Swimming Holes Worth Discovering in and Around Philly

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Linvilla Orchards two hidden swim clubs have enormous baby pools (above), or super-high dives for the bravest of the bunch (below). | Photo by Jauhien Sasnou

If the closest thing you’ve got to a pool or shore house is a hose and sprinkler, you’re in luck: The region has plenty of places to go for a cooling dip. Here are five worth discovering.

Linvilla Orchard
The first swim club (of sorts) opened at Linvilla in the 1930s, when Arthur Linvill scooped out a pond for his son. That swimming hole has evolved into two separate clubs, Knowlton and Hidden Hollow, each clandestinely located deep in a valley. The family-fun vibe is still intact: The baby pool is clover-shaped, the diving platforms soar up to 10 meters, the slides are twisty, the swim teachers have been there for decades. As for the snack bar, it serves up fare fresh from the farm. go here for: The August-only discounted membership. It’s just $195 per adult, which gets you access to both clubs. 598 Linvill Road, Media.

Lake Absegami
Bonus points for Jersey, which allows swimming in many of its beautiful park lakes. (The closest PA state park lake you can swim in is about two hours away.) Just over an hour from Philly, Lake Absegami is carved into the dense Pine Barrens and has water so clear, you can see little fish swimming by. A day here couldn’t be easier thanks to lifeguards, a calm shoreline, clean bathrooms, playgrounds, and a shack that rents chairs, umbrellas, and balls for the beach-volleyball court. Admission starts at $5 per vehicle. go here for: Summer-camp nostalgia. 762 Stage Road, Tuckerton.

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Schuylkill Banks Kayak Tours
When you’re looking up from the river, our city takes on a new identity—the stone bridge arches resemble Paris, and the Fairmount Water Works feels like Venice’s Grand Canal. Hidden River Outfitters launches guided kayak tours under the Walnut Street Bridge; you’ll get 30 minutes of on-land instruction, all sorts of info about the river’s history, and an hour paddling around the banks. go here for: The moonlight tour—because there’s nothing better than a summer sunset on the water. Walnut Street Dock, Center City.

Quarry Swim Club
The original operators of this verdant New Jersey quarry hit a natural spring before WWI, let the basin fill up, and opened it as a private swim club in 1928. Today the 55-foot-deep emerald-hued water is always crisp and serene, and there’s plenty of fun to be had: The tubes are provided by the club, the trio of diving boards are bolted right into the soaring stone walls, and floating wooden platforms are made for diving games. Little ones can splash in the nearby pool. Non-members can get special passes; eight visits start at $120 for adults. go here for: The day. Bring ingredients and charcoal, and grill in the picnic grove. 180 Crusher Road, Hopewell.

Brandywine River Tubing
The Wyeths probably never grabbed a cooler and some friends and floated down the Brandywine on tubes. Which is their loss, because this is a great way to see Chester County’s pastoral scenery, especially for those who prefer slower speeds. Northbrook Canoe Company drops guests off at two river locations for two- or three-hour tours; bring your own food (you can rent a cooler there) and go at your own pace. go here for: If you want time with Fido, take a canoe—dogs are welcome on the trips. 1810 Beagle Road, West Chester.

Write a Love Note, Be Featured in Best of Philly!

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The website Philly Love Notes has a simple mission: to find — and to celebrate — all of the things Philadelphians truly love about the city we live in. (Check out our Q&A with P.L.N. founder Emma Fried-Cassorla in the April issue of the magazine, and her live session on the power of the positive message at last year’s ThinkFest.)

We here at Philly Mag think that this mission aligns perfectly with Best of Philly, our annual August compendium of all of the greatest food, drink, places, people and experiences Philadelphia has to offer. Which is why this year we decided to team up with Philly Love Notes for a fun collaboration. Read more »

Michael Solomonov and Marc Vetri on Being a Celebrity Chef in Philadelphia

Marc Vetri and Michael Solomonov. Photograph by Dustin Fenstermacher

Marc Vetri and Michael Solomonov. Photograph by Dustin Fenstermacher

[Sitting in Vetri’s recently renovated upstairs private dining room]

Michael: Wow, look at this. I used to sleep on a cot in that corner.

Marc: Yeah, it used to be this crappy apartment.

PM: When Michael worked for you, Marc, did you notice his talent right away? Can you spot talent?

Marc: I used to think that I could really figure folks out when they walked into the kitchen. But after a certain amount of time — ya know, two months, three months — they can walk out and you never see them again. They leave their knife bag and everything. They are just gone. So I really don’t think I can say that anymore.

Michael: It’s a generational thing, because when you and I first met, there certainly wasn’t anything like that happening here. Read more »

Mitch Prensky Finds Storefront for His Biscuits

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Scratch Biscuits at Night Market

When did Supper chef Mitch Prensky know that his love of making biscuit sandwiches was worthy of its own bricks-and-mortar location? The first time he sold one. (We agree – and named it one of the five must-try Philly sandwiches.

You’ve probably seen his Scratch Biscuits tent popped-up at festivals, Phish shows, farmer’s markets and Night Markets (at the one Night Market he sold a whopping 1,100 biscuits in less than three hours). Now, he’s signed a lease at 1306 Chestnut Street for an actual location.

Read more »

Field Guide: 5 Insanely Posh Dog Hotels

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The cheery check-in area at What A Good Dog on the Main Line. | Photo by Jauhien Sasnou.

What A Good Dog // Frazer
Owner Mary Remer, who’s spent more than 30 years training dogs, believes socialization makes most canines happiest, so she designed her state-of-the-art, 18,000-square-foot facility around that concept. There are 20 play yards and five fields for small-group romping, a misting system for refreshing dogs, and an indoor agility course. Come sleepy-time, staffers match dogs to their neighbors by breed, age, sex and temperament to reduce anxiety. Overnight stays come with lots of time in the sun; you can also add one-on-one leash walks, games of catch, swimming lessons and straight-up cuddle time. go here for: Extra love and attention for your senior dog. // 295 Three Tun Road.

Read more here.

Join M. Night Shyamalan, Christina Weiss Lurie, William Hite, and More at ThinkFest 2014

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To state the obvious: Philadelphia is not a city that has a reputation for innovation. (See: bus tokens.) But while we might not have the collective cash of Silicon Valley or the in-your-face flash of New York, this town is filled brilliant people who dedicate their lives to inching things forward, to discovering better ways, to thinking without limits.

That is what ThinkFest is all about.

For the third year in a row, we have asked some of the most interesting people in town to share their big ideas, to challenge our perspectives, and to inspire us. There isn’t a particular theme of ThinkFest, rather everyone who is presenting has done something that keeps our city moving in the right direction. (Perhaps even closer to Metrocards!)

ThinkFest is on November 14th at Drexel’s LeBow College of Business. Among the highlights:

  • Superintendent William Hite reflects on what he’s learned and shares what he wants to do next
  • Emma Fried-Cassorla, who founded Philly Love Notes, will tell an inspiring story about the power of positivity and how it changed her life
  • Penn prez Amy Gutmann sits down with 6ABC anchor Jim Gardner to talk about what it’s like to be the city’s largest employer
  • M. Night Shyamalan — Philly’s coolest celeb — and his equally impressive wife, Dr. Bhavna Shyamalan, discuss their unique take on creating leaders through philanthropy
  • Flash performances curated by cutting-edge institution FringeArts

See the whole lineup and purchase tickets at phillymag.com/thinkfest.

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