A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Jim Thorpe: A Must Visit Town in Pennsylvania!

Paul and I are checking things off my PA Bucket List left and right! On Monday, we headed about an hour and forty-five minutes Northeast to the charming town of Jim Thorpe.

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!

A cell

Solitary confinement was in the "dungeon" below the jail.

Now, if you thought the sunglasses on the pubes was bad, what I am about to tell you is probably worse. There was a guy on the tour that was chewing his gum SO FREAKING LOUD. Like, his mouth wasn't even really closing completely. He was like an ANIMAL. 

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.

Paul couldn't stand it either and he doesn't even have misophonia like I do! Paul said he wanted to punch the guy in the face. We seriously thought we were getting punked. I wish you had been there so you would know that I am NOT EXAGGERATING. I'm pretty sure I will never in my entire life hear someone chomping louder than this guy.

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!

Our walk around town was just a warm up for our next activity. We drove about 5 minutes to the other side of the gorge and parked at the Onoko Falls trailhead in Lehigh Gorge State Park.

The hike up to the top of all three falls took about an hour due to two main factors: 

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!

This was NOT a cliff!

 This IS a cliff. Paul zoomed in. 
He is safe behind the ropes.

One thing I didn't understand was all the stupid people not obeying the signage! There were signs warning you not to sit on the edge of the falls and sometimes there were even ropes you weren't supposed to go past. Yet, there were stupid teenagers/young adults ignoring all the warnings. There were even some parents who went past the ropes with their kids. What a horrible example to set!

I just don't understand people who don't follow the rules on trails and at state parks... especially because they made it VERY CLEAR that it was important to be careful. Seriously, how much clearer can they be!?

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?


  1. What a fun day. I literally laughed out loud about the church bells playing The Entertainer. WTH?! That's funny. I am a total rule follower. Number one, I just am and number two if there is any danger involved, I get scared. I don't have the best sense of balance so I would fall. In fact, I always hang onto the handrail when I go down stairs. That's how much I don't trust my klutziness.

    1. I'm glad I remembered to include that because I almost forget! Yes, it was the slowest rendition of The Entertainer I ever heard, but it was most definitely that song.

      We are fellow rule followers! I think I have pretty good balance but that of course doesn't mean I'm gonna go stand at the edge of a cliff or something. I stay on the trail.

  2. This looks like such a fun day!!! That jail though.... damn! I can't believe that was in use just 22 years ago either. The beds look awful. And they have a dungeon for solitary confinement?! o_O

    I never go to dangerous spots. If there is a warning sign I follow it, everywhere, because I'm sure I would be that one person who dies.

    Like Susan, I always hang on to the handrail when I go down stairs--- even the staircase in my house. If I'm with someone else and we're going down stairs together and they go on the side of the handrail I pretty much panic the whole way down and can't hear a word of what they're saying!

    1. I know, but the thing is they still have solitary in jails and sometimes people are down there for weeks. :(

      You would hate me on escalators. I walk down them and up them without holding on. I am an impatient person so I can't just stand on an escalator and wait for it to take me up or down. Same for those moving walkways in airports.

  3. That jail looks awful but in an entertaining way of course! I would have given that gum chomper the stin eye for sure!

    Did you know that the Harry Packard Mansion is what the Haunted Mansion at Disney world was modeled after? I only know that because they have a Murder mystery weekend at the HP mansion. It is suppose to be more authentic (true stories) than the ones at Allenberry. I've been intrigued but it also seems dusty and creepy!
    When we hiked Bushkill falls there were people clearly ignoring the rules and going into the water to stand on rocks and get selfies. So not worth it!

    1. Oh, i'm not sure about the entertainer but the church near my house use to play the bells daily at noon and at 6pm. What time did you hear them?

    2. We heard the bells... hmmm I guess it was around 6pm?

      YES I did know it was the inspiration for the Haunted Mansion at Disney! I did look at their website and it looks VERY expensive to stay there, but yes they do have murder mystery. Do you want to go to that ever?

      I remember your Bushkill post and would really like to go there but it's 2.5 hours away! That's kind of far. But I was never in that area of PA. Maybe we could combine it with some other destination.

      Hey I think us PA bloggers should write a Top 10 must visit places in PA. WHat do you think? We could link them all together! You, me, Ana, I bet there are a lot of other PA bloggers out there I don't know about!

    3. I'm in for this ^^^ !! I know we each would have different places, which would give a great rounded experience of PA!

  4. I've only been to PA once and that was Philadelphia, but it looks like there are some really beautiful areas closer to you. I'd love to visit the Northeast more one day and see the mountains up there and areas like that. This looks like such an awesome tour- and I'm with you on the jail, I can't believe those conditions would fly in a jail in the 1990s so that has to be why they closed it. But it's great that it's open for tours now and visits. I'd love to visit and tour something like this. Sucks about your sunglasses and the loud gum guy, but I feel like every tour has some crazies on it to deal with.

    That trail looks really beautiful. I can't believe people went to the edge of the water fall and going past the ropes. Ropes are there for a reason...

    1. If you ever do come to PA hit me up and I can give you a list of beautiful trails and places/towns for you to consider visiting! I feel like PA is probably not a vacation destination. DO people really come here? Like other than Philly or Pittsburgh? Our mountains are beautiful, and Paul and I have to remember that. When we go to CO and CA it's more fun because the landscape is so different from our's. However, it is very beautiful here and we have to make sure we appreciate that!

    2. What did you do when you were in Philly? I really haven't been to philly much other than to drive through it to go to the beach! I ran the marathon, went on a field trip there in MS to the Franklin Institute, and I went to a Madonna concert there in College. But that's it! I've been to NYC way more than Philly and it's farther away. This summer I want to take the train and go to the Mutter Museum in Philly.

  5. What a fun day! did you have to reserve the tickets for the jail? When we went, we didn't look into going to the jail. But I've read that the train ride is a must in the fall!

    Loud chewers are the worst!! ugh!! it get chills just thinking about it!

    I found myself cringing at you losing your sunglasses... and having to reach back to get them!! OMG!!! I would die!

    I am absolutely a rule follower in trails... my wish has not been do die for a selfie!

    1. We did not reserve tickets to the jail tour. We just walked in and a tour was leaving that moment so we quick bought tickets! Tours leave every 15 minutes so I would say you could just roll up. Our plan was to walk around town if the wait for the tour was longer than a 1/2 hour.

  6. WOW! This is SO AMAZING! Everything is so so SO beautiful! Why do all old buildings smell like urine? I doubt that it's actual urine. Probably just the components of urine like maybe an ammonia biproduct of aging wood or something.

    1. You are right, it probably is not urine! Well, the bathroom definitely smelled like urine so maybe it was sort of stuck in my nose too. :)

  7. I LOVE Jim Thorpe - we used to go there when we were in college. It is so beautiful!
    I am a total rule follower for obvious reasons - I don't have a death wish!
    Mouth noises don't really bother me, but loud gum chewing for an extended period of time would probably put me over the edge. I feel your rage sista! Enjoy your day! Kristen

    1. Where did you go to college?

      You would have hated this gum smacker. It was on a WHOLE NEW LEVEL.

    2. Albright College in Reading, PA. my husband went to Kings College in Wilkes Barre, pretty close to Jim Thorpe.

    3. I did know you went to Albright! I'm sorry I forgot. One of My best friends went there for theater and we saw her in Into the Woods there. She was part of the Domino Players.

    4. I figured it was close to a college. There were a lot of college age kids walking around town and hiking on the trail.

  8. Since I was just hiking, I always follow the rules. These can be remote areas and if someone hurts themselves, how long will it take EMTs to get there, and then get that person out.

  9. That looks like a great day!! My company actually does business with a bank in Mauch Chunk. I think it's the oddest name! That was until I heard about the town being named Jim Thorpe!! Anyhow, I have never visited it though. I am missing out!
    OMG, the pube. LOL!!!! but really ewwww. Speaking of gross stuff, when I was coaching at a hot AF track night last week, the dude next to me was sweating hard, and his dripping sweat caught in the wind and splatted on me. EWWWWWWW

    1. Mauch Chunk is a weord name! I gotta Google where it comes from and why the town changed its name to.Jim Thorpe.

      We flying sweat!!! I have had similar gross things happen to me from kids at school.

  10. You sound like my mom with the chewing thing. She is driven nuts by the dog when he chews things. It never really bothered me much. Lol. That hike looks so beautiful! Surprisingly there are a lot of people around SLC that fall and die on trails like that. It's really sad, but we hear about one almost every weekend.

    1. You know what's funny, I LOVE hearing our cats chew!! It is the most beautiful sound in the world!

      I totally googled "salt lake city hiker deaths" and found a ton! :( A guy fell off a cliff trail running and died. :( You don't run anywhere with dangerous falls do you?

  11. I would like to confirm what Megan said:

    This dude was the loudest gum chewer I have ever heard. He was sitting 4 rows behind us during a part of the tour where we sat on chairs. I could still hear him chomping away. I was also expecting Ashton Kutcher to come out and punk Megan.