Below you will find answers to many of your questions about the Jim Thorpe eXperience.
If more information is needed, please do not hesitate to call!
What is Jim Thorpe?
A town of about 5000 people that sits at the base of the Pocono Mountains and right next to the Lehigh River in east-central Pennsylvania. Besides being really easy to get to via major highways and even bus, Jim Thorpe is an amazing town that features beautiful views everywhere you look – both natural views and man-made. The setting is just astounding: three mountains are bisected by a river and a stream, with the town nestled in and around them all, so every view has a mountain backdrop. The downtown itself features amazing architecture of the Victorian era that you would not expect in a remote mountain village. The town also benefits from its location because of the many outdoor adventures that can be found in the surrounding mountains, river and lakes. There is hiking, biking and easy walking on trails that range from flat and wide to narrow and steep. On the river and lakes there are kayaking, rafting and boating – again something for every ability level. Adventurers have been coming to Jim Thorpe for decades, and tourists have been coming to this area for almost 150 years. Historically, Jim Thorpe has played an important part in the progress of our nation, which is also quite astonishing for such a small mountain village. There is definitely more to this place than meets the eye!
What is the Jim Thorpe eXperience?
Hopefully by reading some other parts of this website, you already know the answer to this one: the JTX is a Guide Service that helps you make the most of your visit to Jim Thorpe and the Poconos by offering Historic Adventure Tours, combining the best of the area’s natural opportunities and outdoor adventures with it’s unique history and deep culture.
What is a historic adventure?
A way to discover the history and culture of an area through experience, especially through outdoor activity. In the case of JTX, you will bike, hike, snowshoe or walk through areas of historic significance, experiencing the area by sight, touch, smell and sound. This gives you the best possible understanding of the natural beauty of the area. Adding to this are our discussions of historical events that are linked to the places where we are adventuring, plus visits to museums and cultural sites to find out more of the area’s past and present heritage. Combining the natural adventures and the historic interpretation, we give visitors a unique experience of this amazing area. You will end up thinking about things differently because you will see many sides to the stories. You’ll exercise your mind as well as your body.
What is the history of Jim Thorpe and the Western Poconos?
This region has an incredible past, way too much to go into here, but as an overview: the region’s coal fueled the Industrial Revolution of the mid-to-late 1800’s and its lumber built towns, boats and machinery. Some of the richest people in America lived here. Later it was a booming tourist mecca, but after the Great Depression became one of the poorer areas of the East Coast. Its resurgence has been mainly due to the beautiful location, its storied past, and an influx of new ideas and culture – things that you owe it to yourself to investigate! The JTX helps you do so…
Where does the JTX offer tours?
Coming on a trip with the JTX will bring you into different areas of the Western Pocono Mountains: the areas surrounding Jim Thorpe, plus some special places we have picked that are farther away, but worth the drive. The Lehigh River valley is a beautiful setting for biking and hiking, and the Western Poconos area offers many remote places that are also full of history. You’ll visit parks, historic sites and some ‘locals-only’ places during your time with JTX.
How does all this history and activity fit together into tours?
First of all, unless you several days, you can’t do it all – there’s just too much here. So we’ve put together a series of day-trips that include adventures and site visits that take you through the past and into the present of Jim Thorpe and its surroundings in a fun and exhilarating manner. We’ve taken the best adventures for the most people and paired them with the most relevant historic sites, creating ½, ¾ or full-day tours that make the best use of your limited time. The tours have a particular theme (Canals & Trains, Coal Mining and Local History, for example) but throughout the course of a day, much more local knowledge comes through. You’ll enjoy the outdoor activity in our pristine surroundings, be fascinated by our local history, and enchanted by today’s re-invented version of the old town. You’ll bike, hike and walk; you’ll see, hear, smell and touch; you’ll explore nature and history and understand how this area has a heritage like no other place on Earth.
OK, that all sounds good, but is it HARD?
Well, that depends on what kind of shape you’re in… We don’t require Olympic athletes, but it helps a lot if you’re able to keep up with a group in walking, hiking and biking. If you’re any kind of outdoor person, or even get out and do things once-in-a-while, you’ll probably be okay. If you’re a total couch potato, then this is not for you. The adventures are tailored to a group’s ability level, but since there are several activities scheduled during the time period, we have to keep up a decent pace. If you have bad knees, hips, shoulders or back, we are sorry to exclude you but it is probably for the best. If there is any concern about a health issue, you MUST ask about it before making reservations or coming on a trip. We do reserve the right to refuse a participant for any reason, if we feel they will not be able to do the activity or will hinder the rest of the group or lessen others’ enjoyment of the tour. The last thing we want is for you to sign up for something that is not good for you, and then you end up not liking it… In a nutshell, our adventure tours are not for everyone!
How can we get the most out of our visit?
To experience all that Jim Thorpe has to offer, you would need a lot of time… days, maybe weeks. We give you a bunch of different perspectives on the area in just one day or less. Since we have different trips with different themes, you can get a more well-rounded experience by going with JTX twice (or more). However, you must also keep in mind there are other things to do in the area that are not part of our itinerary. For example, if you want to go fishing at the Lake or in the river, or if you want to peruse the 30+ shops in the downtown, or if you want to visit art galleries, or go rafting on the Lehigh… all of these things you must leave time for, so plan a trip with the JTX according to your schedule. We offer several different options, from 2-hour walking tour to a 9-hour jam-packed adventure outing. A day with JTX and a day for yourselves is an easy way to do it, or if you want to get the most out of your time here, maybe an all-day or ¾ day trip one day, then a half-day trip another day. Doing all of our trips will give you the most well-rounded ‘Jim Thorpe eXperience’ of all, but that may be better done by stretching it over several visits.
Do we really need a guide to do all this?
Well, not really…. Not if you just want to walk around and try to find the nice views, or pedal through the woods hoping not to get lost. If that’s all you want, you don’t need the JTX. And if you already know the best places to stop for a rest, where to get the best views, the nicest picture spots, and have heard the best stories then you don’t need us either. And if you really want to contact the outfitters and arrange everything, plus know how to schedule your day around the hours for museums and attractions, and know how to get to them and where to park, and want to pay for everything separately, then you can do this area by yourself.
But if all that sounds like a hassle… if you want to make the most of your limited time… if you want to ‘experience’ the area and not just visit… then you should consider coming with JTX. We have it all arranged for you, have the contacts, the gear, the scheduling, the local knowledge… we have everything you need to have an awesome experience, and we’re with you every step of the way!
How do we sign up?
If you are planning a trip to Jim Thorpe in advance, call 484.225.1209 to discuss tour options for the day(s) of your visit. If it all works out, and you book a guided tour, we need some pertinent information to make the reservation: name, address, phone, email, date of visit, which tour, how many people, etc. Payment is at time of the tour, preferably in cash.
If you are already in Jim Thorpe, and inquire about a ‘last minute’ tour by calling 484.225.1209, we will gather the same info over the phone. We may also ask you to stop by our office at 37 West Broadway (aka Mary’s Guesthouse) to sign up and pay via cash.
How much does it cost?
Our per-person tour prices are based on the length/time of the tour, plus the different activities involved, and range from $45 for a quick half-day highlight tour to $95 for a marathon 9-hour multi-activity adventure that goes deep into many historic issues. Please see our Trips & Tours page for a description of all JTX outings with prices. There are certain shorter tour options that are lesser prices, for example the bus tour and the historic walking tour (by itself), and customized tours will be priced according to time and activities.
What is included in the cost?
The price of our fully planned, guided historic adventures depends upon the itinerary for the day, and will include admission to any parks or historic sites on the schedule, plus lunch and snacks (Lunch = sandwich, bag of snacks or crackers, piece of fruit; Snack = fruit, crackers or granola bar). Also, if a shuttle is involved in the trip, that is included. Our guided bike rides assume you are providing your own bicycle and helmet– if not, they can be rented from a local outfitter… we can handle that for you, or you can do it yourself. (Note that bicycling helmets are required.)
What is not included in the cost?
While we strive to plan our trips to include everything for a great experience, there may be things for which we cannot foresee a need. If you have any special health or food requirements, you should plan for those. If you want to bring extra snacks/drinks on any adventure, that is a personal choice. If you would like souvenirs from any of the sites visited, you will buy them individually. Lodging is also not included in any of our pricing.
What if we would like something different than the Trips & Tours listed?
The JTX strives to provide a well-rounded experience for all our guests, so we package popular and interesting activities into tours. If you would like a different adventure or another combination of activities, this can likely be arranged. At the end of our Trips & Tours page is a list of other riding, hiking and combination tour options. Call to discuss these (or any other idea) for your outing. We’re happy to show you all that the Jim Thorpe area offers!
What if our group wants to go on a tour?
Groups of at least 6 people can reserve special JTX tours on weekdays, where your group will be the only guests. If one of our standard tours does not quite address your needs or interests, we will customize a tour especially for your group. Prices would be based on time and activities involved, same as all our tours. If your group has 5-10 people, a discount of 15% can be applied to the per-person rate for any standard tour, 11+ people and a 20% discount can be applied.
How many tours are there per day, and how do we know which are available on any given day?
The JTX normally does one tour per day, because we want to make sure each tour gets our full attention. It is possible that a short morning tour could be followed by a short afternoon or evening tour, but that’s about the only way the JTX would do two tours in one day.
As far as which is available on a given day: most tours are available on any day by reservation. There may be time restrictions due to the length of the tour (long tours must start early, for example.) Also, tours that include specific attractions can only be done on the days the attractions are open. For example, the coal mine tour is open Friday to Sunday, so our historic Mining adventure is only available those days.
Another way to think about availability is ‘first-come, first-served’ – if we get a reservation for a certain tour on a certain day, then THAT is the tour we’re doing that day. Anyone else will either have to go on that tour, or reserve a tour on another day. The easiest thing to do is call to ask about a day you have in mind.
Where do we stay?
If you choose to let us help with your whole visit, we can help you arrange lodging at a variety of places within or near town. For adventurous groups and families (and couples or singles, too), we recommend Mary’s Guesthouse, which is conveniently located downtown and accommodates up to 10. With a full kitchen and comfortable common areas, Mary’s has everything you should need, plus offers a relaxing environment while you’re not out in the wild. More upscale lodging is available for couples at local B&B’s or the historic Inn, and for those wanting to really ‘rough it’ there are campgrounds just outside of town. Lodging prices will be paid separately – the JTX will help arrange your stay, but does not pay for it.
How do we get from place to place?
Some of our tours include shuttles to different locations, provided by local outfitters. There are some tours wherein you will be driving yourself to a specific location. In this case we will follow each other to different spots on the itinerary. We may also shuttle different vehicles at different times. Some tours start right in town, with no transportation needed. In all cases, we will start the tour by meeting at a certain spot at a designated time, whether you drive there or walk.
Who is allowed to come, or not?
Because these adventures are geared toward mature minds with interest in deeper issues such as history and heritage, and our adventures are long and sometimes strenuous, the JTX limits its guests to those over age 10. We also must exclude those with medical conditions that may make these adventures and extended outdoor exposure hazardous to their health.
What do we need to bring along?
Because many of our trips require walking or riding over varied terrain, we do require you to have special equipment for the adventures you choose – this means real hiking boots if you’re going on a serious hike, a decent mountain bike for the intermediate trails, a helmet for all biking tours.
If you don’t have a bike or cannot bring one to Jim Thorpe, the JTX can arrange to have a rental ready for you to go on a tour. We’ll need some basic information (height, weight, ability) to make sure we get the right size, and we’ll add the cost to your tour price.
For hiking, the JTX provides the planning and most of the basics, so you’ll just need the personal items: your camera, sunscreen, sunglasses, and extra snacks if you need them. If you have a fanny pack or small backpack for the hikes, or a favorite walking stick, feel free to bring them. The JTX can provide some participants with these things, if desired (i.e. don’t go out and buy them, but if you already have them, bring’em along!)
What kind of person goes with JTX?
Hmm…. This is a bit tougher that the basic facts…
How about we make a list of characteristics?
JTX adventurers are people who…
…value their limited time here
…like to try something new once-in-a-while
…have an interest in history
…appreciate the outdoors
…want value from their dollars
…enjoy exercise of the mind as well as the body
…value the past and are excited about today
…make the most of their days
If this sounds like you, go with JTX!
Call to reserve a tour today: 484.225.1209