Bucket List 2011 – Lehigh Valley Stuff I Want to Experience for the 1st Time

Do you have a bucket list? I don’t. I’m more of a take it as it comes kind of person. Which is probably why I haven’t done a whole heck of a lot! So….one of my new year’s resolutions was to put a short term bucket list together of things I’ve never done in the Lehigh Valley that I’d like to experience in 2011. In the past I’ve only done this in my head and might have knocked one or two off the list and then forgot all about. I’m getting old…it’s time to put it in writing!

So here goes  12 things to do, because there are 12 months (actually it just worked out nicely that way):

  1. America On Wheel’s Museum – This place looks pretty cool and right now there is a British Invasion exhibit. I actually HAVE to go there this month as I’ve signed up to volunteer to help take down their Christmas decorations (which is laughable because I still haven’t finished taking down the Griswald-esque display at home), but I’d like to visit as just a visitor too.
  2. Easton State Theatre – Everything I am interested in seeing is always sold out by the time I hear about it or the cost is not in-line with my level of interest.
  3. Any number of restaurants in Easton I have yet to get to.
  4. Godfrey Daniels – I still can’t believe I haven’t been here. It’s on the Southside and not only do they have great music acts they also have story telling sessions for kids. I have no excuse.
  5. Touchstone Theater – Again no excuse. I really want to see the Follies show they do at Christmas. I saw the kid friendly version at Christkindlmarkt in 2009 and it was a lot of fun.
  6. Gio’s Italian Grill in Macungie – everyone raves about the food here. It’s just a bit off the beaten path for me. But…I graduated from high school with Tony the owner and he is hosting our 20th High School Reunion this June so that should make this an automatic cross off! (I’ve jinxed myself, haven’t I?)
  7. Historic Bethlehem Cemetery Tours in October – I actually bought tickets through Groupon for this in 2010 but scheduled my tour during the Halloween parade. #FAIL
  8. Renninger’s Antiques and Collectors Extravaganza in Kutztown. I forget about this thing every year. And they hold it THREE times a year. This is so right up my alley. Not officially the LV but close enough.
  9. Glass blowing and/or photography classes at the Banana Factory. This has been on my unwritten list every year since they opened that glass blowing studio. Well, now it’s in writing damn it.
  10. Visit a local vineyard – Yes, I’m lame…I haven’t done this yet.
  11. Martin Guitar Tour – I’m not a guitar player but appreciate the workmanship that goes into these beautiful pieces. Another one that is on my yearly bucket list in my head.
  12. Souper Bowl at Banana Factory – Last year I failed to buy my tickets in advance and it sold out. I’m buying my tickets today!

And just in case I managed to inspire anyone…here are 12 things I’ve already done, that I love, and maybe you haven’t gotten around to doing yet:

  1. Farmer’s Markets: Allentown (year round), Easton, Emmaus, Hellertown, and South Bethlehem all have great to nice farmer’s markets. (Listed in order of my favorites-*sigh* yes southside is last, it’s small and its on a weekday…booo).
  2. QMart (whoa, they have a website?)  Quakertown’s Farmer’s Market – I didn’t list it with the above because, well, its in a whole class of its own. It’s a great place to go when you are feeling bad about yourself (As a friend likes to say “QMART – where men are men and sheep are scared”). You can buy anything from blow dart guns to used porn there (ok, I think it is just back dated, but used is funnier).
  3. Merchants Square – Kind of like Qmart, on a smaller scale, a little less weird, and there is no food. My favorite place there is K.D Smith Auctions. It’s a monthly bid board auction with some great finds – furniture, old cameras & radios, military stuff, old toys, local memorabilia, even classic (50’s -70’s?) nudie pictures. There is also a good children’s consignment store and many collectible toy stores. If you want weird…go on the second floor and check out the wrestling memorabilia place. They have ring worn costumes. Enough said.
  4. Seasons Olive Oil and Vinegar Tap Room – Awesome store on Main St. They have the best olive oils and balsamic vinegars in the world. Go in and sample, my favorites are the dark chocolate balsamic, the pineapple white balsamic, and the tuscan organic olive oil. Yum….and they make excellent gifts…hint…hint.
  5. Abode – I LOVE THIS STORE. Beautiful, unique furniture that is reclaimed and refinished. The store is in a historic home behind Tika’s, just off Main St. on Market St. It’s easy to miss but definitely worth finding.
  6. First Friday –  It amazes me how many people have not been to this event. Every first Friday of the month the stores, restaurants and galleries stay open late (until about 10PM) and the streets bustle with activity. See artwork, hear musicians, eat, drink and be merry. Many of the shops have free alcohol!! Small little cups…but still…free alcohol! Oh and sales! Can’t forget the sales!
  7. Musikfest – Another one that amazes me. Just go. If you don’t like crowds, go during the week during the day. If the heat is the issue, go later in the evening. Parking the problem? There are shuttles.
  8. Blueberry Festival – This is a lot of fun if you have kids, like crafts, or really, really like blueberries. If none of these apply, then it may not be for you. If this leaves you wanting more, try the Kutztown Folk Festival.
  9. Take a non-credit class at NCC or your local community college. There are soooooo many cool classes, I just got my catalog in the mail today.
  10. Go to an Iron Pigs game – It’s a beautiful stadium and there’s stuff to do besides just watching the game. If you have kids this is a must. If not, it’s a lot of fun to just sit at the tables near the entrance and drink beer with friends.
  11. Crayola Factory – Again, if you have kids. This place is a lot of fun and there is a lot of stuff there to tire them out. If you don’t have kids, and you don’t like being around a bunch of over-excited ones, you should probably just get your Crayola fix at the gift shop.
  12. Lehigh Valley Zoo – This is a lot of fun because it is relatively close, there aren’t a ton of crowds, the penguins are cute and did I mention there aren’t a ton of crowds? You can make a day of it or squeeze in a quick trip and have the rest of the day to do other stuff. Get a membership and  get 50% off of participating zoos, including the Philadelphia Zoo! It’s the best deal if you have kids.

There’s a lot of good stuff here, a little something for everyone. Even if a person did just half these things she would have a great 2011. If you have other places and events to recommend or have questions about any of the experiences listed here please leave a comment.

35 responses to “Bucket List 2011 – Lehigh Valley Stuff I Want to Experience for the 1st Time

  1. I went to Touchstone for the first time this past December with our friend Silagh and had an amazing time. The Christmas City Follies is something I’ll definitely be going to next year.

  2. Hmm. I think I’ve lived away too long. I’ve always wanted to take a glass-blowing class too.

    • Glass-blowing looks awesome, especially in the winter… they have demos at First Friday and it gets hot as hell in there in the summer. Have you been to the Renninger’s Antique Extravaganza? We should go!

  3. Starting a photography class at the BF next week!

  4. This makes me even more homesick for the LV 😦
    You don’t realize how awesome your hometown is til you move away!!
    Have fun 🙂

  5. Every time I come home I say I want to go to Gio’s, and still haven’t!! I almost went when I came home @ Christmas but we had so much to do we didn’t make it. If you don’t go before I come home next, we should def go together! I’ll let you know when my next trip will be ~ probably not til March 🙂

  6. I got my tickets for Souper Bowl before Christmas.
    The wine trails are fun. You should go to one of the events they have. There is a free chocolate and wine pairing on Saturday and Sunday before Valentine’s Day on the Berks Wine Trail that we’re going to again this year. It’s a lot of fun.

    • Yeah, I ordered mine yesterday, I was bummed that I missed it last year! That Berks wine trail sounds pretty cool, how far out into Berks county is that? By Kutztown or further west like Reading?

      • Usually go to the wineries around Kutztown, like Pinnacle and Blair (new location), Bayshore, Cavalresi, and Clover Hill. We usually pick one of the far away ones out towards Reading like Manatawny or Kog Hill every once in awhile. Long Trout is worth the trip once. You guys should join us sometime we go out for an event. Will let you know which day we plan to go for the chocolate and wine pairing weekend.

      • Yes! Definitely let me know which day you guys are going and I’ll see if I can talk Chris into it!

      • Yes! Definitely let me know which day you guys are going and I’ll see if I can talk Chris into it!

  7. Shameless Plug
    Please add Martin on Main to your bucket list. It is always the first Saturday of Musikfest but it is not competition – I really is a wonderful way to spend a few hours in lovely Downtown Nazareth. The event is only about 3 blocks long but it is full of free music and some of the performers are famous on the folk/acoustic/Martin tour. Lots of tasty and affordable food and the committee only allows one type of any food vendor. Great crafts and the Brew Works created a beer just for the event and that is $4.00 for a large cup. Stages are set up around the event and everyone is encouraged to stop anywhere and play. I am on the planning committee so I may have a bias but this is a great event.

    I have a few comments but I will save those for a different post

    • This event always falls on the day we have our opening weekend of musikfest/wedding anniversary picnic, but honestly this year it was kind of a pain in the ass so I may not do it this year. That would leave me open to check this out! It always looked interesting and with you on the planning committee it must be absolutely fantasic!

  8. What a great list! Thank you for the mention (and the link!) to Easton restaurants. There are a number of things on this list I would like to check out, too! Great blog!

  9. Pingback: Bucket List Update: Artsquest Souper Bowl | Michele of Bethlehem

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