Reporting Jay Lloyd
Is it possible for kids to have the time of their lives while their adult companions are wildly entertained as well? Sure. Make it a day trip or a whole weekend by combining the Merrymead Farm Fall Harvest with an overnighter in Skippack Village — all of it within a short drive of your city or suburban home. –Jay Lloyd
2222 Valley Forge Rd
Lansdale, PA 19446
Merrymead is the ultimate autumn experience. It’s a working farm in the Philadelphia suburbs that brings in tons of that fall favorite, the pumpkin. There are jack-o-lantern carving exhibitions; a Cornfield Maze that can amaze, enchant and confuse all who enter; hayrides and an up close look at farm animals (but no touching please!). The kids will be fascinated by the entire milking process.
Then you have the scary stuff, plus the Farm store with its freshly harvested crops. It’s easy to spend the better part of a day here, but nighttime holds the magic. Navigating the Corn Stalk Tunnel or the Cornfield Maze by flashlight adds a surreal dimension to the adventure. And who knows what lurks behind the next turn?
The farm has been run by generations of Rothenbergers, who have always gone out of their way to make visitors feel at home. They’ve opened the farm to the public on a year-round basis, but autumn has that special feeling that comes only at harvest time, just before the winter lull arrives.
Some of the take-home highlights include farm fresh milk, apple pie the way they’ve made it for over a century, homemade peanut butter that you can watch being created and any size pumpkin that fits the bill for home carving, as well as some decorative gourds. The apple cider is a winner, too.
Monday through Saturday: 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Sundays: Noon to 9 p.m.
Skippack Village is a few miles away and offers a unique variety of shops and restaurants as well as a hotel named for a small town just outside of Florence, Italy.
WHERE TO EAT
The Parc Bistro is a reincarnation of a fabled roadside inn on Skippack Pike. It flashes modern attitude within a rustic environment. A lively bar hosts a busy happy hour, while the dining rooms serve an upscale menu that’s American in flavor with a European tilt. Dinner entrees fall in the mid $20’s.
Mal’s American Diner is a stop where you can get a Thanksgiving turkey dinner with all the trimmings, all year long. You’ll find most of your diner favorites here with prices in the low to mid $10’s. Mal’s serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and beer and wine, too.
The Back Porch Café is a favorite spot for Sunday breakfast, especially if the weather tends toward patio dining. But this popular BYOB also serves lunch and a formidable dinner inside a comfy dining room that has a continental feeling. From a stuffed portobello mushroom to a roasted wild duck and a selection of pasta dishes, the Back Porch provides an intimate candlelit evening for two. Dinner entrees range in the mid to upper $20’s.
WHERE TO STAY
4046 Skippack Pike
Skippack Village, PA 19474
The Hotel Fiesole is on the spot once occupied by the Trolley Stop Restaurant. The trolley is still there and blended into the hotel as a bar and lounge that draws a loyal local crowd. Fiesole is a European-inspired boutique hotel with 16 rooms and furnishings that mirror what you’ll find in many inns of the old world. Rates start at $179 per night.
HOW TO GET THERE
From Center City, take the Schuylkill Expressway west to Route 202 North. Follow 202 to Skippack Pike (Route 73) West to Route 363 North. Merrymead will be on your right just before the next traffic light at Morris Rd.
To Skippack Village
Backtrack to Skippack Pike, then go west about two miles.