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Celebrate National Public Lands Day

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  • September 27, 2017
National Public Lands Day
National Public Lands Day 2016 volunteers show their support by helping park rangers maintain precious land along the Delaware River. Photos courtesy of the National Park Service.

Celebrate the Public Lands You Love

 

One of the best ways to show your appreciation for the rivers and trails you enjoy year-round is to join more than 200,000 volunteers around the country on Sat., Sept. 30, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., as they celebrate National Public Lands Day.  

What is National Public Lands Day?

 

National Public Lands Day is an event organized by the National Environmental Education Foundation to promote enjoyment and volunteer conservation of public lands in the United States. The signature event is held on a Saturday in late September.

2016 National Public Lands Day volunteers lend a hand.

How can you help?

You can get involved and pitch in locally in Northeastern Pennsylvania at the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River. Volunteers are needed to help park rangers with three projects.

  1. Clean up trash from the river while paddling from Narrowsburg, NY to the Ten Mile River Access, NY.
  2. Maintain the Tusten Mountain Trail near the Ten Mile River Access by helping to widen the trail and vista, install trail markers, and remove hazards from the hiking path.
  3. Clear mile-a-minute and other invasive plant species from around the Zane Grey Museum and Lackawaxen Access.

 

National Public Lands Day by Joan Mead-Matsui
Be one of the 200,000 volunteers who pitch in to help maintain U.S. national parks.

National Public Lands Day will kick off at 9 a.m. at the Ten Mile River Access located on Crawford Road, Narrowsburg, NY. Following the kick-off reception, volunteers will be assigned to groups and move to their designated location to begin the projects.

The maintenance sessions will wrap up on a rolling basis as projects conclude.

To register, call 570-729-7134 ext. 220 or email kelleen_lanagan@partner.nps.gov. Additional information can be also be found online at nps.gov/upde.

 

 

 

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historic cafe Lifestyle Northeastern Pennsylvania Northeastern Pennsylvania dining Ransom Township

Old Milwaukee Cafe & Bakery Historic Charm

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  • August 6, 2016

Dine at Ransom Township Cafe & Bakery

Get your heaping slice of historic charm 

Old Milwaukee Cafe & Bakery

Bonnie Jones, the proprietor of the historic Old Milwaukee Cafe & Bakery recently asked her Facebook followers, “What types of items would you like to see on our dinner menu?”

Jones reopened the Milwaukee cafe on May 3 and will celebrate her grand opening on Sat., May 14, with a free pancake breakfast from 9 to 11 a.m. and a complimentary taste-testing from 1 to 3 p.m. Visitors will have an opportunity to sample Jones’ homemade potato pancakes, meatballs, marinara and meat sauce, and potato salad and also soak in the historic building’s well-preserved charm. The building was built in the 1850s and was owned by the “Oddfellows Society.” Local residents said the structure has been a popular gathering place for as long as they can remember.

historic
Bonnie Jones and Lisa McGuire at The Old Milwaukee Cafe & Bakery

Visitors to the historic downtown Milwaukee located in Ransom Township, Pennsylvania will find a full-service menu and a variety of crowd favorites from hamburgers to pasta.

Lunch specials this week are Ham sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and mayo, with a side of Homemade Potato salad and Monte Cristo sandwich (ham, turkey and swiss) between two slices of french toast with syrup for dipping, and Sweet Potato fries.

“All pasta sauces and soups are homemade,” Jones said.

Anyone wanting to top off a meal at the cafe should definitely ask for a rundown of sweet course confections. Jones’ has enlisted the help of her longtime friend, Sue Richter, a certified pastry chef, to prepare the desserts. If you’d like to top off a slice of pie or have a scoop of ice cream to go, Jones is stocked with a variety of Blue Ribbon Ice Cream brand flavors. Currently, she offers chocolate, vanilla, Rocky Road, black raspberry, blueberry cheesecake, but be sure to ask for a complete list of flavors.

Lisa McGuire, Jones’ sister, is also lending a hand and a familiar face at the cafe.

“I couldn’t have done this without my sister’s help,” Jones said.

Jones’ enthusiasm is intuitively obvious.

She said, “I absolutely love working here and it’s a wonderful place to be. The town is adorable and the people are fantastic and very supportive.”

Eat-in or take-out fresh dough pizza is available on Thurs., Fri., and Saturday. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/Old-Milwaukee-Cafe-Bakery-173020222853370/timeline or to order take-out, call 570.586.9855.

 

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Anthracite Heritage Art and Culture camping Exhibits Family Destinations Museums Northeastern Pennsylvania

Knoebels Anthracite Coal Mine Museum

Experience coal mine history

by Mike Korb

The Knoebels Anthracite Coal Mine Museum is an excellent place to experience a portion of the history of Pennsylvania Anthracite. Pat and I spent a few hours on a beautiful July day at the Knoebels Anthracite Coal Mine Museum at Knoebels Amusement Resort. http://www.knoebels.com/ride-play/attractions/mining-museum.

Knoebels, “America’s Largest Free-Admission Amusement Resort” is located in the heart of the anthracite coal region in Pennsylvania.  This year, Knoebels is celebrating its 90th anniversary.

What will you find at Knoebels?

The air-conditioned museum opened in 1988 and is chock full of mine artifacts, stories, displays and great information about mining and life in the coal regions.  The visit was surely at the right price. Admission to the museum, amusement park, and parking are FREE.

Knoebels Anthracite Coal Mine Museum
Pressed pennies are one of Mike Korb’s obsessions.

A sock filled with money

The first thing I saw at the door to the museum is one of my obsessions – a squished penny machine. When I’m on vacation, I carry a sock filled with shiny new pennies and quarters on the chance there’s a machine.  I can insert two quarters and a penny, and presto: A 51 cent souvenir, with the die-pressed symbol of where you visited. But, I didn’t bring the sock with me, so I went to the gift shop counter and took two shiny pennies from the “need-a-penny” jar and got four quarters for a dollar.  I went home with the two mine museum squished pennies they had.  Knoebels gets new penny dies every year, and this year they have 37 different designs.  I guess I saved a bundle ($17.50) by forgetting the sock.

Knoebels Anthracite Coal Mine Museum
A reenactment of the Sheppton Mine Rescue (1963) with one of the actual rescue harnesses.

Go to the Knoebels Anthracite Coal Mine Museum 

Genealogists and history buffs can pick up and read hand-written accident reports from the coal mines more than a hundred years ago. You can search a database for accidents involving your ancestors. See displays and models showing mining methods, tools, and equipment.  Finally, be sure to have your partner or a bystander take your picture outside driving a mine “Lokie” two years older than the park, and see other tracked mine equipment.

Most of the equipment in the museum are from the collection of the late Clarence “Mooch” Kashner of Coal Township. Kasner was once president of the Independent Miners, Breaker men, and Truckers union, and a retired PA State Mine Inspector.  He asked Peter Knoebel to display the artifacts and memorabilia he’d acquired throughout his career.  In 1988, the museum, a building built to resemble a coal breaker, was opened.

One of his pieces in the museum, a rough yoke fashioned from coveralls and a parachute harness, was used to pull one miner to the surface from a collapsed mine during the 1963 Sheppton Mine Rescue.  Because of the harness  Travel Channel visited Knoebels.  The museum, the mine rescue, and the harness were featured in one episode of the Travel Channel’s “Mysteries of the Museum” in 2013.  Watch the rerun on July 24 at 8 p.m. EST and 7 p.m.   (http://www.travelchannel.com/shows/mysteries-at-the-museum/episodes/sheppton-mine-disaster-bite-board-erie-collar-bomb) You can watch on July 24th at 8 PM, 7 p.m. Central.

There’s lots more to see and do at Knoebels.

Knoebels is ranked as one of the top-ten family amusement parks in the United States.  The first thing after the museum, you see the Black Diamond. We didn’t take the dark coaster ride through the coal mine on the Black Diamond, but you should.  Instead, we went through three more museums and exhibits.  I rode on the 103-year-old carousel and grabbed three brass rings without falling off my horse once. The Grand Carousel was voted the best carousel in the Golden Ticket Awards competition held by Amusement Today in 2007, and 2010 to 2015.  In addditon, Knoebels food has won the awards 13 times in the last 15 years.  Make sure you sample some  before you left the Park.

Our 39 mile “trek” to the Knoebels  Anthracite Coal Mine Museum was well worth the trip.

Knoebels Anthracite Coal Mine Museum
Mike Korb found many photo ops.

Bundle a trip to Knoebels Anthracite Coal Mine Museum and Pioneer Coal Mine Tour

When you’re planning your visit to Knoebels, you should also allow time to visit a nearby top ten tourist attraction in Pennsylvania.  Consider first scheduling a half-hour trip to the Pioneer Tunnel Mine Tour and “Lokie” ride in Ashland. (www.pioneertunnel.com)  This “newer” narrow gauge locomotive was built in 1927.  It is a 0-4-0 type Lokie that typically was used to haul coal from strip mines. I suggest you first take a trip on the train behind a Lokie in the morning and the Coal Mine Tour at noon.  In addition, get your picture taken in a Lokie and visit the Knoebels Anthracite Coal Mine Museum in the afternoon. Maybe spend your evening on some of the rides on the bargain “Sundown Plan.”  Don’t miss all the photo ops.

Celebrate coal mine history 

Finally, join Pat and me on Sat., Aug. 20, 2016, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. as we celebrate the 24th Annual Pioneer Day and the 53rd Anniversary of the Pioneer Tunnel Tour. Take a mine tour and a steam train ride.  Enjoy the special events that will be held adjacent to the tunnel.

In the works

Pioneer Tunnel will be adding a reconstructed mine headframe to its attractions, hopefully this fall.  I’ll write about it then.

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camping Family Destinations Glamping Hiking in Northeastern Pennsylvania Northeastern Pennsylvania Pocono Mountain fly fishing Pocono Mountain Resort Pocono Mountain Retreats Pocono Mountain River Boat Cruises Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort

Shawnee Inn Glamping

  • By
  • July 2, 2016

Romantic” Shawnee Inn Riverside Glamping

Connect with nature luxuriously


Nature at your doorstep

Tim MacMichael often falls asleep at night listening to soothing music from an app he installed on his phone. On May 25, Mother Nature provided the sleep-inducing background melodies Tim heard while he drifted off to sleep at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort Riverside Glamping. The inn is located in Shawnee on Delaware in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.

“They were great sleeping sounds,” Tim said on May 26 as he and his wife, Christine MacMichael, Warren, NJ, sipped coffee on the deck next to their bell tent. 

Tim and Christine have been guests at historic Shawnee Inn probably four times, according to Tim, but when they received emails promoting Island and Riverside Glamping, Christine said, “That made me want to try it.”

“We heard the tree frogs, crickets, the water lapping in against the shoreline, and some woodpeckers and other birds chirping towards the morning,” Christine noted.

Tim and Christine MacMichael
Tim and Christine MacMichael, Warren, NJ, watched activity on the Delaware River from their deck on the Shawnee Inn Riverside Glamping site.

 

Rather than lug their tent and camping supplies to a camping site, they decided to focus on a more relaxing and convenient alternative known as glamping or boutique camping.

What is glamping?

It’s glamorous or luxurious camping that’s synonymous with resort-style services that are not associated with traditional camping. Shawnee Inn offered Tim and Christine the convenience and luxury of a room in the inn with the added pleasure of connecting to the outdoors.

Guests can choose from two boutique camping options: Shawnee Island Glamping, a secluded experience on a remote island in the middle of the Delaware River that’s only accessible by canoe and Shawnee Riverside Glamping on a semi-secluded tract of land on the north lawn of the resort that overlooks the scenic Delaware River. High-speed Wi-Fi, a queen-size day bed, electricity, coffee maker, refrigerator, lantern, fan, radio, and full access to resort amenities are standard comforts that enabled Tim and Christine to rough it in style.

Upon their arrival at the Riverside site, they found their queen-sized bed dressed with luxurious linens, an extraordinarily comfortable mattress, and white fluffy pillows.

Christine commented after a restful night’s sleep, “The bed, blankets, and pillows were so comfortable. Everything is so well done and luxurious. Glamping here is a lot easier and more convenient (than camping) and we love it.”

“We’d absolutely do it again,” Tim said. We just pack an overnight bag and that’s it.”

To reserve your bell tent at Shawnee Inn, visit shawneeinn.com or call 1-800-742-9633

 

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Anthracite Heritage Art and Culture Eckley Miners' Village Exhibits Lifestyle Museums Northeastern Pennsylvania

Anthracite Heritage – Eckley Miners’ Village

Anthracite Heritage

Eckley Miners’ Village Anthracite Heritage

We celebrated Patchtown Days and Slavic Fest 2016

by Mike Korb

Pat and I went to Eckley Miners’ Village for their annual “Patchtown Days,” a genuine commemoration of Anthracite Heritage. We had an opportunity to experience Slavic Fest 2016, a celebration of the customs and traditions of the Slavic peoples who emigrated to the anthracite coal region. Traditional music, food, living history, and crafts were all part of the lineup.  Pat’s family is Slovak. Her maiden name was Trubisky, before that maybe “Trubecki” in the Carpathians where her great grandparents came from in the 1870s.

We were at Eckley for a fun and eventful morning.  In the middle of the main street. we saw a play about prejudice against the Slavs presented by Eckley Players, a group of volunteers who dress in 1870s garb; Pat  ate “loksa”, a potato/flour pancake cooked on a coal stove in a Slavic summer kitchen; we talked to some University of Maryland archaeology students on a dig on Eckley’s Back Street;  we listened to Slavic music;  Pat fed a therapy donkey and decided not to buy a corn straw broom; people ate haluski, pierogi, halupki while I had hot dogs and watched them.  Seems like it was a great day for a good time in a relaxed setting.

Pat Korb at Eckley Miners’ Village

 

The National Trust for Historic Preservation defines heritage tourism as “traveling to experience the places, artifacts, and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past.”

Eckley Miners’ Village is heritage tourism.  

Most of all, it tells the story of anthracite heritage and people through the preservation and exploration of the site. It is helped by these cultural festivals. http://eckleyminersvillage.com Next year’s Patchtown Days will be a celebration of Irish culture.

Eckley Miners’ Village was founded in 1854. But it is a village frozen in time.  Consequently, you see a company town that housed miners and their families, a doctor, a company store, and churches. The town also had the coal mine and the “breaker” where the mined coal was sized for market.  These often were the only places immigrant families could afford to live.  In the early 1900s, Pennsylvania had more company towns, which were known as “coal patches,” than any other state in the nation.

Eckley survives, a relic of anthracite mining heritage, because of a movie.  The 1968  motion picture “The Molly Maguires,” starring Sean Connery, Richard Harris, and Samantha Eggar scenes were mostly filmed there.  The homes and streets were restored to circa 1870 and a prop breaker and other period structures were erected for the movie. You’ll want to  rent or buy the movie, a lost American film classic, at Amazon or Netflix. (http://www.movies.com/molly-maguires/m47145)   I’ll write more about the “Mollies” in Anthracite Heritage in future posts.

In 1971, the village of Eckley was bought “lock, stock, and barrel” by Hazleton (nine miles west of Eckley) businessmen.  They donated it to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission to transform the quiet village into the country’s first mining-town museum. http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/portal/communities/pa-heritage/jewel-in-crown-old-king-coal-eckley-miners-village.html

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has active support by the Eckley Miners’ Village Associates, a non-profit community-based organization. Eckley is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.  Take a guided tour at 11 a.m. or 2 p.m., Monday-Saturday (at 2 p.m. on Sunday).  Treat yourself to a nice quiet stroll through history. Haunted Halloween Lantern Tours and Christmas at Eckley are two of the special events offered throughout the year.  

1940s WWII Weekend

Consider attending the 1940s WWII Weekend August 6 and 7, which will include a Swing Dance to a live band on Saturday evening at the Freeland Public Park Pavilion, four miles north of Eckley at 401 Front St., Freeland. 

Photo courtesy of Eckley Miners’ Village

 

Anthracite Heritage
View of the Eckley Miners’ Village from the mining engineer house…Photos by Mike Korb

 

Eckley’s 1940 anthracite mining engineer’s  reflects the  home front  in the region, the subject of the weekend.  It seems like it was an interesting time in Northeastern PA.  

In 1940, more than half the US homes were heated with coal – 88 percent in Pennsylvania.  However, anthracite production and employment were cut in half from 1918 and the biggest company had filed for bankruptcy in 1937.  Although the war years brought production back, labor shortages with increased production  caused problems . Some results were labor problems and collusion between companies.  The push for more coal caused much of the extensive environmental derogation that  led to many of today’s abandoned mine land problems.

You can see a good  film in the public domain about the 1940s in anthracite online at http://www.buyoutfootage.com/pages/titles/pd_na_428.php#.V3EEIsuV91s

I don’t dance, but I DO plan to visit the WWII Weekend.


3 other Anthracite Heritage festivals you won’t want to miss:

 

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Art and Culture Exhibits Museums Northeastern Pennsylvania

Anthracite Heritage Tourism

anthracite heritage tourism

Anthracite Heritage Tourism

“Sights and Sites You’ve Likely Not Seen but Should Have!”

by Mike Korb

Over 60 percent of the world’s anthracite coal is deposited in Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA).  During the 19th century, anthracite coal was the fuel that ignited the Industrial Revolution. When you take an anthracite heritage tour, there is lots to see and lots to learn about in the anthracite coal region of Pennsylvania – 484 square miles in nine counties, between Harrisburg and Forest City. When you travel the 150-mile trip up Interstate 81 and across US Route 6 and make one of the many eye-opening side trips through the coalfields, you will ride along a ridge, looking into deep valleys, over steep hills, along streams and rivers, and find yourself surrounded by spectacular scenery. You’ll see cities, mountains, unique small towns, and hear and learn distinctive stories and traditions. And those are just a few of the characteristics of anthracite heritage tourism that are something unlike anything else – Sights and Sites You’ve Likely Not Seen but Should Have! 

The story of the anthracite coalfields is a legacy of labor history, ethnic diversity, and pride, creating a working-class culture that made America great. One-hundred years ago in this scenic area, 180,000 hard-working miners were producing the coal that created modern America.  It’s a real believe-it-or-not experience when you read and hear the work these guys did when you see it yourself on a journey into an underground mine. I’m inviting you to come and explore NEPA to enjoy the one of a kind anthracite heritage tourism, recreation, sights, stories and adventures waiting for you here in the coal regions.

I’m Mike Korb, a mining engineering graduate of the Missouri School of Mines in Rolla Missouri. I’ve been working in the mining industry for more than 50 years in management, executive, professional, supervisory, consulting, and technical jobs; worked in bituminous coal, iron ore, limestone, industrial sand, copper and slag mining operations and more than 20 years in the anthracite coal fields here in NEPA. The past eight years I worked for Pennsylvania in Abandoned Mine Reclamation until May 13, when I became a “mining, reclamation, management, heritage development consultant,” retired.  Always before now when I called myself a “consultant ” it was because I was looking for a job. Now I don’t want to work full time anymore but I don’t want to stop working either. I want to continue being an advocate for mining and coal, responsible environmental management, economic development on previously mined lands and heritage development and preservation.

Right now I’m working to start a group to promote and facilitate tourism of the heritage, history, culture and natural beauty of the entire anthracite region and to educate and apprise about the features and events that demonstrate them. Joan has graciously offered to allow me to blog on her Visit Northeastern Pennsylvania page and I plan to talk with you about what that organization is doing and about the great attractions and events that are related to anthracite mining heritage, at least until she gives me “the hook.” I’m working on the name of it, which likely will be the Anthracite Heritage Alliance (AHA).

 anthracite heritage tourism

I was an immigrant to the anthracite region more than 40 years ago.  I moved to Hazleton on Valentine’s Day 1974.  My good wife Pat (some call her St. Pat for being married to me for nearly 50 years) and I had looked at houses in Jim Thorpe, Lansford, Palmerton, Pottsville, Nesquehoning, Coaldale, and Lehighton, to name a few, and I think probably every town in a 25-mile radius of Tamaqua, where I was working at the anthracite mining operation Bethlehem Steel bought from the Fauzio Brothers.

When we first looked at the region, it looked like a pretty dreary place, with lots of gray landscapes, but we discovered the people were amazing friends and neighbors and it was a great place to learn about the industrial revolution, labor history, and immigrant communities. We found it a remarkable place to live. We moved away for nearly ten years for a job on the west coast but came back because it’s such a good place to be.  It’s also somewhere you’ll want to visit.  The area has some fantastic mining heritage tourist attractions, including two state anthracite heritage museums and three underground mine tours, and the Molly Maguires; and hundreds of potentially great ones. I’ve taken dozens of groups on heritage and mining tours here and haven’t touched the coal dust on more than a fraction of them. One tour I led a couple years ago was called “Sights and Sites You’ve Likely Not Seen but Should Have!” You don’t want to miss what you can see and experience on these tours.  We have big open pit mining operations, magnificent architecture, churches, museums, ethnic food, iron furnaces; and historical sites – places that literally changed American history, economics, labor.

We were the “old country” for people who moved to Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, California, and their grandchildren.  How many people in the United States had a “grandfather who worked in the mines?”  And wouldn’t it be neat to show the kids where grandpa worked or a place where grandma made her home?  You can do both of those and lots more in NEPA.

AHA will develop a strong partnership network focusing on shared anthracite heritage issues, in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Schuylkill, Carbon, Columbia and Northumberland Counties – across the entire anthracite coal region, and help address legacy mining issues.  The partnership network will attempt to include all of the mining, historical, environmental, cultural, heritage, stories and tourism aspects of the anthracite region, and I hope to tell about its growth, the “Sights and Sites You’ve Likely Not Seen but Should Have!” and the anthracite heritage tourism places and events you should visit in NEPA. I can also help answer questions about places you want to know.waver

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Art and Culture Exhibits Museums Northeastern Pennsylvania

Artists Give New Life to Books

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  • June 2, 2016

Artists transform mass-produced books

“Between the Covers: Altered Books in Contemporary Art”

Photos by Joan Mead-Matsui

Artists giving new life to books as unique works of art is the premise behind Between the Covers: Altered Books in Contemporary Art, a must-see exhibit due to close in a matter of days at The Everhart Museum of Natural History & Art in Scranton.

 

 

 

 

 

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