(six miles northeast of Allentown in the Lehigh Valley)
Drive time: A little more than an hour.
The scoop: Nicknamed “Christmas City, U.S.A.” for obvious reasons, Bethlehem (founded in 1741) is a year-round treasure trove of Colonial architecture and the culture of its original German Moravian settlers. The rejuvenated Southside district has become a center of contemporary culture thanks to the Banana Factory Community Arts Center (25 W. Third St., 610-332-1300, bananafactory.org) and Godfrey Daniels (7 E. Fourth St., 610-867-2390, godfreydaniels.org), a not-for-profit live music club.
Accommodations: Sleep under the stars that shimmer through the full-length glass ceiling of The Conservatory ($250/night), the romantic rooftop roost at Sayre Mansion Inn (250 Wyandotte St., 610-882-2100, sayremansion.com), a circa-1850 Gothic Revival-style B&B.
Dining: Seafood is the attraction at Starfish Brasserie (51 W. Broad St., 610-332-8888, starfishbrasserie.com), where chef/owner Bill Burrows treats delicate fish flavors with care (entrées $21-$25).
Don’t miss: Musikfest (610-332-FEST, musikfest.org), Aug. 3-12, is one of America’s largest music festivals, featuring more than 300 performers on 15 stages.