Recipe for the perfect winter weekend getaway:
- 1 destination less than a 3-hour drive from home
- 1 dog-friendly digs with fireplace
- 2 good friends
- 3 open restaurants
- 4 trails for hiking and cross-country skiing
- Generous handful of independently owned shops
- Too many kind souls to count!
Mix all the ingredients and what do you get? The historic town of Jim Thorpe in Carbon County, PA! Yep, coal country.
You might be wondering about the man Jim Thorpe. The first Native American Olympic US gold medalist, Jim Thorpe is still regarded by some as the greatest athlete of all time. For our purposes, the eponymous small town nestled in the Poconos region of eastern Pennsylvania, formerly known as Mauch Chunk, checked all our boxes and some that weren’t even on the list. Plenty of outdoor winter activities and just enough open restaurants and shops to keep us happy for a few days.
We chose to stay in town, renting an apartment from High Street Guest House, right on the main drag, Broadway. This turned out to be a great choice considering a lot of snow had recently fallen and we had a designated, cleared parking space with our rental. Plus, when we weren’t hiking or skiing we had access to everything else we wanted to check out right outside our door.
The town and the folks we met were so enchanting, we were planning future returns before we even left. The sight of massive rhododendrons lining hillside hikes must be gorgeous in the Spring. Summer means trading in snow skis for boats and bikes. Fall is the busiest time when autumn colors show best. In any season, Jim Thorpe is a terrific choice to beat the Covid blues or satisfy the urge for a roadtrip. My future visit would also include visiting the Packer mansions, the Old Jail Museum, Stabin Museum, Studio YNW, Union Publick House, shopping at Mabacol as well as return visits to the following places that we did enjoy.
FOOD & DRINK
Donerds Donuts – THE best fresh daily donuts ever. Open until they sell out. She’s from Santiago, Chile! [67 Broadway]
Moya – Wonderful South American fare from Ecuadorian chef and owner Heriberto Yunda. Considered ‘fancy’ in these parts. [24 Race Street]
Notch Eight Craft House – Super space with nice food and craft cocktails and beers. [107 Broadway]
Molly Maguire’s Irish Pub – Located in Hotel Switzerland, as odd as it may sound. On Superbowl Sunday 2021, it was the ONLY game in town. [5 Hazard Square]
Insurrection Distillery – A few brews on tap, but go for the atmosphere and cocktails made from their outrageous spirits in Lehighton! Find them on Facebook. [201 N. Main Lane]
Somersault Letterpress – Do not let TripAdvisor mislead you. THIS is the best shop in town! The interior is gorgeous, the greeting cards are LOL funny and like nothing you’ve seen anywhere, prices are great and the workmanship in this authentic letterpress is off the hook. Mitch will treat you right. [60 Broadway]
Naturally Yours – Nice place for organic products including a wide variety of ladies clothing. [81 Broadway]
Scentimental Journey (in the Douglas House Marketplace) – Cute second floor boutique. Suzanne makes her own scented candles, only she is more lovely. [77 Broadway]
Lehigton Outdoor Center – Pronounced Lee-HIGH-ton it’s your one-stop-shop to gear up for the outdoors with a variety of rentals and first-class service. Ask for trail recommendations.
Pulpit Rock – Considered one of the best hikes in Pennsylvania, Pulpit Rock is a 3.8 mile loop in a serene forest setting on the Appalachian Trail with stunning views. In two feet of snow, it’s particularly challenging, although rated moderate. Worth it.
Hickory Run State Park – Superb cross-country groomed trails. There are a lot of State Parks in and around the area, which makes it so attractive for year-round outdoor activities. So much to offer, do some homework. About a 30-40 ride from Jim Thorpe.
Switchback Trail – Two nine-mile trails ideal for walking, biking and cross-country skiing, the Switchback Rail Trail connects Summit Hill and Jim Thorpe. There’s a simple loop right in town that you can enter or exit on Broadway and the end of town near the Packer Mansions.