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Dubbed the Mushroom Capital of the World, Kennett Square sits in the heart of the lush Brandywine Valley. In the center of town, locals gather to shop and dine, while further out, the surrounding farms produce roughly 60% of the country’s mushrooms, earning the area its well-deserved nickname.
Originally occupied by Lenape Native Americans, the area known as Kennett Square served an important role in the nation’s history. British soldiers camped here during the Revolutionary War, the town served as a military encampment during the War of 1812 and many prominent Kennett Square citizens helped slaves escape as part of the Underground Railroad. Because of its rich heritage, Kennett Square was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.
In Kennett Square, the action centers around State Street. This energetic thoroughfare showcases an array of locally owned businesses, charming shops, farm-fresh eateries and plenty of small-town charm.
Founded by Pierre S. du Pont, Longwood Gardens features 1,077 acres of exquisitely manicured gardens, woodlands, meadows, fountains and exhibits. Horticultural classes, live entertainment and special events throughout the year make this awe-inspiring oasis one of the Philadelphia region’s most-visited attractions.
For breakfast and lunch, Talula’s Table draws customers hungry for farm-to-table sandwiches and salads, fresh pastries, Chester County cheeses and wholesome prepared foods. Dinner, however, takes the dining experience to a whole other level; foodies reserve their seats at the coveted farm table up to one year in advance and look forward to a hyper-local, deliciously memorable meal.
While the menu at Portabellos offers an array of sumptuous choices, the New American restaurant (with international twists) specializes in mushroom-centric dishes like mushroom crepes, portabello fries and crab-stuffed portabello sandwiches. Those in the know order takeout from Portabellos and have it delivered across the street to Flickerwood Wine Cellar Tasting Room, a bring-your-own-food spot that hosts daily wine tastings and live music on weekends.
Patrons of gourmet Mexican ice cream parlor La Michoacana sprinkle cinnamon and chili powder on flavors like corn, avocado, tamarind, rice pudding, guava, passion fruit and other unconventional scoops. Joining Half Moon Restaurant and Saloon, Victory at Magnolia and the Kennett Brewing Company Taproom will open in late 2014, solidifying this small town’s reputation as a premier epicurean destination.
The Mushroom Cap on State Street celebrates anything and everything mushroom-related. A few steps away, Eco Boutique stocks sustainable clothing and accessories for men and women, while Scout & Annie Vintage Homegoods sells decorative accessories, vintage furniture and lighting. Around the corner, Mrs. Robinson’s Tea Shop. Robinsons_Tea_Shop.html offers more than 100 varieties of fine, premium teas — many of which are sold at local coffee hotspot Philter — as well as all sorts of tea accessories. At The Market at Liberty Place, merchants sell prepared foods, produce and gourmet groceries.
The annual Mushroom Festival takes place each year on the weekend after Labor Day. Music, rides and entertainment attract crowds of all ages to celebrate the many varieties of locally grown edible fungi. From 6:00p.m-9:00 p.m. on the First Friday of each month, Kennett Square’s Art Stroll showcases the local creative community in the town’s galleries, shops and restaurants.
To raise funds to benefit Historic Kennett Square and help preserve the town’s heritage, the Kennett Brewfest and Kennett Winterfest draw beer lovers every October and February, respectively. From May through Thanksgiving, the Kennett Square Farmers Market pleases food lovers every Friday from 2:00-6:00 p.m., and the summertime Third Thursdays spotlights the arts, shopping and dining in the heart of town.
Driving the 40 miles from Center City to Kennett Square takes roughly one hour. Metered street parking and municipal lots are available. Public transportation to and from Philadelphia is not easily accessible.
The Bancroft Manor B&B, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Hilton Garden Inn Kennett Square ant the Kennett House B&B are all local options. Alternatively, head back to Philadelphia and save with the two-night Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package™, which includes FREE hotel parking.