“Switzerland of the U.S.”

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Memorial Day weekend was spent in one of the cutest small American towns I have visited: Jim Thorpe, PA. I went on a roadtrip with Kayla (my friend) and her boyfriend to visit her hometown for the weekend.This adorable town is a four hour drive from the D.C. area.  I discovered Jim Thorpe is coined “the Switzerland of the U.S.” and for good reason. Everywhere you look, you are met with a stunning view of the Appalachian mountains.

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The inside of an old railroad tunnel overlooking the river below

Saturday morning we woke up early to go on a morning hike through the mountains. I was lucky to have a local tour guide to take me through the trails less traveled.

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We hiked up to the top of a trail called “The Point.” It is famous for a legend of a Native American girl who allegedly committed suicide off the top of that point of the mountain. (There is a pretty steep drop right behind where I am sitting pictured below.)

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“The Point” It also looked like the rock where Simba was presented in The Lion King

After the hike, and a delicious lunch at a local small town store, we walked into town to explore the tiny streets. We walked along railroad tracks with a view of the mountains and the river flowing below.

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Downtown Jim Thorpe
Downtown Jim Thorpe

There are almost no chain restaurants or stores in Jim Thorpe, every store is run by small business owners. We visited the jewelry store Kayla used to work at and walked away with some free goodies! We stopped for ice cream and walked into other quaint little shops. I was surprised to find that almost no businesses in Jim Thorpe take a card, everything needs to be paid in cash. And people were taking their dogs, big and small, right into the stores along with them.

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That evening, we ate dinner at Kayla’s Dad’s workshop (where I tried a venison and cheese sandwich).  I swear I ate more meat this weekend than I have in an entire month.   I also had the chance to meet the girl who was my sponoser when I did the 24 day Advocare Challenge at the beginning of this year. We have talked on the phone and followed each other on social media, but this was our first time meeting in person!

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All day Sunday we were at Kayla’s Dad’s outdoor Memorial Day BBQ. It was a perfect day. Warm, sunny, full of games, drinks, food and laughter. We started the day by giving her adorable dog, Abbey, a bath and then spent the rest of the day eating, and eating, and eating. We played cornhole and water balloons and other games. At one point, Kayla and I were standing outside eating delicious chicken drumsticks and her Dad just laughed at us saying we must be on drugs to be eating the way we were that day.

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Me and the adorable Maggie

The evening ended at the neighborhood bar, Crocodile Lyle’s. We made friends with the bartender, and enjoyed the final hours of the holiday weekend. After another huge meal the next morning (a BIG brunch) we were on our way back to Virginia.

I have wanted to visit this adorable town since Kayla told me about it years ago. This is a town nestled in the heart of the Applachian Mountains, and it is stuck in time. There is nothing modern or sleek about Jim Thorpe. It is an exemplification of the simplistic way of life that has been lost in the hustle and bustle of modern day city life. It was a beautiful breath of fresh air. I hear in the Fall they have a spectacular Fall Foliage Festival that draws spectators from around the country, and I imagine it must look like a fairytale during the Christmas season.

I will be sure to return some day!

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Erin founded the Wonderlost Travel blog in February of 2015 after her experience of studying abroad in Europe. Erin has had the opportunity to travel throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and parts of South America and Asia. She enjoys writing about and photographing her travel experiences in order to inspire others to get out and follow their travel dreams. She has collaborated with tourism departments, restaurants, and other travel bloggers to share reviews and travel advice with readers in over 100 countries. Erin has a passion for traveling the world to experience other cultures and explore nature!

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