Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas City -- Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

 
 
My husband and I went to "Christmas City" in Bethlehem this weekend with friends.
 
 

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is a city of 75,000 people in the Lehigh Valley in the eastern portion of the state. On Christmas Eve in 1741, David Nitschmann and Count Nicolaus von Zinzendorf, leading a small group of Moravians, founded the mission community of Bethlehem along the banks of the Monocacy Creek by the Lehigh River in the colony of Pennsylvania. They named the settlement after the town of Bethlehem in Judea, the birthplace of Jesus.



Until the 1850s, only members of the Moravian Church were permitted to lease land plots in Bethlehem. The historic Brethren's House, Sisters' House, Widows' House and Gemeinhaus (Congregation House) with the Old Chapel are remnants of this period of communal living. The Moravians also ministered to regional Lenape Native Americans through their mission in the area.


Bethlehem became a center of heavy industry and trade during the industrial revolution. The Bethlehem Steel Corporation (1857–2003), founded and based in Bethlehem, was once the second-largest steel producer in the United States, after Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based U.S. Steel.  The now closed steel mills area is slowly being redeveloped with an arts center and a Sands Casino Resort.


 
The town was declared "Christmas City" in 1937, and during this season all of the historic Main Street is decorated festively. There are many scheduled holiday events and activities, as well as a German inspired outdoor Christmas Village market that offers traditional German Food, crafts and music.
 
 
While my friend and I window shopped on Main Street, our husbands did what most husbands seem to do when they don't particularly enjoy shopping -- they sat on a bench and chatted.
 

The Hotel Bethlehem was built in 1922 on the site of the first building in Bethlehem – a two-room log house – where on Christmas Eve 1741, the original settlers conducted their evening worship. The hotel is beautifully restored to its past roaring twenties grandeur, and was also adorned with many historical holiday decorations.


The Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem is a holiday marketplace that was established in 1993 and has welcomed more than 950,000 people through its doors over the past 19 years! The market has more than 200 different vendors during its six-week run, with artisans coming from 20 different states to sell their wares.  It also offers delicious German and Austrian foods for sale, such as bratwurst, German roasted almonds and strudel.


There was a large array of handcrafted items and decorations for sale in the Christkindlmarkt, including Germany’s K├Ąthe Wohlfarht, with its amazing collection of handmade ornaments, nutcrackers and collectibles.


Musicians from Moravian College played Christmas music and hymns for the diners and shoppers in the market.



There were also glass blowing and ice sculpture demonstrations, as well as photo opportunities for the children with St. Nicholas.


We really had a nice time visiting Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and enjoying a littler bit of German holiday flair in the US!




I'm adding this post to the following blog events:

Mosaic Monday
Blue Monday
Our World Tuesday
Outdoor Wednesday
Alphabe Thursday --the letter this week is "C"

Bookmark and Share Pin It

46 comments:

Barbara F. said...

I love Bethlehem, PA! It really is the Christmas City, I used to mail my Christmas cards from there years ago just to have the post mark (I was young) ;-) There is (was?) a great tea room (if still in business) called Granny McCarthy's. xo

Sarah said...

Pat, you take us to so many fun places! ;-)

Buttercup said...

This looks lovely. I've got to put a visit here on my to-see list. Thanks for taking us along.

GailO said...

I would love to go to that Christmas shop!

What a strange Christmas it will be for you without any cooking or decorations!

Betsy Adams said...

I've never heard of Bethlehem, PA --but it looks like a fabulous place to visit, especially this time of year. Love that last picture of you and hubby in front of that HUGE tree. Wow..
Hugs,
Betsy

lessandragr said...

Thanks for the post. Bethlehem has special meaning for me. My mother and I stayed at the Bethlehem Hotel in 1979 when I was fleeing from a very bad, dangerous situation/person in NJ. While in the hotel I discovered a Daily Word booklet next to the bed by Oral Roberts, and I read a story from them each day for about 15 years without fail. Bethlehem was the turning point in my life and I became a much more discerning person about whom I allowed into my life.
Good luck and happiness in your new life in Colorado!

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

Looks like you had a great visit Pat! I would love to go to that market:@)

podso said...

Pat this is an informative/interesting post. I was there this past summer for a wedding and the old steel mill structures are really something to behold, aren't they? But it was not decorated for Christmas nor did we see much of what your beautiful photos portray. Have a good week!

Snap said...

I love Christmas markets. I've never been to Bethlehem, Pa ... perhaps I should put it on a list! Chicago has a fun German style market and Munich! Oh, My! What fun! Glad you had a grand time.

eileeninmd said...

Pat, what a fun trip. I love the Christmas shop and the market. The trip looks pretty. And the strudel sounds delicious. My father use to work for Bethlehem Steel in Baltimore. Those photos of the steel mill and the Woolworths store bring back many memories. Great post, thanks for sharing your trip. Have a happy week ahead!

Ola said...

visiting such places helps to feel the atmosphere of the upcoming Christmas!
Blog about life and travelling
Blog about cooking

bj said...

Wow, this looks like an awesome place..so glad you enjoyed it all.
And, I noticed that big, white bag in your last picture...full of Christmas treasures, I'll bet. :)

Pondside said...

What an great place to visit at this time of year! I liked the architecture in the downtown, especially the stone buildings with painted doors and shutters. It would be a treat to visit a Christkindlemarkt!

SmilingSally said...

Although I was born in PA and knew about Bethlehem, I've never toured it. Thanks for sharing; I learned a bunch.

Happy Blue Monday, Pat.

Tracy said...

VERY fun to see you in Bethlehem, PA Pat! I've not been there in a looong time. It's nice town to visit, and fun with the Christmas holiday theme. Did you do much shopping? ;o) Great to catch up with you here after being away for Thanksgiving! Pity we weren't in PA at the same time. Our trips to the US are often impromptu these days..LOL! Happy Days as you make ready to move, and celebrate the season! ((HUGS))

MyJourneyBack said...

Very nice tour. Thanks for taking us along.
Have a beautiful week,
Sherry

Old Kitty said...

You have a Bethlehem in Pennsylvania! How wonderful!! My knowledge of Moravian religion is sketchy at best so thanks for the link and info!

Love the market place - and there's something really mesmerising about that huge steel mill dominating the landscape but if you look closer you see all these quaint pretty houses!

I think you and hubby make a gorgeous Mr and Mrs Santa! Take care
x

Kris said...

Hi Pat! What fun! Loved the photo of you and hubby behind the Santa and helper cut out. And also the big tree!!! So Christmas like!!!
Hugs,
Kris

Cafe au lait said...

Lovely pics!

My Blue Monday.

ellen b. said...

Oh my, how fabulous to be able to visit this town this time of year! Loved all the history and the photos. Would love to poke around at that Christmas market. I'm sure I'd find my next nativity set there!! Glad you could get a real good Christmas fix there Pat!

shutterbuggbitten said...

You have so much interesting information in here! It does look like it would be a fun place to visit this time of year.

Vee said...

It looks like a fabulous place to visit in Christmas season. Your hubbies (now that doesn't sound right! ☺) look as if they sat on the bench and froze. Was it chilly?

Riet said...

That really looks like a German Christmas market which are world famous. Many many people go there in December to just walk drink Gluhwein and enjoy. It must be a wonderful experience.
It looks like you had a wonderful time.
Have a nice week.

Nellie said...

What a great week-end! We need to put that on our list of places to visit!

Pamela Gordon said...

Thanks for sharing the history of this wonderful town. I've never been there but have heard of it and Bethlehem Steel. What an interesting history of the settling of this community so long ago. The buildings and Christmas decorations are beautiful.

Lorraine said...

What a delightful place to visit! I love all of the things to do and places to visit there. Thanks a bunch for featuring this area :)

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I didn't know there was a Bethlehem in Pennysylvania so thanks for the trip!

Karen Harvey Cox said...

Wow Pat, I love that town, and that market place is amazing. What a great weekend you must have had. I must tell my sister about this place. She lives in Pennsylvania.

As always your posts are so interesting, and your photography is beautiful.

Karen

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

I could get into that road trip. What a great place to visit this time of year. I loved all the pics and the interesting backstory.

I think it is great that so many old industrial areas are being repurposed for creative uses.

Thanks for taking us along.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I've always wanted to go to Bethlehem at Christmas and maybe this is the year I'll do it. Thanks for the inspiration.

Island Rambles Blog said...

Such an interesting series of Christmas photos and I like the history of the town... I love how we get to share the world. cheers

Gary said...

Wonderful tour!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Thanks for taking us along to Bethlehem! What an interesting historic place. It reminds me of the German Christmas Market in Vancouver.

I'm smiling at the guys sitting on the bench. So typical!

Cindy said...

That sounds like the ideal place to visit at this time of year. I would enjoy a trip there. Thanks for all of the photos and the stories behind them.
Hugs, cindy

Cheryl @ TFD said...

What an interesting place! Looks like a fun place to visit, I'd love to shop there and sample some of the food, too. Thanks for the photo tour!

Hanne Bente said...

Great pictures / collages d shows.
Wish you a good day :)
Hanne Bente

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Love that first shot :) What fun you have together!

Skye said...

what a nice time you guys had!! funny b/c my husband was trying to get us a room at the hotel bethlehem for my birthday weekend in 2 weeks and they were booked- we waned to go at night b/c I heard it's gorgeous at night with everything lit up! Maybe we will just take a day trip there ...

Lorrie Orr said...

I've wondered about Bethlehem, PA - what it was like. You've shown wonderful photos of a place that would be fun to visit.
This weekend my husband and I are going to the Christmas market in Vancouver - I hear it's quite authentic from my daughter who was in Germany last year. Should be fun to compare my photos and yours.

Kathleen said...

That looks like fun! I would be in Heaven at that market. I have never been there.

Jacqueline said...

I knew Mrs. Claus was svelte like that! What a wonderful, wonderful place to get to go and spend time. That would be fun some year to place on the calendar and travel across the country to see!

diane b said...

Thanks for the tour of bethlehem. It is fun when townspeople retain a lot of their customs from the country of their forebears. The decorations and markets look great.

backroadjournal said...

I sounds like you had a great time. The Christmas market reminds me of the ones that I have been to in Germany. There is a Bethlehem in New Hampshire as well where everyone takes their Christmas cards to be postmarked from there.

Vagabonde said...

I truly enjoyed this post. I did not know about Bethlehem in the US and with a German market in addition! What an exciting place to visit at this time – you must really had much fun there. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

Looks like you two had a wonderful time! Love that 1st photo! LOL!!! All your photos are amazing!!! Love the "guys on the bench" too!

Have a great weekend!

Dee said...

I love Bethlehem PA. I go every year to Christkindlmarkt with my little Princess and husband. We will visit this December. They also have Peep Fest we have a wonderful time.