Thinking of a vacation and not much money to go overseas, why not get away from the hustle and bustle of the city or your locale?
There are many popular destinations around the U.S. that one can easily explore without spending a large sum of money.
One of the many places one could go for example, is Bethlehem. Yes, there is a Bethlehem in the U.S. which is quite unlike the ancient city in Palestine but nevertheless has a rich colonial history.
Bethlehem, also known as Christmas City, was founded in the U.S. over 250 years ago. It is located in Lehigh and Northampton counties in the Lehigh Valley region of the eastern portion of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.
The town has many different attractions however, for guide information one should first go to the Visitor Information center located on the main street.
The best way to discover this incredible historic town is to join a walking tour. Different tours are offered throughout the seasons, so one should make sure a description check is made of the season’s available tours or take the Heritage Trail.
If one prefers to discover the city by oneself, here are some tips. The historical site is separated in 3 main areas, start from the colonial structures build by the Moravians, Colonial Industrial Quarter and Burnside Plantation.
Here are some of the interesting sites to visit:
The Sun Inn (1758)
The Sun Inn, located on Main Street is a restoration of a 1758 building which functioned as a guest house from 1760 to the late 1960s. Many leaders of the revolution visited and spent time there. Today, it is a restaurant and a museum.
Bell House (1746)
This was first used as a family house and later as a girls school.
Single Sisters’ House (1744)
This is an enduring symbol of Bethlehem’s Moravian community, it is one-of-a-kind historic building has housed women for over 250 years! Now it is restored as a museum.
Widow’s House (1768)
The Widows’ House is located on Moravian College’s South Campus. Today, it still provides housing to seminary students and private residents.
The Colonial Industrial Quarter
The Colonial Industrial Quarter by Monocacy Creek is next to these structures where the industrious Moravians practiced a variety of trades.
This reconstructed blacksmith, locksmith, and nail smith workshop allow visitors to view the bellows, forge, anvil and fire used by Historic Bethlehem’s resident blacksmiths.
The Tannery is a historic limestone tannery building.
Besides the historical view of Bethlehem, throughout the year there are different events and festivals. For example, Musikfest, is an American music festival that is held annually since 1984. The festival begins on the first Friday in August, and ends on Sunday ten days later. Visitors will witness hundreds of free shows during the event.
In addition, many Bethlehem bars offer special Musikfest mug refill during the 10-day festival. With the purchase of a mug for US$10, one can enjoy special price for drinks. Moreover, one can always use a Musikfest mug from any previous festival. The locals like to play a little people-watching game to pick out who has the oldest mug.
Bethlehem is easily accessible by car, plane or bus services (Trans-Bridge offers daily service to New York City, Atlantic City and Newark and JFK Airports). It is just a short drive away, only 85 miles from New York City and 60 miles from Philadelphia. One important note is the parking; lots of meter parking available on the city’s side streets. However, most of them are only limited to a few hours. The alternate and safer public parking is available in two garages, one at North Street and another at Walnut Street which is very close to the main street.