I had the good fortune when visiting Philadelphia for the first time to also explore its countryside. Just an hour’s drive was a beautiful escape which included country wineries, stores, cafes and the popular Longwood Gardens attraction. In this post, I share some of the best day trips from Philadelphia with a list of things to do in Philadelphia’s countryside.
Best Day Trips from Philadelphia
The road trip started at the Hotel Monaco in Philadelphia. We followed the I-95 S to US-322 W in Upper Chichester Township. There we followed highway US 1 which took us straight to the Brandywine River Museum and Conservancy our first stop. The remaining stops were also along this highway and very close together.
Guided Tour: Discover Brandywine Valley: Private Driving Tour
Brandywine River Museum and Conservancy
Our first stop on our countryside of Philadelphia visit was the Brandywine River Museum in Chester County. The museum is an excellent stop for art lovers and nature lovers. They have some exhibitions on display of nineteenth and twentieth-century American art.
Outside the museum are some nature trails protected by the Brandywine Conservancy. These trails are part of the Brandywine Creek Greenway. Along the creek, you’ll find kayakers and tubers enjoying a ride. Along the paths you’ll appreciate the beautiful trees and wildlife.
Terrain Garden Store and Styer’s Garden Café
We made our way to the Terrain Garden Store which was filled with fresh flowers, gardening paraphernalia and country store gifts. There were plenty of things to shop for even for those who are not looking for garden type paraphernalia.
Lunch at Styer’s Garden Café
Located inside a greenhouse as part of the Terrain Garden Store the Styer’s Garden Café was a highlight of my day. From the fresh lemonade, the exquisite appetizers to my refreshing salad, I recommend a stop here for lunch when visiting the Countryside of Philadelphia.
The cafe menu was inspired by local produce, meats and dairy products from the seasonal harvest of farmers in the region. This means that all the delicious photos you are now seeing will change depending on when you visit.
I love restaurants that offer a menu that changes with the season as it means a great meal of fresh food that tastes phenomenal and it says I will likely never have the same lunch twice.
For my main, I had a peach salad with grilled shrimp. I just wanted a light lunch as we had a big dinner planned at Longwood Gardens.
Local Tour: Valley Forge Private 4-Hour Tour
Drinks at Galer Estate Vineyard & Winery
What’s a trip to the countryside without a wine tasting on a deck overlooking a vineyard? The Galer Estate is the perfect stop for an afternoon tasting. Their vineyard was the perfect backdrop as we sampled some of their award-winning favourites.
Afternoon and Evening at Longwood Gardens
Explore the Philadelphia’s Botanical Gardens
While we could have easily spent an entire day here, I was glad for the time we had to explore the massive botanical garden. With over 1000 acres of outdoor and indoor garden displays and some special shows including hourly fountain shows, this attraction is a must if you are in the Philadelphia area.
Garden highlights include the Italian water garden, Peirce’s Woods, the Forest Walk and the main fountain garden.
Dinner at 1906 Fine Dining and Terrace Café
Overlooking one of the many gardens is the beautiful and sophisticated 1906 restaurant. The restaurant is a certified green restaurant with a commitment to locally-sourced ingredients. Be sure to make reservations as this is a favourite spot to eat at the gardens and even during the week we found it was full.
Longwood Garden’s Fountain Show
To end our beautiful day in the countryside we had front row seats to the newly restored and updated fountain show. The update included new lighting and fountains which can shoot water 175 feet in the air.
The fountains are then choreographed to music in a spectacular 30-minute show.
The drive back to Philadelphia was about an hour after the fountain show ended. It was a lovely way to spend the day in a more relaxed pace from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Where to Stay – Kimpton Hotel Monaco
We stayed in the Historic Neighbourhood of Philadelphia at the Hotel Monaco. Located in the midst of the historic district the Hotel Monaco is also somewhat close to the waterfront and the convention centre.
Kimpton Hotel Monaco Reviews: My Hotel Monaco Review | TripAdvisor Reviews
See Availability and Pricing: Trip Advisor | Hotels.com | Travelocity | Expedia
Also in Philadelphia:
- Enjoy an Inspired Dinner at Talula’s Garden Philadelphia
- Beyond the Cheesesteak Healthy Travel in Philadelphia
Travel assistance provided by Visit Philadelphia on a media press trip. The opinions in this post are my own.