Phillybite.com (October 1, 2015) --  Pizzeria Felici, the newest Feliz Restaurant, has opened in Horsham, PA.  Brian Sirhal and business partner Chef Tim Spinner are taking a new culinary adventure - from contemporary Mexican to an Italian Pizzeria and Wine bar- with the latest Feliz Restaurant, which includes Cantina Feliz in Fort Washington, La Calaca Feliz in Fairmount and Taqueria Feliz in Manayunk.

At less than one square mile, Media may be compact, but the county seat of Delaware County, located 12 miles southwest of Philadelphia, is quite multi-faceted. Not only does it carry the nickname “Everybody’s Hometown” for its stated commitment to diversity and neighborliness, it also holds the distinction as America’s original Fair Trade town, marking its public support of businesses that ensure workers receive a fair price for their products and labor. The feeling of community is palpable on State Street, where shopkeepers tend lovingly to stores situated in buildings older than the town itself, and acquaintances greet one another during outdoor concerts on pedestrian Plum Street and at open-air dinners that invite visitors to dine under the stars.

History:
Three hundred years ago, William Penn sold a parcel of land in central Delaware County that became known as Media, which derives from “middle” in Latin. A courthouse was built in 1851, and soon Philadelphians were vacationing and moving to this planned suburb. Many of the Victorian homes still stand, as do buildings that—then and now—house first-floor businesses below the upstairs apartments. This and earlier eras are evident in the house for Providence Friends Quaker Meeting (whose members actively participated in the Underground Railroad), Media Presbyterian Church, the Media Armory and several historic homes such as Cooper House, Hillhurst and the 260-year-old Minshall House. Additionally, a Philadelphia-bound trolley still runs through town on lines laid in 1890.

Its Main Street:
State Street is speckled with 19th-century office buildings and a natural history museum. Most of the shopping and dining happens on State Street, with a few spurs reaching out into perpendicular streets.

Arts & Culture:
Delaware County’s only professional music theater and winner of more than 30 Broadway World Awards, The Media Theatre for the Performing Arts—located in a restored 1927 vaudeville theater—stages Broadway plays, intimate musical productions and kids’ shows. Tucked within the woods of Rose Valley sits the Hedgerow Theatre, the oldest resident repertory theater in the U.S. that has been dedicated to storytelling since 1923. Each month, Second Saturdays light up State Street from 6:00 until 9:00 p.m., as 30-plus businesses stay open late to host local musicians and display artwork.

The Great Outdoors:
Visitors can unplug and contemplate nature at Tyler Arboretum and Ridley Creek State Park. With admission that allows for repeat entries on the same day, horticulture fans can spend a few hours exploring Tyler’s 650-acre collection of plants, special trees, interesting tree houses and historic buildings, then pick up a picnic lunch at nearby Country Deli to eat at a spot they find along 17 miles of trails through meadows, woodlands and wetlands. For more recreational activities, Ridley Creek State Park encourages fishing, hiking, cross-country skiing and discovery of its formal gardens and the living history Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation site.

Food & Drink:
Dozens of sophisticated-casual restaurants call Media home. Options include Spanish tapas at Picasso Restaurant and Bar, French wine flights at La Belle Epoque Wine Bistro, Thai food at La Na Thai-French Cuisine, locally sourced seasonal fare at Lotus Farm to Table or sushi at Azie or Margaret Kuo’s. And to make the decision even harder, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant brews its own award-winning beer, the bar at Diego’s Cantina & Tequila Bar sparkles with crushed blue vodka bottles, the Tuscan ceiling mural and wrought-iron spiral staircase at Ariano evokes an Italian courtyard, and on Monday nights, Fellini Cafe Trattoria’s staff serves up live opera along with the entrees.

Shops, Shops, Shops:
In keeping with Media’s fair-trade theme, many shops purvey international handcrafted wares. Seven Stones sells Southwestern apparel, jewelry, colored stones and crystals; Earth & State supports local and global artists; and Silver Moon Studio sells antique and new home furnishings, live topiary and artisan jewelry. On the extreme high end, Turning Point Gallery carries museum-quality American art and decorative glass, and on the knick-knack end, Deals old-school variety shop stocks all sorts of goods out of an old Woolworth’s that retains the original wood floor and tin roof.

Events & Festivals:
On Wednesday evenings from May through September, Dining Under the Stars closes State Street to cars and opens it to restaurant dinner tables. On most Thursdays, the Media Farmers Market brings fresh edibles downtown, and Second Saturdays keep shops open late and colors the business district with art openings, kids’ activities and live concerts. The Americana Roots Ramble Music Festival fills downtown with music for one day in April, and the State Street Blues Stroll does the same in June. In July, Media celebrates artistic freedom on Bastille Day with professional theater presentations, visual art displays, live music, dancing and open-air painting.

Getting There:
The trolley runs a regular route from to 69th Street in Philadelphia, and drivers should travel south on I-95 then north on I-476. Public lots augment metered street parking.

Where To Stay:

  • Alpenhof Bed and Breakfast, 2001 N. Ridley Creek Road, Media, (610) 891-8222, alpenhofbedandbreakfast.com
  • Hamanassett Bed & Breakfast, 115 Indian Springs Drive, Chester Heights, (610) 459-3000, hamanassett.com

Dubbed the Mushroom Capital of the World, Kennett Square sits in the heart of the lush Brandywine Valley. In the center of town, locals gather to shop and dine, while further out, the surrounding farms produce roughly 60% of the country’s mushrooms, earning the area its well-deserved nickname.

History:
Originally occupied by Lenape Native Americans, the area known as Kennett Square served an important role in the nation’s history. British soldiers camped here during the Revolutionary War, the town served as a military encampment during the War of 1812 and many prominent Kennett Square citizens helped slaves escape as part of the Underground Railroad. Because of its rich heritage, Kennett Square was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.

Its Main Street:
In Kennett Square, the action centers around State Street. This energetic thoroughfare showcases an array of locally owned businesses, charming shops, farm-fresh eateries and plenty of small-town charm.

A Garden Gem:
Founded by Pierre S. du Pont, Longwood Gardens features 1,077 acres of exquisitely manicured gardens, woodlands, meadows, fountains and exhibits. Horticultural classes, live entertainment and special events throughout the year make this awe-inspiring oasis one of the Philadelphia region’s most-visited attractions.

Food & Drink:
For breakfast and lunch, Talula’s Table draws customers hungry for farm-to-table sandwiches and salads, fresh pastries, Chester County cheeses and wholesome prepared foods. Dinner, however, takes the dining experience to another level; foodies reserve their seats at the coveted farm table up to one year in advance and look forward to a hyper-local, deliciously memorable meal. While the menu at Portabello’s offers an array of sumptuous choices, the New American restaurant (with international twists) specializes in mushroom-centric dishes such as mushroom crepes, portabello fries and crab-stuffed portabello sandwiches. Those in the know order takeout from Portabello’s and have it delivered to one of the local wineries or breweries, or across the street to Flickerwood Wine Cellars Tasting Room, a bring-your-own-food spot that hosts daily wine tastings and live music on weekends. Patrons of gourmet Mexican ice cream parlor La Michoacana sprinkle cinnamon and chili powder on homemade ice cream flavors like corn, avocado, tamarind, rice pudding, guava, passion fruit and other unconventional scoops. For pub fare and pints, there’s Half Moon Restaurant & Saloon, Victory at Magnolia or Kennett Brewing Company Taproom.

Shops, Shops, Shops:
The Mushroom Cap on State Street celebrates anything and everything mushroom-related. A few steps away, Eco Boutique stocks sustainable clothing and accessories for men and women, while Scout & Annie Vintage Homegoods sells decorative accessories, vintage furniture and lighting. Around the corner, Mrs. Robinson’s Tea Shop offers more than 150 specialty teas—many of which are sold at local coffee hotspot Philter, which also sells breakfast, lunch and baked goods. At The Market at Liberty Place, merchants sell freshly prepared foods, produce and other retail goods.

Events & Festivals:
The annual Mushroom Festival, coordinated by The Mushroom Cap owner Kathi Lafferty, takes place each year on the weekend after Labor Day. Music, rides and entertainment attract crowds of all ages to celebrate the many varieties of commercially grown edible fungi. From 6:00-9:00 p.m. on the First Friday of each month, Kennett Square’s Art Stroll showcases the local creative community in the town’s galleries, shops and restaurants. To raise funds to benefit Historic Kennett Square and help preserve the town’s heritage, the Kennett Brewfest and Kennett Winterfest draw beer lovers every October and February, respectively. From May through Thanksgiving, the Kennett Square Farmers Market pleases food lovers every Friday from 2:00-6:00 p.m., and the summertime Third Thursdays offers shopping, outdoor dining and live music on State Street.

Getting There:
Driving the 40 miles from Center City to Kennett Square takes roughly one hour. Metered street parking and municipal lots are available. Public transportation to and from Philadelphia is not easily accessible.

Where To Stay:

  • Bancroft Manor B&B, 318 Marshall Street, Kennett Square, (610) 470-4297, bancroftmanor.com
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites, 719 E. Baltimore Pike, Kennett Square, (610) 444-8995, marriott.com
  • Hilton Garden Inn Kennett Square, 815 E. Baltimore Pike, Kennett Square, (610) 444-9100, hiltongardeninn3.hilton.com
  • Kennett House B&B, 503 W. State Street, Kennett Square, (610) 444-9592, kennetthouse.com

Chester County: Phoenixville - At the intersection of the Schuylkill River and French Creek, Phoenixville blends historic charm with a modern mindset. Originally known as Manavon, it adopted its current name in 1849; at the time, the town’s biggest employer was the Phoenix Iron Company, a major manufacturer of nails, rails, structural steel and weapons. Today, Phoenixville boasts an artsy, low-key vibe that attracts visitors craving a relaxing day with a creative twist. 


History:
Occupying the former Phoenix Iron Company Foundry building, the Schuylkill River Heritage Center offers a multimedia glimpse in to the industrial history of the Chester County and the Schuylkill River watershed. The museum shines a spotlight on the town’s iron and steel legacy with murals, artifacts, video presentations and more. Fun fact: The inside structure of the Washington Monument is made from Phoenix iron.

Its Main Street:
Along Bridge Street—the town’s main drag—people find a mix of wine-tasting rooms, low-key restaurants and artsy, locally owned shops. Bridge Street is divided in the center of town by Main Street, home to boutique retail and food outlets.

Arts & Culture:
Considered the cultural center of town, the Colonial Theatre opened its doors in 1903. While back then it hosted live shows and vaudeville, today the 658-seat auditorium screens new and classic movies. Film buffs recognize the marquee from the 1958 hit The Blob. On the art front, The Art Gallery at Franklin Commons displays permanent, site-specific installations, as well as traveling exhibits, while Diving Cat Studio and Gallery showcases works from 200 artists. As its name suggests, Phoenixville BYOB & Paint invites patrons to enjoy bring-your-own cocktails while expressing their creativity on canvas.

The Great Outdoors:
For outdoor enthusiasts, Port Providence Paddle on the Schuylkill Canal rents kayaks, canoes and tubes. Nearby French Creek State Park encompasses 7,700 acres of forests, lakes, wetlands and fields, providing ample opportunity for hiking, biking, fishing and camping. The Schuylkill River Trail, which starts in Philadelphia and runs through Phoenixville, is popular with runners, walkers and bikers. About a mile north of town on Route 113 between Riverwalk Drive and Winding River Boulevard is Black Rock Sanctuary, consisting of 119 acres of wetlands, woodlands and meadows.

Food & Drink:
Diners enjoy casual fare at pubs PJ Ryan’s and Molly Maguire’s, both of which seat guests at indoor and outdoor tables. Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant prides itself on its craft beer, complemented by an extensive menu of burgers, pizzas, salads and the like. Part music venue and part cafe, Steel City Coffee House packs its event calendar with live bands and performers. And with a stellar view of the Colonial Theatre, Artisans Gallery & Café displays and sells handmade pottery by local artists while serving up house-made food. Two regional wineries operate tasting rooms on Bridge Street: Taste pours premium estate wines from Bucks County’s Sand Castle Winery, while Black Walnut Winery hosts tastings, wine and chocolate pairings and live music. Focusing strictly on food, BYOB spots Black Lab Bistro & Bakery and Majolica serve exquisite, seasonally inspired cuisine.

Shops, Shops, Shops:
For 20 years, Ellie’s Choice has been a go-to destination for gifts, clothing, candles, incense and decorative items. Romantic Jewelers specializes in fine estate pieces and antique engagement rings. Athletes stock up on footwear, running accessories and other active gear at All Kinds of Fast, while the bi-level Twisted Cog Bike Shop keeps bicyclists in the saddle with repair services and a comprehensive inventory of bikes, parts and accessories. Bridge Street Chocolates churns out interesting chocolate bark flavors, including bourbon, espresso, strawberries and cream, blueberry and wasabi.

Events & Festivals:
Phoenixville celebrates First Friday every month with live music, theatrical performances, artist shows, gallery openings and plenty of community spirit. The Dogwood Parade and Festival has been a springtime tradition since the World War II era. Today, the May event spans six days and includes rides, vendors, live entertainment, a pageant and, of course, the centerpiece parade. In May and October, the Phoenixville Food Festival celebrates local cuisine. Every summer, the Colonial Theatre hosts Blobfest, a three-day horror extravaganza complete with screenings, themed competitions and a street fair. Thousands of fans come to town in September for the Phoenixville Blues Festival, a daylong celebration of music and food. It’s all things fall for October’s Pumpkinfest, and in December, the Firebird Festival shines a light on emerging artistic talent and local culture.

Getting There:
Driving the 27 miles from Center City to Phoenixville takes roughly 40 minutes. Metered street parking and municipal lots are available. Public transportation from Philadelphia is not easily accessible.

Where To Stay:

  • Courtyard Philadelphia Great Valley/Malvern, 280 Old Morehall Road, Malvern, (610) 993-2600, marriott.com
  • The Desmond, 1 Liberty Boulevard, Malvern, (800) 575-1776, desmondgv.com
  • The Mainstay Inn, 184 E. Bridge Street, (610) 933-7998, mainstayinn.net

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