The town was super cute and old fashioned. We found a good parking spot and walked two blocks to the Old Jail Museum for our 12:30 tour.
The jail was built in 1871 and didn't close until 1995... which is crazy because the condition of the jail just didn't look like something that would actually fly 22 years ago. I guess that's why they shut it down!
The tour began with a rocky start. I ducked into the bathroom and it smelled worse than a port o john. It was dirty too. Then the unthinkable happened... when I leaned over to put paper on the toilet seat, my sunglasses fell off my head and landed on the dirty part of the toilet between the tank and the seat... right on a dark black PUBE! I almost threw up! Luckily I brought other sunglasses in my gym bag but now I was going to have to burn my cute blue ones.
After that harrowing ordeal, the tour officially began. A young high schooler was our tour guide, and while he tried really hard to do a good job, I had a hard time understanding what he was saying. Some of his words seemed mumbled and jumbled together. Paul said he could understand him fine. When the tour was over, Paul explained some of the things I missed to me!
Solitary confinement was in the "dungeon" below the jail.
I was DRUNK WITH RAGE practically the whole tour. I seriously almost told him to cut it out. Then I thought about just going up to the gallows and ending it all because I was pretty sure dying was going to be better than listening to that dude chomp on his gum.
7 men were hung at the gallows in this jail.
This is a recreation of the gallows.
In a cell... after the tour was over and the chomper left!
You are probably thinking that we were having a really crappy time, and while the Old Jail Museum was cool, it was overshadowed by the gum chomper. It was nice to get outside into the fresh air too. The jail smelled... like dankness and urine.
Next, we just meandered around town and went into some cute little shops. All we bought was one post card, but we had a lot of fun wondering around. I would like to go back during the holiday season for their Olde Time Christmas!
1. It was basically straight up, very rocky, and there were some "goner spots" were you had to be careful. There were even some sports where you had to climb up embankments to get to the next part of the trail. It's doable and enjoyable if you're in shape and have good balance, but otherwise I would caution you.
2. It was so freaking beautiful what we kept stopping to look at the waterfalls and the rhododendron!
The effort it took to get to the top was very rewarding. The Onoko Falls is a HIDDEN PENNSYLVANIA GEM!
Of course I had to look up all the sad stories about people being careless and losing their lives. I found this one, this one, this one, and this one. Then I realized I have a sick fascination with death (just realized!?) and called my macabre research quits.
One of the articles brings up the topic of putting in more safety railings. In my opinion, I don't think that would work. The people we saw went past the ropes and past the signs that were posted. They were not following the few safety guidelines that were actually there. And honestly, with all due respect to those who have slipped over the falls and died... did they really think it was a good idea to sit AT THE EDGE OF A 50 FOOT WATERFALL???? I think common sense needs to win the day here, and people without common sense are going to climb over any ropes or railings that are put up.
Okay, I'm down off my soapbox now.
A lot of people hiked down the way they came, but hiking down those steep rocks didn't seem fun to me, so we took another trail. The whole loop we ended up taking was only about 2 miles but it took us quite a long time for the reasons I mentioned above. All in all, I would say if you enjoy hiking, the Onoko Falls is a MUST DO! Just BE CAREFUL and use COMMON SENSE. We saw one hiker in flip flops (crazy), a couple in hiking boots, but we just wore our running sneakers and were fine.
After our hike, we wanted to relax and eat some food, so we got a spot on the deck at Molly Maguire's Pub, which was right across from the train station. We ordered drinks and grub!
Paul got an open faced turkey sandwich with gravy and mashed potatoes. He let me have some. It was the best gravy I ever had!
I had Ahi tuna and a side of fries. And a moscato. Okay, two moscatos. One for each mile I hiked!
I will tell you one weird thing that happened while we were eating... we heard church bells chiming The Entertainer. What the heck!?
From our perch on the deck, we could see a beautiful mansion at the top of the hill. So after we paid our bill, we hiked up to what turned out to be the Asa Packer Mansion. We walked around the grounds but unfortunately it was closed. I wanted to take a tour!
I used to be able to do this with my leg straight back in 8th grade...
The view of the town from the mansion.
By now, it was time to go home. It was a long but very rewarding day exploring the town and trails around Jim Thorpe.. If you live within 2-3 hours of this place, I highly recommend you go. I know we will be back!
The next time we visit Jim Thorpe, I want to do the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway, do some wine tasting at Big Creek Vineyard's storefront, tour the Asa Packer Mansion, and do a hike at Hickory Run State Park so we can see the boulder field. Wow, that sounds like a lot to pack into one day. We may have to stay the night at one of the many charming bed and breakfasts in town. The Harry Packer Mansion Inn looks awesome but it's a bit out of our price range!
Have you ever been to Jim Thorpe?
Did we miss anything that is a must do?
Tell me about the loudest gum chomper you ever heard!
Are you a rule follower on hikes and at state parks, or do you go in dangerous spots when there is signage not to?