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Trip Report Visiting the sixth poorest city in the US...Reading, PA

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It used to be number one but, as with any other list, it is hard to stay at the top. There aren't a lot of reasons to visit Reading unless you are visiting family but there are some nice attractions nearby and the city proper is surrounded by green rolling hills and farmland which seems to be quickly disappearing.

When I was in high school, we would travel from Philly to shop at the outlets. It was a time when outlets were real outlets not the discount stores that fashion lines produce lower end merchandise specifically for like the outlets nowadays. We would buy Lacoste shirts missing a button or London Fog raincoats that made their way to Reading from the sale racks. The outlets were in old mills and the hunt, through narrow, low-ceilinged rooms, was fun.

The outlets have left and the downtown area does not have much to keep it going. You can still get a great deal on Vanity Fair underwear and Lee Jeans out in West Reading and the city did build a sports arena that attracts some big acts. There is a very nice symphony orchestra and a lovely small art museum but, as is the case in many small cities, it's tough to attract investment into the downtown.

We stayed out in a newer part of the outskirts in the Homewood Suites. The two bedroom suite is perfect for us. It's roomy and clean and they allow dogs. The free breakfast is fine and there are a lot of nearby restaurants if you don't mind the chains. Plus, there is a Wawa a few minutes away so what else do you need?

Friday night was the designated time for my family. Luckily, Han Dynasty in Royersford was a doable drive for all of us. Han Dynasty is a well-known chain of Szechuan restaurants in Philadelphia and the suburbs. I think there are about 6 of them. http://handynasty.net/ I highly recommend them if you find yourself near one. We let the kitchen pick for us and had a great time trying dishes we don't see in Williamsburg, VA.

Saturday night found us at Dan's at Green Hills for DH's family party. Green Hills used to be a French restaurant in an old farmhouse. The food was always good. DH and I had many date nights and family get-togethers there and we were sorry to see it sold this year. Dan's has done a good job, though, and our meal was lovely.

Our route into and out of Reading takes us through Amish country so I always have fun spotting the buggies. Sunday must have been a busy Christmas shopping day for them because they were out in big numbers. (Of course, I'm kidding.)


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