Saturday, June 19, 2010

Take a ride on the Reading Railroad....then go directly to jail

I started my morning here with a delightful breakfast.  There are two couples staying here this weekend in addition to myself. One couple is from Iowa, and they are exploring Pennsylvania's rail lines.  A great way to start the day is with good conversation and good coffee, with a side of bacon cooked just how I like it.  As soon as breakfast was over we all went our separate ways.  I explored this town pretty much from top to bottom (except for a few things I've seen recently or have zero interest in).

This town has a rich history--coal mining, railroad engineering, shipping, titans of industry, etc.  I am sitting here trying to remember some of it but the only two things I can remember is that the gravity-controlled switchback train evolved into the roller coaster, and that 19 of 26 millionaires in the country about a hundred years ago lived in this town.  If you're interested in learning more click here and here.  I definitely recommend this place as a spot to visit.  I'm not an outdoor enthusiast, but if you are there is something to be found for everyone in every season.  And if you're like me there is plenty of other stuff to keep you amused.

The first touristy thing that I did was to take a ride on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway Black Diamond Express.  I bought a ticket for the open-air car because it was muggy here today.  The train goes about 25 minutes down the line then comes back.  There isn't an absolute ton to see, and the ride is a little anti-climatic (or is it climactic?) because you literally go nowhere but right back where you started from.  The entire tour is narrated, with a bit of Pennsylvania trivia thrown in for good measure.

" 'Scuse me ma'am--you need a ticket to ride this train..."

That hole in the rock is an old train tunnel--the tracks that used to come out of it to cross the river are long gone.  A few years ago we went in the tunnel--it's dark and wet and covered in graffiti.

This is 'Little Niagara Falls.'  All of it.  I sensed there might be some sarcasm in its name, but not this much. Interestingly, no matter how hot and dry it gets this stream never runs dry.

I like how telephone poles and train tracks seem to always be together.  I remember in a movie once they stopped the train so they could hook up to a line and make a phone call. I wonder if that was ever done on this line.

I'm about fifty feet away from this butterfly---my camera's zoom rocks!  There were a ton of butterflies in this area, but they kept fluttering away.

After the train ride, I saw a sign for an HO scale train display.  It was on the second floor of this building:
Downstairs was a gorgeous little gift shop.

When I went upstairs the guy running it gave me a little background (and I do mean a little):  he told me it took 48 years for all of the pieces to be collected, and that it took fifteen people a year and a half to put it together.  Then he said "I'll go get the show started."  This "show" consisted of him dimming the lights, and playing some music that had to do with trains. I found it very amusing, but I dig trains, and I have fond memories of my dad's train set when I was young.  I loved setting up the little town and just watching the train do its thing.  People don't seem to be interested in that sort of thing anymore.
It's quite a spread, ya gotta admit.  Ya just gotta!!

 I think this one is my favorite because it looks so real--check out the lights.

After checking out the miniatures (did I ever confess to you that I love things in miniature?  If I haven't I do) I headed back to the inn for a snack and to freshen up.  Here's a shot of where I'm staying:

It's called The Parsonage.  It was built by the Reverend Webster for his large family, and is the oldest original building in the town.

Then I walked up the street to the jail.  That's right. The jail. In the middle of this idyllic little mountain town is the Old Jail.  They give a tour that is the fastest tour you will ever take.  I'm not sure if it's because it's not a large jail, or because the tour guide spoke so quickly  you could barely understand her.

Hey!! I didn't get a body search!! No fair!!

Can you imagine being in this cell all alone?  I don't care WHAT kind of criminal you are--that's scary.  But that's kind of the point--these cells are in the dungeon and where you go when you're put in solitary.

These are the gallows where the Molly Maguires were hanged.  Four at a time.  The legend goes that when they were dragging one of them out of his cell (#17) that he touched the wall and proclaimed that as long as his handprint remained there it would be a testament to his innocence.  The print is still there.  You can't take pictures because it's copyrighted (however you copyright a handprint).  I'm going to copyright my fingerprints so that if I'm ever accused of a crime and they have print evidence I can say "It's illegal for you to have a copy of that print--it's copyright protected.  Who's the criminal NOW?!" Tee-hee.

 And of course, where there's a historic prison there will be rumors of hauntings.

According to paranormal activity experts each of those orbs is supposed to be a spirit.  Some people say they're camera defects, but none of my other photos have such defects (the big orangey-yellow ones are regular lights).  Since this is the part of the prison that's supposed to be haunted, I'm leaning towards the ghost theory.

There was a ghost tour scheduled for this evening, but my feet ache and my back hurts, and I really could not handle the idea of walking up that hill again, so I sat in and watched a movie instead.

I have a bag full of goodies to bring home with me.  I used one of my totes I made that you can fold up and stick in your handbag--it came in quite handy, holds a lot, and doesn't feel a bit weak in the seams (I'm not above a shameless plug--there are a few in my shop if you're interested).

I've got some shots of my loot and some town randomness--I'll pop those up tomorrow.

Hot chocolate and some reading, and then sleep in an insanely comfortable bed.  Perfect.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...