I just posted the last of my photos from 2016. Back in October, we spent a long weekend at Lake Wallenpaupack, a man-made lake in the Northern Poconos created as a reservoir for a hydroelectric plant. Because we left in the evening after work, we stopped and spent a night at Sands in Bethlehem before heading the rest of the way up to the Poconos. Our first stop was in Honesdale to board a train for a scenic ride along the path of the former Delaware and Hudson Canal to check out the beautiful Fall foliage. We then headed to Hawley to check in to our motel right across the street from the lake. We sent much of the weekend walking and driving around the lake and exploring downtown Hawley. Along the way we found time to stop at a few very cool diners. After heading out of town, on our way home, we went to a cider mill because nothing says Fall like a cider mill. Then we visited the home of the first chief of the US Forest Service, Grey Towers. It’s now a national historic landmark and museum. All in all, it was a slower paced, more relaxing vacation than we usually like to take, but it was still a lot of fun.
13 January 2017
08 April 2016
I just posted an album of photos from The Jim Thorpe Winterfest back in February. 3 years ago, we went to the annual festival. It’s a fun event that encompasses the entire downtown area of this quaint little mountain town. We decided to go back this year since we had a free long weekend. The big difference from last time was that this time the temperature throughout the weekend was 5 degrees below zero with a wind chill of -24!!! I like the cold, but this was painful cold unless you had the right gear on. I’m quite happy that I bought a new LL Bean parka last Fall.
There was an ice carver and a wood carver creating sculptures on the street. There’s a “mug walk” where you purchase a mug and them show it at a bunch of stores throughout the town and they give you some small item in return. It’s a fun way to get people into every little shop. Of course, our favorite shop is the Country Cottage where the “pickle lady” resides. She makes the best pickles you’ll ever try. This year, the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railroad was also running. We took an excursion on that which made for a fun break from the bitter cold.
Check out the photos here. You may need to put a coat on to look at them.
06 April 2016
While in the Poconos for the Jim Thorpe Winterfest, we headed up to Scranton for the day to visit the Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum. I highly recommend stopping in if you ever get the chance. The history and heritage of the miners and their families is a fascinating tale. Living as close as we do to the PA coal mining region, I’m sorry I haven’t explored it more. I hope to head back up there one day and take the coal mine tour since it was closed for the winter. We also visited the Historic Scranton Iron Furnaces. It was here that we realized that we did not wear enough layers for the subzero temperatures and after exploring the furnaces we headed directly to the nearest Wal-Mart for additional hand warmers and thermal underwear!
On the way back down to the hotel in Lehighton, we made a stop at Mohegan Sun Pocono (formerly Pocono Downs) in Wilkes-Barre for dinner and a little gambling.
You can see the photos from our day in Scranton here.
23 February 2016
Every year we look for fun “Christmas-y” places to visit during Christmas week. One new place we discovered this year was Shady Brook Farms in Bucks County, PA. Their Christmas light display consists of over 3 million lights and includes displays ranging from light tunnels to iconic structures from around to the world to almost anything else you can imagine.You can drive through or ride on a tractor pulled wagon. We opted for the open air wagon ride because who wants to take pictures from behind glass while driving. Of course, I took full advantage of the wagon ride to take a bunch of photos.
You can check out the photos right here.
While this store sells great gifts, pottery, candles and more, the real treasure is back by the register. It’s a wall of pickles. Packaged in Ball jars with a paper tag held on by twine, these are some of the best homemade pickles you’ll ever taste. Besides delicious dills, there are spicy pickles, pickled green beans, garlic, asparagus, salsas and more. Now you understand why the sign out front says “Home of the Blue Ribbon Pickle.” The very friendly owner (locally known simply as “The Pickle Lady” makes all of these the pickles herself. When I was in this area a few years ago, I found myself lugging a heavy bag of pickle jars around with me. This visit was no different. Even in subzero temperatures, it was worth it! It’s hard not to buy one of everything. For those who don’t want to carry many jars of pickles up and down the hills of Jim Thorpe, she told me she also ships. I hope to take her up on that offer. I just wish she had a website instead of having to call.
22 February 2016
While looking for a late night meal on a weeknight, your choices are usually limited to diners and bars. Diners around this area aren’t open 24 hours so we settled on Pappy’s Schoolhouse. It’s a small local bar. Bar foo can usually go one of two ways… frozen food that you could have picked up at the supermarket yourself or delicious homemade food. This place falls squarely into the homemade category. All of the food was scratch made. They even smoke their own meat! As soon as I heard this, I had to order a brisket sandwich. I was glad I did! Served on a delicious roll with a side of house made barbeque sauce, I was tempted to another one to go!
It’s clearly a local place where everyone knows everyone else, but they made us out-of-towner’s feel welcome too. The waitress actually stopped by our table a few times just to chat. Our dinner took a little longer than expected due to a minor mix up by a new staff member in the kitchen. We didn’t complain since we were in no hurry, but they voluntarily gave us each free dessert to make up for the delay. When do you ever see that type of great customer service anymore?
21 February 2016
I usually go to Bethlehem a few times each year to visit the Sands casino for dinner and a little gambling. I also go to there every year for their Chriskindlmarkt. The striking thing about the city is the long idle Bethlehem Steel plant. The casino is built on part of its former site and the Chriskindlmarkt is now held on another part of the site. However, much of the plant still remains as a monument to what was once the most important business in the city, if not the entire region. This year while at the Chriskindlmarkt, we discovered the new Hoover-Mason trestle walkway. It allows an up close look at the trestle that was formerly used to bring coke, limestone & iron ore to the blast furnaces and serves as a small museum depicting the history of Bethlehem Steel.
You can take a look at the photos I took while walking along the trestle in this album.
20 February 2016
Everyone knows I love covered bridges and that Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. So, what better way to spend a Fall day than visiting every covered bridge in the state of Delaware (SPOILER: there are only 3!) and then driving around looking for Fall colored foliage on the back roads of northern Delaware and southeastern Pennsylvania.
Now you can finally take look at some of what we found in this album.
06 September 2015
Back in June there was a tall ship festival in Philadelphia and the Camden waterfront. When I was a kid my parents would sometimes take us to a park along the Delaware River to see the tall ships when they were coming to Philadelphia. We also got a see them once or twice in Baltimore. So this was a fun chance to check them out up close and bring back some good memories too.
I would have liked to go aboard a few more ships, but the crowds were insane. We chose to go aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Eagle.
You can see the photos right here.
13 April 2014
I posted 2 new albums from the Christmas season. They’re a little late, but 2014 has been a busy year so far.
For the better part of my lifetime (20 years to be exact), every Winter the Grand Plaza at Penn’s Landing is converted to become the Blue Cross RiverRink. I’ve seen it on TV over and over, but have never visited it. I would likely pose a severe danger to myself and others if I strapped on ice skates. However, this year, they built an entire village around the rink called WinterFest. So we went and checked it out. It was a lot of fun. With the amount of trees and decorations they brought in, you’d never know you were on Penn’s Landing. Check out the photos and a video right here.
This year we visited a newer Christmastime event in Center City Philadelphia, The Christmas Spectacular on the giant video screen in the lobby of the Comcast Center. It was kind of neat. It’s good to see some of the money I give to Comcast every month given back to the community. You can view the photos and album here.
22 January 2014
I’m a big fan of old school traditional diners. I randomly stumbled upon the Snydersville Diner while traveling through the Poconos. Upon walking in, it was clear that this was a traditional old diner much like the one my grandmother worked in many years ago. It’s nothing fancy. There’s plenty of chrome all around. It looks like it hasn’t changed one bit in the decades it’s been open, yet it is clean and tidy.
The food is simple but delicious. There’s nothing fancy; just your standard diner fare. Everything was hot, fresh and made exactly as it should be. Diner’s are about comfort food and that what you find here.
The waitresses are your classic diner waitresses. They are friendly and more than happy to suggest the best items on the menu yet just gruff enough so you know that you probably don’t want to mess with them. The only odd thing is that the waitresses wear what appears to be a uniform you’d find on an employee in a doctor’s office. It’s not a bad thing, just odd.
One of the things that our waitress provided a suggestion on was dessert. Snydersville Diner is apparently well known for baking a huge variety of pies. Since we were there in the Fall, I chose a slice of pumpkin pie. The waitress told me that she suggested that I order a slice of pumpkin cream pie instead. She was right, it was delicious. Though I suspect that it would be very hard to find a pie on their menu that isn’t delicious!
Whether you want a delicious fresh cooked meal, yummy pie or just a step into the past, this diner is worth a visit.
27 September 2013
A few weeks ago I used a few days of leave and my sister, mother and i took my niece to the Philadelphia Zoo and the Please Touch Museum. I just posted photos from both trips. You can see the Philadelphia Zoo photos here and Please Touch Museum photos here.
28 June 2013
This small gift shop carries all types of knickknacks, decorations, gift items and gourmet food gifts with a rustic country flare. The best part is the HUGE selection of handmade candles and soaps. You can find every type and scent imaginable from a variety of small vendors. While we were visiting we got into a conversation with the owner, Deb, who happens to be from the Philadelphia area. Besides being a friendly shopkeeper who makes every customer feel welcome in her shop, she also can tell you off the top of her head where each item comes from and the story behind each vendor.
There are lots of cool little shops in Jim Thorpe, but Homespun is a one you shouldn’t miss.
01 June 2013
We stumbled upon What If… of Hershey while looking for a place to stop and eat while passing through central PA. I found it on Yelp and immediately noticed that many of the reviews started out by saying that you shouldn’t let the fact that it’s in the basement of a Howard Johnson scare you off. My first thought was that I should continue my search, but after reading a few rave reviews, I was convinced we should try it. Now, here I am writing one more review that tells you not to let the fact that it’s in the basement of a HoJo scare you away.
Everything at this place was great. It was all made fresh. We even had to wait a bit for our tiramisu for dessert because they were making it fresh. Also, who wouldn’t love a place that has a polenta of the day?! (The polenta was delicious, by the way.) It’s all served in a modern atmosphere that is in stark contrast to the HoJo lobby that you pass through on your way in. The presentation of their fresh delicious food is as modern as the atmosphere.
21 May 2013
This is a great article from TIME magazine about the SS United States. I’d love to see the ship turned into a museum/hotel/dining/shopping complex like the Queen Mary out in Long Beach. Marianne and I had a blast visiting the QM. (Photos of that trip are here.)
The United States could be such a cool attraction at Penns Landing instead just sitting there rusting. It’s a piece of history that needs to be preserved.
More info can be found at www.ssusc.org.