While they may have a lot in common, southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York City also have several qualities that make them one-of-a-kind. From muffins to musical theater, you can find state symbols that showcase each state’s famous people, places and things.
When friends Marc and Wayne decided to open Billy’s Bakery
, they didn’t forget to perfect their recipe for apple muffins. As New York’s official state muffin (apples are the state fruit), the apple muffin is a treat that few people can turn down. Every item at Billy’s Bakery is homemade and fresh, and the online menu is no exception. At www.billysbakerynyc.com, you can order apple muffins made with cinnamon buttermilk and generous chunks of ripe apples. For the NYC experience, visit their bakery locations in Chelsea, Nolita and Tribeca. Once you’ve had your fill of apple muffins, try a coconut cupcake, peanut butter chocolate pie or butterscotch gingerbread cookie.
Nicknamed the Garden State, New Jersey lives up to its reputation for having beautiful flowers and well-manicured parks. For example, Rutgers Garden in New Brunswick boasts colorful collections year-round. Take a tour to learn all about the azalea garden and bamboo forest, or join a gardening class to hone your skills. Events at the garden include farmers markets, wine tastings and the Fall Festival on October 9, 2011. See if you can spot a common meadow violet, the official New Jersey state flower. Find out about the Plant of the Month and plan your day in the garden at www.rutgersgardens.rutgers.edu.
Founded in 1809, Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre is Pennsylvania’s state theater – and rightfully so. It’s now in its 202nd anniversary season, producing shows, as well as educational programs to rave reviews. President Thomas Jefferson was in attendance opening night for the Philadelphia landmark’s first performance The Rivals, and big names have appeared both on and off the stage ever since. Aspects of Love will be playing from September 6 until October 23, 2011, followed by The King and I in November. For younger audiences, the Walnut Street Theatre for Kids has Madeline and the Bad Hat lined up for September 24, 2011. Read about the theater’s history and order tickets at www.walnutstreettheatre.org.
Learn more about your own hometown or explore the attractions of a neighboring state; whether you love the history of an age-old landmark or the outdoor appeal of public gardens, there’s lots to discover in the area. More information about state symbols can be found at www.dec.ny.gov/education/1887.html, www.nj.gov/nj/about/facts/symbols and www.pa.gov (click “About Pennsylvania”).