Monday, June 3, 2013

Time To Embrace My Mountain Heritage (At Least For A Day)!

As I mentioned in my last post, my wife and I have started to take day trips on the weekend to get out of the apartment while spending some time together and exploring places in our state that we have never seen (or haven’t been to in a while). The first of these day excursions was last Saturday, May 25th, when we drove up the Northeast Extension to Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania (we were away the weekend prior but it was a trip to New Jersey so that doesn’t count).

Jim Thorpe, formerly Mauch Chunk, is a small town tucked in a valley at the southern most boundaries of the Pocono Mountains. This picturesque village, commonly referred to as the “Switzerland of America” and the "Gateway to the Poconos", is a well known regional tourist destination but with little exposure beyond the tri state area. I consider ourselves very lucky to be only about an hour and fifteen minutes from this mountainous respite.

I have known of this place for some time but never had the chance to drive up there and explore (pretty sad since I have lived in Pennsylvania for most of my life). However, my wife had never even heard the name and didn’t have a clue as to where it was or what was there to see. It didn’t take much to convince her to make the drive… all I had to do was give her the address for the tourism website and a quick click on the YouTube found on the home page.

Early the next morning, my wife woke me up and informed me of our decision to put off cleaning the apartment until Tuesday so that we could spend the day together exploring Jim Thorpe. About an hour later, here was the view of the town as we descended on Route 209S toward the heart of the valley.

After a quick detour to the other side of town and talking with some local residents, we backtracked to the main parking lot along the west bank of the Lehigh River. Given our proximity, our first stop was at the visitor’s center at the old train station where we picked up a map, got a recommendation for lunch, and took a quick look at the train as it was pulling out.

From there we only made it about a block and a half before we stopped for lunch at Bear Appétit. With our stomachs full, it was time to start our lazy walk up and down Broadway where we found this café (which reminded my wife of her sister).

We weaved our way in and out of shops and up and down some of the side streets for a couple of hours before we started to make our way back to the car. Having enjoyed our brief tour of the town, we made one last stop at The Inn at Jim Thorpe before we made it back to the parking lot. It was time to use the gift certificate to we received from my brother and sister-in-law which had been slowly fading in my wallet for the last six years (no expiration date)! In other words, look for a follow up to this post later this month.

Back in the car, we did a very quick drive by tour of the rest of the town as well as some surrounding communities (you can cover a lot of ground when the speed limit in between is fifty five) with our final stop being the overlook on Flagstaff Mountain where our final picture of the trip was captured.

*Please note that all pictures we taken by my wife during this trip. I look forward to contributing my own photography to future trips and posts.