Pennsylvania: PA is the Day Trip State
Philadelphia - Flyers to Penguins
Pennsylvania Breweries - Troegs and Yuengling
The Yuengling Brewery Tour
The Yuengling brewery (America's oldest independent brewery) tour we took in 2003 was a fun way to kill a hot June day. We left early in the morning on the spur of the moment. When we arrived at the brewery, we took our tour during the next scheduled interval. Learning how to make beer was a really neat experience for me because I always wondered how the process went from grain to bottle. The truth be told, I think I enjoyed this tour more than my family but we learned a great deal on the Yuengling family and their Pennsylvania famous legacy. If you order a Yuengling beer order it like the locals do - "Lager please". Everyone in this part of Pennsylvania recognizes the word lager to mean a Yuengling lager.
There are a variety of beers produced by Yuengling, including a bottled black and tan. While the black and tan is tasty, it is no comparison to the real black and tan consisting of the England Bass Ale coupled with the Irish Guinness Stout.
In case you were wondering, the oldest independent brewery in Canada is the Moosehead brewery. If I had to compare America's oldest independent brewery against Canada's oldest independent brewery, I think Canada would win caps up and bottles down :)
The Philly Cheese-steak Challenge
Geno's, Pat's and Metropolitan Cheesesteaks
Travel ice hockey has some key off ice benefits. Take the 2009 ice hockey season for example. We took off for an early morning ice hockey game at the Class of 23 rink alongside the University of Pennsylvania. After the game ended we headed towards the location of one of the most heated conversations in the Philadelphia area. Who has the best area cheesesteak - Geno's or Pat's?
We decided to test the regional food for ourselves and purchased six cheesesteaks from both menus. I will say that the three of us (two cheesesteaks each) did not make any special order or stray from the menu. We wanted to eat the sandwich in the authentic way it was created. I ate my Pat's cheesesteak first for lunch and saved Geno's for dinner. At the end of the evening I rated both sandwiches and found Pat's to be the slight winner.
Since the opening of The Metropolitan Diner (about 30 minutes from our home) and until about one month ago in 2012 we had a new entry in the cheesesteak showdown. Whenever we went to Metro and I felt like a cheesesteak, I ordered the same sandwich. The personnel even knew my order when I ask for a cheesesteak. They would bring a hoagie roll with shaved coulet steak, jalapeno peppers, raw onion, swiss cheese (chees on top) and old bay seasoned fries. When I compared the Metro cheesesteak to Pat's, the Metro version easily won. I am not certain why Metro removed the cheesesteak from their menu but I am not happy about it.
A Cheese-steak Showdown
The Sweetest Place on Earth
A Chocolate Town
Heading to Hershey Pennsylvania and Chocolate World in 2009 was a real treat :) The smell of chocolate throughout the town is noticeable for several minutes before arriving in Hershey. The tour of chocolate world is an absolute delight and there is so much candy that you will nearly be sick of it when you leave. I do not think that I will ever get sick of chocolate and peanut butter but you never know.
Aside from Hershey Chocolate World and Hershey Park, you should stop into the Hershey Hotel for a visit into the more relaxing parts of the area. If you cannot make it to the Hershey Hotel, try the Giant Center where the AHL Hershey Bears (triple A) ice hockey team plays.
If you go here, pay particular attention to the street lights as I am certain you will get a big kiss out of it.
Philadelphia Citizen Bank and Wells Fargo Concerts
Billy Joel, Elton John and The Black Eyed Peas
While these two music artists cater to different genres, they both put on a fantastic show. We saw Billy Joel and Elton John in Citizen's Bank in July 2009 and saw The Black Eyed Peas at the Wachovia Center (now Wells Fargo) in March of 2010. Both concerts were as we expected and we bought a tee shirt from each one.
A summer concert in the city is a phenomenal experience and the pop artists Billy Joel and Elton John summer noise simply rocked the house. Although March was a bit cold for an outdoor concert, the Wachovia Center (now Wells Fargo) did a great job in staging the Black Eyed Peas. I cannot put one concert ahead of the other but I can say that both artists played all their hits and we would not hesitate to attend again.
Pennsylvania Diners, Driveins, Dives with Guy Fieri
A Food Trail with Guy Fieri
If you are looking for something completely different to do, try following Guy Fieri around for a local meal trail. In 2011 we found two local places where the Diners, Driveins, Dives television host had been and went there for our own food review. This day trip worked out perfectly as we started out with breakfast at Daddypop's and drove the Pineville Tavern for lunch. Naturally we took the entire day off so we did not have to rush through our meals. We observed pictures of the famous food network channel host by the cash register and can now share the experience.
Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire
Renaissance Faire Events
Although the day was long, as the Renaissance Faire was a lengthy drive from our Eastern Pennsylvania home, it was worth the trip. We left early to get to the event in time for a decent parking spot and a full day of activity. We did not wear costumes but enjoyed the efforts of the staff that played key characters in this peek into the past. We walked around a village, in what seemed to be authentic for that era, ate one of the biggest turkey legs I have ever seen, stopped in the pub for an ale, watched the jousting and waved to the queen as she walked by us. This was a fun trip, in the fall of 2003 but unfortunately one that we have yet to repeat.
Pennsylvania State University (PSU) - Football and Ice Hockey
Philadelphia Sports (Baseball, Football, Hockey)
The Phillies, The Eagles and The Flyers
If you like baseball, football or ice hockey then you will want to take a trip to south Philly where all four sports teams play within a city block of each other. If you want to spend the day near the sports complex, try McFadden's located across the street from all sport structures. You will get some good beer and food for about the normal city price. McFadden's is a good place to stay and watch a game with plenty of television sets to cheer or curse one of the area teams.
When you go to one of the games, you must try a local hot pretzel and a cheesesteak sandwich. We attended each sport at different times but if you plan properly, you can get to two of the three sporting events in a single day :)
Pennsylvania Attractions and Places
Class of 23 rink
Pennsylvania State University - PSU
University of Pennsylvania - UPENN
Pennsylvania Wineries (Buck's County)
The Wine Trail at Buckingham and New Hope Wineries
New Hope Winery
One of the very first day trips we took when we moved from New Jersey to Pennsylvania in 2000 was to the New Hope winery (NHW from the map above) located in Bucks County. Because the winery is located on route 202, I passed this facility every morning heading into NJ for work. The winery always looked like it had so much heritage and history that we had to stop by the barn like building. Since we moved to Pennsylvania in April, it was an ideal season to visit the winery. The trees were full, the grass was green and the wine tasting was good. The wines of choice for us were the Blackberry and Blueberry, both excellent seasonal wines.
It was not long into the Spring of 2000 that we discovered the Buckingham winery (BW in map above). If you head south on route 413, a short distance from the New Hope winery, is a Falcon Crest like winery that is simply beautiful. The grounds of the winery are fresh with bright green vines and nice grape aroma. If you cannot tell by the picture above, we needed two individual pictures to get the wide screen effect of the vines as they bloomed in the spring season. The ride to this winery was very nice as we drove in my 1999 Jeep Wrangler with the top down so we could enjoy the warm spring breeze.
© 2012 mts1098