Many months ago, long before I left home, I came accross this little town in PA... and the hostel / guesthouse there. However, I had completely forgotten about it, that is, till I was looking for somewhere to stay late on the 26th July. I was in Panera Bread, Wilkes Barre PA, where I had eaten, and made good use of their free wifi, and trying to decide what I should do for the night. Then, on the hostel site, I saw it again, and all I had read about it came rushing back. A quick phone call to confirm that a (dorm) bed was available, a dash down the PA turnpike saw me arrive at my destination just before 10pm.
Both having travelled extensively, Michelle and Tom run Mary's Guesthouse as good clean and affordable accommodation for travellers. The only down was that parking was on the street, and then only on one side of the street, in the narrow streets of this old town district.
Mary"s is close to everything, the history, the sites, cafes, restaurants and pubs, as well as the train rides, library and visitor centre. The Opera House is on the next corner, and the Mauch Chunk museum is next door to the hostel.
Between the museum and the hostel is this intriguing staircase, which reaches up to the next street. I did not see it used, nor was I able to see from where one would access it, other than through the museum. In the dining room at the hostel is a photo of the staircase with a black bear on the landing half way up.
A short drive sees you at more recent shops and the supermarket. In every direction the attractions abound.
I decided to linger a while. It was a comfortable place, and where as there were 6 other ladies there the night I arrived, the following two nights I had the place to myself. This lovely old multi storey house boosts a fully equipped kitchen, comfortable dining room and bright lounge without TV, but a piano for anyone who can play.
Upstairs are four bedrooms capable of accommodating two dozen guests. The place was spotlessly clean, and even thought the front door was always open / unlocked, I was able to securely lock my room.
It was good to just sit around and catch up on some of my paperwork - no internet. Had my hair done, and went and drove around to see some of the sights and the streets of the old town.
I had never heard of Jim Thorpe, but at the memorial, where he is buried, there is ample information, that I am now well aware of the place he holds in sporting history; of why the town is named after him. The action of changing the name of two places, brought Mauch Chunk and West Mauch Chunk together under the banner of the new name... more than half a century ago.
I really enjoyed my couple of days in this hamlet tucked away in the Pennsylvania mountains.