Famous as an industrial center during the 19th century, to many Americans Pittsburgh still conjures stark images of billowing clouds emanating from steel and coal factories. Today's city, however, has a well-earned reputation for being one of the more livable metropolitan areas in the country.
Less than two hours from Philly is the fabled kids' favorite Hershey, home to a collection of attractions that detail, hype and, of course, hawk, the many trappings of Milton Hershey's chocolate empire. The pièce de résistance is Hershey Park, an amusement park with more than 60 thrill rides, a zoo, water park plus various performances and frequent fireworks displays.
Straddling the Pennsylvania−Delaware border southwest of Philadelphia, the Brandywine Valley is a patchwork of rolling, wooded countryside, historic villages, gardens, mansions and museums. The spectacular Longwood Gardens near Kennett Sq has 1050 acres, 20 indoor gardens and 11,000 kinds of plants, with something always in bloom.
A Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece, Fallingwater is south of Pittsburgh on Rte 381. Completed in 1939 as a weekend retreat for the Kaufmanns, owners of the Pittsburgh department store, the building blends seamlessly with its natural setting. To see inside you must take one of the hourly guided tours, and reservations are recommended.
New Hope & Lambertville
About 40 miles north of Philadelphia, New Hope and its sister town, Lambertville, across the Delaware River in NJ, sit equidistant from Philadelphia and NYC, and are a pair of quaint, artsy little towns. Both are edged with long and peaceful towpaths, perfect for runners, cyclists and strollers, and a bridge with a walking lane lets you crisscross between the two with ease.