We locals spill much ink over summertime escapes down the A.C. Expressway. But take a straight shot up 95, and you’ll see a very different New Jersey — one full of art, history, shopping and natural thrills. Revel in Revolutionary history at Princeton Battlefield State Park, pick your own berries at Terhune Orchards, or take a kayak tour at Mercer County Park. You’ll find shopping and dining in Palmer Square, just outside the eponymous university’s gates — favorites include Princeton Record Exchange, Small World Coffee, toy store JaZams, and farm-to-table Agricola.
The cycling groups Kings Rule Together and Queens Rule Together have been on a mission for the past three years to amplify Black ridership in Philly. With 360-and-counting members (here, along with those spanning 12 states and as far afield as Canada, Egypt and France), K.R.T. and Q.R.T., through weekly group rides, free clinics and community events, are closing the sport’s race and gender gaps, one pedal-stroke at a time. krtcycling.com.
Husband-and-wife duo John and Killian Daley have created a strength and conditioning gym where the latest workout starts at 8 a.m. But the consistent high-energy vibe, rotation through equipment, and challenging sessions will make roosters of even the sleep-till-noon crew. 1111 West Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010, xtrainingbrynmawr.com/ .
The beauty of Powerhouse Dance isn’t just that it’s adults-only (classes are geared toward those with some dance experience) or that pricing is pay-as-you-take (what grown-up can commit to full-year tuition?), but that the Cherry Hill Artists in Motion Dance Complex hosts a rotating schedule of classes every week — from heels and hip-hop to ballet and street jazz — that’ll get any “retired” dancer back, confidently, on the floor. 1742 Marlton Pike East, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003, powerhousedancesj.com.
The Anne d’Harnoncourt Sculpture Garden behind the Art Museum is totally free — and where else can you see a gigantic electric plug? Another free spot for sculpture sightings: The Rodin Museum garden. 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19130, philamuseum.org.
More than 100 DIY front-porch stages featuring 300-plus performers in genres ranging from bluegrass to classical to hip-hop to heavy metal — all 100 percent free. The bad news? You have to wait until June for the next one. The good news? Somebody is organizing a spinoff in Roxborough-Manayunk this October. And you can set one up in your neighborhood, too; visit porchfest.org to learn how. We’re looking at you, South Philly. We’ll call it Stoopfest. westphillyporchfest.com.
Great black cherry milkshakes are as rare as honest politicians. But if you take the long way to the Shore, you’ll stumble upon the White Dotte Dairy Bar. Get yourself a burger topped with ketchup, mustard, onions, pickles and Whiz (the “White Dotter”), plus a thick, dark and silky-sweet black cherry milkshake spun while you wait. You can also score a sweet new CB radio for your ride — all in the same place. 2345 U.S. Route 206, Southampton, NJ 08088, whitedotte.com.
When Delco native and Cheesesteak Adventure purveyor Jim Pappas bit his way through his 1,000th different cheese-steak earlier this year during a live Fox 29 broadcast, he also announced his favorite: the traditional cheesesteak at this 3rd and Wharton spot, known as Charlie’s Roast Pork until a July name change. And we can’t argue with him — seeded Carangi roll, melted provolone throughout, juicy meat that just won’t quit. Open since July 2019, Jaxx tastes like it’s been a part of our lives for decades. 1301 South 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147, facebook.com/charliesroastpork.
For years, we’d walk by this garage just south of Pat’s, press our faces to the windows, and look for signs of progress. Years of thirsty waiting finally paid off last fall when Cartesian rolled up its doors and started pouring pints of tart saisons and malty ambers. We’re partial to the Concrete Picnic, a spring ale that comes in at a this-beer-still-has-flavor-but-won’t-put-you-on-your-ass 5.8 percent ABV. 1326 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19147, cartesianbrewing.com.
Philly has several contenders for best breakfast sandwich — and they’re all made at Fiore. There’s a mess of scrambled eggs and whipped ricotta on focaccia, a version that stacks fennel sausage, fontina, a fried egg and herb aioli on a wood-fired roll, and a BEC with bacon-studded scrambled eggs, caramelized onions and cheddar on a sweet milk bun. You’ll have a difficult time choosing. Our solution? Get all three. 757 South Front Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147, fiore-finefoods.com.
After the Phillies third baseman made two bonehead errors in an early April game, fans at Citizens Bank Park considerately stood and applauded his routine throw to first base for an out. TV cameras consequently caught him saying, well, the quote above to shortstop Didi Gregorius. He then committed one last error, just to ice the cake. (To be fair, Bohm also hit a double and earned two walks — and the Phils came from behind to win, 5-4, over the Mets.) After the game, the young player apologized to fans and insisted he didn’t mean it: “Look, emotions got the best of me.” The next night, fans gave him a (sincere) standing O.
Buying wine (or any alcohol, really) in Pennsylvania is generally a pain in the butt. The Di Bruno Bros. Bottle Shop in the center of the Italian Market sweetens the deal with a curated selection at a range of price points, all of which can be opened and glugged across the street in DBB’s sunny piazza. Bring takeout from any of the surrounding restaurants, or grab some chips and tinned fish from Di Bruno’s shelves. 920 South 9th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147, dibruno.com/9th-street-bottle-shop.
Because why wouldn’t we want our bowling with a side of live music — not to mention fried chicken and boozy milkshakes? This month, look for the Adult Swim Festival Block Party with RJD2 and Hop Along, but keep your eyes open for weekend matinees for the whole family with the Rock and Roll Playhouse, which specializes in kids’ shows featuring music you’ll enjoy as well, like Bob Marley and David Bowie. 1009 Canal Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123, brooklynbowl.com/philadelphia.
This new Philly-born N/A spirit is made with fermented-then-distilled hemp (sans cannabinoids) and infused with botanicals. On its own, it kind of tastes like a can of root beer picked you a bouquet of flowers — which is to say, a little sweet, floral and surprising. Drink it like an amaro by itself, or mix about two ounces with lemon juice and seltzer for a very good N/A spritz. And if you’d rather have a bartender make a great cocktail for you, the Volstead in Manayunk is this year’s best zero-proof bar. drinkthepathfinder.com.
During the pandemic, Bloomsday Cafe’s Zach Morris and Tim Kweeder started selling their own small-batch fortified wine through the state’s since-repealed to-go cocktail laws. They flavored their vermouth with seasonally varied botanicals; sold it in bottles, pouches, cans, whatever; and dubbed it “Dumpster Juice,” the most Philly name anything has ever had. The resulting quaff makes a transcendent manhattan, is delightful served neat, and, as of batch No. 7, is now official with the PLCB. 414 South 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147, instagram.com/dumpsterjuicevermut.