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Post by: Lauren Drabenstott, D&L Marketing Intern
There is abundance to be found along the D&L National Heritage Corridor. Whether you’re on the hunt for trails, museums, shops, or anything in between, each section offers something unique. As we explore Bethlehem, PA, in the central region of the D&L, such opportunities are apparent. Get inspired to take advantage of them – and to connect with all the D&L has to offer.
Of Bethlehem’s efforts to be a visitor destination, one of the most exciting is its many events – Musikfest, First Fridays, and Celtic Fest, to name just a few. I was lucky enough to be in town for the Blueberry Festival, a two-day fair with vendors, demonstrations, performers, crafts, and of course, blueberries.
The festival is held at Burnside Plantation, where guests can take house tours and encounter Bethlehem’s rich historical tradition.
It goes without saying that prior to heading off, I enjoyed a slice of blueberry pie – after all, what is the Blueberry Festival without its namesake?
I then set off for North Bethlehem, known partly for its beautiful historic downtown area. As it was nearing lunchtime, I stopped into Cachette Bistro + Creperie for a bite to eat. One of the wonderful things about downtown Bethlehem is the plethora of restaurant options, ranging in cuisine, price, and style. None will disappoint – and certainly not Cachette, where I ordered a delicious and perfectly portioned Croque-Madame sandwich.
Shopping was the next order of business. Main Street boasts a number of lovely stores, perfect for any shopper. As an avid thrifter, I particularly loved The Attic, and as an enthusiastic reader, I found the Moravian Book Shop, the world’s oldest continually operated book store, thrilling.
The rest of Bethlehem possesses a similar vintage feel, unmistakable when wandering on foot. In fact, walking tours of the historic district are a great way to explore further. But even without a guide, strolling along through the downtown area feels special – whether it comes from the classic architecture, the small-town atmosphere, or the thriving independent shops and restaurants.
From there, I stopped for a walk along the D&L, and this portion of the trail is one of the most picturesque I’ve seen. Perhaps most notable is a small outcropping, maintained by D&L Trail Tenders, that includes a remarkable view of the Bethlehem SteelStacks.
Any time of the day, during any season, the D&L is one of Bethlehem’s best features.
Nearing the end of my day, I made my way across the Lehigh River to see the SteelStacks up close. The venue offers an elevated walking platform next to Bethlehem Steel’s five blast furnaces. This path, called the Hoover Mason Trestle, is reminiscent of New York’s High Line. Plants and flowers pop out among industrial artifacts, but what sets the SteelStacks apart is its emphasis on history, with walking tours and frequent informational signs. The SteelStacks is also home to daily events, from concerts to festivals to movies, and so much more.
My day done, I was reminded of how much of Bethlehem I had still left unexplored. The same goes for the rest of the D&L, where opportunities to spend a day, weekend, or vacation are countless.
The D&L is not just a trail – it is an opportunity to connect with an area’s culture, nature and community. Past and present, its story is one of abundance. Knowing that, all you need to do now is discover your D&L.
It’s only with your generosity that we can keep bringing the region’s important history and stories to life.