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Escape Keys

Where to Go, What to Do on a Stretch of the Underground Railroad in Pa.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Getting There

West Chester and surrounding towns are about 125 miles northeast of the Capital Beltway, about a 2 1/2 -hour drive.

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Where to Stay

Across the Way Bed and Breakfast at Fassitt Mansion (6051 Old Philadelphia Pike, White Horse, 717-442-0453, http://www.acrossthewaybb.com), in the heart of Amish country, has doubles from $89. At Longswamp Bed and Breakfast (1605 State St., Longswamp, 610-682-6197, http://www.longswamp.com), rooms start at $95. The Great Valley House (1475 Swedesford Rd., Malvern, 610-644-6759, http://www.greatvalleyhouse.com) has rooms from $104.

Where to Eat

Sovana Bistro (696 Unionville Rd., Kennett Square, 610-444-5600) offers a "100-Mile Menu" of locally produced foods ($11-$27). Simon Pearce Restaurant (1333 Lenape Rd., West Chester, 610-793-0949) offers mushroom bisque and horseradish-crusted blue cod; entrees $20-$24.

What to Do

The free Chester County Historical Society (225 N. High St., West Chester, 610-692-4800, http://www.cchs-pa.org/visit.php) has a history center with a museum, library and photo archive. The Chester County Visitors Center (300 Greenwood Rd., Kennett Square, 610-388-2900, http://www.cccvb.org/VisitorsCenter.asp; free) features a small exhibit on the Underground Railroad. One Sunday a month in summer and fall, hour-long Underground Railroad Heritage Trail van tours leave from here $10, children $5. http://www.undergroundrr.kennett.net; to reserve, call 610-347-2237. The Bethel AME Church (450-512 E. Strawberry St., Lancaster, 717-393-8379, http://www.bethelamelancaster.org/lte.html) had a congregation of free African American "conductors" on the Underground Railroad.

For More Information

The Kennett Underground Railroad Center Web site (http://undergroundrr.kennett.net) includes an interactive map with railroad stations. Learn more about the Underground Railroad in Pennsylvania at http://www.paquestforfreedom.com/freedomjourneys/philadelphia.aspx.

-- C.D.

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