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On the to-do list this week: It’s high time to get outside and enjoy the sunshine whether you’re in city, the suburbs, down the shore, or in the Poconos. Speaking of the Poconos, we have a guide to the best things to do there and a list of the best places to stay overnight (if you aren’t a lucky duck with a family Poconos house).
What’s on my personal to-do list: On Friday, I’m picking up pizza (one pepperoni and one spicy sausage) from Parma Jawn and watching In The Heights. I know I’m talking about getting outside, but I’ll do that on Saturday — promise.
Remember, we’ve collected our best Philly tips all in one place here. Stay healthy, stay safe, and get vaccinated.
The best ice cream in Philly by Regan Stephens
How to stay cool without air conditioning in Philly by Nick Vadala
Best vegan ice cream in Philly by Grace Dickinson
How to work out outdoors in the Philly heat by Grace Dickinson
» Ask us a question through Curious Philly: Inquirer.com/askus
Here is one highlight from our weekly events calendar:
Fishtown’s Reopening Celebration 🎉 (Community / in-person / free / kid-friendly) Head out to this community celebration on Friday night — but don’t forget your mask. Look for sidewalk sales, live music, happy hours, and more. (Jun. 11, 4 p.m., Frankford and Girard Ave., fishtowndistrict.com)
The shore gets most of this area’s summer love, and we love the shore, but we think the Poconos are pretty deserving of some recognition, too. Lakes lend themselves well to summer swims and boat rides, tree-shaded trails are ideal for hot-weather hikes, and outdoor water parks are decidedly meant for warm days. Looking for things to do or places to stay in the Poconos? Check below:
What to do:
Seven Tubs Recreation Area: Set on 500 acres in the beautiful Pinchot State Forest, Seven Tubs is a must-see for nature lovers, thanks to its series of massive, water-filled potholes (or “tubs,” hence the name), carved out by glacial meltwater, and its great hiking trails.
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area: The 70,000-acre Delaware Water Gap has an almost endless amount of nature to take in — including about 100 miles of hiking trails and scenic roadways. A favorite trail is the Raymondskill Creek Trail, which will give you a great view of Raymondskill Falls, which, at three tiers and 178 feet, is the tallest waterfall in the state.
Camelbeach Mountain Waterpark: In the winter, Camelback Resort is great for skiing — but come summer, it’s all about the water park. Camelbeach is their outdoor water park, and, as Pennsylvania’s largest, it has 37 rides, slides, and attractions to choose from. And if indoors is your thing, their Aquatopia water park is open, too.
» READ MORE: The best things to do in the Poconos
Where to stay:
If you don’t have a Poconos house, here are some of the region’s most unique hotel bets:
Skytop Lodge: Opened in 1928, Skytop is one of the grandest, and stateliest, resorts of that era. Stay here for the golf course, kayaking and fishing on Skytop Lake, rentable bikes, and 30-miles of hiking trails.
The Penn Stroud: The hotel’s modern facade is built on old bones: the original hotel opened as The Stroudsburg House in 1883. Stay here for modern amenities in historical digs, and easy walks to the quaint restaurants and bars of Stroudsburg.
The Harry Packer Mansion Inn: Built in the late 19th century, in the post-Renaissance Italianate style, the mansion was a gift from pioneering Pennsylvania businessman Asa Packer to his son, and inspired the Haunted Mansion ride at Disney’s theme parks. Stay here for Victorian-era charm, period-era antiques, and a full (staged) murder mystery weekend experience.
» READ MORE: Where to stay in the Poconos (besides a cabin)
Celebrate Record Store Day
The pandemic upended Record Store Day, an annual celebration that normally falls on a Saturday in April. This year, the event occurs on two days this summer: June 12 and July 17. And while some local shops dread the stress it brings and the record flippers looking to make a big profit, it is still an excuse to patronize some of Philly’s great record stores, like:
Common Beat Music: West Philly’s Common Beat Music is more than just a record store. It’s an all-purpose music hang-out. You’ll find a healthy selection of folk and country LPs, rounded out by stacks of 7-inch singles and a smattering of new releases.
Long in the Tooth: With a street-facing window display prominently featuring prop skeletons playing cards, it’s easy to mistake Long in the Tooth for a magic shop. Or some sort of dungeon-themed escape room. But don’t be fooled! The venerable Center City hangout’s a crate-digger’s dream. It’s the sort of place where well-stocked new arrivals racks can stoke general excitement.
Main Street Music: Manayunk can already feel like you’re stepping into its own little village, and Main Street Music is the kind of small, well-stocked record store you used to find in any town: collecting new records, pricey collector’s box sets, and a great selection of used vinyl.
» READ MORE: Best record stores in Philly
If anything, the COVID-19 pandemic taught us not to take anything for granted, including our city’s public pools, which were shut down last summer. Elizabeth Wellington recently wrote about what public pools mean for the city, its communities, and shared the news that, as long as they have enough lifeguards (which is proving to be a struggle), the city plans to re-open its 68 outdoor pools this summer.
“The reopening of the pools is a sign communities are on their way back to post-COVID-19 normalcy in a way that’s much more meaningful than eating out at expensive restaurants and returning to the hair salon. Pools, like libraries, museums and public parks, encourage gatherings that cross racial and class lines. Because neighborhood pools are often walking distance, access to them is not hindered by a lack of reliable transportation.”
More insight in Elizabeth’s full story.
» More at Inquirer.com/covid-tips