Monday, March 3, 2014

Phoenixville & Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

I really show my age by knowing what the movie “The Blob” was all about.  For all our friends and relatives out there over 50…maybe you will remember that 60’s movie classic.  George & I really like to go to little towns and discover what is unique about them.  When we went to the Phoenixville Museum in Phoenixville, PA, the lady told us that the movie “The Blog” was partly filmed there.  The scene where Steve McQueen came out of the movie theater with all the other teenagers screaming their heads off, that was filmed at a movie theater in downtown Phoenixville.  Who would have known that, surely not me…I’m too young to remember that!  Here is the picture of the front of the theater. 

Does it bring back memories for any of you youngsters?  If not, then rush to the internet and see what the movie was all about; it was such a scary movie in the 60’s.

When we decided to drive to Bethlehem, we didn’t have anything specific to see, just wanted to see the countryside and enjoy a smaller town in PA.  Were we shocked when we arrived in Bethlehem.  First off, the town was named because it incorporated on Christmas Eve, 1741 by German missionaries and so they decided to name it appropriately because of that special day.  It was a big steel town from 1869 to 2001.  We expected it to be depressed and dirty and it was quite the opposite.  The main downtown area has been restored and it has three blocks of shops, lots of restaurants and a huge hotel.  The historic Bethlehem Hotel stands majestically on the main street overlooking the Monocacy River.  We went in to the hotel to check it out.  As we were walking around admiring the lobby a nice lady came up and introduced herself as the hotel manager and proceeded to give us a personal tour of the hotel. 
In the ballroom were these huge tapestries that depicted the scenes of Bethlehem and its origin.  They do a lot of weddings and anniversaries in that ballroom. 

I just love small towns and what a delight to experience such hospitality and fun walking the streets and having lunch at a local restaurant on a perfect summer day.  The town really had a struggle around 2000 when the steel mill shut down and the town really took a dive.  But, over the years they have come back and are trying to survive. So pleased to see the delightful town prospering now.
                                                 Isn't this the most original book shop name!

                                     Talk about cute...this was in a store window on main street
Woolworth Store....brings back memories

 Drove down to the visitor’s center for Bethlehem Steel Company and they just had a small new building that showed the mill’s history, etc.  They only had one afternoon tour and we missed it… just took pictures.

Bethlehem Steel Company, founded in 1869, was one of the top producers of steel for this country.  They produced the steel for the George Washington Bridge, Empire State Building, Golden Gate Bridge, Madison Square Garden, Hoover dam and one of the largest shipbuilder and the list goes on and on.  When the company went bankrupt in 2001 International Steel Group bought the assets in 2003. The site of the company's original plant is now home to SteelStacks, an arts and entertainment district. The plant's five blast furnaces are left standing and serve as a backdrop for the new campus. SteelStacks currently features ArtsQuest, a contemporary performing arts center, and the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, a gambling emporium. The area also includes three outdoor music venues - Levitt Pavilion, a free music venue featuring lawn seating for up to 2,500 people, Air Products Town Square at Steelstacks, and PNC Plaza, which hosts concerts featuring well-known artists. 

Next, we decided that we had to go and photograph the covered bridges that were close by.  So glad we did.  It isn’t everyday you get to see them and we were able to see three and drive through two.  They call them ‘kissing’ bridges because back in the day when it was improper to kiss in public the young people in their horse and buggies could steal a kiss without the chaperone, following behind them, seeing them kiss.  George and I decided we must experience that tradition and stole a kiss in the dark…no one cared.

What a lovely trip into the country and was so glad we got to experience some ‘untourist’ kind of sights.

Happy travels,

Peggy  (plus George & Coco)

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