Source, County Lines Magazine
Although the term gained popularity during the not-so-great recession, staycation is still useful for those of us who live in an area packed with attractions. The Guide that follows this article includes world-class gardens and sights that bring millions of tourists to our area.
So, why not staycation this summer? Forego hours in TSA lines or packed highways. Enjoy some of the local delights our area offers. And because the Dow is a comfortable multiple of its most recent low (6,443.27 on March 6, 2009, if you care to remember), do it in style and spend some of those portfolio earnings.
Let’s go to … King of Prussia, where shopping, dining, gambling and entertainment reign supreme. It’s close, accessible by Routes 202, 76 and the Turnpike. Perfect for a long weekend.
To make it extra fun, stay at the newly renovated—to the tune of $6 million spent on 150-some rooms—Valley Forge Casino Resort. Having resort as part of the name already makes it sound like fun. In fact, they have Valley Beach with 20,000 square feet of pool, cabanas, tiki bar, and “sandy beach” area, plus bands playing throughout the summer.
Though located near the Valley Forge National Park, the Casino Resort is better known for the 600 slot machines and 50 table games (blackjack, craps, roulette, pai gow poker, baccarat) calling you to while away some vacay time. With 100,000 square feet of conference and event space at the hotel, you may just find another diversion on site—like a sports memorabilia convention and sale.
What else to do this staycation?
Beyond the expected activities of shopping and dining, KOP offers surprises—escape rooms, axe throwing and simulated sky-diving. This is not your grandmother’s KOP.
Escape rooms are all the rage, so indulge yourself and visit both sites. Choose the Revolutionary Spies theme for a regionally and historically relevant challenge at Escape Room Mystery. Will you help save our fledgling nation? Or if the lure of the casino has you thinking dollar signs, try the Bank Heist option at Expedition Escape. Feel free to try all the puzzles at both places.
Another trend, this one more challenging than puzzle solving, is axe throwing. Like curling, competitive axe throwing is well-known in Canada, but not so much in the U.S. It’s described by Bury the Hatchet as similar to darts but with axes and a wooden target. It’s BYOB and BYOF (food), for 15 and older, wearing the required closed-toe shoes. For safety, of course.
For excitement without deadly weapons, try iFly KOP, where you can experience the thrill of skydiving and pretend you’re President Bush #1 on a birthday. Get blown away as you float atop a rush of air in a vertical wind tunnel and experience a 13,000-foot freefall outfitted in helmet, flight suit and goggles. Upgrade the experience with the virtual reality option. You’ll get a personalized flight certificate and can add photos and video to commemorate your “jump.”
Back at the hotel, there’s a different kind of entertainment available where others exert themselves. The Vault is a performance venue, with drinks and light fare, in the lower level of the Radisson Hotel (connected underground to the Valley Forge Casino Resort), with comedians on Fridays and live acts on weekends. Check online for the lineup this summer. You just might catch Dueling Pianos on a return visit.
Shopping and More
Our beloved KOP Mall was significantly upgraded with a passel of prestige boutiques a couple of years back—we’re talking haute end, like Fendi, Gucci, Hermes and more of the alphabet. So window shopping in shops that curate their windows and displays with the attention of museum curators makes a delightful staycation afternoon.
More options are available at KOP Town Center, a live/work/play and also shop development a few miles away. Nordstrom Rack, Ulta Beauty and REI Co-op offer different kinds of souvenirs.
KOP Town Center also hosts entertainment in its grassy town-square-like central area. Try outdoor yoga happy hour led by Stillpoint Yoga Studios on July Tuesdays and free summer movie nights on July 19 (UP) and 26 (Jurassic Park).
Venture beyond room service, the hotel food court and on-site Revolution Chop House restaurant—where carnivores can feast on 14-ounce strip steaks. KOP Town Center boasts an ever-expanding list of eateries, ranging from the delightful Duck Donuts (build your own donut) to the divine Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse (no need to go to Center City).
Some of our other favorites include MediCi Neapolitan Pizza for authentic speckled-crust goodness eaten with knife and fork. For dinner try Founding Farmers for farm-to-table freshness or Paladar Latin Kitchen and Rum Bar, which is well described by its name.
And although it’s at the KOP Mall, we are fans for the interpretive American menu at Mistral.
The Town Center offers the widest range of dining options from honeygrow and b. good, to Mission BBQ with more to come.
Although the Casino Resort, Town Center and Mall should be sufficient to fill your time, there are more options nearby.
The trampoline park at Get Air KOP will let you burn some calories, while the Muse Paint Bar will let you express your artistic side as you sip some wine.
For a mark-your-calendar performance, the Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks is just 10 minutes away and hosts Cirque du Soleil July 12.
And, if you’re lucky in the Casino, maybe this staycation won’t cost you a dime.