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Quaint to its floorboards, Skippack embraces its historic appeal. Amid the covered bridge and old-fashioned lampposts, however, visitors find stylish gift stores and galleries and buzzing restaurants and bars that speak to a modern-day audience. With a mixture of European charm and hippie ease, this shopping-centric town has evolved through the years to become a popular tourist destination.
Skippack’s origins date back to 1683, when German settlers overran Germantown and moved by boat up the Perkiomen Creek to a place where the shallow water prohibited further travel. There they stayed and there they named the land “Schippach.” In 1795, Jacob Reiff opened the first store in town, thus beginning Skippack’s long reign as a shopping hub. When the Souderton, Skippack & Fairview Electric Railway Company was formed in 1901, trolley service brought further visitors and more extensive development. (A trolley car has been preserved outside of Hotel Fiesole.) By the 1990s, Skippack’s still-rural charms inspired reverent redevelopment of its stores and restaurants.
The appropriately named Skippack Pike serves as the hub of the town. Most of the restaurants and shops are clustered in small buildings along or slightly removed from the street.
Given the inspiring creekside setting, visual artists and art are plentiful in Skippack, most notably at Art by Heart Gallery, locally minded boutique Pennsylvania Traditions and the interactive studio and gallery Black Sheep Pottery. A local institution, Skippack Playcrafters stages ambitious theater productions.
History lives on in annual Revolutionary War encampment reenactments on the Indenhofen Farm, a restored 18th-century homestead. Mill remnants and 18th-century homes are visible around nearby Evansburg State Park, which is also an ideal locale for picnics, trout fishing, golf, hiking and horseback riding. The Perkiomen Trail, a 20-mile stretch for biking, walking and jogging, can be accessed here too.
An elegant Parisian-style restaurant and wine bar, Brasserie 73 serves classic French cuisine. The mobile Love Hot Dog Company, popping up in the Skippack Farmers Market parking lot and the Food Truck Pod, slings exotic hot dogs, game sausages and toppings and keeps it fresh with a weekly changing menu. The Skippack Italian Market keeps the Philly spirit alive with an extensive array of hoagies, while The Fat Cat serves light breakfast and lunch fare and espresso. The Hotel Fiesole and The Cabana Bar/Basta Pasta host live music, the former in a sophisticated lounge setting, and the latter, weather permitting, in an island-inspired outdoor setting.
Foodie wares abound in Skippack: Le Butler’s Pantry extensive gourmet kitchen supplies; Miss Riddle’s Candy Shop new-school and old-school confections; the Village Wine Cellar vintages from the local Crossing Vineyards and Winery ; the gourmet items at the Land of Olive Oils, Balsamics & More ; and The Grand Fromage exquisite cheeses—some of which are local, condiments and other makings for a Perkiomen picnic. Fashionistas adore Timeless Styles well-curated selection of vintage and new clothing and accessories and The Skippack Hope Chest new and gently used designer apparel, jewelry, handbags and accessories. In addition to the many antiques and vintage shops around town, there are monthly Trash to Treasure sales held one Saturday a month from spring through fall.
Hardly a week goes by in Skippack without a special event, whether it’s the Village Carnival (May) ,the Car Show (June) or the Winetober Fest (October). October’s Skippack Days is the biggest event weekend on the calendar as the town makes way for crafts, jewelry, art and other vendors, as well as music and family activities. Local businesses offer specials on First Fridays, held from April through October, which celebrate local art and music with activity spilling out onto porches and sidewalks.
The best way to reach Skippack is by car. Parking is free in lots throughout town, except during special events.
The Hotel Fiesole is located in town, and a Marriott is available in nearby Collegeville. Alternatively, make Philadelphia your home base and save with the two-night Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package, which includes FREE hotel parking.