"Must Dos" for Visiting Jim Thorpe in Fall

Andi Hoherchak | Writer



A side-long view of Jim Thorpe’s historic train station. The inside holds the Jim Thorpe Visiting Center, where Jane Kohler works.

Jim Thorpe, a small town in Northeastern Pennsylvania, holds decades of history, beauty, and experiences. Nicknamed the “Switzerland of America,” Jim Thorpe has lots to offer its visitors. Tourists trickle in from all over looking for a taste of the beauty hidden within this valley.


Jane Kohler has worked in Jim Thorpe’s visiting center for years.


“The draw for people to visit here is not so much the attractions but the ability to step back in time to truly be able to relax on weekend getaways, to make you forget about the real world for a little while,” Kohler said.


When first driving down Broadway, the main road in downtown Jim Thorpe, the first thing that stands out is the mansion on the hill. The mansion was built in 1861 by Asa Packer, a wealthy member of Jim Thorpe high society during the 19th century. He is most well-known for his involvement in the Lehigh Valley Railroad and founding Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.


His historic mansion sits in view of the railroads that he built, which run through the heart of Jim Thorpe. When he died in 1879 the mansion was sealed off for over fifty years, leaving everything inside perfectly preserved. Years later, his descendants left the property to the town. Now, this extravagant mansion is open for public tours.


There are so many hidden gems for tourists to discover in Jim Thorpe. A lesser-known attraction are the weekly, guided Ghost Walks.


Considering the town’s age and history, many claim it is haunted. These Ghost Walks take visitors around downtown Jim Thorpe in search of spirits.


Mason Lazorick, a student at LCCC who works giving tours in Jim Thorpe, has called it a must see.


“Pick your heads up and look around, ” he said. “The best thing to do in Jim Thorpe is to act like tourists.”


Another draw to the town is its natural beauty. With mountains looming over the valley, beautiful shades of leaves falling, and a river flowing through downtown, Jim Thorpe is the perfect place to visit for nature lovers. The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway combines all the elements Jim Thorpe has to offer into one experience. This historically accurate train takes riders along the river into the mountains to enjoy the views this town has to offer.


“Jim Thorpe has everything you could need; there are things here that you cannot find anywhere else and there is a unique experience for everyone,” Lazorick said.