Kennett Square in a Day
Left: Avocado Ice Cream at La Michoacana
THE ANNUAL MUSHROOM FESTIVAL (September 11 and 12) draws thousands of tourists to Kennett Square. However, the big event is far from the only reason to pay this Pennsylvania town a visit. Come to explore its walkable downtown, independent shops, and food options that go way beyond the iconic fungus. As a Kennett Square resident for more than 15 years, I have watched the town evolve over time to cultivate a vibrant community of small-business owners, local food growers, and creative makers. Any weekend is a great time to take the one-hour ride from Philadelphia to the Mushroom Capital of the World. Here’s what I recommend for your day in Kennett Square:
COFFEE AT PHILTER
Owner Chris Thompson and his staff serve up coffee to impress the most discerning connoisseurs. The shop uses beans from Ceremony Coffee Roasters in Annapolis, Maryland, and they take great care with each drink. I am actually not a coffee drinker but Chris knows that I, as a loyal Philter patron, always order an oat milk chai latte. Philter also carries a wide selection of gift items, like ethically made chocolate, small leather goods, and art.
Roasted Shroom Egg Sandwich at Mary Pat’s Provisions
BREAKFAST AT MARY PAT’S PROVISIONS
Walk down State Street to the Market at Liberty Place, where you’ll find Mary Pat’s Provisions, a breakfast-and-lunch spot run by owner Tim Courtney. Every Saturday, my husband Greg and I head to Mary Pat’s for breakfast, and Tim has our order memorized. I get the roasted ‘shroom egg sandwich (which comes with goat cheese and truffle aioli), and Greg gets the caramelized bacon egg sandwich (with chili aioli). I’ve also heard that the avocado toast is amazing, and you can get fresh-squeezed juices or acai bowls to start your day.
LUNCH TO GO FROM TALULA’S TABLE
Talula’s Table is famous for its farm table dinner reservations (famously booked a year in advance), and by day it’s a casual food market with excellent to-go options. Stop in for a sandwich or salad, along with a Baba’s Brew kombucha (brewed in nearby Phoenixville) or sparkling water to take for a picnic lunch in the nearby Anson B. Nixon Park. Don’t forget dessert: There are different daily flavors of freshly baked macarons and cupcakes. You can even order online for easy pickup outside the shop.
Kennett Square is home to a number of small businesses, and each has its own vibe. Stroll down tree-lined State Street and pop in to whatever strikes your fancy. I have my go-to shops, of course. At Mrs. Robinson’s Tea Shop, I stock up on Orange Grapefruit herbal tea. When I’m not sure what to get for a gift occasion, I browse the ethically made items at Clean Slate Goods to find interesting jewelry, handmade pottery, and scented candles. The Kennett Bookhouse has a wonderful selection of used and new books, plus gifts for your favorite bookworm.
HAPPY HOUR AT PORTABELLO’S
Portabello’s boasts a large bar and a cocktail menu that puts an unexpected spin on classic drinks. I like the lemon sage martini, and my husband Greg enjoys the pomegranate blood orange old fashioned. If you’re feeling a little hungry, try the portabello tempura appetizer, served with a zesty wasabi dipping sauce. The restaurant has big windows that open up to the street for a cool breeze and people watching.
Tiger Roll at Lily Asian Cuisine
DINNER AT LILY ASIAN CUISINE
Enjoy a variety of Asian-inspired dishes at Lily, a Kennett Square favorite. There are lots of entrees to choose from (like curries or pad Thai), but we always gravitate toward sushi. I like the tiger roll, Greg likes the TNT roll, and we can’t resist the pork gyoza. The restaurant is BYOB, so stop by Letty’s Bottle Shop (on the lower level of Letty’s Tavern) to pick up wine to share, or try a refreshing Thai iced tea with your meal.
ICE CREAM AT LA MICHOACANA
For the past 18 years, La Michoacana has been serving their homemade ice cream with inventive flavors, inspired by the ice cream traditions of the Michoacán state of Mexico. The bestselling flavor is corn, which you can get with a sprinkling of chili or cinnamon. Its pure corn flavor makes for a surprising dessert. But my favorite is the next-bestseller: avocado. It’s sweet and smooth, and I love it in combination with other fruity flavors like mango, coconut, or mamey. If you’re more of a chocolate fan, try Greg’s favorites: peanut butter Oreo, cookies and cream, or Nutella. The homemade paletas are also worth sampling. They come in flavors including piña colada and mango habanero.
Your Day at A Glance
111 W. State St.
Mary Pat’s Provisions
148 W. State St.
102 W. State St.
Anson B. Nixon Park
405 N. Walnut Rd.
Mrs. Robinson’s Tea Shop
129 E. State St.
Clean Slate Goods
103 W. State St.
130 S. Union St.
108 E. State St.
Lily Asian Cuisine
104 W. State St.
201 E. State St.
La Michoacana Ice Cream
231 E. State St.
Mushroom Festival 2021
Since 1986, Kennett Square’s annual Mushroom Festival has attracted thousands of visitors each year. Proceeds benefit local nonprofit organizations through Mushroom Festival grants, which total over $1 million to date. These grants are made possible in part by the sponsorship from the local mushroom industry, like the fourth-generation growers at Phillips Mushroom Farms. The Woodlands at Phillips, the retail location of the farms, is proud to be a longtime festival sponsor. Visitors can stop by the Woodlands for fresh and specialty mushrooms all year long.
Although the Mushroom Festival was canceled in 2020, it’s back in 2021 with a smaller scope and all the charm we love. The festival will feature over a hundred vendors plus a silent auction of student art. I can’t wait to visit and sample my favorite mushroom goodies: fried ‘shrooms and mushroom mac and cheese.
MUSHROOM FESTIVAL 2021 DETAILS
- Dates and times: September 11 (9am–7pm) and 12 (10am–5pm)
- Location: 600 S. Broad St., in the parking lot of the Genesis HealthCare building
- Admission: $5 per person (ages 12 and up)
- Event website: mushroomfestival.org