“Summer is my favorite time of year to be in Montgomery County,” says Barbara A. Keller, Vice President of Marketing and Sales at Peter Becker Community. “Any time of year here is beautiful, but summer is when we can really enjoy all the outdoor events and activities that Harleysville and the surrounding areas have to offer.”
“Montco,” as the locals call Montgomery County, is home to Harleysville and a variety of other interesting, unique and purely Pennsylvania must-see spots. Harleysville itself is an incorporated village, making it a quaint and quiet (yet lively and friendly) place to visit and live. Barb says that the seniors who live at Peter Becker Community enjoy their central location to launch off on adventures on a regular basis.
“Now that many more things are reopening for the summer, Peter Becker Community is looking forward to organizing more outings to some of the area’s most beloved sights and activities,” she explains. “Our area is a great place to enjoy good food, see gorgeous natural sights, take a step back in time and enjoy summer to the fullest.”
Whether you’re a Harleysville local, visiting a senior relative this summer or simply passing through on your way to the big city of Philadelphia, here are some must-see, can’t-miss local attractions you should definitely put on your to-do list.
Activities Located in Harleysville
The Mennonite Heritage Center is a museum and library dedicated to preserving and sharing the stories of Mennonite faith and life in eastern Pennsylvania. Mennonite Christians first settled in the Delaware Valley in 1683 and have been part of Pennsylvania’s community and religious life for over 300 years. The Mennonite Heritage Center houses exhibits on Mennonite faith and life, local history, historical library and archives, ever-changing exhibits, a “fraktur” gallery (which features artwork styled around penmanship and decorative motifs), and a welcome center with books and gift items for sale. The Mennonite Heritage Center hosts numerous workshops and programs throughout the year, as well as major events, including Whack & Roll. Visit their events page to see what might be going on during your visit.
If being in nature is your thing, you’ve definitely got to visit the Perkiomen Trail. This 20-mile-long multi-use rail trail winds along the Perkiomen Creek, beginning at the junction with the Schuylkill River Trail and ending in Green Lane Park. The trail follows the Perkiomen Creek, connecting to Lower Perkiomen Valley Park, Central Perkiomen Valley Park and Green Lane Park. The trail follows the abandoned portion of the Perkiomen Branch of the Reading Railroad and passes through 10 Montgomery County communities. The trail passes through numerous parks that feature side trails, historical buildings, museums, and periodic festivals. It’s a unique way of seeing some of the most historic sites in the area while also taking in the natural beauty of the Eastern Pennsylvania landscape.
Evansburg State Park is a lovely oasis of green space and solitude in the middle of an urbanized area – perfect for travelers who are looking perhaps for their own personal Walden. The park’s main natural feature, the Skippack Creek, has dissected the land into ridges and valleys that create feelings of enclosures and provide scenic views. Today, the park is a quilt work of cropland, meadows, old fields, and mature woodlands that attracts day use visitors from the Montgomery County and Philadelphia areas. People come to the open play fields, picnic areas, trails, golf course and the relatively tranquil, natural environment. Mill remnants, mill buildings and houses from the eighteenth and nineteenth century dot the park landscape and serve as reminders of early American life.
Within a Short Distance of Harleysville
Farmers markets are a traditional summer pastime, and the Ardmore Farmers Market is a can’t-miss. The market is located in Suburban Square, which is one of America’s original outdoor shopping centers. The original (and rarely used) name was “Hestobeen Square”, a combination of three of the developers’ names. It was renamed in a 1936 contest as “Suburban Square.” The Square is a large, sprawling space that, alongside the Farmers Market, houses additional retailers and restaurant opportunities to shape the area into a true live, work, play environment. The farmers market takes place Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. You’ll find a variety of high-quality goods as well as shopping opportunities at popular retailers. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon (or a day) enjoying the hustle, bustle, sights, sounds and tastes of Montco.
Manatawny Still Works is a state-of-the-art distillery producing the highest quality, small-batch spirits. The main distillery offers bottle sales, cocktails to-go and outdoor seating in a hip, cool location. Expert cocktail bartenders mix up seasonal cocktails and serve flights of all of Manatawny Still Works’ spirits. It’s perfect for grabbing a gift, for kicking off your evening before dinner at one of the area’s acclaimed restaurants, or as a chill spot for a nightcap. On Sundays, the distillery offers public tours at 3 p.m. For $25, you’ll receive a guided hour of distilled spirits tasting and discussion of spirits production, and you’ll get to take home a rocks glass and brandana. Tickets are required, so hurry – these are hot commodities that go fast.
We have all learned about the legend of Valley Forge in history class, but Valley Forge National Historical Park brings the history to life at this nationally significant site. The park is located on the site of the 1777–78 winter encampment of the Continental Army under General George Washington, and it a must-see attraction for anyone visiting the area. Visitors can watch living history reenactments and get a glimpse of what life was like during the encampment at Muhlenberg’s Brigade Huts. The park is also home to Washington’s headquarters, the Washington Memorial Chapel and the PC Knox Estate, among other attractions. Besides the historic buildings, the park is also home to 3,500 acres of monuments, meadows and woodlands.
Eastern State Penitentiary
Eastern State Penitentiary is a bit of a jaunt from Harleysville – about 40-60 minutes – but it’s definitely worth the drive. Eastern State Penitentiary was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. Its vaulted, sky-lit cells once held many of America’s most notorious lawbreakers, including “Slick Willie” Sutton and “Scarface” Al Capone. While the site is open throughout the year, it’s only during the summer months when you can experience Twilight Tours. From May 7 to September 4, visitors can immerse themselves in history while also grab a drink and relax in The Fair Chance Beer Garden – a pop-up experience developed in collaboration between Eastern State and Triple Bottom Brewing. Visitors will also experience hands-on activities and a new digital artist installation by Andrea Walls.
60th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival
If you’re in the area at the end of August – or even if you’re not – join in 60 years of history at the Philadelphia Folk Festival. This annual event is held at the Old Pool Farm in Upper Salford Township.
The event is produced and run almost entirely by volunteers and sponsored by the nonprofit Philadelphia Folksong Society, and is claimed to be the oldest continually-run outdoor music festival in North America. The festival went all-virtual in 2020, and even though it will be reopening for an in-person experience this year, guests outside of the area can register for the digital experience and enjoy contemporary and traditional artists from the comfort of their own homes.
Your Moments Are at the Heart of What We Do
At Peter Becker Community, it’s our mission each day to celebrate your individuality, whether you reside here full-time or are here as a temporary resident of our Health Care Center. As a Continuing Care Retirement Community, we provide an environment that empowers you to remain active and independent, while ensuring your future needs will always be met. As a not-for-profit community, we are focused exclusively on the well-being of our residents.
We offer a full range of services – from independent Residential Living, to Personal Care, to Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, to compassionate Memory Care in our secure Memory Care neighborhood. Life here is good – it’s enriched by the time, choices, connections and involvement you’ll discover at our Continuing Care Retirement Community.
With our spectrum of activities, amenities, dining options, maintenance-free living and so much more, you’ll discover you spend more time enjoying our lifestyle and less time worrying about the details of life. You’ll find choices to build a secure life, connections that build closeness, involvement in the world at large and time to explore it all.
For more information about the services provided at Peter Becker Community or to schedule a personal visit to our Continuing Care Retirement Community in Montgomery County, please contact us at (215) 720-1087 to begin the conversation.