By Julia Bernd - Staff Writer
The weather's turning warm, and it's a great time to go out for a drive! You don't have to go far from home for a one-of-a- kind experience. Here are 10 area locations that you're sure to remember:
1. New Hope, PA & Lambertville, NJ Charm abounds in these towns hugging the Delaware River. Spend the day people watching on the patio at Havana Restaurant, browsing the unique shops on Main Street or catch a show at the Bucks County Playhouse. If antiques are your thing, you'll find few places in the area with more antique shops than historic Lambertville.
2. Smithville, NJ A unique enclave in Atlantic County, the town of Smithville is a great family-friendly day out. Walk the cobblestone and brick paths, and explore the many specialty shops. The kids will enjoy the carousel and the paddle boats available for rent at Lake Meone in the center of it all. When it's time for dinner, check out the Smithville Inn or Fred & Ethel's Lantern Light Tavern.
3. Jim Thorpe, PA Adventure awaits at Jim Thorpe in Carbon County, PA. With its prime location on the Lehigh River, Jim Thorpe is a hot spot for rafting and mountain biking. Its culture is nothing to sneeze at either. There are a ton of great restaurants and art galleries in town, and it's also home to the Mauch Chunk Opera House.
4. Cape May, NJ On the southern tip of NJ, Cape May is a refuge for wildlife. Visit the Cape May Zoo, board a Whale Watching Cruise or take an Airboat Adventure through the marshlands. If you enjoy birdwatching, Cape May is one of the best spots for birding in North America (not to mention all of the beautiful beaches and Victorian homes).
5. Old City - Philadelphia Philadelphia is so close that it can be easy to forget how it attracts visitors from across the country for the rich history that is right here in our backyard! Visit the National Constitution Center and tour the Betsy Ross House and Independence Hall. When you're finished, have dinner at one of the many amazing restaurants in Old City. (Remember, to get ice cream at Franklin Fountain, adorably served up by staff in bowties.)
6. Art Museum Area - Philadelphia In recent years, Philadelphia has gained a reputation for being one of the best places in the country to see art. With the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation and the Rodin Museum – all within a mile of eachother on the Ben Franklin Parkway – you will be able to span hundreds of years of art in one day (or two). When you finish at the museums, take a walk behind the PMA and look out over Boathouse Row, or grab a bite at The Water Works Restaurant and Lounge.
7. Lancaster County, PA Return to a simpler way of life in Amish Country. Visit the Bird-in-Hand Farmers Market for out-of-this-world baked goods, or take a buggy ride, and visit the Amish Village in nearby Ronks to get a true sense for the Amish way of life. If craft beer is your thing, head on down to the city of Lancaster to visit Lancaster Brewing for a tour.
8. Kennett Square, PA Two words: Longwood Gardens. Kennett Square is home to Longwood Gardens, frequently cited as one of the 10 best botanical gardens in the U.S.
9. Princeton, NJ Taking a drive to Princeton is worth it for the architecture alone. The buildings that make up Princeton University and run along Nassau St. in the center of town are some of the most interesting in New Jersey. The town also has many museums and historic attractions, making it an intellectual's delight.
10. Hershey, PA Will. Drive. For. Chocolate. With Hersheypark Amusement Park, Chocolate World and the Chocolate Spa, Hershey is every child's (and child-at- heart's) dream come true, and it's less than three hours away. Have fun exploring!