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Where to Go, What to Know

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

DRIVE TIME

About 2 hours from the Beltway

COST

$303 B&B: $160 Meals: $143

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GETTING THERE

Take Interstate 95 to Route 202 toward West Chester/Wilmington, then keep left to continue into Pennsylvania. At West Chester, go south on Route 52 (Kennett Pike) or U.S. Route 1 to Avondale, the last stop before returning to Washington. Don't forget to take a big cooler. Return via Gap Newport Pike (Route 41) to Route 1.

WHERE TO STAY

· Faunbrook Bed and Breakfast ,699 Rosedale Ave., West Chester, Pa., 610-436-5788. (For a listing of area B&Bs, go to http://www.bvbb.com).

WHERE/WHAT TO EAT

· El Sombrero (437 Gap Newport Pike, Avondale, 610-268-3553) has spicy steak tacos ($1.75 each), quesadillas with shredded beef, and sopes, which are small fried masa cakes with tostada-like toppings (both $2.50). Corn tortilla chips and salsas are perfect.

· Taqueria Moroleon (345 Scarlet Rd., Suite 15, Kennett Square, 610-444-1210) offers tacos ($2 each), a house-special seafood soup ($16.95, weekends only) and, of course, mushroom quesadillas ($9.95, with sides).

WHERE TO FOOD SHOP

· Carlino's Specialty Foods (128 W. Market St., West Chester, 610-696-3788) At the back of the store, go for flat pepperoni-and-cheese breads ($5.95) and brick-oven pizza pies, from a medium plain ($11) to a large Lauretta, with portobello mushrooms, Vidalia onions, fresh tomatoes and mozzarella cheese ($33).

· Country Butcher Fine Foods Market (145 S. Walnut St., Kennett Square, 610-444-5980) serves breakfast all day at the cafe (pancakes, $4.50; mushroom and cheese omelet, $6.50). At the meat counter, there is prime, all-natural beef, lamb, veal and pork from nearby Lancaster County; also rabbit, bison and venison, plus poultry from Delaware. Open Tuesday through Saturday.

· Mario Cutone Mushrooms (pronounced "koo-TOAN"; 202 Church St., Avondale, 610-268-2271) has fresh white mushrooms ($1.50 per pound, well below grocery store prices), with other varieties available.

· El Sombrero Grocery Store (431 Gap Newport Pike, Avondale, 610-268-0116) has peppers, pineapples and avocados displayed by the bushel, again at bargain prices.

· Enoteca Va La , at Va La Vineyards (8820 Gap Newport Pike, Avondale, 610-268-2702) sells wine by the bottle, case and/or mixed case. Also: locally made cheeses, Neuchatel chocolates (made in Oxford, Pa.), Prospero Winery olive oils, Jack's Gourmet Jam & Jelly fruit jams (of Landenberg, Pa.). Open Thursday through Sunday.

· Talula's Table (102 W. State St., Kennett Square, 610-444-8255) offers scones baked daily and other treats (baguettes, $3), with coffee and cozy seating. Try the chef's house-made salamis ($25 per pound), sausages ($10 to $14) and pâtés ($25 to $30). Farmhouse Table dinner, $90 for eight-course tasting menu, not including tax and tip; reservations only for a group of eight to 12.

INFORMATION

· This year's 23rd annual Mushroom Festival is Sept. 6-7; a local mushroom farm will offer free public tours for the day; go to http://www.mushroomfestival.org.


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