As summer comes to an end, it is time to start planning weekends that don’t involve beaches, leisurely drives along the shore, or spending fun outdoors. Oh, wait! That’s EXACTLY what you should be planning to do! Start planning visits to the beaches of New Jersey and Maryland, stroll gardens and arboretums, and celebrate the festivals the festoon the entire region.
There is so much to do in the surrounding ares that you could plan endless weekends for yourself, your troop of friends, or a romantic get-away.
Consider visiting and touring some of the icon lighthouses scattered along the eastern coast. I was very excited to participate in both of the Lighthouse Challenges. Be sure to check my blog for more details on the New Jersey and Maryland Lighthouse Challenges.
During the off season, access to the beach towns is much easier, and presents a unique opportunity for a relaxed weekend touring the beautiful east coast beach towns, bays, and harbors. Check lighthouse and historical society schedules to see their schedules and availability to climb the lighthouse towers. For the more adventurous, participate in the yearly Lighthouse Challenges for both New Jersey and Maryland.
Festivals, food, and events
There is no lack of local celebrations and events to enjoy in the entire Mid-Atlantic region. I’m on a mission to visit and experience all of these festivals. There are so many! Here are a few that I would recommend to plan your weekend adventures around.
Kennett Square weekend – September
Kennett Square (Chester County, PA) hosts its famous Mushroom Festival every September (1st weekend after Labor Day). With so much to do in the Brandywine area, you could easily spend several weekends exploring the area throughout the entire year. But if you like the festival atmosphere, you should plan to visit Chester County in early September.
While there, see about visiting Longwood Gardens, Winterthur, Brandywine River Museum of Art, and local wineries. You can’t go wrong with any weekend plans in this culturally rich region.
Chatsworth Cranberry Harvest – October
New Jersey Chatsworth’s cranberry harvest, the 3rd largest in the United States, is a good reason to celebrate! And New Jersey invites everyone to visit the famous Pine Barrens on the third full weekend in October. Join for free and celebrate the Cranberry Festival with food, fun, music and the local beauty that is the Cranberry bogs.
If you plan to visit Chatsworth, make a weekend out of it by scheduling a tour of the cranberry bogs. Local cranberry farmers arrange tours and engagement with their bog farms during the harvest season.
Or schedule a tour of the pine barren’s natural beauty, including kayaking and canoeing opportunities. There are photograph sessions or nature-walking tours also possible, if schedules permit. Come see what makes this area of New Jersey unique and fun.
One word of caution, you will be driving through New Jersey’s bio-diverse and infamous Pine Barrens (Wharton State Forest). You have heard of the famous cloven hoofed, bat winged devil, yes? Keep an eye out and see if you can capture the infamous Jersey Devil… on film, of course!
In late September, Philadelphia (heck, all of Pennsylvania!) goes Halloween crazy. You’ll be hard-pressed to avoid a thousand and one fun Halloween inspired events, festivals, or decorations. Here are some not-quite-Halloween events to consider experiencing…
In early October, Germantown is invaded by the Red Coats. Early 18th Century comes to life as the Battle of Germantown is reenacted. Join the live music, food, drink, and learn about the only military battle which occurred in the borders of Philadelphia. A pinch of history and festivity in an amazing and unique town.
Chinatown Night Market
In early October, Chinatown’s annual nighttime food trust fest is a popular event. Spend the days exploring the city of Philadelphia, Penn’s Landing riverfront, and end the night with amazing food and drink in Chinatown.
Chestnut Hill – Witches & Wizards Weekend
This definitely leans into Halloween-esque dress-up. But the Witches and Wizards event is a fun weekend for kids and kids-at-heart. The event starts with a pub crawl, followed by a weekend of fun for the whole family. If you need a break from warlocks, ghosts, and goblins… stop by the beautiful Morris Arboretum for a dose of natural beauty, quiet strolls, and amazing scenery.
One of this country’s largest and most festive rowing event is held in Philadelphia. Come in for the regatta, enjoy world-class athleticism and cheer on the competitors. For the rest of the weekend you can easily find something amazing to enjoy, like touring Kelly Drive, hiking Fairmount Park, or visit the famous Shofuso Japanese House and Garden.