If the heat’s gotten the best of you this week, fear not. I’ve rounded up some places where you can escape the city and cool down, plus concert listings, blueberry picking, and more.
Take a trip to … the Delaware Water Gap
About two hours north of Philadelphia, the Delaware Water Gap offers fantastic views, hiking trails, and — best of all — access to the Delaware River. Among the many campgrounds, I like Dingmans Campground at Dingmans Ferry because it’s right on the water. There’s even a shuttle called the River Runner so you can float down the Delaware in kayaks, canoes, or inflatable tubes (rent them or bring your own) and then get a ride back to your starting point, totally free.
This Sunday, float or take the shuttle to the Shawnee Riverfest, a free family-friendly music festival at the Shawnee Inn in East Stroudsburg.
Take a trip to … Nockamixon State Park
A little closer to the city, Nockamixon State Park has a 5,000-acre lake that’s ideal for boating, fishing, and swimming. It’s right near Quakertown, where you’ll find a cluster of great antique stores — all, mercifully, air-conditioned. Grab ice cream at Owowcow in Ottsville. Flavors include s’mores and strawberry rhubarb crumble.
While you’re in the area, check out Ringing Rocks County Park. It’s got a boulder field where certain rocks make a musical “ringing” sound when struck. It may be the only concert this summer that’s “bring your own hammer.” You’re also just a stone’s throw from Frenchtown, New Jersey, and its Famous River Hot Dog Man.
Go blueberry picking
Blueberry season is in full swing, so it’s the perfect time to pick your own. Linvilla Orchards’ Blueberry Festival also features hayrides, pony rides, and face painting for kids, a farmer’s market, and — messiest of all — a pie-eating contest. That’s Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Linvilla Orchards in Media, Pennsylvania. Entry is free, everything else is pay as you go.
Catch some live music
Guitarist Marisa Anderson makes “instrumental music for people who don’t like instrumental music.” Drawing on an eclectic range of influences, from American folk to West African guitar, she’s a master of her craft and a constant improviser. She’s playing Thursday at PhilaMOCA with Dan Wriggins of the Philly-based band Friendship. Tickets are $10.
First Time’s the Charm is a two-day festival that aims to disrupt the largely white and male DIY music scene by encouraging new musicians, women, people of color, and folks from other marginalized groups to jam on. Friday night will feature eight bands performing for the first time. Saturday is a benefit show for Beyond the Bars, a Philly-based nonprofit that teaches music to incarcerated youth. It all goes down at PhilaMOCA; entry is $10.
The new album by Philadelphia-born singer Paula Johns is a tribute to singer Dionne Warwick, composer Burt Bacharach, and lyricist Hal David — but it’s not necessarily a faithful one. “We’re putting a twist to it a little bit,” Johns told reporter Adam Clair. “We brought it into this century, without losing the original intent of the song.” She’s performing Saturday night at Dino’s Backstage in Glenside, Pennsylvania. Entry is $35.
Help write a musical
“Thank You, Places” is a musical that’s different every time it’s performed. This Saturday night, and every first and third Saturday, performers at Philly Improv Theater make up a musical on the spot based on audience suggestions. Entry is $12.
Learn to salsa
The Take the Lead Dance Project is on a mission to promote and teach social dance in the Philly region, particularly to youth. Every first Friday. It offers free salsa lessons, with live music, at the Schmidt’s Commons Piazza in Northern Liberties. This month’s band is The Siempre Salsa All-Stars. Food and drink are available from Gunners Run, El Camino Real Philadelphia, and Chewy’s Philly Food Truck. Entry and dancing are free.
Get a jump on next week
The Hagley Museum and Library is hosting Dinner with a View July 12. Entry is $35 and includes a meal by the Brandywine River and the “Tale of Two Gardens” walking tour. Visitors will learn about two very different 19th-century gardens: the one that fed the du Pont family and the one that fed DuPont Company workers.
It’s the 20th anniversary of “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” and Ms. Hill herself is performing at the Festival Pier in Philadelphia on July 13 with MIA, Busta Rhymes and others. You might want to get a ticket before they sell out.
This article is part of a new effort recommending things to do in the Philly region. Tell us what you think.