“Summer is my favorite time of year to be in Montgomery County,” says Barbara 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 the seniors who live at Peter Becker Community enjoy their central location to regularly embark on adventures.
“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,” she explains.
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 and great outdoor activities for seniors that you should definitely put on your to-do list.
Go for a Nature Walk
If spending time outdoors 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.
Walking is a great way to get vitamin D from the sun, stretch your joints, and get mental health benefits from being out in the fresh air.
You can walk through numerous parks that feature side trails, historic 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
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, Skippack Creek, has dissected the land into ridges and valleys that create feelings of enclosures and provide scenic views.
Today, the park is a patchwork of cropland, meadows, old fields, and mature woodlands that attracts visitors from the Montgomery County and Philadelphia areas.
People come to enjoy fresh air in the open play fields; picnic areas; trails; golf course; and the tranquil, natural environment. Mill remnants, mill buildings, and houses from the 18th and 19th centuries dot the park landscape and serve as reminders of early American life.
Visit a Historic Site
Valley Forge National Historical Park
One fun activity you can do is visit the Valley Forge National Historical Park. We have all learned about the legend of Valley Forge in history class, but you can see history come to life on 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 is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting the area.
Seniors can enjoy light exercise by walking through the park. They can also watch living history reenactments and get a glimpse of what life was like during the encampment at Muhlenberg Brigade Huts.
The park is also home to Washington’s headquarters, the Washington Memorial Chapel, and the Philander Chase 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 it stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cell blocks 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 25 to September 4, visitors can immerse themselves in history and also grab a drink and relax in The Fair Chance Beer Garden – a pop-up experience developed in collaboration with Eastern State Penitentiary and Triple Bottom Brewing.
Mennonite Heritage Center
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.
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.
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.
Bird-watching is an enjoyable activity because it connects you with wildlife and nature. The Eva R. Meng Wildlife Preserve and Bird Sanctuary is 15 minutes away from Harleysville where you can spend hours spotting and identifying local birds.
The best part is anyone can go along, including families, caregivers and friends.
You’re also probably getting more health benefits from bird-watching than you realize. The National Institute on Aging reports that older adults who engage in physical activity that they like can boost their mood, life span and memory.
Learning about the different birds of your area – whether it’s what they look like, what sounds they make, or where they typically can be found – and going out to see them are great ways to keep your mind engaged and stay active.
Visit a Farmers Market
Farmers markets are a traditional summer pastime, and the Ardmore Farmers Market is a can’t-miss destination.
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 and play environment. You can even catch live music events on summer Fridays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Square.
The Ardmore 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 a day enjoying the hustle, bustle, sights, sounds and tastes of Montco.
Your Moments Are at the Heart of What We Do
At Peter Becker Community, our mission each day is to celebrate your individuality. 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. Located right here in Harleysville, our passion is bringing you happiness in retirement.
Call us for a tour to learn more about what makes life so great, outdoors and in, at Peter Becker Community.