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Old-time charm: Take a trip to Jim Thorpe during Winterfest

Pocono Mountains Visitor Bureau
Ride in a horse drawn carriage during Jim Thorpe's annual Winterfest starting on Thursday, Feb. 15.

CORRECTION: The one-hour yoga class is $20. The original version of this post incorrectly said it was free.

JIM THORPE, Pa. — Plan a day-trip to Little Switzerland for some wintertime fun.

Jim Thorpe, about 30 miles from Allentown, will hold its annual WinterFest from Thursday, Feb. 15, through Sunday, Feb. 18.

The celebration will feature ice carvings, live entertainment, train rides, horse drawn carriage rides and a luminaria walk through its downtown area.

Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau
Winterfest in Jim Thorpe will feature shopping deals, scenic trail rides and late-night luminary walks.

Old-time charm

The mountain town in the heart of coal country, otherwise known as Little Switzerland, changed its name when the boroughs of Mauch Chunk and East Mauch Chunk merged to become Jim Thorpe in 1954 in honor of the Olympic gold medalist. He is buried in a grave on North Street.

The name is not without controversy, as the Native American athlete's family fought for years to have his remains returned to them and some locals have also fought to have its original name restored.

Whichever side you land on, Jim Thorpe — known for whitewater rafting, cycling and music festivals — is a unique destination any time of year, with winter bringing its own unique pleasures. 

While in town, look around at the Victorian-style structures, historic railroad station, cutesy shops, walkable streets — and the occasional horse and buggy.

A luminous stroll

The WinterFest kicks off with the Love and Light Luminary Walk, which is held on Third Thursday.

You can stroll through and look for the luminary displays by local shopkeepers.

Printed walking maps and a scannable QR code that will bring up a map on your phone are available at Big Creek Vineyard in the Hooven Building by the train station at 41 Susquehanna St.

For a list of participating businesses and shops, click here.

Yoga, ice carving

The festival features concerts, yoga and horse and buggy rides.

Mauch Chunk Opera House, 14 W. Broadway, will hold a Rush Experience tribute concert at 8 p.m. Friday. Tickets cost $24.

On Saturday, an ELO and Jeff Lynne tribute concert will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $37.

You can check out the yoga class at 10 a.m. Saturday with Stacey Valdez of Fairy Moon Yoga at 41 W. Broadway. Admission is $20.

The class, suitable for all levels, is one hour and BYOM (bring your own mat).

Also Saturday: check out various bands performing in Josiah White Park (Route 209 and Broadway) along with a live ice carving at 5 W. Broadway.

Trolley rides, horsing around

Pocono Mountains Visitor Bureau
Lehigh Gorge Railroad will offer train rides during WinterFest in Jim Thorpe.

The Jim Thorpe Trolley Company will offer trolley rides (weather permitting) on Saturday and Sunday. During the ride, patrons will hear all about the history of Mauch Chunk and Thorpe's legacy.

Or you can horse around on a carriage ride by Crystal View Carriage Company on Friday through Sunday. No reservations are being taken, so arrive early.

For something more scenic, catch a train ride on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic RailwayThursday-Monday. Advanced tickets are highly recommended. Click here for info.

For a schedule of events, go to poconomountains.com/jim-thorpe.