Bethlehem PA Day Trip

by Cate on December 14, 2008

Bethlehem signFor over 10 years, every December, my mom and I would head to Bethlehem, PA for an overnight getaway.  Unfortunately, the last few years, we haven’t made it there, but today The Husband and I loaded the kids up in the car and headed out for a fun day trip.

Bethlehem is home to the Christkindlmarkt, a wonderful craft fair celebrating the amazing talents of artisans.  Everything from wooden ornaments and stuffed animals made from wool to glass blown Moravian stars and galleries of fabulous artwork.  It definitely gives you a true appreciation for the talent of others, and it makes for a good outing with the kids.  I think everyone came home with something today, even the dog!

ornamentsThe Christkindlmarkt is still on through the end of the month, so you have time to catch it.  Once done there, walking down Main Street will have you popping into nearly every store and reveling in the gorgeous downtown decorations.  There is no wonder why it’s called Christmas City.  And, of course, no trip to Bethlehem is complete without a stop at our favorite brew pub, Bethlehem Brew Works.  They have so many good mouthwatering selections, it will be tough to make up your mind.

While in the area, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Josh Early Candies, my favorite candy store.  It might be small, but they have selections there that I can’t find anywhere else.  That, unfortunately, could be a dangerous thing. On the way home, we stopped to visit the Lost River Caverns.  The last time we stopped there, Nicholas was two years old, and we were on the way home from my sister’s wedding in Maine.

Bethlehem Brew WorksIf you go, you can definitely make a day out of it very easily.  The town has a trolley tour set up, so you can easily get from attraction to attraction without having to worry about finding parking spaces for your car.  Other points of interest include The Moravian Bookshop, The Banana Factory, The Moravian Museum and more.  Be sure to track down some Moravian sugar cookies – delish!

Perhaps one of the things that Bethlehem PA is most known for is that it once was the home of Bethlehem Steel, the second largest US producer of steel.  Bethlehem Steel was also one of the largest shipbuilding companies in the world.  Unfortunately in 2001, the company filed for bankruptcy because of a decline in the US steel industry and internal management problems. The company occupied a massive amount of property in town – 163 acres – and up until recently, it remained untouched since the company shuttered.  We pass right through it when we come into Bethlehem, and it’s sad to see what it’s like now, especially when you imagine what a lively, energetic, vibrant pulse it once was for the city, and how many jobs it held for the townspeople.

Today when we went through that section of town, we noticed that they seem to be doing something with the property, and after a little bit of research, I learned that the property was sold last year and it is going to be turned into a $600 million entertainment complex, which will include a casino.  On the one hand, it will mean a lot for the town, but … a casino?  The place has a fascinating history nonetheless.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Nate December 16, 2008 at 8:08 pm

What a fun time you all had. Wish we could take a day trip there.

Too bad about Bethlehem Steel, and the coming of a casino. There goes the neighborhood.

Nates last blog post..Egg Tarts from Golden Gate Bakery (San Francisco)

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gabbyh December 29, 2008 at 6:55 pm

My home town…it’s just not the same over the Holidays living in South Florida…sure do miss the Brew Works too!

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PA Mineral Collector October 19, 2009 at 12:16 am

Nice local article. Bethlehem steel was an important part of PA mining history as well. I guess they were a decade or two behind the “to big too fail” policies of today…

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