Saturday, June 18, 2016

Two Years Makes A Huge Difference

My wife and I have been to Jim Thorpe several times in the past. Usually driving up for the day just to walk around the sleepy town near the entrance to the Pocono Mountains. We have always enjoyed our trips up there and we have been planning to return with our son at some point. This weekend we finally took the time and made the plans to travel into the mountains as a family.

Unfortunately, as is the case with many things in life, reality didn’t live up to the memories. That being said, the town itself has changed rather significantly since our last excursion two years ago and, for us, it has definitely not changed for the better. It all began as soon as we approached the valley and we could see the mass of cars and people filling the streets, sidewalks, and parks. It was rather odd seeing the main line atmosphere so far from Philadelphia but that is exactly how the trip unfolded over our two day stay.

While there were a few brief glimpses of what it used to be like in the muted stir of the evening, it seems as though this town is no longer the forgotten destination that it once was and the makeover that it has received recently demonstrates that the town is definitely well aware of its new windfall. But, they are certainly honing in on a certain type of visitor to the town as many of the new shops are more akin to what you would find in the small towns around San Francisco. There are certain demographics that certainly find this appealing but don’t count me as one of them.

Of courses, there were a few aspects to the short trip that didn’t really sit well with me either. In addition to the sheer number of people that had flooded the valley, the attitudes and mentalities of those people was something that I would prefer not to encounter especially when trying to get away and relax. And it seems to have had an impact on the great people that live and work in those small shops along Broadway and Race Street.

In previous trips, the people have always been one of the best parts about the town. Great scenery and great people… that is really what we look for when trying to find a place where we can relax. Now, in this little town, the drastic shift has seemly changed some people, broken others, and driven the rest out of town. The small family shops are nearly gone. The library is half the size that it used to be. Those remaining have a different way about them and a completely different attitude… no more friendly and casual conversations. And there are clearly people who have already gone or are moving because the sale signs are plentiful.

Maybe this is a brief phase for the town and things will change back in the near future. Maybe our perspectives were off those days. Maybe, but it doesn’t look like we will be have any time in the near future as there are so few opportunities to get away and we are not going to risk completely wasting one on a return trip... that is the feeling that we got this time around. I guess some things are best left as memories.