It seems like an eternity since we were stuck inside watching Tiger King. And don’t get it twisted, we’re still very indoors oriented, but since the start of summer weather, we’re taking advantage of outside offerings and making those moments count. If you are like us, you have had cute local destinations pinned in your social, intending that one weekend you would drive to check them out. Well, now is our opportunity. One of the great things about being headquartered in the Mid-Atlantic (New York) is our proximity to many other states and a variety of things to do. With social distancing precautions impacting some of our typical pastimes, having other appealing options is even more appreciated.
Good food and entertainment are hallmarks of summer, and the Mid-Atlantic region delivers on both. Covering everything from drive-in entertainment to small group excursions to outdoor dining, let this list inspire you to hop in the car and explore this weekend.
SOUTH JERSEY & WILDWOODS
It seems appropriate that Jersey would be home to a construction-themed amusement park. Per state guidance, the park is taking COVID precautions, including requiring masks. A virtual teaser of the park consists of The Daily Dig educational videos here. In person guests can drive, ride, and operate special heavy machinery, so there are some wardrobe restrictions for your safety. Loose, open-toed shoes and bare, flowy clothing are not permitted. Adults who want the experience of operating full size, unrestricted construction equipment can make a special reservation for additional cost. Don’t forget to check out the new, 2-acre Water Main aquatic park that’s included with your ticket. General admission is $39.95.
South Jersey area wineries are open for socially distant and outdoor dining, following the guidelines of the NJ Department of Health and the Garden State Wine Growers Association. The region includes the Renault Winery in Egg Harbor City, which is over a century and a half years old and the oldest continuously operating winery in New Jersey. It is the only winery in the United States with a French license to label its wine with the title of Champagne. If the unique history, food, and libations aren’t enough to lure you, the venue also offers live entertainment Thursday through Sunday. See more vineyard options here.
Wildwoods, NJ is open for visitors and its iconic beach boardwalk is known as the “two miles of smiles.” Its 38 blocks are filled with shops, dining, entertainment, and over 100 rides and attractions set against a backdrop of incredible ocean views. The area boasts the best beaches in New Jersey and they are FREE to the public. Friday nights, prepare to be extra spoiled with a free Downtown Arts and Music Series featuring a mix of shopping, performances, and wine tasting AND a socially-distant Rio Grande Avenue Beach Fireworks Display (each running through Sept 4th). Wanna scope the scene before you go, check out the Wildwoods Virtual Tour, courtesy of 12 strategically placed webcams throughout the 5-mile island.
WILMINGTON & BRANDYWINE VALLEY
Enjoy the beautiful botanical garden founded by Pierre S. du Pont of the Delaware-based American business dynasty. Its land had historically been home to Lenape Indians and Quaker farmers. The property features intricate fountain systems and inspiring architectural elements around every corner. Shorter fountain shows occur daily, and Longwood’s signature, 30-min Illuminated Fountain Performances take place on Friday and Saturday evenings. Guests can dine at The Terrace cafe or enjoy a picnic throughout the gardens. COVID precautions include mask wearing and requiring guests to reserve a ticket slot in advance, but visitors can stay as long as the gardens are open. Picnic totes must be pre-ordered online a day in advance. For a sneak peak before your visit, check out the Our Gardens Your Home virtual content series. Garden admission is $25.
The trip will be worth it to visit this family farm that has been in operation for over two centuries. Boasting flavors as unique as chocolate thunder, cappuccino crunch, and motor oil, Woodside has received local and national recognition for its ice cream. Made fresh on the premises, the ice cream uses milk from the farm’s 30+ Jersey cows. For your safety, ice cream sales are conducted via drive-through.
While you are in the area for Woodside Farm Creamery, it only makes sense to check out White Clay Creek State Park. Not only does it boast more than 37 miles of trails for you to work off your dessert, but the Tri-State Market Trail is where you can find the northernmost marker of the Mason-Dixon Line. At that location, you have the unique opportunity to stand in three states at once – Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and event services and rental company Mid Atlantic Event Group launched drive-in movies and concerts to give the Bucks County community a fun entertainment experience that’s adapted to the realities of life during COVID. The movie lineup includes Shrek and Footloose, while Split Decision and Shot of Southern are featured concert acts. The drive-in concert series will allow space for socially distant tailgating and feature food trucks from local vendors and other fun surprises. Movie screenings are $25-$30 per vehicle and concert details will be announced August 12th.
Enjoy app-led outdoor scavenger hunts highlighting the sites and culture of Philadelphia. Answer trivia, solve riddles, and complete photo challenges. Choose from six themes including (1) Homegrown Freedom independence history, (2) Art Walk, (3) Play Penn university experience, (4) Philly Frights ghost tour, (5) the People Who Made America, and (6) Tavern Takeover bar crawl. Tickets are $12.99 per person.
Live Nation and Budweiser Zero present a drive-in concert series in the parking lot of the Citizens Bank Baseball Park. From Aug 16th to Sept 7th, you can enjoy LIVE performances on stage while still maintaining social distancing from the comfort of your own individual vehicle. Ticket prices vary by zone. See here for schedule.