A Weekend in Reading, PA

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Last weekend, Charles and I snuck away for a weekend trip in Reading, PA. I had the chance to partner with Go Greater Reading to experience first hand their outdoor adventures and cultural experiences. This was my first trip to Reading, PA so I was pretty excited – it’s only a little over an hour outside of Philadelphia so it was close and nice to get out of the city for a weekend. It was also nice to have a weekend away with Charles – we left Brooks at home with the grandparents so we weren’t slaves to naps + bedtimes.

Here’s how we spent our weekend in Reading, PA:

pagoda

We drove up Friday afternoon and had a nice chunk of the day + sunlight to still enjoy. When we arrived we decided to make our first stop at the Pagoda – which is located atop Mt. Penn. We drove up to the top and were greeted with gorgeous views of the town below!  

views

As you can see, we had a beautiful view.  The City-owned Pagoda has been cared for by the people of Reading for over 100 years and it was such a cool little spot to check out and start our weekend off with.

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Next we headed down the mountain and decided to stop at GoggleWorks which is a Center for the Arts. It gets the cool name because the building was originally used to produce safety goggles – but now it’s an amazing space for arts, crafts, dance and musical performances. It was free to get in and a great way to spend a few hours walking around enjoying the local arts. It was a seriously cool building and they offer lots of classes, workshops and festivals here as well.

googleworks

We checked into our hotel at the Candlewood Suites -> {thanks to everyone there for a great stay!} and then headed out in West Reading to check out the town. It started to rain so we popped into a local brewery to get dinner and try out some local beers. Charles and I were both excited to find a brewery -> Chatty Monks was all sorts of amazing, totally our vibe and had some amazing beers + food.

monks

We tried out a sampling of what they had on tap – everything was great! – and we had some food to munch on as well. If you are ever in the area, totally check out Chatty Monks! It was great – I sort of want to go back right now!

chatty

The next morning we woke up and had a jam-packed day ahead of us! We started out by hitting up one of the stops on the Covered Bridge Tour. We made our way to Wertz’s Covered Bridge, also known as the Red Covered Bridge, which stands as the longest single span covered bridge in Pennsylvania, stretching 220 feet across the Tulpehocken Creek.

covered bridge

It was a beautiful Fall day and the perfect scenery to enjoy a walk outside in Berks County. The leaves have just started to change and the weather is just starting to cool. We walked around the paths taking in the sights for a while – it was gorgeous and I wish we had more time to check out other Covered Bridges on the self guided tour.

red bridge

There was also a self-guided Barn Art Tour that sounded cool as well. Another great way to spend the day exploring the area and enjoying the scenery.

red covered

Our next stop was a visit to the Leesport Farmers Market – which is an expansive indoor/outdoor facility that has just about everything you could ever want or need. At Leesport you can find fresh country meats and cheeses, poultry and fish, baked goods, locally grown fruits and vegetables, candies, confections, PA-Dutch snacks and more. It also has jewelry, clothing, household goods, toys, books, health and beauty aids, gifts, fabrics, crafts and garden supplies. It was fun to walk around but it was PACKED on Saturday morning! Lots of great stuff though for sure!

leesport

By this time we were hungry for lunch so we stopped at The Pink Pig, which is a local BBQ joint in Deer Lake. The yelp reviews were good so we decided to give it a try. Charles and I shared the brisket and pork and it was really amazing! Such a yummy lunch find!

pink pig

After our lunch stop we made our way to the main event for our day – Hawk Mountain. When I first read about this place, I was so excited to spend the day hiking and enjoying the fresh mountain air.

Hawk Mountain is a scientific research center, an international conservation training site, a learning facility for all ages, an eco-tourism destination, a wildlife sanctuary open to the public year-round, and the world’s largest member-supported raptor conservation organization.

Charles and I spent the afternoon hiking up the mountain – we did a few of the more moderate trails, each of which had multiple viewing areas to check out the sights but also look for all the various raptors that live in the area. It was a really amazing place to visit and we had a perfect day for hiking with great views as well.

raptors

We made it to the top of the mountain aid it was cool to watch the raptor counters in action. I can’t imagine how much training it would take to be able to spot all these very specific variety of hawks!

bird count

Check out this owl that was just chilling at one of the lookout points:

owl

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I took over 500 photos during our entire weekend in Reading and I swear, most of them were from the few hours we spent at Hawk Mountain. It was so beautiful and of course, the photos don’t do it justice.

bridge

Our time at Hawk Mountain also inspired me to get out and hike some more. It was so much fun and a great way to spend the day. Totally going to look into some places we can go as a family a little closer to home – but again, if you are in the area, definitely check Hawk Mountain out!

After our time at the mountain we made the drive back to Reading and headed out to enjoy the town a bit more. We ended up at The Barley Mow – a craft beer house that has the largest selection in the area with more than 750 varieties coming from more than 100 American craft breweries.

barley mow

Charles and I were excited to check this place out and we were even more excited when we found out it had a beautiful back patio for us to enjoy the rest of the day outside. Cheers!

cheers

Sunday morning we woke up and had lots more fun on our to-do list. We started off the day with a visit to the West Reading Farmers Market, which we were able to walk to from our hotel {which was awesome!} The market was way bigger than I expected and had lots of seasonal food, baked goods and lots of yumminess. We even picked up a few things to bring home for dinner that night!

farmers mkt

After the market we continued our walk down to the Reading Public Museum. We weren’t able to go in but we did enjoy the beautiful gardens that surrounds it. Again, another beautiful day!

reading public museum

Our final stop on our Go Greater Reading Tour was a good one: Stoudt’s Octoberfest!

If you couldn’t tell by now, Charles and I love to try new beers. We have tried a few of Stoudt’s before, since they sell them in Philadelphia, but we were excited to check out the brewery for ourselves and try some new ales! This trip was timed perfectly with the fact that Stoudt’s was having an Oktoberfest and the lovely folks at Go Greater Reading hooked us up with tickets!

beers

The place was packed with people and the venue, located within the brewery + next to the restaurant, was huge. It had great indoor and outdoor space. There were so many people + families, a great band and everyone enjoying the day. We even got to see the owner there, Ed Stoudt, he gave a toast and started off the ceremony playing a giant tuba and bringing in a pig!

pig

We enjoyed some of the beers and some of the classic Oktoberfest eats, which were very tasty as well.

eats

I’m so grateful we were able to go on this trip, thankful to my parents for watching Brooks and feeling lucky that I was selected to be a part of the Go Greater Reading experience! Charles and I had so much fun – and we packed so much great stuff into one weekend!

Thanks to the lovely folks at Go Great Reading for an awesome trip!

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Where’s your favorite place to spend a long weekend?

Please share!

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Go Greater Reading.

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4 Comments

  • Reply Dietitian Jess October 27, 2015 at 7:49 am

    Great recommendations! I’ve been to Stoudts but I’ve never heard of the Barley Mow- will definitely have to check that out. The pagoda looked really cool too!

  • Reply Noelle (@singerinkitchen) October 27, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Yes, you are my kind of traveler! My hubby and I would totally enjoy this! I need to look into your WHOLE schedule and plan it. Thanks!!! I have had the covered bridge tour on my list of things to do.

  • Reply Patty O October 28, 2015 at 7:21 am

    Wow – this weekend looked amazing! I need to plan a trip to Reading soon!
    My hubby would also love the breweries!

  • Reply Sara November 4, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    Hey! You were in my neck of the woods! I grew up in Kutztown and got married in Reading at Stokesay Castle. (Next time you’re there, you should definitely check it out–an eccentric guy built a medieval for his family, but his wife HATED it, so now it’s a very nice restaurant in a really cool area. It’s right near the Pagoda.) If you’re in the area, I also highly recommend going to Kutztown–Main St. is full of great shops, including the original home of Sorrelli Jewelry (seriously–their sales around the holidays are excellent).

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