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Cheap Trips: Covered Bridge Tour and More

Discover four local attractions you can visit on one tank of gas or less.

Looking to save money?

Try one of these four trips you can enjoy on one tank of gas or less! Visit Suburban Square in Ardmore, the American Helicopter Museum in West Chester, the Ambler Theater or covered bridges in Lehigh County.

Suburban Square Shopping Center

Address: 34 Parking Plaza, Ardmore, Pa. 

How Far From Your Patch? About 57 miles (1 hour 17 minutes) from Hellertown.

Admission Fee: None. There is free parking.

Hours:

  • Mon, Tue, Thu, Sat: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Wed, Fri: 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
  • Sun: Noon - 5 p.m.

Summary: Opened in 1928, Suburban Square is considered to be one of the first shopping centers in the United States, but parts of it feel more like a town square than a modern mall. The courtyard in front of Macy’s is like that, leading into a pretty, urban setting with large trees as old as the square itself, as well as benches and a fountain. Work is now underway on a new courtyard, an opened-up street (St. James Place) for concerts and other performances, more outdoor seating, new “concept” stores and a new high-end restaurant to give the existing Plate and Sweetgreen some competition. By Thanksgiving much of that work will be done. Suburban Square retailers include Ann Taylor, Barbour, Anthropologie, J.Crew, Victoria's Secret, Urban Outfitters, Apple, and an expanded City Sports, just to name a few. It’s a welcome break from the big malls, and you can park once and get in some food shopping on the same trip, since the Ardmore Farmer’s Market is on the eastern end of the square (along with a Trader Joe’s). You can also take a short walk past the adjacent Ardmore train station into Ardmore’s downtown, along Lancaster Avenue.

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American Helicopter Museum & Education Center

Address: 1220 American Blvd., West Chester, Pa.

How Far From Your Patch? About 62 miles (1 hour 18 minutes) from Hellertown.

Admission Fee:

  • Adults $10
  • Seniors $8
  • Students and children $7
  • Children 2 and younger free
  • Parking: Free lot

Hours:

  • Wed. through Sat: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Sunday: Noon - 5 p.m.
  • Mon. and Tues: Open by appointment only

Summary: The American Helicopter Museum and Education Center, which opened in 1996, is considered by many to be the nation's premier aviation museum devoted exclusively to helicopters. The museum chronicles the role helicopters have played throughout history and in modern times, and offers summer camps and educational programs for preschoolers through adults. The facility also maintains a library and restores helicopters.

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Lehigh Valley Covered Bridge Tour

Address: Tour starts at Oxford Drive (South 24th Street) and Fish Hatchery Road, Allentown, Pa.

How Far From Your Patch? About 12 miles (16 minutes) from Hellertown.

Admission: Free

Hours: Daytime is best.

Summary: Journey back to a more idyllic time in this self-guided tour of seven of Pennsylvania's covered bridges. You can visit all seven on a 50-mile tour or just a few. Two of the covered bridges can be found in South Whitehall Township and are a stone's throw from each other: Wehr's Covered Bridge, built in 1841, and Manasses Guth Bridge, built in 1858. The bridges have a romantic quality, and the two in South Whitehall frame Covered Bridge Park, where you can take a walk or have a picnic lunch. German immigrants brought the covered bridge design to this country. Often the bridges were named after local residents, their builders or the grist mills that operated along nearby creeks. Covered Bridge Tour signs will guide you along the route. The tour starts at Bogert's Bridge in Allentown and then takes you to South Whitehall and other municipalities.

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The Ambler Theater

Address: 108 E. Butler Ave., Ambler, Pa.

How Far From Your Patch? About 34 miles (56 minutes) from Hellertown.

Admission Fee:

  • Adults $8.50
  • Student and matinee discount

Hours:

Summary: The Ambler Theater continues to delight moviegoers with its old time charm. The building, opened in 1928 by Warner Brothers, has undergone a number of changes, but lives on today as a non-profit entity with daily showings of independent and international films. The Ambler Theater’s ownership has also done much to continue to draw patrons, including hosting weekly events such as throwback films and special viewings. In addition, the building has kept many of its original features, including its iconic vertical neon sign and box seating in its main theater.

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