Cheap Trips: Shopping, Movies, Bridges and Helicopters
Find four local attractions you can visit on one tank of gas.
Looking to save money?
Try one of these four trips you can enjoy on just one tank of gas--Suburban Square in Ardmore, the American Helicopter Museum in West Chester, the Ambler Theater and the Lehigh Valley Covered Bridge Tour, which starts in Allentown.
Suburban Square Shopping Center
Address: 34 Parking Plaza, Ardmore, PA
How Far From Lower Macungie Patch? 57 miles, an hour and 22 minutes.
Admission Fee: None. There is free parking.
- Mon, Tue, Thu, Sat: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
- Wed, Fri: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
- Sun: Noon-5 p.m.
Summary: Opened in 1928, Suburban Square is considered the first shopping center in the United States, but parts of it feel more like a town square than a modern mall. The courtyard in front of Macy’s is like that, leading into a pretty, urban setting with large trees as old as the square itself, benches, a fountain, and food carts in summer. And it’s just getting better: there’s work underway now for a new courtyard, an opened-up street (St. James Place) for concerts and other performances, more outdoor seating, new “concept” stores and a new high-end restaurant to give the existing Plate and Sweetgreen some competition.
By Thanksgiving, a good deal, if not all, of that work will be done. There are great retailers, such as Ann Taylor, Barbour, a new Anthropologie, J. Crew, Victoria's Secret, Urban Outfitters, an Apple Store and an expanded City Sports to name a few. It’s a welcome break from the big malls, and you can park once and get in some food shopping on the same trip, since the Ardmore Farmer’s Market is on the eastern end of the Square (along with a Trader Joe’s). You can also take a short walk past the adjacent Ardmore train station into Ardmore’s downtown, along Lancaster Avenue.
- Patch Place Listing
- Suburban Square Website
- Suburban Square's Autumn Makeover
- Suburban Square: A Constant For Many Decades, Responding to Fashion and Food Trends
American Helicopter Museum & Education Center
Address: 1220 American Blvd., West Chester, PA
How Far From Lower Macungie Patch? 8.3 miles, 1 hour 16 minutes
- Adults $10
- Seniors $8
- Students and children $7
- Children 2 and younger free
- Parking: Free lot
- Wed. through Sat: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Sunday: Noon-5 p.m.
- Mon. and Tues. open by appointment only
Summary: The American Helicopter Museum and Education Center, which opened in 1996, is considered by many to be the nation's premier aviation museum devoted exclusively to helicopters. The museum chronicles the role helicopters play in history and the modern world and also offers summer camps and educational programs for preschoolers through adults. The facility also maintains a library and restores helicopters.
Lehigh Valley Covered Bridge Tour
Address: Tour starts at Oxford Drive (24th Street), Allentown, PA
How Far From Lower Macungie Patch? 11.1 miles, 26 minutes
Hours: Daytime is best.
Summary: Journey back to a more idyllic time in this self-guided tour of seven of Pennsylvania's covered bridges. You can visit all seven, which is a 50-mile tour, or just a few. Two of the covered bridges can be found in South Whitehall and are a stone's throw from each other: Wehr's Covered Bridge, built in 1841, and Manasses Guth Bridge, built in 1858. The bridges have a romantic quality, and the two in South Whitehall frame Covered Bridge Park, where you take a walk, have a picnic lunch and enjoy the scenic beauty. German immigrants brought the bridge design to this country. Often the bridges were named after local residents, their builders or the grist mills that operated along the nearby creeks. Covered Bridge Tour signs will guide you along the route. The tour starts at Bogert's Bridge in Allentown, then takes you to South Whitehall and other municipalities.
The Ambler Theater
Address: 108 E. Butler Ave. Ambler, PA
How Far From Lower Macungie Patch? 40.4 miles, 1 hour 8 minutes.
- Adults $8.50
- Student and Matinee discount
Summary: The Ambler Theater continues to delight moviegoers with that old time charm. The building, opened in 1928 by Warner Brothers, has undergone a number of changes in its time, but lives on today as a non-profit entity, with daily showings of independent and international films. The Ambler Theater’s ownership has also done much to continue to draw patrons, including hosting weekly events such as throwback films and special viewings. This week, a filming of the London Theatre comedy hit “One Man, Two Guvnors,” will be shown on Tuesday, September 27, at 7 p.m. In addition, the building has kept many of its original features, including its iconic vertical neon sign, and box seating in its main theater.