I’d Rather Be in Switzerland…

Jim Thorpe, PA, one of the top 50 places to live and play. Jim Thorpe, a top 100 adventure town. Go to Jim Thorpe they say. It’s the Switzerland of America. It’s the Gateway to the Poconos with it’s picturesque scenery, mountainous location, AND architecture. Come to Jim Thorpe, it is named after the world’s greatest athletes!

We went to Jim Thorpe and I’ll tell you what….I’d rather see Switzerland. I’ve been wanting to go to Jim Thorpe for several year now. I heard from someone it’s creepy. Creepy isn’t always bad, is it? Someone told me it’s completely adorable and charming. Adorable and charming? I’m.all.over.it. Who doesn’t love a little town with really pretty buildings and architecture set inside of mountains. Little shops downtown, I’m also all over that. I was all over EVERYTHING until I realized…there was nothing to be all over.

I had a brilliant idea. I use the word brilliant lightly because they are usually not that brilliant, but dumb in fact. Anyway, I had a brilliant idea. There’s a park there called Flagstaff Mountain Park. You can hike up to the mountain and see the pretty views. I googled the views to see what it looked like and it was amazing. I showed Adam pictures and he was game. The night before the trip we looked up to see if it was too strenuous. We haven’t hiked in awhile, so we didn’t want it to be too difficult. He couldn’t find the blog on about the hike anywhere. All I kept saying is “Are you typing in Jim Thorpe? Are you typing in PA?” The morning of the trip I hopped on my computer to look up everything. The Mountain was in Colorado. Clearly we won’t be making it out there this trip.

The first thing we did when we got into “Jim Thorpe” was drive up Flagstaff Mountain. The one in Pennsylvania obviously. Colorado would have been a pretty far drive to see a mountain.

At the one view point there was a huge parking lot with a few cars there. We got out on one side and took a few pictures of the scenery. Usually no one is around or willing to get a picture of us (or we have a language barrier), so I take a picture of Adam and then Adam will take one of me. Well, after Adam took a picture of me a man ran up and pretty much demanded we took a picture together. He took one picture and we are so grateful. This never happens, like EVER.
 We crossed the parking lot to see the other view (seen in the bottom two pictures)
 After taking a bunch of pictures another man jumped out of his jeep to tell us that a little farther up the hill there is a nice spot to get even better views. It was “kind of a rip off” because it said it’s 150 mile view, but according to him it wasn’t. What-ev-er. As you have heard before: we live for free! We hopped in our car and headed up there. 
As we were driving up the road to get to the summit for the “free view” there were lots. Apparently they are selling the lots on there. This was the view:

I’m not complaining. It was gorgeous. You can even see the Lehigh Valley in that big….valley in the lower left picture. This lot at the top was a little over an acre. Can you imagine? “Hey come to my house” “Oh is there a view? Nah, not really” Coming from the Poconos all I can think is: good luck in the winter with all of the snow trying to get down the driveway.

We hopped in the car and headed into town. First thought a-dor-a-ble. Seriously. The architecture. Everything. I could live in a town that looks like this. It just seems so picturesque like a movie. We stopped by the Jim Thorpe Information Center, which was also near the railroad, gorge, and the I guess a bank.

 We decided to check out the Jim Thorpe Memorial to learn more about who this man was. They have 2 statues dedicated to him. One was for football and the other was for disc golf. He was also buried there as well. Reading through the memorial information there we realized….Jim Thorpe wasn’t even from the area. He was from Oklahoma and attended school 100 miles away from Mauch Chunk (now Jim Thorpe).
 How can a town be named after, dedicated, and memorialized to a man who NEVER even lived there!? We did a quick Google search and found that reason Jim Thorpe was named after him was because….a greedy 3rd wife. Oklahoma did NOT want to put up a memorial to honor him and his 3rd wife saw that Mauch Chunk was looking for someone to dedicate the town to. Seeing the money she would get from it, she agreed to have him buried there and have a monument, AND town dedicated to him. Greedy, greedy, greedy. 

We may have gotten lost…a lot. Mainly trying to find a parking spot. Let’s go to the Asa Packer Mansion. Nope, no parking lot for the hotel. Let’s go to the parking lot across from the Mansion. Nope people are being ticketed. If we drive up the street a little more maybe there will be parking. Nope. More woods. WHERE IS ALL OF THE PARKING?!

So, we drove back downtown and parked several blocks away. There were so many tiny stores there, so I didn’t mind window shopping and browsing on the way to the mansion. A bunch of the stores were….crap. You can get it anywhere. Nothing that screamed “I am from Jim Thorpe. I was apart of the Lehigh Railway. We are similar to Switzerland because we have mountains.” Nothing. Leave it to me though. If there’s one thing I can find…it’s an ice cream and chocolate shop. On the way to the Asa Packer Mansion we ended up stopping in a shop called Rainbow’s End. We are cheap, but bring in chocolate and ice cream and suddenly we are millionaires.

This is how you know you are fat. Signs all over the place stating “$10 credit card limit”. We get ice cream
Ice Cream Scooper: “that’ll be $8.50”.
Adam: “Oh we only have a card”.
Ice Cream Scooper: “That’s fine, just tell the lady at the register”
Ashley: “I don’t know Adam, maybe we should get chocolate. You know, to make it $10”
And get chocolate we did.

We headed up to the Asa Packer Mansion and the Harry Packer Mansion 


Both mansions were closed for the daily tour, so we just wandered around the grounds until we walked back to the car.

While it was not the most amazing, gorgeous, adorable, charming town I expected, it did leave us with some pretty good laughs at our failed expectations. Would we go sight seeing there again? Probablyyyyyyyyyyyyyy not, but they do have lots of outdoor activities going on in the area.: rafting, biking, hiking, and kayaking.

My statement still stands, I’d rather go to Switzerland.

Have you ever been somewhere where it did not meet your expectations? Where did you go?

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