(Photo Credit: Paul Gurcules)
Since moving here in 2015, family and friends have asked me to pinpoint what makes Phoenixville so special. It’s been hard to put into words, so instead, I’ll show you what one perfect Saturday in Phoenixville, PA looks like. First, some history:
Phoenixville has been home to Kevin Bacon and was the primary shooting location for 1958’s The Blob, where the climactic theatre escape was filmed at The Colonial Theatre, still running to this day, and celebrated every year during Blob Fest, a weekend celebration of the film and everything 1950s.
It’s also right outside of Valley Forge, offering trails, historic landmarks and green space to enjoy on a sunny day. Phoenixville is home to the Schuylkill River Trail, a paved trail for cyclists and hikers, that leads into Philadelphia. In 2015, this was voted the United States’ “Best Urban Trail”. Its namesake, the Schuylkill River, running through Phoenixville, offers kayakers, tubers and fisherman the chance to take advantage on warm days.
You can’t take advantage of everything that Phoenixville has to offer in one day. But for those visiting for a short amount of time, here are several of our favorite ways to spend a sunny Saturday in the Ville.
Start with Breakfast: Nook and Kranny Café
Our favorite brunch spot, Nook and Kranny only seats about 30 people- but it’s worth the wait. Enjoy a quiche of the day, or build your own frittata, baked in a mini cast iron skillet. Order the cheddar and bacon grits on the side! A variety of breakfast items are on the menu, and every offering is reasonably priced with large portions. The staff is friendly and fun- it feels like a family atmosphere within the tiny restaurant.
Hit up the Farmers Market.
The Phoenixville Farmers Market, running April-November, is one of the town’s best Saturday activities, and it’s held under the High Bridge.The town comes together to enjoy community yoga and live music while shopping for locally grown items from community farms. But that’s not all they offer!
- Browse the booths while enjoying a sticky bun from Saint Peter’s Bakery and Sweetwater Baking Company, offering fresh sweet and savory breakfast goods.
- Sample peanut butter from a local vendor- try the Butterscotch!
- Birchrun Hills Farm brings a selection of its fresh cheese every week (I enjoy the Summer Herbs spreadable cheese!) and their blue cheese is tangy and delicious
Fresh pasta, mushrooms, plants and brewed tea are also available at the market, along with a massage therapist, fresh kombucha, chevre goat cheese, and guacamole. An easy way to spend a few hours and meet your neighbors, the Farmers Market is where you will find both visitors and locals.
Walk Bridge Street.
Phoenixville has an entrepreneurial heart and you won’t find any franchise chain restaurants on Bridge Street, the main street that connects Phoenixville. Leisurely stroll down the street an td enjoy the local shops, all sourcing quirky, one of a kind items. My favorite is the Diving Cat Gallery, an artist’s paradisewith everything from handmade jewelry, books, home décor, and more.
Next, stop for a photo op at The Colonial Theatre, a theatre built in 1903 that currently plays both new releases and older films, too! The Colonial just finished a large addition to offer more seating space and the ability to screen more films on a second screen! The Colonial also hosts special events at the venue, such as comedians, musical acts, and film experiences such as the yearly Rocky Horror Picture Show and Christmas event, where they pump snow through the outside of the theatre for a magical evening- snow is always guaranteed!
Wander up to Lulu Boutique and Gifterie, a vintage shop offering chunky retro necklaces, shoes, hats, and clothes! I scored a lovely Kelly green dress here for only $15- and I get compliments and Mad Men references every time I wear it. Lulu’s also holds a twice-yearly vintage flea market, bringing in vendors to sell their handmade items and quirky retro finds to the public.
Next, go to Bridge Street Chocolates to pick up some handcrafted treats. Their sea salt caramels are to die for! This yummy chocolate shop offers everything from truffles to Chocodiles- perfect to satisfy your sweet tooth! We dare you to save them and not gobble them all up in one sitting!
Time for lunch yet? Walk over to Molly Maguire’s Irish Pub for authentic Irish and British fare. A friend of mine from the UK says that the food is the real deal, and it is so good! I recommend the bangers and mash (sausage served over fresh mashed potatoes and rich, chunky onion gravy); shepherd’s pie or fish and chips.
Need a little rest? Stop into one of the town’s quaint coffeehouses, such as Steel City, offering live music, a variety of lunch dishes, and of course, coffee! Artisan’s Gallery & Cafe across the street also makes killer desserts and you’ll find the locals enjoying the ambiance with their laptops.
Enjoy a Festival or Parade
If you’re in Phoenixville on a Saturday, there’s a good chance you’re going to stumble upon a local festival or parade. (Phoenixville loves parades!) Here are a few local events that happen throughout the year:
- Food Truck Festival
- Dogwood Festival
- Halloween Parade
- Christmas Parade
- Firebird Festival – truly one of a kind festival. The community honors the Phoenix firebird, the bird that rose from the ashes in Greek mythology. In November, volunteers build a massive wooden bird over the course of a weekend, and the community gathers to celebrate the bird, lighting it ablaze and watching the glorious structure go up in flames. One of the best events of the year!
The appeal of Phoenixville is that there’s a little something for everyone. Whether you want to kayak, go on a foodie tour, catch a vintage flick or pick up a quirky gift for your mom, Phoenixville has it. There’s one last place I’d recommend on your perfect Saturday in Phoenixville- I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention it!
Before you head out, stop by Browns Cow for fresh ice cream. This seasonal shop, open only from April-October, serves creamy ice cream in a variety of ways- the very best way to eat it is in a PRETZEL CONE! My favorite fall treat is pumpkin ice cream in a pretzel cone, with generous servings, you may not be able to finish it- that’s okay, I’m sure your husband will be more than willing to take it off your hands! Browns Cow is cash only, and a pretzel cone with two scoops will run you about $5.50.
Oh, one more thing: It’s totally normal to see this guy riding around town. Phoenixville, while close in proximity to Philadelphia, has a very smalltown feel. You’ll find friendly faces, meet new people at the grocery store, and strike up conversations at the Farmers Market. That’s just Phoenixville for you. No wonder everyone loves it so!