Jim Thorpe: Just Go

Escape, eat and explore in one of “America’s Coolest Small Towns.”

If you’re looking for a great weekend getaway this fall, Jim Thorpe is your place. Less than an hour-and-a-half from the Main Line, with an easy drive up the Northeast Extension, this quaint Pocono town is known for whitewater rafting, mountain biking, kayaking and hiking—which, if you layer up, all except the rafting is still possible through the fall. There’s good food and drink to enjoy throughout town, along with live original and tribute music—both inside and out. Friday and Saturday are the jumping nights, so we chose to go Saturday through Monday and get both a taste of the action and a much-needed dose of laid-back quiet.

Dinner Night No. 1 was a quick trip to our inn’s restaurant, Broadway Grille & Pub (broadwaygrillepub.com). We had gone with one of “The Inn at Jim Thorpe” packages, so a dinner voucher was included. The food was better and the crowd hipper than I had expected. The ambiance was polished enough for city slickers but not so much as to scare off the locals. The light fixtures were attractive and gave off warm light—perfect for getting cozy in a corner table. A tin ceiling, bundled stalks of wheat shafts, wrought-iron candle sconces, burnt orange walls, and exposed brick walls had the restaurant glowing, with a nice transformation from day to night.

Between the two of us, we made a very satisfying meal out of portabella ravioli in a vegetable consommé, crab cakes with kiwi mango salsa, and a crisp-crusted chimichurri-seasoned salmon fillet cooked over a wood-fired grill. The only weak link was the Broadway salad, which was a little Plain Jane. Portions and prices were very reasonable.

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The next morning we went back for breakfast (more vouchers) and again were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food. I had a hearty omelet with fresh spinach, basil leaves, and creamy feta cheese that was even better on the second morning when I ordered it again. Plus, the fair-trade coffee was very good—always nice after a night out.

Later on Sunday, we enjoyed some tasty chicken wings. Seasoned with sriracha sauce, they were über-crispy, tender and meaty—just lip-smacking good. (These turned out to be the best part of the Eagles’ game.) There’s a decent draft beer selection, and the pub draws a diverse crowd, which is always fun on game day.

A tuna dish at Moya in Jim Thorpe.Moya's avocado salad.On the second night, we went to Moya (jimthorpemoya.com), an eclectic-minded restaurant owned by an Ecuadorian chef, Heriberto Yunda, and his artist wife. (It was interesting to read that his first cooking gig was for American oil-company execs in the rainforest.) Our dining experience was a treat for the senses. Not only were our plates composed with flair, but our eyes were rewarded everywhere we gazed with brilliant, abstract oil paintings that brighten up the already-bold turquoise walls. The salads we ordered were so massive, delicious and healthy that we were pretty close to full before our entrées arrived. I highly recommend: the avocado salad, though I would love to see a little acid added to the dish in the form of lemon or lime juice; and the goat cheese, asparagus, beet and baby arugula salad, which was a tantalizing selection of textures with sweet and tangy flavors. The encrusted goat cheese was impossible not to devour, creamy, warm and lightly coated in homemade breadcrumbs that reminded me of the caramelized crust on crème brûlée, so thick and perfectly crispy.

Next time, we’d like to try Flow Restaurant and Gallery, a farm-to-table concept that specializes in locally grown food and art. I was really dying to try this place but, when I asked around town, the recommendation was Moya and another spot, Albright Mansion. (The boyfriend likes to follow the locals’ recommendations.)

There’s also a cute, penny-candy-style store with popcorn, ice cream, small café tables for enjoying all the yummy treats, and an interesting—though not necessarily the most warm and friendly—coffee shop called Strange Brew. Its highlight is a fantastic mural of musicians through the ages. I had a warm coffee float with ice cream and whipped cream—another win for my taste buds. I preferred it had been served in a pretty glass mug, though, so I could see all the mocha-vanilla hues melting into each other.

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Jim Thorpe also has a Molly McGuire’s pub, familiar to Phoenixville revelers, and a Mexican joint with a cocktail lounge in its basement. That’s on the list for my next visit, too!

Another recommendation I have is for length of stay. For this time of year, two nights (maybe three at the most) is best because it’s a small town and, with everything being so conveniently located, you can get a lot in.

The shopping isn’t bad, either, but you likely won’t go too nuts. I did find a cute ladies’ accessories shop filled with all kinds of affordable goodies. The record store is great for the guys—the owner is friendly and up on the latest bands—and the bike shop is also great for gear or advice on where to bike. In fact, I was very surprised at how affable everyone was. Better yet, we never felt like we were taken advantage of cost-wise just because we were in a tourist town.

Check it all out at jimthorpe.org.

And I’m happy to share more details. E-mail me at dwarden@mainlinetoday.com.

Our Best of the Main Line & Western Suburbs Party is July 25!