Weekends are certainly the time we treasure with family and friends but finding the financial resources in this day and age to plan full blown getaways can be difficult. So, a daycation (a day trip that doesn’t exceed a full tank of gas and is a reasonable distance from your home) is a great, affordable, satisfying alternative and a travel concept steadily gaining in popularity. Since the Main Line and surrounding suburbs are so rich with activity, events and interesting people and places, I’m excited to begin what I believe will be a valuable resource for our readers, Main Line Daycations!
So, this is the first in AroundMainLine.com’s special travel series, and I hope you find it useful, interesting and educating. For those of you new to the Main Line area, welcome, and we hope that you will find some inspirational ideas here for exploring and experiencing this great area. Our travel section you should be of great help navigating around this area you now call home, welcome! And for ML vets such as myself, I hope to remind you of some great, affordable afternoon options that fill your weekends with fun and rich memories without breaking the bank—and I’m sure you’ll see some new ideas too!
Without further ado, sink your teeth into our inaugural travel feature. I would love to hear your feedback, thoughts and suggestions for future daycations.
And so there I was…with so many choices in front of me and the precious freedom of the last weekend of Summer 2008 ticking away as the morning approached noon. Where should I venture out to for my first AML Daycation? I had been considering the popular Peddler’s Village for a few weeks and after a quick glance at their website, decided it sounded like the perfect trip. So, a quick stop at the Wayne Starbucks for my usual iced grande mocha (with whip and an extra shot, thank you), a brief run into the bank for some cash for the tolls and perhaps a little spending money, and off I was on 476 heading north on the PA turnpike to beautiful Bucks County to explore what Peddler’s Village had to offer. The detailed directions online (www.peddlersvillage.com) were most helpful and accurate in helping me arrive at this 70 plus-store shopping paradise in just under an hour. It was not that exciting of a drive, I have to admit, but a gorgeous sunny day and some great music on the radio made it tolerable. Certainly, a little car company would have helped!
Peddler’s Village was booming with couples, babies, bikers and browsers when I arrived and I was pleased to find free, convenient parking in the first lot on the left. My first stop was in the Village Flower Shoppe, an enchanting and affordable home décor and accent boutique that had a full variety of Fall items beautifully displayed for under ten dollars. Many of the shoppers were scooping up the pumpkins, ceramic gourds and anything and everything in an autumnal shade. The woman behind the counter was sweet and immediately handed me a Where to Shop map so I could make my way around. Continuing down the brick sidewalk, I also came across some other great venues, namely an adorable baby shop, Periwinkle Place, and Skin ’n Tonic (www.skinntonic.com) a full service spa and salon.
Across the street, I headed towards what seemed like the center of town and where a sizable group of visitors had gathered. The Cock and Bull Restaurant was bustling and the manager was hastily taking reservations for a crowd of diners. I glanced in but had just started my day so a bite to eat would have to wait. Moving on, I was greeted with beautiful hanging baskets at every lamppost, a crisp pond with goldfish and cool plantings and a center courtyard that had families eating picnic lunches and soaking in the sun. No wonder the website boasts Peddler’s Village as the “number one tourist destination in Bucks County!” Another store I found quite inviting was Season Gates, where I stopped and chatted with store owner Kate Zeiss. Kate reaffirmed my first impression of Peddler’s Village. “This really is a place everyone can come. It’s beautiful, so family friendly and the prices are affordable. We have a great local following in Bucks County but would welcome everyone to stop by.” Season Gates had a variety of inventory including a neat, one-of-a kind $6,000 walnut bar and stool set designed by local artist Chris Costner. Perhaps not along the lines of affordable options but a perfect purchase for the discriminating shopper and a masterpiece of workmanship I certainly appreciated! Kate said Costner is really making a name for himself in Bucks County (as my web research later affirmed) and I’d bet with football season in full swing the bar set will soon find a lucky home.
My next stop and my favorite store of the day caught the attention of my nose before my eyes even set on the whimsical, inviting window display. The Soap Opera Company (www.SoapOperaCompany.com) is run by twin sisters Karen Nocella and Sharon Viola, who opened it in November 2003. The shop is quaint and pristine and the soapy aromas draw you in from the sidewalk. I was one of about a dozen shoppers enjoying the homemade bath and beauty products and purchased a few bath toys and gels for a favorite 6 year-old friend of mine ($11). Karen was at the register and could not have been sweeter—and said her store will be expanding its gift options moving into the holiday season.
Ninety minutes into my leisurely stroll, it was finally time to eat and I had conveniently just landed in front of Earl’s Prime (www.earlsprime.com), a lucky find considering I was navigating almost blind (albeit with the Shopping Guide) around the 42 acres Peddler’s Village boasts. It was a little intimidating from the outside as it gave the look and feel of a high-end steakhouse. But, I was pleasantly surprised to find an affordable, tempting menu when I walked inside and two helpful hostesses who quickly made a table in the bar available. With ESPN Gameday on mute and a decent crowd that conversed in hushed tones, it was the perfect quiet lunch spot to catch up on some work. Earl’s Prime has quite the selection of draught beers including but not limited to: Guinness, Fullers London Pride, Anchor Steam, Hoegaarden, Sam Adams, Chimay White and more. My waiter quickly brought me an iced-cold Stella Artois and I spent a good 15 minutes deciding on an appetizer. (I surmised this would be a generous and sufficient lunch since all the diners around me were having ample-portion entrees delivered to their tables.) I was torn between the lobster spring rolls ($12) filled with bok choy, avocado, peppers and scallions, deep fried and served with a ginger sauce, and Earl’s crab cakes appetizer ($10) with angel hair pasta. My friendly server Kennedy suggests the Ahi Tuna ($10) with jicama slaw, chive oil and wasabi cream, insisting its’ a real crowd pleaser. I finally select the barbecued jumbo shrimp ($13) wrapped in prosciutto with barbeque sauce and smoked Guoda aoli. An awesome choice—the trio of shrimp were flavorful, tangy and satisfying–and the perfect complement to my icy Stella…yum!
After lunch, I browsed a few other boutiques and finally ended my day with a ‘dessert’ of sorts. Skip’s Candy Corner (www.skipscandycorner.com) was suggested by a handful of shop owners as a ‘must-see’ and so I stop in before I head back to Wayne. Shop #27 on the map is right in front of me as I walk back to the car and the simple candy shop is filled with a rich chocolate aroma. I snag a small bag of chocolate licorice (a childhood favorite), a fresh square of marbled fudge and a caramel-dipped apple for good ole Mom…all for about $12. The service in Skip’s is friendly and fast; even better, less than 24 hours after my visit Skip Pietrak himself leaves a message on my cell just checking in to see how my visit was—now that’s great service!
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of shops, the friendly sales people and the beautiful grounds of Peddler’s Village. There are plenty of sites and sounds for children including Giggleberry Fair, a family ‘edu-tainment’ center that boasts an indoor carousel and horse-drawn carriage rides on the grounds. And even after 40 years as a popular attraction, the Village hardly rests on its laurels, hosting 11 unique festivals and events peppered throughout the year. I can hardly wait to see the beautiful grounds come Christmas time! If you have a day to getaway with your girlfriends, spoil the grandkids or stroll through a nice setting hand in hand with your significant other, there’s no doubt in my mind Buck’s County’s Peddler’s Village is a daycation that delivers!
UPCOMING EVENTS AT PEDDLER’S VILLAGE FALL AND WINTER 2008
Free Admission and Parking with All Events
PEDDLER’S VILLAGE SCARECROW COMPETITION & DISPLAY
Monday, September 8- Sunday, October 26, 2008
Bigger than life scarecrow creations are displayed outdoors and compete for over $4900 in cash prizes. Be sure to vote for your favorites! These exceptional pieces of American Folkart are displayed in the following categories: The Keystone Krow, Traditional/Whirligig, Extraordinary Contemporary, Kids Only!, Quite The Character, and Group Crow. For more information call the Peddler’s Village Hospitality desk at 215-794-4000.
2008 APPLE FESTIVAL
Saturday, November 1 & Sunday, November 2, 2008
10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Scrumptious apple treats including country apple butter, apple cider, apple dumplings, apple fritters and everyone’s favorite–apples dipped in caramel! Take home a bushel fresh from the orchard. Craftspeople show their wares and demonstrate their skills. Live entertainment and apple pie-eating contests add to the festivities of this traditional autumn celebration.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
1:30 to 3:30 pm
Location to be announced
Participants see how to make, bake and decorate
a gingerbread house from the foundation up.
GINGERBREAD HOUSE COMPETITION & DISPLAY
Friday, November 21, 2008 through January 8, 2009
Same as Shop Hours
Gingerbread house competition for over $3,400 in cash prizes in such categories as : Traditional, Authentic Reproduction of a Significant Building, Amateur, Unusual 3-Dimensional Creation, and Children’s. A visual delight, the entries are displayed throughout the holiday season in the Village Gazebo.
GRAND ILLUMINATION CELEBRATION
Friday, November 21, 2008
6:00 pm -10:00 pm. Lights ‘switched on’ 6:15 pm
Santa switches on the Villages outdoor holiday light display on Friday at 6:15 pm to kick off the holiday season and his weekend visits with children at Giggleberry Fair through December. Join us for free cider and marshmallow toasting that evening. Visit our shops throughout the weekend and preview our merchants’ distinctive choices for holiday gift giving.
MERCHANTS’ OPEN HOUSE
Friday, November 21 – Sunday, November 23, 2008
On Friday at 6:15 p.m., the Village’s outdoor holiday lights display debuts. Join us for free cider and toasted marshmallows. Visit our shops and preview our merchants’; distinctive choices for holiday gift-giving.
FRUIT WREATH DEMONSTRATION
2008 date and location to be announced
Learn how easy it is make your own door or window decoration for the holidays from fruit in the traditional Williamsburg style (della robia). See models of different styles and observe step-by-step procedures to complete your own at home. Led by Ann McAloan, floral designer and owner of Annie’s Flower Farm in Jamison, PA.
2008 CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL
Saturday, December 6 & Sunday, December 7, 2008
10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Join us for our annual Christmas Parade at 1:30 sharp on Saturday. Santa arrives in a horse-drawn carriage accompanied by local scout troops and heralded by the Central Bucks East marching band. The Village is beautifully decorated in Victorian-style, with fruit wreaths and greenery and provides live entertainment.