Two weeks ago, I wrote about my favorite staycation destinations – day trips within a two-hour drive from Clarks Summit. I mentioned stops in Ithaca, New York (the Ithaca Farmers Market and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology); the sprawling Hickory Run State Park in Carbon County and Knoebels Amusement Resort near Elysburg.
I asked readers to write in with their own recommendations, which resulted in several more trips to add to my staycation bucket list.
■ Readers, Joanne Stetz and Rich Winslow, both mentioned Jim Thorpe. I kicked myself – mentally – for not thinking of it myself.
This charming town is “consistently ranked on national media ‘best’ lists and recognized among the most fun, most beautiful, most romantic and best adventure towns to visit,” according to the Jim Thorpe Tourism Agency’s website, jimthorpe.org. It’s a one-hour drive (56 miles) from Clarks Summit via the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
“Nestled in the breathtaking Lehigh Gorge, this Victorian town is teeming with history, romance and family fun,” the website continues. “You’ll enjoy the walkable downtown’s accommodations, shops, restaurants, pubs, wine-tasting and live entertainment, as well as all the outdoor adventure you’d expect in the Pocono Mountains.”
Winslow described Jim Thorpe as “a quaint town which offers nice restaurants, a nice train ride and an old jailhouse that once held the famous Molly Maguires.”
He added it’s especially beautiful in the fall.
Stetz said it’s “always a fun place to go.
“A few years ago, our two Cocker Spaniels were up in years, so we decided to stay home from your usual shore vacation,” Stetz wrote. “It certainly was a nice week.”
■ Another of her destinations that week was the Delaware Water Gap, where she took the trolley tour of the area, followed by a nice lunch.
Information about this tour can be found online at watergaptrolley.com.
There is also plenty to do at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
“Once touted as a scenic wonder of the world, the Delaware Water Gap is a mile-long stretch of the Middle Delaware River that slices through two mountains,” according to npca.org. “The park includes the river and 67,000 pristine forested acres where visitors can enjoy hiking, camping, fishing and water sports in one of the cleanest rivers in the country.”
The Delaware Water Gap is a 55-minute (54-mile) drive from Clarks Summit via interstates 380 and 80.
■ Stetz also mentioned the Allentown Art Museum, which she described as a “hidden treasure” with plenty of interesting places to enjoy lunch or dinner nearby.
The museum offers “tremendous variety and quality” in its collections and exhibitions, programs and events, according to allentownartmuseum.org. A one-hour and 27-minute (85-mile) drive from Clarks Summit by way of the turnpike, it serves more than 100,000 visitors annually, and its collection of more than 19,000 works of art offers the opportunity to experience nearly 2,000 years of cultural heritage.
For more information, visit the website.
■ Winslow recommended several stops in the Hudson Valley. About 120 miles from Clarks Summit, the drive there exceeds my two-hour limit by about 15 minutes, but it's still worth mentioning.
Winslow's recommendations in the Hudson Valley include: Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site (for information, visit nps.gov/hofr.), Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site (see nps.gov/elro), Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site (nps.gov/vama) and the Walkway over the Hudson State Historic Park in Poughkeepsie, New York (visit parks.ny.gov/parks/178 and walkway.org.)
■ Winslow also recommended visiting the United States Military Academy West Point, a "very scenic and historical place to visit."
"Even if you aren’t a football fan, the pageantry of a fall football game at West Point is fantastic," Winslow wrote. "What a view from the stadium! The parade of the Corps of Cadets before a game is outstanding. The spirit of the Cadets at the game is also something to observe."
For information, visit bit.ly/2KeBiK.
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