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This Is Everything Else’s Guide to: The Lehigh Valley

This Is Everything Else’s Guide to: The Lehigh Valley

This Is Everything Else’s Guide to: The Lehigh Valley

Wooooo! Kicking off the first real guide in the Travel Tuesday series with my hometown of Allentown, Pennsylvania, located in - you guessed it - the Lehigh Valley. About an hour north of Philadelphia, an hour south from the Pocono Mountains, and 90 miles from New York City, it was the ideal place to grow up and has continued to evolve into a unique combination of an outdoor and cultural center.

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Fun Facts:

  • The Lehigh Valley consists of Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton; the airport code is ABE. (There’s a great ATL-ABE flight every night around 5 p.m. - it was my saving grace in college)

  • Allentown is the third-largest city in Pennsylvania, behind Philadelphia and Pittsburgh

  • The Liberty Bell was stored in a church in Allentown during the Revolutionary War so the British wouldn’t steal/harm it. (This was before it became all that it’s cracked up to be…)

  • The steel used in the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge was manufactured by Bethlehem Steel, which closed in 2003. The factory grounds have since been transformed into SteelStacks and a casino.

  • Billy Joel has a hit song Allentown … which was technically about Bethlehem, but called Allentown for the purposes of easier rhyming.

  • The arts have a huge influence on the area - especially high school theater. (Yep, I was a theater kid.) Every May, the State Theater in Easton hosts a televised and live-streamed event called the Freddy Awards, that are essentially the Tony Awards for high school. The Oprah Winfrey channel made a documentary about three high schools leading up to the Freddy Awards called Most Valuable Players. (I went to Parkland, and we look… ~competitive in this. Luckily it was filmed before my time, but I get a kick out of seeing people I know in it.) I believe it’s still on Netflix.

 

 I love a good outdoor concert at Steelstacks - they have 2 free outdoor stages and then a paid, indoor stage. I met Andrew McMahon from Jack's Mannequin there after an incredible concert. Super cool venue, indoors and out.

I love a good outdoor concert at Steelstacks - they have 2 free outdoor stages and then a paid, indoor stage. I met Andrew McMahon from Jack's Mannequin there after an incredible concert. Super cool venue, indoors and out.

To Do:

  • Go to a Phantoms or Iron Pigs game - Given the close proximity to Philly, we have two minor league teams. The Philadelphia Phantoms are the Flyers’ AAA team, and play at the PPL Center in Center-City Allentown, and the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs are the Phillies’ AAA team and play at Coca-Cola Park. I’m whatever about hockey (the games are really fun), but I am a passionate Iron PIgs fan, haha. They have great stadium food and classic Minor League shenanigans. Also: Aw Shucks corn and Friday night fireworks.

  • See a movie or a show at Steelstacks - In the summer, there are a ton of both free and ticket-only outdoor movies (like The Avett Brothers !!) and cool indoor shows. They also have an independent movie theater that shows indie movies and major mainstream movies (think Oscar noms).

  • Attend Musikfest - Musikfest is the nation’s largest non-gated free music festival. There are headline concerts that are ticket-only, in addition to several local, national and international groups. It takes over all of downtown and the south side of Bethlehem - and becomes even more fun after you turn 21 to get a famous Musikfest Mug.(I was so excited to get mine in 2016!)

  • Visit Christmas City USA - Downtown Bethlehem is the cutest area, and it’s that much more festive during the holidays. Don’t believe me? Check Buzzfeed. You’ve got Hotel Bethlehem’s Sunday Brunch, Christkindlmarkt and Lights in the Parkway over in Allentown.

  • Hike the Nature Preserve

  • Go apple or pumpkin picking at Grim's

  • Hang out and drink at the Eight Oaks Distillery - feel free to bring snacks and play some corn hole

  • Explore the growing Downtown Allentown area called “The Hamilton District

  • Ski at Bear Creek

  • Visit the Crayola Factory

  • Go on a tour of Covered Bridges 

 

 Eight Oaks Distillery is in the middle of nowhere, and I love it. Great drinks, games and place to catch up with friends.

Eight Oaks Distillery is in the middle of nowhere, and I love it. Great drinks, games and place to catch up with friends.

 Apple picking at Grim's!

Apple picking at Grim's!

To Eat:

*** means I haven’t tried it yet, but that it’s new and getting really good reviews!

 COBBLER FRENCH TOAST. I mean.... @ Billy's Diner

COBBLER FRENCH TOAST. I mean.... @ Billy's Diner

Resources for a great LV visit:

While the Lehigh Valley might not be an obvious destination for a vacation, if you find yourself on a DC-Philly-NYC road trip, it’s a great stop with some gems (like my parents. :) ) There’s also a bus into New York if you want to do a day or quick weekend trip without committing. Also, would recommend stopping at Wegmans and Wawa to experience the true joy of their coffee/hoagie/shopping experience. Hope y'all stumble through my hometown sometime - it's a hidden gem!

Whole 30 in hindsight

Whole 30 in hindsight

welcome to my crib

welcome to my crib