Hello Everyone! I hope you all are having a wonderful day! I am so excited to go through some great day trip ideas if you are traveling to Jim Thorpe PA. This is such a gem in the Poconos, so if you are headed that way, it is a must stop region. Since my husband and I are in the Philadelphia area, the Poconos are regarded as a pivotal place for any vacation when you want a more authentic rural experience. This rings true to many locals, and from the mountains to the charm of the historic towns, you can see how this place is revered.
Jim Thorpe is sort of a sacred area for my family, and before my husband and I ever ventured there, our parents have enjoyed this place for many years. It made sense recently that for celebrations within our family, this place was a frontrunner to enjoy the day. I am sure that any time of the year Jim Thorpe is beautiful in its charm, but we especially enjoyed it in its Autumn glory.
I think it is important to give you a brief history of Jim Thorpe because this place is truly rich in historical notes. The town was originally known as Mauch Chunk (Bear Mountain), but it was renamed later in time for one of the most decorated athletes you know as Jim Thorpe. Another important note is that it was part of the first industrial railroad along the Lehigh Canal. The town has ridiculously gorgeous Victorian Age type buildings which seem to transport your mind to another time.
That will bring us to the first must see area when you are planning a trip, which is the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway. As the name specifies, you do travel by train to see the Lehigh Gorge in the State Park. Since we were leaving from the Philadelphia area the day of the trip, it took us a little over two hours to get to this railway from where we live. The commute was very nice, and when you do arrive there, the railway has ample parking which is awesome. Also, everything was really well laid out, and there is a specific place to purchase your tickets for your train ride.
When we went in October, it was pretty busy, but I think they are used to dealing with large crowds, because it was very easy to coordinate things once we got there. On the train itself I would estimate generally that four people can fit in a booth. If you have small children, you could probably squeeze in about five people. The staff on the train were also very friendly and I can see this as a great place to go if you have kids as a trip they would enjoy too.
The train ride was truly amazing. You really get the vantage point of so many regions of the park, and I loved how the mountains soared against the river. My husband and our family all really enjoy the magnificence of the environment so this was such an amazing experience. Personally, as someone that has not gone on trains very much, I found it so exciting to actually go this ride! I felt like a kid in a candy shop!
After we took the train ride, we decided to wander for a bit around the town. The Victorian essence is very strong and so charming. As I mentioned, you literally feel as if you are walking back in time to another place and it is magical. There are so many little shops and restaurants that line the sidewalks.
We explored the area around the Asa Packer Mansion as well, and let me tell you, that is a house on a hill if I ever did see one! Asa Packer had major ties to the Lehigh Valley Railroad, and it is a Victorian National Historic Landmark. The mansion was closed at the time that we visited, but the building honestly speaks for itself just by walking around it. It is easy to see that Asa Packer had a very significant impact on the history of the town from the railroad to being a founder of the Lehigh University. You can see on the second picture below the viewpoint from the mansion to the town.
We found that these were the main things to do for a fun day trip, but if you are staying in Jim Thorpe for a little longer, you may also enjoy visiting the Old Jail Museum, the Mauch Chunk Cultural Center, and the walking the Lehigh Gorge State Park. Also, if you are in the Poconos, there are so many other places to see as well, and I will have to write you all more specific places on this blog sometime.
I believe, these historic Pennsylvania towns are a place to relax, learn, and enjoy. They are an amazing destination for any world traveler, and the community is very welcoming to all. I hope this guide has given you some ideas for your next trip to Jim Thorpe! Please comment below, and let me know if you have also enjoyed the area, and if you have any stories from your visit! Also, remember to click that subscribe button! I have listed resources for you to check out for up to date travel information as well as more Pocono locations that you may enjoy.
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-For Additional Reading
If you are traveling to the Pennsylvania region, and are interested in learning about its history, a really amazing resource is the book “Pennsylvania A History of the Commonwealth” by which is edited by Randall M. Miller and William Pencak. It is so informative, and reviews the history of our state, in addition to the geography, architecture, archaeology, art history, and even stories of folklore and folklife that are specific to this area.
I personally recommend this book if you are planning a trip to Pennsylvania, or even if you are just interested in learning about the state in general. If you would like to check it out, click on the link below!