Where to Go From Here

Three-Day Weekends from Philadelphia

by Jeralyn Gerba
Take your time (so that you can try a little bit of everything). Photo courtesy of Cure.

In the mood for urban adventure, small town discovery, or a new point of view not too far from Philly? We have a few ideas.

PHILADELPHIA – Even in the City of Brotherly Love, it's nice to have alone time. Cut out of work early and zip to a small town or a big city on a three-day mini adventure.

Welcome to Pittsburgh. Photo courtes of Ace Hotel.

While out of town, look for a new point of view. Photo courtesy of Mattress Factory.

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA

If you're in the mood for: Something old, something new, something carb-y, and something blue (collar).

Route to take: U.S. Route 30. (Fun fact: The section between Philly and Lancaster was the first long-distance paved road built in the United States.)

Your agenda: Everyone's talking about Ace Hotel Pittsburgh, where the design trends toward ultilitarian-cool. When you check in, pour a big glass of water to leave on the bedside table: You're going to need to rehydrate after all the imbibing. The Burgh is in the throes of a dining and drinking revival, which you can experience firsthand at the meticuously run Cure or after settling into the woodsy Butcher and the Rye for cured meats and whiskeys. At Bar Marco, it's always bartender's choice — select your spirit wisely. End the night with a pastrami sandwich from the Strip District's 24/7 Primanti Bros. (Be a baller and put the fries inside the sandwich.) Promptly pass out in your hotel room. Pay your brain back the next day by soaking up the terrific art curation at The Warhol, Mattress Factory, and Wood Street Galleries.

Avoid the Sunday blues: Count your blessings that Bread & Salt Bakery turned the oven on. The veritable church of loaves only opens its doors three days a week to worshippers of that gorgeous honeycomb crumb. While the air is still brisk, rent a bike or hoof it around Three Rivers Heritage Trail and be sure to cut through South Shore Riverfront Park to get a last glimpse of 20th-century industrial relics — repurposed as outdoor sculptural art.


The show must go on. Photo courtesy of McCarter Theatre.

Purple potato salad, fennel, and toasted Brazil nut. Photo courtesy of Sprig & Vine

PRINCETON & NEW HOPE ON THE DELAWARE

If you're in the mood for: Colonial-era coziness and small-town charm.

Route to take: Good old I-95. Just north of it, scenic Route 29 runs along the Delaware River.

Your agenda: Check into Princeton's The Peacock Inn, an old converted manse with sixteen guest rooms and enough fireplaces to go around. Take a quick stroll to Rojo's Roastery for a pick-me-up coffee (small-batch, of course) before swinging by Princeton University Art Museum for the extensive collection that ranges from Greek antiquities to contemporary paintings. Catch a new performance at nearby McCarter Theatre Center. Post-show, tipple at Triumph Brewing Company.

Avoid the Sunday blues: New Hope is a cute strolling town across the river from Lambertville (home of the much-admired magazine and cookbook company Canal House). History buffs will appreciate that Washington crossed the Delaware here, thus changing the course of the Revolutionary War. If the timing's not quite right to catch a reenactment (those costumes!), you can still head to the Old Barracks Museum (about 20 minutes away). Or forget history and head in the direction of Bucks County Playhouse for an excellent matinee (historically, plays slated for Broadway would try out here first) in an old red grist mill on the Delaware River. Eat your veggies for supper at Sprig & Vine, where the rustic, produce-forward menu includes root vegetable pakora, sweet potato griddle cakes, and cauliflower banh mi.