Philadelphians in search of a quick getaway need to look no further than the city’s extensive SEPTA regional rail system, which extends far into the surrounding counties. Uber provides the missing link between the train station and local destinations, usually just too far to walk, opening up new areas for carless Philadelphians. Until Labor Day 2016, Uber is offering a 40% discount on rides from certain suburban stations such as those below. Take advantage of it with these five great day trips.
A charming historic town on the Delaware River, New Hope is a civilized escape from the city. The former industrial center developed into an artists’ colony in the early 20th century, with studios and summer stock theater replacing the old grist mills, and is now filled with galleries and quirky shops. For a perfect Saturday, linger over almond croissant French toast at Café Blue Moose, then go for a stroll along the Delaware Canal towpath trail. Cross the river to quaint Lambertville, New Jersey to poke around its many antique shops, and finish the day with a show at the esteemed Bucks County Playhouse, founded in 1939.
Get there: Regional Rail to Doylestown, then uberX (~$17) to New Hope
For young kids, no Philly excursion beats a day at Sesame Place, the country’s only theme park devoted entirely to the classic television show. There are costumed characters galore and a recreation of the set, but most of the park is standard amusement park fare, like bumper cars, boardwalk-style games, and water slides. What sets it apart is that rides accommodate the 10-and-under set, usually excluded from roller coasters and chair swings. For bonus points, make a reservation to have a meal with your child’s favorite character, like lunch with Elmo.
Get there: Regional Rail to Woodbourne, then uberX (~$5) to Sesame Place
Valley Forge National Historical Park
In 1777-1778, George Washington’s army spent six months at Valley Forge, where 2,000 soldiers died over the course of a brutal winter. The site today resonates with their struggle and perseverance, which knowledgeable rangers flesh out on tours past the general’s headquarters and reproduced brigade huts. But the 3,500-acre park isn’t all cannons and log cabins; for many visitors, they’re simply an evocative backdrop for hiking trails in the rolling hills. Fly fishermen cast lines in Valley Creek for brown trout, while birders keep an eye out for herons or (appropriately) eagles. Visitors can also rent bikes to cruise 20 miles of cycle paths through hardwood forest and along the Schuylkill River.
Get there: Regional Rail to Wayne, then uberX (~$10) to Valley Forge
A regal landscape spread over 1,077 acres, Longwood Gardens seems to belong in Europe more than suburban Philadelphia. The blue-tiled Italian Water Garden mimics a Florentine design; in spring, its 240,000 tulips evoke Holland. Dating to 1906, the property is divided into distinctive spaces such as a deciduous forest and a wildflower meadow that cascades below a stone farmhouse. As you roam through greenhouses and gardens, it’s amazing to see so many plants flourishing in one place: orchids, nectarine and banana trees, peonies, water lilies, and roses. Longwood is even entrancing in winter, when a Christmas display illuminates the trees and fountains.
Get there: Regional Rail to Exton, then uberX (~$23) to Longwood Gardens
Linvilla Orchards has been a staple of autumn in the Delaware Valley for generations, drawing families with its hayrides and apples. But the 300-acre farm is bountiful in other seasons, too, with pick-your-own produce like cherries, peaches, blueberries, and summer squash. After 100 years in operation, Linvilla has evolved with the times and becomes a sort of rustic fairground on the weekend, hosting seasonal festivals and pony rides. It’s more sedate on weekdays, better for peaceful grazing among the Winesap trees. With or without crowds, Linvilla offers a satisfying breath of country air.
Get there: Regional Rail to Swarthmore, then uberX (~$9) to Linvilla Orchards