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Guess what – northern NJ isn’t just about turnpikes and factories – the ‘Skylands’ of NJ is within an hour’s reach of NYC – here are some neat things to check out in the northwestern NJ areas.
Cross the Delaware, and the Lehigh Valley is a just over an hour’s drive, 65 miles west from NYC, and 65 miles north of Philadelphia. Situated at the confluence of the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers you find Eclectic Easton; a city with great architecture, personalities and grit… it’s also the home of:
- Lafayette College in Easton – ranked #40 of US Colleges by US News & World Report. Lehigh University and Moravian College in Bethlehem, Cedar Crest and Muhlenberg Colleges in Allentown.
- the very first outdoor Farmers’ Market (longest-running) in the Nation, open May-Nov in Center Square on Saturdays 9-1. Also enjoy Easton’s Public Market!
- an exciting new Silk Mill Complex is in the works, along Easton’s Bushkill creek /Karl Stirner Sculpture Trail corridor – Brick+Mortar Art Gallery/Design Studio, and some really yummy craft beers are a’Brewin here. As are some beautiful residential lofts for rent.
- Annual arts events include the Movies@the Mill, Riverside Festival of the Arts (late Sept), BaconFest (with art du Cuchon!), and check out Easton’s ACE Art community happenings.
In addition to many wonderful college galleries and theaters, other super cultural venues in the Lehigh Valley include:
Allentown’s exciting new Phantoms Hockey arena, Symphony Hall and the Allentown Art Museum. There’s a thriving arts scene in the Lehigh Valley and here’s the latest that’s going on in the Allentown Arts 20:21 Vision. Bethlehem’s Zoellner Center, ArtsQuest, Steelstax, and the Sands Casino event center. Artists, also consider joining the Arts Community of Easton: ACE.
- Here’s a list of all major cities and townships in the Greater Lehigh Valley Counties. The 3 major cities in the Lehigh Valley along route 78 from east to west (and, small–>large): Easton PA website | Bethlehem PA website | Allentown PA website
The city of Easton contains 4 major neighborhoods: historic downtown | college hill | south Easton | west ward. Check out this beautiful easton area video created in fall 2015 by local talents Tim & Earl.
The Delaware River Valley is loaded with great trails, towns, and scenic nature to enjoy. Along the NJ side, check out Warren County’s tourism site or Hunterdon County things to do.
In the Easton vicinity, more local attractions include:
- the Crayola Experience (massive overhaul & improved experience in 2013! re-opened for 110th crayola anniversary on Memorial day weekend).
- Delaware River and Lehigh Canal Park System – great hiking/biking/canoeing/etc.
- Hunterdon County NJ
- Warren County NJ
- Bucks County PA
- Weyerbacher Brewery, Twin Rivers Brewpub & loads of excellent restaurants at so many levels – #eastonisforfoodies.
- convenient buses from easton and the lehigh valley –> port authority, NYC & Philly
- by car, quick access to 78 / 22
- take a self-guided walking tour of Historic Easton!
Demographics economic stats for the lehigh valley: lehigh valley economic development * optomistic trends! Lehigh Valley was chosen as Site Selection Magazine’s #1 region of its size, for the Northeast in 2014 – and, LV has been in the top ten for the last decade.
Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors Association just released (March 2017) the 2016 market stats… it appears that we are on the verge of a Seller’s Market… See their overview of the Lehigh Valley. Also see their quarterly residential data reports.
- bucks county: www.buckscounty.org
- easton’s history, economic climate & more: www.easton-pa.com
- lehigh valley info: www.lehighvalleypa.org
- lehigh valley goings on: www.lehighvalleypa.org
- easton’s ‘main street initiative’ website: www.eastonmainstreet.org
- more lehigh valley community info from local newspaper, the morning call.
- lehighvalleylive.com, local newspaper express-times website.
- investment & development projects happening: InvestInEaston.com
area news / BLOGS:
– EastonIsHome / njFringe.com
– lehighvalleylive (express-times)
– morning call
– lehigh valley community action committees site.
– west ward in easton
– lehigh valley vanguard – an interesting collection by local poets
— Bike Smart Easton
–– EastonHistory.com historic information on downtown Easton properties.
— and last, but NOT least! Chauncey Howell’s DiddleySquatter.
— also check out our newsletter archives.
public: check PA school ‘report cards': www.paprofiles.org
- easton school district: www.eastonsd.org
- bethlehem school district: www.beth.k12.pa.us
- allentown school district: www.allentownsd.org
- moravian academy
- swain school
- montessori schools
- catholic schools
- lehigh valley charter schools – quick google results
- Greater Lehigh Valley schools and universities on the GLVR website
Learning the area – things to do
- Warren County Wanderings
- self-guided covered bridge tour of the lehigh valley is a really neat way to see some really charming nooks & crannies of the valley
- allentown art museum
- allentown’s west park association + art functions
- ‘first fridays’ in bethlehem’s fabulous creative section of town, starting each first friday at the wonderful banana factory… lovely art and funky shops cater to an enchanting night in south-side bethlehem: www.firstnightbethlehem.com
- steelStacks – Bethlehem’s world-class event center.
- Morning Call’s ‘insiders guide to easton‘
Fabulous Farmers’ Markets!!
- Easton Farmers’ Market! Every Sat. 9am-1 centre square, May-November. Check out this inspired EFM “To the Market” film short created by local emmy-winning film maker MaGiK. EFM is the longest-running outdoor market in the nation, and crowned the #1 farmers’ market in the nation, 2015!
- Emmaus Farmers’ Market
- Allentown (year-round)
- Phillipsburg, NJ Farmers Market
- Stockton NJ – indoor year-round foodie market
- AND: Easton’s answer to the Chelsea or Reading Terminal markets: Easton Public Market – 400 block, Northampton st. a year-round indoor culinary delight of butcher/cheese/produce/italian specialty /many goodies
fests, fests, & more FESTS: there are no lack of wonderful events + ‘fests’ in the lehigh valley!
- Spring into Easton! April 8, 2017
- Easton Historic House Tour = May 6, 2017
- Allentown Fair.
- Wind Gap Bluegrass Festival (great!), 2nd weekend June
- Heritage Day, 2nd weekend of July. Easton is one of the 3 sites, where the Declaration of Independence was first read. The Declaration reading reenactment is great fun.
- Bethlehem: massive ‘Musikfest’ in August.
- The Great Allentown Fair, late August.
- Movies @the Mill, 2nd Saturday in September.
- NEW!!! Coming this Sept: Taylor Ham fest :-O in Phillipsburg NJ
- Riverside Festival of the Arts annual juried art show with $2000 juried art prizes, 3rd weekend Sept. FREE to attend – plus live music, spoken word, dance, free childrens art projects. PLUS, #EastonPleinAir contest, with $2000 in prizes.
- GARLIC FEST! in Easton, first Oct weekend.
- ‘Celtic Classic’ in September: www.celticfest.org
- is Easton ‘scary’? find out here: www.HauntedEaston.com
- Holiday crafts at historic Bethelehem’s Chriskindlmarkt – late Nov-mid Dec.
- indie made craft market in Allentown: 1st saturday in Dec.
outdoor stuff & day-trips
- organized bike trips with Genesis bike shop
- organized hiking & outdoor trips (and cool gear!), with Easton Outdoor
- check out the LOADS of hiking trails via Morning Call’s ‘walk’ link.
- Fall fun: OPEN GATE self-guided farm tours Northampton County farm tour & Lehigh County farm tour
- relaaaaax, take in some eagles and peace as you tube down the delaware!
- january/early feb Eagle Watching along the northern Delaware. www.eagleinstitute.org
- excellent rollercoasters, rides, waterpark: www.dorneypark.com
- great skiing, so close by… www.skicamelback.com / www.skibluemt.com
SHOPPING – check out the boutiques and locally-owned businesses in our urban centers * exciting new downtown vibrancy!! shop easton, shop bethlehem & allentown; the hamilton district… also, there’s the lehigh valley mall; the lovely promenade shops – an upscale outdoor mall in center valley; and outlets in south bethlehem, at the Sands casino.
- keepin’ it local! sustainable business network of the lehigh valley: sbnlv.org
- crime rates in the Lehigh Valley – crime statistics, by area * also see Morning Call March 2015 article looking at crime stats.