The end of May means Memorial Day weekend is upon us! Looking for something new to get into instead of sitting in shore traffic? If you’re located in the Philadelphia area, check out these five fun day trip ideas to switch up your holiday weekend plans!
FOR THE WINE LOVER: Brandywine Valley wine region
ICYMI, Pennsylvania is home to 200+ wineries, forming 12 distinct wine regions smattered across the state. One of my personal favs is right in Philly’s backyard! The Brandywine Valley wine region is situated west of the city, near Kennett Square. Check out Paradocx Vineyard for their outdoor events and signature wine buckets, Va La Vineyards for some tasty estate-grown wines in the northern Italian style, Galer Estate to spread out with a BYO-food spread on their large outdoor deck, or Penns Woods Winery for their solid wines and extensive event schedule. BONUS STOPS: Check out Longwood Gardens (adjacent to Galer Estate) for spectacular floral displays or plan ahead to splurge on a meal at Talula’s Table in downtown Kennett Square. Grab a bottle of wine to gift and pair it with one of exit343design’s clever booze bags.
2. FOR THE BEER LOVER: Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
Welcome to Phoenixville, a town that is essentially one long bar crawl if you want it to be. It’s home to more breweries per square foot than anywhere else in America, plus a craft distillery and plenty of bars and restaurants in between. (PSST- I featured two Phoenixville breweries in my “Best Craft Breweries in Suburban Philadelphia” list- you can check out the full list here.) Root Down and REC Room by Conshohocken Brewery are my two favorite breweries, but also check out Stable 12 for more original craft beers and a dog-friendly outdoor seating area, Bistro on Bridge for food and a great selection of all kinds of beverages, and Bluebird Distilling for inventive craft cocktails. BONUS STOP: Phoenixville is only 15 minutes from Valley Forge National Historical Park, an expansive park with hiking and biking trails. If you need something to keep your beer cold, snag a can coolie from exit343design!
3. FOR THE PLANT LOVER: Ott’s Exotic Plants
This local, family-run institution has been peddling flowers and exotic plants in Schwenksville since 1964. Known widely for the “mum mountain” they painstakingly plant each fall, Ott’s is worth the trip any time of year! With a wide selection of seasonal outdoor plants, but an even more extensive indoor plant selection, you’re sure not to leave empty handed. I love to peruse the selection of succulents and cacti, some of which have clearly been growing there since the greenhouse opened. There’s an amazing solarium with a waterfall that is unlike anything you’d see at your local nursery. Keep your eyes peeled for their family of cats and kittens roaming about! For even more photos of Ott’s, check out this dreamy elopement photoshoot I stumbled upon. BONUS STOP: grab dinner or a drink up the road at the Tiki Bar at Spring Mountain, a unique outdoor space at the bottom of a local ski mountain. If you’re a plant lover, check out this sticker by exit343design to show your pride!
4. FOR THE NATURE LOVER: Lake Galena
Lake Galena is a reservoir in Peace Valley Park created in 1974 by the damming of the north branch of the Neshaminy Creek. The park is 1500 acres and is home to a nature center, trails, and picnic areas. It’s also a great place to rent a boat and sail on the lake! Take one of a variety of boats for a spin using their rentals or launch your own with a permit. There is also a lavender farm just outside the park perimeter that has an extensive gift shop of local lavender products. BONUS STOP: Lake Galena is minutes from Doylestown, a walkable town with shopping, lots of restaurants, and the historic Mercer Museum. Love lake life? Check out this can coolie from exit343design!
5. FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY: Elmwood Park Zoo
Bringing the kids along? Pass on the crowds at The Philadelphia Zoo and check out Elmwood Park Zoo, a local treasure in Norristown! This pint-sized zoo tucked away in the suburbs is perfect for families with small children because of its manageable size. Don’t let that fool you, though- they have an impressive array of animals to visit with, including jaguars, zebra, Eagles, and flamingos! For an added fee, you and the kids can hand feed hungry giraffes or visit with exotic birds at the Birds of Paradise exhibit. One other recommendation, courtesy of my niece: they have a great playground! BONUS STOP: Grab a craft cocktail at Five Saints Distillery, a local micro distillery in a historic fire house. If you’re an animal lover, check out exit343design’s stickers- 5% of each sticker sold will be donated to Philly PAWS!