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Top 'One Tank Trips'

The family is in the car, but the spinning numbers on the gas pump are assaulting the distance we'll be traveling on this weekend getaway. So, let's try to do it round-trip on one tank. Maybe a little left over to get to work Monday morning.

Here are a few tried and tested ideas.


Route 9 on the Delaware River

Hard on the banks of the Delaware River, this working town has undergone a transformation that appeals to visitors looking for a taste of Civil War history, boutique shopping, quirky pubs, nature walks and succulent steamed crabs. Delaware City is the gateway to Pea Patch Island and Fort Delaware, a prison for captured Confederates. The island ferry runs from Battery Park and cruises out for a day of historic reenactments and views of the unique Pea Patch heron rookery. Back in town, a new promenade takes strollers along the Delaware River. At day's end, grab that mallet at Crabbie Dicks for an evening of cracking crustacians.

Getting there: From Interstate 95 South:
Take the exit for Route 1 South. 
Take the exit for Route 72 Delaware City and turn left at the light. 
Continue straight for approximately 3 miles (Rt. 72 becomes Rt. 9) 
Turn left at the light onto Clinton St. to the waterfront business district and Battery Park.


780 Harding Hwy.
Pilesgrove, NJ 08098

Cock that Stetson at a jaunty angle, saunter out in your Acme boots and get ready to be part of the wild west, right here in South Jersey. The Cowtown Rodeo just a short gallop from the Commodore Barry Bridge has been thrilling Saturday night audiences for more than half a century with bronc riding, bull riding, steer wrestling, calf roping and the whole enchilada of professional rodeo events. Grant Harris, whose grandfather launched this stampede notes, "Most of the contestants here are from the northeast. And getting started isn't as hard as you might think.

In this day and age, if a guy wants to be a bull rider he can go to a bull riding school." The rodeo runs from May 28th to September 24th and adult tickets are landed for $15, kids pay $10. You can make a day of it by taking in the mammoth flea market that operates on the rodeo grounds every Tuesday and Saturday.

Getting there: Cowtown Rodeo is located on Route #40, Harding Highway, eight miles east of the Delaware Memorial Bridge, Exit #1 on the New Jersey Turnpike or exit # 4 of Route #295.


St. Peter's Village, PA 19470

A one-tank ramble in the country can provide a relaxing getaway for a day or weekend. St. Peter's Village in rural Chester County, just off route 23 is a small picture postcard village – a few shops, a first class restaurant and Inn, a bakery with coffee and a view, along with a bubbling stream that can offer hours of leisurely fishing. The village is anchored by a historic Inn. The patios and outdoor dining areas offer picturesque views of French Creek and the stunning black granite boulder field. It's all surrounded by parks and streams, hiking and biking trails, plus a hot air balloon service. But most getaway visitors are seeking the tranquility of a babbling brook and maybe the chance for an angler to catch some dinner.

Getting there: From Philadelphia/New Jersey 
Take 76 West towards Valley Forge. Take PA Turnpike 
towards Harrisburg and follow to the Downingtown Exit. 
Take 100 North towards Pottstown and make a left on 
Route 23 West. Follow for 3-1/2 miles and make a right 
at the St. Peter's Village sign onto Saint Peter's Road. 
Follow 1/2 mile to the Inn on left.


Route 213 on the Maryland Eastern Shore

Chestertown, Maryland could have been lifted right from the pages of Michener's Chesapeake. Once a mighty tobacco port, transited by George Washington on his way to Philadelphia, it's home to the college that bears his name. Today this historic town is a chic backdrop for lively riverside pubs, an eclectic art scene, a culinary culture that spans contemporary tastes and a nautical atmosphere that's as genuine as the seafood bounty still landed on its Chester River shores. Visitors can cruise on the tall ship Sultana or stroll the riverfront, lined with historic Georgian homes. Over 3 centuries of history includes a unique Civil War monument. One side Union, one Confederate. Both bear the same family names. When lunch time calls, my spot is the Fish and Whistle with wonderful river views A favorite dinner haunt for the getaway Washington-Baltimore crowd is the Imperial Hotel. The tony dining room offers traditional Chesapeake fare with a gourmet flare.

Getting there: From Philadelphia: 
I-95 south to 896 south (exit 1, Middletown, Delaware.) DE 896 turns into MD route 301. Right on MD 290 (exit for Galena/ Chestertown.) From Galena, follow MD 213 south to Chestertown.


The southern terminus of the Cape May – Lewes Ferry offers endless possibilities for a getaway weekend on less than a tank. The nearby beaches alone are a lure, but Lewes is rich in colonial history. This one-time whaling town and the first established colony on the Delaware Bay holds an impressive maritime museum, a restored Dutch settlement and a downtown area that's rich in shopping and dining. For a day of on-the-water action head for Fisherman's Wharf and a fishing charter, whale watching or a sunset cruise. Then dine on the waterfront at the Wharf restaurant. A visitor here can get two towns in two states separated by 17 miles without adding to the fuel consumption. Simply park free at the ferry terminal, board as a foot passenger and in 85 minutes, after a pleasant cruise you'll be in Cape May, New Jersey where a shuttle takes you to the heart of town. Return whenever the mood takes you.

Getting there: From Philadelphia
Take 95 south to 495, Follow 495 to Rt. 1 South, then to Rt. 9 straight into Lewes.


 Statue of Liberty
(credit: Jay Lloyd)

Liberty State Park
Morris Pesin Drive
Jersey City, NJ 07305

Not one, but two of America's most iconic symbols can be reached in less than two hours via a public park that is brim full of activities from crabbing to biking along the banks of the Hudson River. Liberty State Park, New Jersey is the terminal for regular ferry service to both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The former represented the first stirring welcome to New York harbor experienced by European immigrant ancestors and the latter, the gateway to a new life in America. A visitor can cover both in a single day. Parking at the easy-to-reach park is a reasonable $5. Adults can board the ferry for $10. Seniors and children from 4 to 12 pay $8 and toddlers chip in $4. Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty are both National Parks and free of admission charges.

Getting there: Liberty State is right off exit 14B of the New Jersey Turnpike.

By Jay Lloyd

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