One of the state's oldest communities, Abington, Pennsylvania, lies 30 miles north of Philadelphia. Established in 1704 and boasting an array of shopping and art as well as historic sights, Abington provides a glimpse of small-town charm close to urban attractions.
Begin a day trip to Abington with a stop at Willow Grove Park Mall, just north of the city. Anchored by top department stores Macy's and Bloomingdale's, the mall hosts retailers like Apple, Gap and Coach. For a distinctive treat, stop into Gertrude Hawk Chocolates, a Pennsylvania stand-by since 1936.
From there, head about four miles south to Abington Art Center, located on 27-acre grounds that offer a major sculpture garden, outdoor concerts and park tours. The center is housed in a former estate and often features single-artist exhibitions as well as an annual juried show. Every Sunday, families are encouraged to join in Eureka!, an art class that lets participants create works together.
Another family-friendly stop on any Abington day trip is Storybrook Musical Theater, located on the city's northern edge. The non-profit, professional children's theater company is a local favorite, with 24 original music adaptations in its repertoire. For more neighborhood-driven talent, Old York Road Symphony performs classical and pops music, and the 80-year-old symphony often includes young artists in its program schedule.
Following a performance, grab a quick bite at Vintage Bar and Grill, near the center of town. Decorated like an English pub, the Abington bar wins raves for its house-made chips and succulent burgers. For a healthy dose of Philly hoagies, stop into Lee's Hoagie House, where cheese steaks are always on the menu. More cosmopolitan fare is available at Kitchen Bar, a restaurant with retro décor and entrees like Shiraz-braised short ribs.
After taking in Abington attractions, venture to the city's eastern edge to University Park, the largest of Pennsylvania State University's 24 campuses. Collegiate football is a huge draw, as are art shows, musical performances and local cafés. The university’s Beaver Stadium is the second-largest stadium in the western hemisphere, after Michigan Stadium. In addition to historic buildings and expansive lawns, the campus is home to Palmer Museum of Art and frequent public events, particularly sports and concerts. Stop in at Saint’s Café or Webster’s Bookstore Café for a dose of java and local color. The area is so jam-packed with nightlife and bouncy students that the campus is nicknamed Happy Valley.
Just 5 miles further east of Penn State is Lorimer Park, one of Pennsylvania's prettiest natural stretches, with 230 acres of woods and meadows, as well as languid Pennypack Creek. Hikers enjoy the trek to Council Rock, an impressive outcropping overlooking the creek, named for Native American ceremonial meetings that were once held there.
Given its proximity to Penn State and Philadelphia, a trip to Abington is a great way to de-stress and enjoy the Pennsylvania countryside and small-town life. Two expansive city parks and numerous tree-lined residential streets encourage visitors to slow down and enjoy Abington attractions.