This trip was hosted by the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau but all opinions are honest and my own.
Have you ever been hesitant to share a travel destination because it was so unique and wonderful that you wanted to keep it to yourself? That’s how I feel about Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania BUT, lucky for you, my need to share just how fantastic this charming little town is outweighs my need to keep the crowds away. Believe me, once you see how special this town is you’ll want to visit as soon as you can!
First off, let’s address why the town is named Jim Thorpe. Jim Thorpe was a Native American sports legend. He was an Olympic athlete that competed in the decathlon and pentathlon in 1912 Stockholm Olympics and won both events. He was also a major league baseball player for the New York Giants between 1913 and 1919 and then went on to play professional football for several NFL teams. Jim Thorpe was named the greatest athlete from the first 50 years of the 20th century by the Associated Press and the Pro Football Hall of Fame inducted him as part of its inaugural class in 1963. Following his death in 1953, Jim Thorpe’s wife Patricia was searching for a proper tribute to her husband. She moved his body to Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania (he spent some of his proudest years in the state of Pennsylvania) and the town was renamed in his honor. I will be honest and say that I had never heard of Jim Thorpe before my visit there and I find his story and the town completely fascinating.
Jim Thorpe, PA is located in the Pocono Mountains (just about two hours from NYC) and looks as if it’s the setting of a fictional fairy tale. I was able to visit just before Halloween and the whole downtown area was festively decorated in its Fall finest!
One of my favorite things about the town was the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway. I had the opportunity to ride in a vintage coach to take in the gorgeous scenery along the Lehigh River and Lehigh Gorge State Park. The Railway offers train rides on select dates throughout the year. Although we were just a bit early to see a full display of turning leaves, the ride was still beautiful. Joggers, Bike riders, and even some people fishing could be seen along the trails next to the railway so, not only is it a great place to take a train ride, it’s also a great area for those wanting to get some outdoor exercise and adventure in.
During my visit, the Jim Thorpe Fall Foliage Festival was going on. There was live music, little shops and boutiques that showcased local artisans and crafters, and lots of delicious food!! As you can see from my photos below I was slightly obsessed with the desserts at Carmella’s Italian Bakery booth. They were all SO delicious! Now, don’t worry if you missed the Fall Foilage Festival because the weekends of December 1 – 3, December 9 -10, and December 16-17 you can enjoy Jim Thorpe’s Old Time Christmas. There will be a tree lighting ceremony in Josiah White Park, train rides with Santa, strolling carolers, characters, and musicians, as well as shopping in over 40 shops, galleries, and boutiques, with plenty of free family events and live entertainment. I can’t think of a more perfect place to celebrate the Season and I’m definitely headed back there to experience the holiday magic of this enchanting town! (not to mention that I can’t wait to see what seasonal treats Carmella’s has to offer.)
There is so much to love about Jim Thorpe, PA; from the captivating whimsical buildings and homes to the breathtaking landscape surrounding it, it’s truly a one of a kind town that you need to see to believe. It’s one of those special places that you feel right at home in from the minute you set foot on the winding streets and at the same time feel as if you are stepping back into another era where times were simpler and less chaotic. Be sure to put a trip to this lovely little spot in the Poconos on your travel list, you’re sure to fall in love with it just like I did!
Susan is a Travel/Lifestyle Writer & Photographer. She’s Mom to four children ranging in age from 11 to 23 and is an avid solo and family traveler. She’s always on the look-out for her next adventure and loves to share each of her journeys along the way!