A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to tour the boroughs of the Slate Belt consisting of Pen Argyl, Portland, Wind Gap, Roseto, East Bangor and Bangor. I know . . . I know . . . if you have lived in Lehigh Valley for any period of time I’m sure you have a joke to tell. And, I would be no different as I probably have told the same joke and had the same response to the area. But I’m here to happily say perception isn’t reality.

I was lucky enough to be escorted around the region by Bangor’s Mayor John Brown and Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Borough Business Revitalization Coordinator Sharon Davis. Both of these fine people radiate a passion for the area, and it shows in the strides the communities made.

Here are a just a few things that make the area so unique:

Bangor & East Bangor –

  • Check out the quaint downtown and residential neighborhoods which have been designated as a registered historical district.
  • The beautiful heritage mural painted by local students and residents depicts an actual Fourth of July celebration from the past. Painted on the old Bangor Trust building currently Miss Emma’s Café & Bakery (15 Broadway), it is the first of many murals planned and is something to see.
  • With quite a diverse group of eateries (including the aforementioned Miss Emma’s) and retail shops, there is something fun for all to discover in the downtown.
  • Check out the exquisite architecture from a period of yesteryear.
  • The true history of the region can be experienced at the Slate Belt Museum.

Pen Argyl –

  • The historic Victorian carousel at Weona Park is a treat for all.
  • The well-renowned actress and Hollywood sex symbol, Jayne Mansfield is buried here.
  • Take the journey down Wisdom Walk. Consisting of hand-painted sidewalks and walking trails featuring inspirational quotes along the way, Wisdom Walk will defiantly open your mind.

Portland –

  • Home to the famous Duckloe’s handcrafted furniture; the company still offers unique tours showcasing how their incredible furniture is handcrafted. Stop in and say hello to owner, Fred who is always willing to chat.
  • Take a quick walk across the Portland-Columbia pedestrian bridge which offers a great view of the Delaware River.
  • Discover the County Bridge No. 36. An engineering masterpiece of its time, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

Wind Gap –

  • Home to great summertime concerts in the park.
  • Begin your hike on the Appalachian Trail. A trail head is present in the area.
  • Visit the Gap Theatre. It will drop you back in time when movie theatres had a life of their own.

Roseto –

  • Filled with great, family-friendly activities and entertainment, the Big Time Celebration Carnival in July is something not to be missed.
  • Proud of its Italian heritage, you will be impressed with the areas Italian eateries.
  • “The Roseto Effect.” If you haven’t heard of it before Google it. Pretty interesting to say the least.

So if you haven’t been to the Slate Belt recently or perhaps ever, give it a look. You’ll be happily surprised at the strides these communities have made and are continuing to make.