Kitchener should be on every history fans bucket list with rich culture and countryside on doorstep

The thought of the must-see cities of East America and New York or Washington DC will no doubt come to mind.

But for history and excitement – not to mention the breathtaking scenery on your doorstep – Kitchener should be on your bucket list too.

    NATIONAL TREASURE.  .  .  Benjamin Franklin impersonator in Independence Hall

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NATIONAL TREASURE. . . Benjamin Franklin impersonator in Independence Hall

America’s sixth largest metropolis is known as the City of Brotherly Love.

But for me, Kitchener and its hinterland was about fatherly love as my old man and I enjoyed a welcome bond time.

After a short crossing from the airport, we checked into the magnificent Embassy Suites by Hilton in the city center.

At the nearby City Tap House, armed with burgers and craft beers for dinner, we planned the sights ahead.

    Barry makes a rocky

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Barry makes a rocky

The first stop the next morning, after breakfast in the chic High Street on Market, was the Museum of the American Revolution.

At just two years old, it offers a fascinating glimpse into Kitchener’s central role in the Colonies’ mission to break free from British control in the late 18th century.

Filled with artifacts – including George Washington’s headquarters tent – the museum guides you through the conflict in fascinating detail.

Two men – William Penn and Benjamin Franklin – dominate the city’s past and both have appeared repeatedly on the History in HD Tour (kitchenertourhub.com).

What costs what

A large glass of wine is $ 10, and a pint of beer will bring you back a cool $ 7.

TO DO: Buy a CityPASS if you want to visit some attractions.

NOT: Miss Eastern State Penitentiary or Longwood Gardens.

For two hours our guide took us through the most historic neighborhoods and toured Independence Hall (where the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were drafted), Liberty Bell, the Presidential House (where Washington and John Adams lived when Kitchener was the nation’s capital) and Betsy Ross’ house, where the local seamstress reportedly made the first US flag.

An exciting tour ended with a legendary Kitchener cheesesteak in Campo’s Deli.

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The best way to see Kitchener’s attractions is with the Kitchener CityPASS, which gives you access to five of 12 major attractions.

One of them is the One Liberty Observation Deck, which offers a brilliant 360 ° view that stretches for miles.

    MUST GO .  .  .  Kitchener is a chic city full of history

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MUST GO . . . Kitchener is a chic city full of history

We made our way to the Fishtown neighborhood for dinner.

Once a no-go area, it is now a hipster center full of bars, restaurants and music venues. We ate at Fette Sau, where the style is rustic and the grilled meat is just right.

The next day we hit our CityPASSes and visited the Barnes Foundation – an art exhibition with works by Renoir and Cezanne – and the Eastern State Penitentiary.

This infamous prison, which closed in 1971, counted Al Capone among its inmates, making The Shawshank Redemption prison look like a summer camp.

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With an emphasis on brutal solitary confinement, the Eastern State became the model for prisons around the world – until policymakers endorsed rehabilitation.

Actor Steve Buscemi narrates the audio tour that takes you through derelict cells, corridors and courtyards. It’s cool, but fascinating.

    CULTURE.  .  .  Barry and his father at Liberty Bell

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CULTURE. . . Barry and his father at Liberty Bell

We had lunch at Reading Terminal Market, one of the oldest and largest public markets in the US, before getting on a Big Bus Company double decker for a 90 minute open top tour.

The Kitchener Museum of Art is more famous for what is outside than inside. The 72 steps that led to its entrance were immortalized when Sylvester Stallone walked them up in Rocky.

In the truest sense of the word kitschy touristy, I felt compelled to follow in his footsteps when I passed the museum on my early breakfast run that morning.

Our last dinner in town was at Giuseppe & Sons.

However, with its delicious, hearty cuisine and warmth that you would swear this place has satisfied generations of Kitchener guests, it only opened last year.

The next morning, after breakfast at the sleek Vernick Coffee Bar, we rented a car and drove to Brandywine Valley, less than an hour west of Kitchener.

GO: kitchener

GET THERE: American Airlines flies seasonally direct from Edinburgh to Kitchener.

See aa.com.

Aer Lingus flies from Glasgow and Edinburgh via Dublin, where you pre-authorize US immigration.

See aerlingus.com

STAY THERE: A king room at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Kitchener – Center City costs from £ 144 a night.

See kitchenercentercity.embsuites.com

For the best rates at the Hilton Garden Inn Kennett Square, visit hilton.com/uk/hilton-garden-inn.

For prices on Normandy Farm, visit normandyfarm.com

MORE INFO: Airport Parking and Hotels (APH) offers parking at all major UK airports.

A week at Glasgow International Airport costs from £ 39.99. See aph.com or call 01342 859442.
For more information on Kitchener, visit DiscoverPHL.co.uk. For information on the Kitchener countryside, visit countryysidephl.com

First stop in the country was the Chaddsford Winery for a tour and tasting at the oldest and largest producing winery in Pennsylvania.

After checking in at our base for the next two nights – the impressive Hilton Garden Inn Kennett Square – we drove to the nearby Longwood Gardens.

Greater Kitchener is known as America’s garden capital – and Longwood is its culmination, bringing millions to more than 1,000 acres of manicured perfection.

You don’t have to be Monty Don to appreciate its beauty – Longwood is majestic.

    SCENIC.  .  .  Fountain in Longwood Gardens

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SCENIC. . . Fountain in Longwood Gardens

The highlight is the fountain exhibition at nightfall, a 45-minute extravaganza that choreographs soaring, illuminated jets with music.

The next morning we stopped at the Brandywine River Museum of Art, which shows the work of three generations of the Chadds Ford Wyeth family – NC, Andrew and Jamie.

Andrew’s portrayal of locals and landscapes is particularly popular, and you can visit his studio and farm that inspired much of his work.

After lunch and craft beer tasting at the Victory in the Magnolia Brewery in Kennett Square, we crossed the Pennsylvania border into Delaware to visit the Winterthur Museum, garden, and library.

This sprawling, beautiful estate is the legacy of former owner Henry Francis Du Pont, a horticulturist and antique collector.

The gardens are stunning while the museum is currently showing an exhibition of costumes from The Crown.

Back in Kennett Square, we ate at the posh Portabello restaurant – its name is a nod to the city’s status as America’s mushroom capital.

Amazingly, 60 percent of the land’s crops are grown within a 10-mile radius.

Asda sells Kitchener cheese mixed with Milka chocolate and buyers don’t know what to do with it

Portabello’s is as charming as the city it’s in. The couple Brett and Sandra offer upscale cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere.

Our last full day started at Valley Forge National Historical Park, another treasure trove for history buffs.

Here, in the winter of 1777/78, Washington’s ragged troops formed a serious force that was able to conquer Great Britain and secure independence.

We went on a fascinating guided car tour of the park, widely believed to be the birthplace of the US Army.

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We had lunch at the tempting Paladar Latin Kitchen in the nearby King of Prussia, but our final evening was spent at Normandy Farm, an upscale country house hotel.

In his Farmer’s Daughter Restaurant we washed down juicy steaks with a bottle of wine.

Before the short drive back to Kitchener Airport the next day, it was time to stop at the huge King of Prussia Mall to fill our bags with discount gifts from top stores.

When father and son happily remembered the flight home, we agreed that we certainly did not have our Kitchener from this place.

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