Reasons Why Southeastern Pennsylvania Is The Best
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Reasons Why Southeastern Pennsylvania Is The Best

Because why would you want to go anywhere else?

Reasons Why Southeastern Pennsylvania Is The Best
Larry Yerkes

Co-written with Jeanmarie Loss from the Clark University chapter of The Odyssey Online in Worcester, Massachusetts.

The greatest thing about being home for spring break is being able to see your friends and family that you don’t get to see for the majority of the school year. It just so happens that we are finally off for spring break at the same time, and we decided we’d co-write an article together. Being home allows for us to visit some great places, all of them in Southeastern PA, so we’ve compiled some of our favorite places and things to do that make it the best place in the Northeast.

1. Shopping!

From the Philadelphia Premium Outlets to the King of Prussia Mall, there are many places to fulfill your shopping needs. Both of these locations are conveniently located for people who live in the southeast region of the great state of Pennsylvania. Can't make it to either of these locations? There are quite a few malls all over the area such as Montgomeryville and Willow Grove, for example. Although many of the stores in these locations carry luxurious designers, there are still stores that many people shop in regularly such as Forever 21 (One of Courteney's favorites), PacSun, Hot Topic and more!

2. Historic Philadelphia

You know everything you learn in US history about the Constitution? Well, after we learn about it in class, we go on a field trip 45 minutes away to visit where it actually happened (this field trip happened at least once a year). Historic Philadelphia brings what you learned in middle school to life—there’s the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, the Constitution Center, Betsy Ross’ house, and more. For a list of what all Historic Philadelphia has to offer, check out its website here.

3. Valley Forge National Historical Park

Again, a cool place to visit that is a part of our country’s history—Valley Forge is where Washington led the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, specifically in the winter of 1777-1778, one of the harshest winters during the time of the war. A beautiful national park filled with wildlife and great hiking trails, it’s a must go to during warm weather, and it’s absolutely gorgeous in autumn with the bright colors of falling leaves. Each time you go, you’ll discover a new place or see something new—it takes you to a different world, free of the hubbub of the city right outside the borders of the park.

4. Art and Museums galore!

Philadelphia is the headquarters of the arts in Pennsylvania. The city is home to many beautiful venues that host numerous groups. It’s every musician or thespian’s dream—from the Academy of Music and Walnut Street Theatre (which is America’s oldest theater), to the Kimmel Center and Verizon Hall, there’s no shortage of events to attend from an array of performance groups. There’s the Philadelphia Ballet, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Academy is a hot spot for National Broadway Tours—additionally, each theater has its own season of performances, which are always phenomenal. One of our favorite things to do during the summer is grab (student discounted!) tickets and head down to see a show. Seeing the orchestra also motivation to practice more, because you know you want to be as good as the pros! More than just theatres, Philadelphia has a wealth of museums—fantastic ones are the Museum of Art, the Franklin Institute (there’s a heart you can actually walk through!), the Please Touch Museum (for kiddos), and the Mütter Museum (which has real specimens of medical oddities and is super cool, from a scientist’s perspective).

5. Philadelphia Zoo

Philadelphia is a city of many firsts, so it shouldn’t be surprising that America’s first zoo, founded in 1859, is also in the Southeastern quarter of PA. So many cute, rare, and endangered species are able to be learned about through visits, educational trips, and one of Jeanmarie’s favorite pastimes, day-camps, where little kids learn about wildlife and the importance of wildlife preservation. You can feed the parakeets, ride a camel, and pet/feed farm animals, and at the end of the day, go up in the 6ABC Zooballoon to see the city from over 400 feet in the air!

6. Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens, one of the world's greatest gardens located in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. With over 1,077 acres of gardens, meadows, and woodlands, Longwood Gardens is the living legacy of Pierre S. du Pont. Longwood Gardens is a great place to visit anytime of the year. Every season creates beautiful exhibits. In the summer, the Gardens also sets up performance series, including a wine and jazz festival in June. We always plan on taking trips to the Gardens especially when the cost is only 10 dollars for students!

7. Philadelphia's Magic Gardens

Located on South Street in Philadelphia, Magic Gardens is a non-profit organization, folk art environment, and gallery space. Mosaic artist, Isaiah Zagar created Magic Gardens in the 1960s with his wife. Zagar wanted to revitalize the area by adding colorful mosaics to public and private walls. According to the Magic Gardens website, Zagar's mission was to inspire creativity and community engagement by educating the public about folk, mosaic, and visionary art. To date, it is the biggest mosaic piece created by Zagar. Overall, a hot spot to go to during the warmer months to experience the most magical of gardens.

8. Hershey

The sweetest place on Earth is also conveniently located in southeastern Pennsylvania. Hershey's chocolate is the largest manufacturer of chocolate in North America and is quickly increasing all over the world. Founder Milton S. Hershey created the chocolate empire with the success of the Lancaster Caramel Company in 1900. Hershey first became interested in chocolate after he took a trip to Chicago for the world's first Colombian Exposition. He came back and took a risk and sold the Lancaster Caramel Company. We’ve been there on countless occasions to enjoy all that the town of Hershey, Pennsylvania has to offer. Going to Hershey's Chocolate World to get a tour of the factory and to ride the tallest rollercoaster at Hersheypark is a MUST if you live in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

9. Lancaster

It’s almost a given everyone has heard of the famous Amish that originated in Lancaster, PA. They don’t use electricity, use horse and buggies (there’s a third lane on the highway specifically for them to use), and don’t really interact with people outside their community, (well, except when they want to make money). There’s also no actual “Amish Mafia.” Sorry, beloved TV fans. Lancaster, PA is filled with lots of shopping and food, mostly made by the Amish. There’s a smorgasbord called Shady Maple, and it’s all you can eat for $10. There’s an abundance of anything and everything one person can imagine. There are open-air markets that sell beautiful handmade goods that you really can’t get anywhere else. It’s a wonderful place to go to get away from the racket of the suburbs and urban cities. Want to find more things to do in the land of the Amish? Check out Lancaster's website here!

10. Food

The first things that come to most people’s minds when you ask, “What’s good to eat in/around Philly?” are usually cheesesteaks and soft pretzels. Because they’re native to Philadelphia, getting these two foods (that actually taste good) anywhere outside of Southeastern PA is near impossible. (A close friend of ours said when he went to a restaurant in Connecticut, he ordered a cheesesteak, but what came out of the kitchen was a slab of steak with a slice of cheese on top. Seriously? No. This is not a cheesesteak. There isn’t any cheese-whiz, peppers, or onions on it. Try again.) Other amazing foods, brought to you by Southeastern PA include Herr’s Potato Chips and Tastycakes. If you haven’t experienced krumpets or a peanut-butter tandycake yet, get a friend who lives in the vicinity to mail you some, because they are AMAZING, and a favorite go-to study snack/stress snack.

And lastly, a favorite that is near and dear to each Southeastern Pennsylvanian...

11. Wawa

The tri-state area's most favored convenience store, Wawa, was created in 1803 in New Jersey as an iron foundry. By 1902, creator George Wood took an interest in dairy farming in Wawa, Pennsylvania. In 1964, George's grandson, Graham Wood, opened the first Wawa market for dairy products. Today, Wawa is everyone's favorite everyday stop for fresh, made-to-order foods, coffee (Courteney and Jeanmarie both insist they would die without it), those Philadelphia-native snacks, fuel services and surcharge-free ATMs. For both of us, going to college outside the southeast region of Pennsylvania or out of state makes those infamous Wawa runs something to look forward to during breaks. Wawa over Sheetz and Honey Farms and 7-Eleven ANYDAY.
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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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