Fabulous Fall Festivals Near Lehigh Valley

Ready for the brilliant days of fall, when there is a chill in the air but you don’t care in your cozy sweater and the sunshine on your face? Soak up the last days of outdoor festivals and events until spring with these events taking place within an easy drive of Lehigh Valley.

Doylestown Arts Festival, September 9 through 10

For an entire weekend, the adorable town of Doylestown, in Bucks County, is home to a large arts festival. Main, State and side streets become pedestrian zones filled with artisans selling clothing, art, crafts and more. Take time to enjoy one of the many local restaurants with outdoor dining while you visit.


Farewell to Summer, Easton, September 10

Easton says farewell to summer with a “Trolling” event. Not only will the main square feature live music, food and drink vendors, outdoor dining, and activities to say goodbye to the season, but kids can participate in a Troll Hunt. Find all the trolls and see the movie “Trolls” for free at the end of the event, running 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Vineyard-Style Dinner, Hamilton, September 14

If you’ve never visited the Grounds for Sculpture or its eclectic Ratz Restaurant (modeled after “The Wind in the Willows” in New Jersey, enjoying an al fresco dinner just may be the perfect introduction. The communal dinner, at 6 p.m., will be paired with wines and requires advanced reservations.


JazzFeast, Princeton, September 17

Cross the river to Princeton, New Jersey, for the 26th annual JazzFeast taking place at Palmer Square. Live music and food and drink vendors will fill the pedestrian square from noon to 6 p.m.


Oktoberfest, Blue Mountain Resort, September 30 through October 1

Find yourself amidst the foliage of the Poconos during Blue Mountain Resort’s annual Oktoberfest. At the base of the mountain is fun and games for the kids, and then ride the lift up to the Biergarden with live Polka music, dancing and food. Pets and children are welcome.


Adult Trick or Treat Weekends, Chadds Ford, October

Make the trek to Chaddsford Winery for one of its most popular events: Trick or Treating, adult-style. Six wine and treat pairings are the feature, where guests are treated to live music and are welcome to picnic and drink at the vineyard on a beautiful fall weekend — in costume, as well! Offered at 1, 3 or 5 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 and 3 p.m. on Sundays, tickets are limited and often sellout, so purchase online, in advance.


Bethlehem Harvest Festival, October 7

Visit historic Bethlehem on Saturday, October 7, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and find Main Street and the Sun Inn Courtyard ready to welcome fall. The kid- and pet-friendly day includes a family fun zone, wine and beer tastings, live music, activities and a Biergarten at the courtyard (open until 8 p.m.).


October Feast, Lahaska, October 14 to 15

Peddlers’ Village in Lahaska is known for enticing shoppers to its outdoor, pedestrian-friendly area. In September, they offer a Scarecrow Festival, and in November an Apple Festival, but for the more crisp fall weather days, visit during October Feast. The weekend event is family friendly and filled with German food (think bratwurst) and beer.


Harvest Wine Festival, Bear Creek, October 22

Visit Bear Creek’s outdoor patio overlooking the coming ski slopes and enjoy the last snow-free days with the resort’s annual wine festival. From noon to 5 p.m., sample wine and food from more than 40 vendors. Tickets sell out, order them online to guarantee you get in (and to see you $5).


— By Lissa Poirot

Outdoor Dining with River Views – Easton to Philadelphia

I love eating outdoors, especially when winter can be so biting and keeps me indoors for months. Having grown up on the beach, I also love to eat by the river, enjoying the water breezes and views. Here are some great outdoor decks and patios to dine on before winter sets in again.

Riverside Barr and Grill, Easton

This low-key joint is home to clam bakes and pig roasts, as well as traditional American bar food. It’s a lively spot typically reserved for good drinks with drinks in hand during the warmer months, with live music, happy hour specials and parties to keep you outdoors on the deck overlooking the Delaware. 5819 S Delaware Dr., 610-258-1008


Riegelsville Inn, Riegelsville

If it’s a little romance you seek, the 1838 Riegelsville Inn overlooks the Roebling Bridge with a heavily landscaped patio along the canal that feels as if you are dining on a friend’s deck. Open daily, with weekend brunch, you may also elect to sit on the second floor balcony, overlooking the river.  Live music is available on weekend nights in the summer. The fine dining menu includes seafood, steaks and poultry. 10-12 Delaware Rd., 610-749-0100



Golden Pheasant Inn, Erwinna

The Delaware River views come from the inn’s interior restaurant, however, the secluded back patio overlooks the canal and is surrounded by trees and wildflowers. The renowned inn’s restaurant has received numerous accolades across the nation for its outstanding French cuisine. Open for dinner and Sunday brunch, you’ll find locally resourced ingredients. 763 River Rd., 610-294-9595


Black Bass Restaurant, Lumberville

The charming Black Bass is a perfect spot for Sunday Brunch, with unlimited mimosas and a prix fixe menu as overlook a pedestrian bridge to New Jersey. The restaurant also offers a prix fixe locals night menu Monday through Wednesday, away from the weekend crowds that can gather here in the summer and fall. 3774 River Rd., 215-297-9260


Centre Bridge Inn, New Hope

Offering a refined menu overlooking Centre Bridge, you can avoid the crowds of New Hope by visiting the inn and dining on its large deck. Although the original inn standing here burned down in the 1960s, the building maintains a historic look and feel and makes a idyllic setting for a date night or a family brunch. 2998 River Rd., 215-862-9139


The Landing, New Hope

Located near Bridge Street, the Landing features a massive patio that is larger than its interior restaurant space and popular from spring through fall. Ample umbrellas help keep you cool, and when fireworks shoot off above the river and bridge, this is one of the best seats in the house. 22 N. Main St., 215-862-5711


Martine’s RiverHouse Restaurant, New Hope

For an upscale French dining experience, visited the yellow-hued restaurant near the Bucks County Playhouse for dinner before or after a show — an ideal date night. The seasonally inspired menu is ever-changing, as are the river views during the changing of the seasons. 14 E. Ferry St., New Hope, 215-862-2966



Patriot’s Crossing, Titusville

In the place where General Washington crossed the Delaware is the casual patio of Patriot’s Crossing. Located on the Jersey-side canal, the deck provides Delaware River views, as well as the Washington Crossing Bridge. You’ll find bar food here, but ‘better than you would expect’ items, as well. 1339 River Rd., 609-737-2780



King George II Inn, Bristol

For true history, visit the King George II Inn, which was built in 1638. Located near William Penn’s original farm land, the towering inn features indoor and outdoor dining with river views. The restaurant offers a nice American menu, and a delicious Sunday brunch. (Try bacon Bloody Mary’s!) 102 Radcliffe St., 215-788-5536


Curtin’s Wharf Restaurant, Burlington, N.J.

You can enjoy the kitschy seafood restaurant that if it wasn’t on the Delaware would look straight out of a Florida Keys town. Big catches hang on the walls, and the wooden deck is topped with plastic chairs and tables for a casual place to enjoy lunch and dinner on the water. 501 E. Pearl St., 609-386-4594



Morgan’s Pier, Philadelphia

A favorite for dining outdoors in the city on a hot summer day, Morgan’s Pier overlooks the Ben Franklin Bridge. If visiting with the family or for a quiet outing, go for lunch; at night the pier becomes a happening nightspot with seating hard to come by in the crowds here to be seen. The restaurant serves snacks, sandwiches, flatbread, kid’s meals and some specialties. 221 N. Christopher Columbus Blvd., 215-279-7134



— Lissa Poirot 




Best Wineries Near Lehigh Valley

Do a search on the best wineries in Lehigh Valley, and you’ll no doubt have discovered the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail. The problem with that is the trail is a paid listing and there are numerous wineries not on the trail that are fantastic and pretty close to home. So, without any agenda but to help others, like me, find a nice vineyard close to home, here’s a list of some of the best wineries in the area.

Folino Estates

Want to feel as if you’ve stepped into a winery in Tuscany without the plane ticket? Folino Estates in Kutztown is by far my personal favorite. With a hilltop location and rolling hills views, the winery features a tasting room, an outdoor terrace to enjoy the wine and some snacks, and a gorgeous Italian restaurant with a great menu of seriously good food. The winery is relatively new, but the wines are a collection that even includes dry whites, a rarity in Lehigh Valley.


Mountain View Vineyard

For more gorgeous views, Stroudsburg’s Mountain View Vineyard takes you up to the Poconos, where you can enjoy outdoor wine tastings and special events, including dinners at sunset. Wine tastings are offered daily and you can join the winery tours at noon on weekends.


Hackett Wine

Both kid- and dog-friendly, this intimate winery in New Tripoli has award-winning wines. Open on weekends and evenings Wednesday through Sunday, the winery features summer events like walking winery tours, live music and food trucks, and wine pairings.


Galen Glen Winery

A little further afield is Galen Glen in Andreas with daily openings to sample wines. Featuring an enclosed space with panoramic views, the winery features year-round events, such as chocolate and wine pairings in February.


Blue Mountain Vineyards

Another New Tripoli winery is nestled in Blue Mountain, affording spectacular views while you sample the wine. The winery hosts a number of events, including Friday Night Jams and Sunday Blues in the warmer months. The vineyard is open daily and features an outdoor deck.


Blue Ridge Winery & Estate

Head up to Saylorsburg for this modern and new winery inspired by the vineyards of California. The winery features daily tastings, free weekend cellar tours, and live music every weekend from 2 to 4 p.m. On Fridays, a special dinner is offered, with no reservations required, making this one of the most inviting wineries in the area.


Clover Hill

Located in Breinigsville, the original location of the growing Clover Hill Winery hosts a number of public events, such as Sangria Sundays, Wine and Cheese Weekends, and harvest events. The winery, celebrating more than 30 years, is open for tours and tastings on weekends.


–Lissa Poirot

What to Do in Lehigh Valley Before Summer Ends (Besides MusikFest!)

Before Labor Day Weekend rolls by, squeeze in the last bits of summer in the Lehigh Valley with a variety of free events that will have you enjoying the warm weather outdoors.

Catch a Live Show at Levitt Pavilion – For Free

Steel Stacks’ Levitt Pavilion welcomes you to bring a beach chair and enjoy the heat of summer while listening to live music, at no cost. Typically offering shows Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the fun will end in September, so don’t miss your last chance to enjoy a sunset behind the steel stacks.


Enjoy Southside Bethlehem’s First Friday

First Friday’s arts celebration in Southside is meant to entice you to discover what’s new and exciting in the area. Art galleries welcome you in with wine samples, the Banana Factory provides free art demos, live music can be found on the streets and at local restaurants, which offer specials for the evening between 6 and 9 p.m. on August 4.


Take the Kids to See a Movie Under the Stars

Steel Stacks also offers free movies every Wednesday night in August. With titles like “Mary Poppins” and “Toy Story,” grab your chair, bring some popcorn, and enjoy the show. The movies begin at 8 p.m.


Cruise on into Easton for Cruise Night

On August 19, Easton welcomes classic cars to the square between 5 and 9 p.m. for a free car show with a DJ spinning tunes from 5 to 7 p.m. and live music from 7 to 9 p.m. After the show, pop into Sette Luna or another quaint restaurant with outdoor seating and enjoy a cold one!


Feast at Food Truck Fridays

Tolino Vineyards’ summer family-friendly Food Truck Fridays will come to an end soon. If you haven’t visited the vineyard for for wine tastings and food truck feasts, do so on a Friday between 5 and 8 p.m. before Labor Day.


Listen to Live Music at the Falls

On August 11, Easton’s Scott Park host a free live music session from 7 to 9 p.m. Nakked Soul will provide funk and soul music while food trucks and guest brewer Sly Fox will be on hand for F&B purchases, beginning at 6:30.


–Lissa Poirot