first “ Dark Sky Park,” it’s aggressively protected from light pollution, ensuring that visitors can peep the Milky Way sans telescope from the Allegheny Plateau. It’s a well-worth-it five-plus hour drive from the city, so plan to bring your camping gear or book a room at one of the nearby no-frills motels.


If the last time you went to Lancaster was on a class trip, it’s time to go back. A late bloomer of sorts, Pennsylvania’s kitschy farm town became a legitimate weekend retreat complete with craft beer bars, boutique hotels and farm-to-table restaurants. Leave the office early on Friday and arrive in time for Downtown Lancaster’s First Friday, when boutiques, galleries, playhouses and museums keep their doors open late.


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