A Perfect Fall Weekend in Philadelphia & The Main Line
After moving to Philadelphia six years ago, The Scout Guide Philadelphia & The Main Line editor Angie J. Perry (above) spent her time exploring the city while pushing her youngest child around town in a stroller.
“We shopped, we ate, we visited museums, we went to the farmers’ market,” she says, reminiscing on her first few months in her new home. “My family and I moved here in the fall, so for me the sounds of the leaves falling, the smells, the chill in the air—all remind me of my first adventures here. It’s my most favorite time of year!”
From the energizing hustle and bustle of downtown to the high-end shopping and dining in the suburbs along The Main Line, Philly makes for a lovely fall getaway. To send us on a weekend journey exploring the best restaurants, shops, and sights in the area, Angie put us in touch with mother-and-daughter duo Jackie Stephans and Avery McMahon, co-owners of The Velvet Shoestring, a home furnishings consignment boutique in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Here are their recommendations:
DAY ONE: PHILADELPHIA
Start your fall weekend adventure in the heart of Philly. Check into The Rittenhouse Hotel (210 W. Rittenhouse Square), located in the historic Rittenhouse District. The boutique hotel is within walking distance of fine boutiques and restaurants, and has plenty to offer, from the relaxing spa to its exquisite Lacroix restaurant.
“One of my favorite stores in Philly is Stars And Stripes,” says Jackie (shown above; 2129 Chestnut St.). Housed in an old church off Chestnut and 22nd streets, the boutique carries American-made clothing for men and women, along with a mix of contemporary and traditional home decor.
In the northwest part of the city, Chestnut Hill is a beautiful historic neighborhood with cobblestone streets and old trolley tracks. “There are quite a few beautiful shops,” says Jackie. “It makes for a wonderful little afternoon.” While in Chestnut Hill, pop into Robertson’s Florists (8501 Germantown Ave.) to admire the potted succulent gardens and orchid terrariums, or grab a bouquet of fresh-cut flowers.
From Robertson’s, walk up a block to Style Camp (8433 Germantown Ave.) for fashion-forward pieces like Peruvian alpaca capes, American-made hand-crafted leather goods, and casual, cozy separates from the local fashion line LOBO MAU.
Editor’s Note: If you need to purchase a hostess gift, stop by the Chestnut Hill location of A Taste of Olive (8505 Germantown Ave.), which carries a variety of delicious vinegars, olive oils, and gourmet foods.
In the hip, up-and-coming Fishtown neighborhood, Two Percent To Glory (2031 Frankford Ave.) sells an eclectic mix of found items from all over the globe, including jewelry, artwork, objets, and light fixtures.
A half-mile walk down Frankford Avenue, JINXED (1331 Frankford Ave.), has a curated collection of antiques that run the gamut of Victorian furnishings to Midcentury barware. “They sell a really cool mix of salvaged home accessories,” Avery says.
Take a 15-minute stroll to the Northern Liberties borough to visit Ritual Ritual (819 N. 2nd St.), a boutique that sells clothing and jewelry from independent designers from around the world. The space also houses a collaborative work environment for local artisans, where you’ll see jewelers and fashion designers creating their wares.
On your cab ride back to the hotel, swing by the jewelry store Halloween (1329 Pine St.) in Washington Square West. “It’s a hidden gem,” says Avery, “And, it’s absolutely beautiful inside. It feels like you’re in an old mansion with its carved bookcases and banisters.” The selection includes unusual gemstones and vintage finds, along with custom-made pieces by the owner.
Editor’s Note: Right around the corner from The Rittenhouse Hotel is Scouted boutique ellelauri (114 South 19th St.), which is a great place to pick up a little black dress designed by co-founder Liz Rymar, as well as other pieces by coveted contemporary fashion lines.
The Reading Terminal Market (51 N. 12th St.), an open-air market sheltered underneath a historic train shed, is a foodie destination with local meats, fresh seafood, cheeses, and Amish baked goods. “I go there and get everything I need to eat for the week,” Jackie says.
Jackie and Avery are both fans of The Barnes Foundation (2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy.). With old masters like Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso, and Renoir lining its walls, the art museum houses an amazing collection of paintings. Though the new year, the gallery is showing “Strength and Splendor: Wrought Iron from the Musée Le Secq des Tournelles, Rouen,” an exhibit that features exquisite metalworks.
“My favorite restaurant in the city is Butcher & Singer,” says Jackie (1500 Walnut St.), of one of Stephen Starr’s exclusive dining establishments. “He is a genius at creating menu and atmosphere.” Housed in an old bank, the steakhouse has the feel of a 1940s supper club with beautiful leather booths. Jackie recommends starting with a cocktail and the escargots.
In South Philly, Creperie Beaumonde (624 S. 6th St.) is a fabulous lunch spot with savory crepes, like a simple ham, egg and swiss pancake or a hearty beef bourguignon and Danish blue cheese crepe.
In Fishtown, Avery is a fan of BYOB restaurant The Pickled Heron (2218 Frankford Ave.). “It’s a nice neighborhood place that is quiet and great for date night.” Avery recommends starting with the mussels at the farm-to-table spot, which switches up its menu regularly and has a homey atmosphere. Another Fishtown favorite is Girard on Girard (300 E. Girard Ave.). Bring your favorite Champagne or liquor to the French restaurant to combine with the one of the bartender’s tasty homemade mixers.
For live music and good drinks, Avery suggests heading to Heritage (914 N. 2nd St.), a jazz bar in Northern Liberty that features musicians every night of the week. Across the street, North Bowl (909 N. 2nd St.), a retro bowling alley, is a great place for late-night fun.
Editor’s Note: A just-opened but sure-to-be Philly favorite is Tradici Enoteca (114 S. 13th St.), the gorgeous new restaurant by the team behind Scouted spot Zavino, which is located across the street. Stop by to enjoy the full bar and Mediterranean fare.
DAY TWO: THE MAIN LINE
On day two, head into the quaint, beautiful suburbs along the Main Line, a quick train ride or 20-minute drive west of Philadelphia. Make home base the Wayne Hotel (139 Lancaster Ave.), a boutique hotel built in the early 1900s in the Tudor Revival style. The Paramour, the hotel’s on-site restaurant, boasts a delectable seasonal menu and world-class wines, and the property has an interesting past not just as a hotel, but also as a home for retired senior citizens and as a Synagogue.
Start your shopping spree in Wayne at Jackie and Avery’s boutique The Velvet Shoestring (shown above; 155 Lancaster Ave.). In business together since 2012, the mother-daughter shop owners sell high-end consigned furniture from period antiques to brand-new contemporary pieces. You’ll also find decorative objects, rugs, lighting, barware, and crystal in the mix. With constantly changing inventory, “every week the shop feels like a new space,” says Jackie. “You never know what you are going to find in there.”
Just a block away, the owners of Mushmina (164 Lancaster Ave.) carry beautifully made fair trade clothing, accessories, and home decor from Morocco. Collaborating with nearly 100 artisans, they sell accessories like leather handbags and hand-dyed scarves, sustainably produced goods from a variety of brands, and vibrant kilim carpets.
For designer labels and vintage clothing, venture down the street to The Neighborhood League Shops (191 Lancaster Ave.). “I find some great things in there,” says Avery, who recently scored a shearling jacket from the nonprofit organization.
A few blocks down the road, in the Eagle Village Shops, The Little House Shop (503 W. Lancaster Ave.) is a beautiful gift shop that sells decorative items for the home, furniture, and fine paper goods, along with stylish men’s and women’s accessories. Also in the Eagle Village Shops, the quaint home decor and floral design shop Valley Forge Flowers (503 W. Lancaster Ave.) is home to Cafe Fleur, where you can refuel from your shopping spree with breakfast or lunch.
Editor’s Note: For high-fashion finds, pay a visit to Scouted boutique Jade’s Closet (shown above; 200 W. Lancaster Ave.), which carries both basics and pieces perfect for a night out. And if you need a mid-afternoon pick-me-up in between shops, pay a visit to Scouted coffee shop Pour Richard’s Coffee for an espresso (or your beverage of choice).
If you are looking to do more exploring by foot, visit one of the many college campuses in the area. “There are countless schools along the Main Line,” says Jackie of Villanova University, Haverford College, Bryn Mawr College, and Rosemont College. “The architecture is stunning, and they are in a 4-mile radius of one another.”
Open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, the White Dog Cafe (200 W. Lancaster Ave.) is a Wayne eatery that serves American fare. “It’s a great farm-to-table restaurant with a nice atmosphere and neighborhood feeling,” Jackie says.
For something sweet, swing into the breakfast and lunch spot Elegance Cafe (131 N. Wayne Ave.) for one of their from-scratch pastries. Think petit fours, decadent cream puff eclairs, and fruit-filled tarts.
“The best restaurant in Wayne, as far as family restaurants, would be Paolo Gourmet Pizzeria,” Jackie says (128 N. Wayne Ave.). “It’s just a great little Italian restaurant that you can go and grab something quick to eat.” Gourmet pizzas, from Chicago-style deep-dish to Sicilian pies, along with calzones, stromboli, hoagies, and hearty pasta dishes, make up the menu.
For cocktails and small bites, Jackie recommends Matador (110 N. Wayne Ave.), a traditional Spanish restaurant that serves dozens of tapas along with large plates like paella and fajitas.
Estia (222 N. Radnor Chester Road), a Greek restaurant located in Philly, recently opened a new location along the Main Line in Radnor. “The wine is great,” says Jackie, “and there’s lots of fresh seafood.” Traditional Greek fare, along with a raw bar and menu of whole-fish dishes, make Estia a neighborhood gem.
Text by MARISSA HERMANSON. For additional ideas on where to shop and what to do in the area, browse the print edition of TSG Philadelphia & The Main Line here.
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