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Parks, organic farms and stores, and festivals near the turnpike's Mahoning Valley Exit

The Lehigh River in Jim Thorpe, PA.
The Lehigh River in Jim Thorpe, PA.
photo: Seth Werkheiser(source: Malepheasant at en.wikipedia)

Nestled among the ridges of the Blue Mountains, are some great places to visit, some you may have already heard about. To get there just take I-476, the Northeast Extension, and hop off at the Mahoning Valley Exit. It is roughly just 25 minutes north of the Allentown Exit and 20 minutes south of the Pocono Exit and Rt. 80.

In or around Lehighton**:

  1. Beltzville State Park: is a lake park and wonderful destination for fishing, boating, and picnicking. Take the Mahoning Valley Exit (Lehighton ramp) and turn left onto 209 N, another left onto Harrity Rd., and a right onto Pohopoco Rd. You will see signs for the park after the entrance to the dam. Call (610)377-0045 for more information.
  2. Country Harmony Natural Foods:  located on Rt. 443 in front of the Carbon Plaza Mall.  Contact them at (570) 386-3576.


  • Blue Mountain Ski Area:  Popular for its ski slopes and snow-tubing for the whole family.  For conditions, call toll free at 1-877-SKI-BLUE.  For directions, call 1-610-826-7700.


  • Mountain View Poultry Farm: This organic poultry store is located in Walnutport, PA just 15 minutes from Lehighton and the Rt. 209/ Rt. 248 junction. Take Rt. 248 to Rt. 145 to get to the store located on the left shortly after Burger King and before the Post Office.

Weissport:  another charming town next to the Lehigh River is just across the smaller bridge off Rt. 209 after Dunkin Donuts. 

  • Historic Canal Park:  recently renovated and just beyond the railroad tracks and Central Lunch, an extremely cute eatery, the park allows fishing access to the Canal and a long scenic walking path all the way from Weissport to Jim Thorpe.

Jim Thorpe:  this tourist magnet is next to both the Lehigh River and the historic railway. In this quaint, quirky, and eclectic town, there is a variety of things to see as well as organic wares, vegetarian meals, and white-water rafting trips down the River.

  1. Jim Thorpe Farmer's Market:  is a great source of organic produce and is located at Memorial Park on 10th Street across the Rt. 903 Bridge.
  2. 14 Acre Farm:  up the mountain from Jim Thorpe in Summit Hill, is located directly across from the Environmental Education Center and has not only organic produce but also baked goods.
  3. Onoko Falls Natural Foods:  for more information call (570) 325-9217.
  4. Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railroad- offers train rides on their old-fashioned cabooses and is located next to Rt. 209 North, just after you pass the Broadway traffic light.
  5. Mauch Chunk Lake Park- is north of Jim Thorpe, up Broadway onto the mountain.  Follow signs.
  6. Environmental Education Ctr.. - learn about birds of prey and see them up close. To contact the Park Office: (570) 325-3669
  7. Lehigh Gorge State Park- to get to the park entrance, cross the Rt. 903 Bridge, then follow the signs.  Visit the popular and beautiful Glen Onoko Falls if you tread cautiously on the trail leading to it. 
  8. The annual "Earth Day" celebration:  located in the square next to the Railway, there are live bands, food, information, and a variety of vendors.
  9. Bear Mountain Butterfly Sanctuary:  this is an exciting opportunity to see butterflies up close, have fun with your family, and learn about nature's delightful creatures all at the same time. Just follow Rt. 903 across the bridge, up the mountain through residential Jim Thorpe, and continue until you see the blue butterfly sign on the left at Church Rd.
  10. Audubon Society "Auto Tour":  Details located at the Mauch Chunk Tourist Office.

**(To get to the little mountain towns of Lehighton and Jim Thorpe you follow Rt. 209 S, travel up over the hills, across the 209 bridge spanning the Lehigh River, right at the light, and follow the signs.)


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