Festive Pennsylvania Road Trip

Ames Adventure






Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania

Looking for a charming town to feel that Hallmark movie small town vibe? Let's go!

When I start my planning, I always think about how I want to feel. Do I want to go back in time? Do I want to appreciate nature? Am I looking for something to make me feel like a kid again? Well this trip has it ALL.

There is something about the open roads in Pennsylvania and the simple life that makes me appreciate everything a little more. I planned this trip with Christmas in mind. I knew that I wanted to get into the holiday spirit but also be outside.

Our first stop was Bethlehem, PA! This town was gorgeous at night, it was like a mini city. I must say if you are not the open-road type then this town is a great way to ease into the transition. You still feel at home with the NYC vibes, yet you are just dipping your toes into the Pennsylvania life.

First stop downtown, Fegley’s Bethlehem Brew Works. If you are a beer and pretzel person, this place is for you. I can’t vouch for the beer but my boyfriend can. His favorite was Fegley's Amber Lager. Their beers have such fun names and many of them are even at the local grocery stores. I actually ended up with an espresso martini. Yes, I know, not exactly the best drink at a brewery but I needed a pick-me-up after the long drive and let me tell you, it did the job!

After a drink and a snack, we headed over to get some tapas for dinner. You can’t go wrong with Tapas on Main! This place had an adorable yet classy, romantic atmosphere. We loved the chorizo and of course the Spanish sangria.

Thanks to Hotels.com, our hotel was inexpensive and close by. We stayed in Allentown, PA at Days Hotel by Wyndham. It was a no-frills hotel that got the job done. When I go on a road trip, I’m not looking for a spa resort because honestly I don’t plan to stay in the room very long. I look for a clean hotel for a place to crash in between adventures.

The next morning, we were up and at Starbucks bright and early. Thankfully there is Starbucks in PA but they are actually hard to find. Hard to believe when you live in NY, right?

Our first stop was the most charming little town, Jim Thorpe. Every single step is a photo op in this town. The stone buildings and quaint feel makes you never want to leave. First of all, it is important to know that Jim Thorpe is actually a sports legend. This may be obvious to some people but I had no idea! This town is located in the Pocono Mountains, just about 2 hours from NYC.

We made sure to book a ride on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway to get the full experience. I highly recommend doing this! It is a great way to capture the views if you’re not in the mood to hike. While I love hiking, it was nice to sit back and relax and just soak it in. Tickets range from $15 to $19 depending on the time of year and type of car. This truly is a unique experience you won’t want to miss.

Next up, you are going to want to explore the town! There are so many cute little shops to walk in and the locals are more than willing to tell you about the town. We loved The Artsy Olive because who doesn’t love free tastings?! This place was better than Costco, they not only sample their products but they create delicious meals with the products and sample those too. We left with so many oils, pastas and soup mixes.

Now, the shops are great and all but make sure you check out the mansions up the hill! We loved The Harry Packer Mansion. They had a self-guided tour and a bar inside. Now this is my kind of museum, I toured the mansion with a guide in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other.

After a fun-filled day exploring the history of Jim Thorpe, we were ready to be big kids! At night, we headed over to The Lehigh Valley Zoo for the Christmas light show. I know a zoo sounds silly for adults but this is the perfect place to get into the Christmas spirit. The whole zoo is filled with lights and music. They have bonfires where you can make s’mores while watching the giant outdoor tv with Christmas movies playing. While most of the animals are not out because it is too cold, the lights take the show! If being outside at night in the cold isn’t your thing, this zoo offers some pretty unique events all year.

Before heading home the next day, we had 2 more stops left! We visited The Trolley Shops Restaurant for breakfast and then made it to one local vineyard. This restaurant gave us that cracker barrel vibe with their home-cooked eggs and bacon, it was just what we were craving. Thanks to Groupon, we found a small-town winery to get another quick history lesson and of course some wine before it was back on the road to NY. When we pulled up to Tolino Vineyards we debated going in as it looked small and empty but I am so glad that we did! This is a family-owned winery with a unique story. They have bottles of wine named after people in their family and everyone was so friendly. I can’t wait to go back!

I hope y’all enjoyed reading about my charming yet festive, Pennsylvania road trip! If you are looking to escape NYC for an inexpensive weekend getaway, this is the trip for you!


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Welcome to Ames Adventures; Your local Guide to experience the magic of discovering local treasures! I’m Amy Malone. I’m a proud Long Island educator and founder of lifestyle blog, Aimtoadventure.com. Here you’ll find my local adventures, including my favorite bites, scenic spots, unique road trip ideas, trendy boutiques and my passion for mindfulness and journaling.

Kings Park, NY

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