The holidays are when young and old find themselves looking for magic in our ordinary world. In this magic, we draw the strength to keep going; it provides hope, joy, love, and the reminder that hardship is only temporary. While many of us grew up believing that the spirit of the holidays resides in the North Pole, Enchanted Forests, and Kingdoms made of Ice and Fire, those places are much closer to home.
Pennsylvania is known for its historical role in the building of what we now know as the United States of America. The keystone state is also known for its roaring sports teams, hard-working citizens, delicious food, and IDGAF attitude. Many don’t know that PA is home to many attractions filled with the holiday spirit. Recently, I went out in search of my own holiday magic; a “Hallmark Christmas,” experience. What I found was far better.
Peddler’s Village in Bucks County, PA, can be considered the epicenter for holiday cheer in the state. Stroll in an enchanted Village and sip tasty beverages. Find perfect gifts in 65 specialty shops and boutiques. Enjoy fine dining or casual fare in your choice of restaurants and food trucks. Ride a 1920s carousel and play in the arcade. See a magnificent display of gingerbread houses. Spend the night in our elegant country inn. There is no fee to enter and there is free parking around the village. Though you may want to get there early to snatch up that free parking. This quaint village makes you feel like you have been transported to a storybook, there is so much European charm and many instagrammable spots. There are even signs that indicate which areas make great photo ops.
The village has many cute shops will handmade, artisan gifts perfect for the person on your list that has everything. We are looking at you, Captain Kyle. The guests there are all merry and bright, it is as if we are all overcome with politeness. Peddler’s Village hosts many holiday events throughout the season including a parade, meetings with Santa, and a gingerbread contest. Many of this year’s entrants were inspired by the World of Fandom. Take a look!
While Peddler’s Village offers traditional holiday events, in the midst of this cute establishment is something far more…enchanting.
The Cloak and Wand
The Cloak and Wand is a curious place. Outside the store, you are greeted by a lovely dragon and parking for your brooms. Inside is a witchy wonderland filled with merchandise from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, D&D, The Witcher, The Walking Dead, and other franchises often associated with witches and the occult. Perhaps the best part about The Cloak and Wand is the custom potions. You can get cold potions like the Blue Dragon( a fizz drink with blue raspberry and dragonfruit) or hot potions like the Red Velvet Hot Chocolate. The combinations are endless and surprisingly affordable, unlike a certain chain with a mermaid. I highly recommend visiting The Cloak and Wand if you prefer to celebrate Witchmas.
My journey for magic continues as I waited for a train only true believers can ride…
The North Pole Express
The New Hope Railroad offers fun rides to the North Pole on their North Pole Express. Think the Polar Express but without all the Tom Hanks. This 1-hour train ride transports guests to the North Pole to have a meeting with Santa, Mrs. Claus, and his friendly elves! Passengers on the train are treated to Hot Chocolate and a cookie. Adult passengers can make their Hot Chocolate more spirited for an added charge. Younger passengers receive a special ticket and a bell. During the journey, an elf sings Christmas carols while we wait for the arrival of Santa. Once the big man and his lovely wife arrive, they spend time with each family and take photos with them. You can take photos using your phone or camera, or utilize a professional photographer. You can purchase the photographer’s photos that come with cute card frames. I forced my 13-year-old and 19-year-old to take a photo. Embarrassment to last them all forever. Just like a real train ride, the cost of a ticket depends on where you sit, but the experience is truly priceless.
I ended my journey with Whoville’s most famous citizen!
Grinchmas Food Truck Fest & Holiday House
The Grinchmas Food Truck Fest & Holiday House took place at the Historic Bolton Mansion. The event was filled with fa-la-la-la-la holiday fun! This event featured different activities, food trucks, and vendors. Santa (who arrived on a firetruck), The Grinch, and the Elf on the Shelf were in attendance for guests to take photos with. That line was enormous so unfortunately I never got to meet up with the Holiday Trio. There were many people dressed in their best Grinch attire, Christmas Jammies, ugly sweaters, and Philly sports team merch. Besides the shopping and delicious offerings, there was a DJ and guests could visit the Holiday House. The Grinchmas Food Truck Fest & Holiday House was free to attend and pet-friendly.
During my 2-day vacation exploring some of Pennsylvania’s holiday attractions, I left broke…in all seriousness I found myself feeling like a kid again as got to experience this wonderful time of the year in ways I normally don’t. If you are looking for shopping, family fun activities, delicious food, and maybe a little romance (that’s a story for another time), then consider visiting PA for all the magic you expect from the holidays.