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Explore Philadelphia’s Countryside

March 1, 2020

Take the short trip to the countryside and you’ll be rewarded with rich, rolling hills, charming towns and an abundance of attractions. Here is where you will discover many of the gardens that make the Philadelphia region America’s Garden Capital, including two of North America’s 10 most dynamic gardens, according to the North American Garden Tourism Awards.

Brandywine Valley

Located within driving distance of Philadelphia, the Brandywine Valley flaunts a rustically cultured vibe, packed with art, gardens, shopping, breweries and vineyards.

Longwood Gardens. Photo by K Huff for PHLCVB.

Explore the flora and fauna at Longwood Gardens, a world-renowned horticultural showplace, with over 1,000 acres of dazzling gardens, woodlands, meadows, dancing fountains, 10,010-pipe Aeolian organ and 4.5-acre conservatory. 

Longwood Gardens is a recipient of the 2019 North American Garden Tourism Award – one of the 10 best gardens in the entire continent – and is located in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, considered the mushroom capital of the world, cultivating 65 percent of America’s crop.

Stop by the Brandywine River Museum of Art, 45 minutes southwest of the city, for a look at the extensive collection of Wyeth family art.  The museum galleries are dedicated to the work of N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth and Jamie Wyeth and offers American art with a special focus on artistic practice in the Brandywine Valley.

Photo courtesy of Brandywine River Museum of Art.

While in Chadds Ford, tour historic houses, three pre-Revolutionary buildings that are open to the public as museums, through the Chadds Ford Historical Society.  

Sample wines at Penns Wood Winery in Chadds Ford. The family-run winery also hosts a variety of mouthwatering events like wine and cupcake pairings and sangria tastings.

Photo by Lisa Roper, courtesy of Chanticleer Garden.

The 35-acre pleasure garden Chanticleer received the 2019 North American Garden Tourism Award for best garden and features lush courtyards of tropicals, perennials and containers, colorful cut-flower and vegetable garden, exotic woodlands ruin garden and ponds and water garden teeming with life.

Learn about rotary-wing aircraft at the American Helicopter Museum, located in a 20,000 square-foot hangar in West Chester. Check out restored historic helicopters, including a V-22 Osprey, then hop in the pilot’s seat and run the controls yourself.

The Memorial Arch at Valley Forge National Historical Park. Photo courtesy of Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board.

Valley Forge

Take a trip to Valley Forge National Historic Park, site of the encampment of George Washington and the Continental Army during the winter of 1777-1778. Participate in one of the many guided tours available, or stop by General Washington’s headquarters.

The tax-free shopping on clothes and shoes that you enjoyed in Philadelphia extends into the Countryside, and the sprawling King of Prussia Mall is a shopper’s paradise with over 400 stores inside.

James A. Michener Art Museum. Photo credit Visit Bucks County.

Bucks County

Enjoy Bucks County, approximately one hour north of Center City, where old and new combine in effortless fashion. New Hope offers boutique shopping and sophisticated entertainment in a small-town setting. It also has many LGBT-owned shops and restaurants. Noteworthy art collections can be found at the nearby James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown.

Photo by, Brian Evans.

Pennsylvania Dutch Country

Pennsylvania Dutch Country is 1.5 hours west of Philadelphia. Horse-drawn buggies on the side of the roads will signal your arrival. Visit the Amish Farm & House to learn about the traditional Amish lifestyle and take home a handmade quilt or apple butter.

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