Last week the Morning Call ran a story about a large group of travel writers descending on the area for the annual Mid-Atlantic Tourism Public Relations Alliance (MATPRA) conference in Bethlehem. Local groups like Discover Lehigh, along with local businesses are trying to promote the Valley as a tourism destination. So 80 or so writers came to the Valley for the conference and had the opportunity to see what our fair area has to offer potential tourists and vacationers. The goal is to encourage these people to write travel stories about the Valley and help attract visitors here. We here at CACK fully support this initiative and would like to jump on board with our own stories about the Valley’s attractions. After all, we are Valley natives and who knows this place better than the folks who have lived here for years?
So please enjoy the inaugural entry of the CACK Lehigh Valley Tourist Guide. This volume will focus on potential day trip ideas around this vast area.
Higher Education Day Trips
So it is time for your teenager to begin looking at colleges. The Lehigh Valley offers a wide variety of institutions for those looking to advance their education beyond a high school degree. Parents, you could come for a weekend and tour a variety of schools. Listed below are the six top schools in the Valley.
Lehigh stands out at the top of the list. It is by far the best school in the Lehigh Valley. Not quite Ivy League but Ivy Light. Most Valley residents only know Lehigh as the home of the Philadelphia Eagles training camp. Or, for its play in the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. However, if you look beyond that, Lehigh’s academic departments are above average. It is consistently rated as one of the top mediocre universities in the United States. The campus is small and has just under 5,000 students. Tuition averages $42,000 per year. One downside about Lehigh is the lack of activities off campus and it’s proximity to the seedy areas of Bethlehem. So if you want your child to avoid becoming addicted to heroin, or becoming impregnated by a Hispanic, you might want to consider a more rural school.
Like Lehigh, this university is an Ivy Light school. And like it’s counterpart in Bethlehem, it is in close proximity to seedy areas. Beautiful campus, however and the academic departments are superior to those at Lehigh.
Small liberal arts school in Allentown. Close proximity to the ghetto, so your upper middle class children can see for themselves how the ‘other half’ lives.
Cedar Crest College
Many Valley adults prefer Cedar Crest when going back to school for their masters degree. The college offers a variety of programs through its graduate school. Most of them are weekend or online programs that allow adults who are too lazy, or intellectually inferior, to complete a “McMasters” degree in a fraction of the time it takes at a good grad school.
Northampton Community College and Lehigh Carbon CC
Because not everyone can get into a four year college. Some have to complete their basic courses and improve GPAs before they can move on. The area community colleges are great because they offer dual admissions programs with the local mediocre state colleges like Kutztown. So if you want to be a police officer or a teacher but need to refine yourself before entering a four year school, these are the schools for you.
Coplay is the Luxembourg of the Valley. The tiny duchy of Coplay sits square in the middle of Lehigh county, surrounded on three sides by Whitehall township and Northampton on the remaining side. Coplay offers a number of tourist attractions. Most prevalent is the collection of cement kilns.
The kilns were constructed by the Coplay cement company in the late 1800s. After a new cement factory was constructed nearby, the kilns in Coplay were used as a prison for employees who were accused of “inciting pro-union sentiment among the workforce.” Over 100 men were imprisoned there from 1895 to 1925. Only one escaped, a local man by the name of Dirk Eberhardt used a nail file to carve his way through the stone in 1911. Memorials are held here every year to honor those who did not make it out of their kiln internment. Locals in Coplay have labeled the kilns as the “Auschwitz of the Lehigh Valley.”
Another great place to visit is the Sangerbund. The Sangerbund is a tent bar located in the middle of Coplay. Oktoberfest is in effect all year round and it is world renowned for it’s Polka festivals. So if you like Polka and weak beer, Oom Pa Pa your way over to Coplay and Enjoy the Sangerbund!
The Promenade Shops At Saucon Valley
The mall made possible by transplants. The Promenade is an upscale mall nestled in the hills of southern Lehigh Valley. Most stores here are trendy, exclusive and high priced. Valley natives generally cannot afford to shop here and visit only to window shop or commit retail theft. So if you’re in town for a day and want a taste of refined civilization, visit the Promenade Shops and imagine yourself someplace better.