The guide books rave about outdoor activities galore in Jim Thorpe. Nestled in a little corner of Pennsylvania, it appears suddenly after the road curves into town over railroad tracks. In March, the town is fairly quiet and it’s easy to park right in front of the old brick hotel, The Inn at Jim Thorpe. She’s a grand old lady, with signed black and white photographs of celebrities my college-age daughter is too young to remember, lining the staircase wall to the second floor. Think old polished wood and wrought iron railings. A balcony overhangs the main street on the second floor and it’s the perfect place to enjoy an unseasonably warm Spring day. We sit in chairs with our backs to the sun-warmed brick wall and decide what to do first.
We are actually already doing what I came to do. Talk.
Slow down and talk with a daughter growing up fast and beautiful and ready to take on the world. A desire to have a getaway with her was too much for me to resist. Although everyone tells you this remarkable, wonderful, awful time travel will happen, you never believe it until it happens to you. I could have sworn these years would take longer to complete.
We wandered down the street to enjoy fish and chips at Molly McGuires. The talk of the town was snow the following day. We scoffed a little, adding more ketchup to our crispy potatoes. Snow? We weren’t even wearing jackets. Down at Muggles’ Mug, our barista gave us the lowdown on the black and white wall mural as we sipped “dirty chai” and coffee. Done by a local artist Bill Kreiger, , it was a trip down memory lane as we identified music icons like Chuck Berry and Elvis. The coffee shop is large, with room to walk around. Owner Kacie Klotz was tossing a ball for a furry friend the following morning and we decided any coffee shop that welcomes dogs is definitely worth visiting. Following local advice, we drove up to the 100 Mile View. Not certain of the distance, but we could see a long way on a golden afternoon.
Dubbed Little Switzerland, Jim Thorpe is a place of nooks and crannies.
A second street, accessed by an alley, runs parallel and higher than Main Street. Lined with a combination of retail shops and homes, it was beautiful on a snowy morning. Yes, it did snow, and oversized fluffy flakes dusted our heads as we walked. One window held dragons with glowing emerald eyes. Another was decorated for the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day holiday. We pushed open the third to the scent and sounds of someone “putting up” salsa. The air in The Country Cottage was heavy with jalapeno pepper. In business 17 years, we watched the pots bubbling in the back room as we chose pickled garlic. “It’s not as strong as raw garlic,” we were assured. I added cranberry preserves with jalapeno for good measure and we headed back outside.
We walked, talked, sipped tea and waited while the man at the pizza shop made us a few cannoli for dessert.
We ran back and forth from our room to the balcony in stocking feet to take pictures and try out some new camera filters. We took terrible pictures of each other and deleted them. We were in for the night wonderfully early. PJs on, television off. Talking. I could have stayed longer. I miss sitting and talking with her when there’s no place to be.
The following morning, before we left town, we stopped to do what we always did when she was little. Get a souvenir. The natural clothing store, Naturally Yours, had a flag waving OPEN early and we stopped in to ooh and aahh over fine fabrics and alpaca textiles. Girl chose a nubby blue fabric pullover that made us think of striding across the moors in Ireland. We’ve never been (yet) but when we go, she’s all set. I chose a deep sunflower yellow alpaca wrap. Beautiful, wonderfully soft and bright.
We’d only just touched the surface here in Jim Thorpe, but we did follow my philosophy: Always leave a reason to come back.
Back at home, Girl headed west and back to her university. The following day, heavy snows blanketed the area, bringing everything to a standstill. I wrapped the yellow alpaca shawl around my shoulders and sat down to write. Spring wasn’t quite ready yet, but I had a little sunshine tucked away to get me through.
What’s your bit of sunshine? I’d love to hear all about it. Just need to pour a cuppa and I’ll be right back…