The bright lights of ... Easton, Pennsylvania
August 12, 2019 8:13 PM   Subscribe

Mother in law wants to meet husband, 3 year old, and I to meet at the Crayola Experience in Easton, Pa. this weekend. Is there anything else to do there?!

Mother in law kindly bought tickets for us and my sister- and brother-in-laws plus niece and nephew to go to the Crayola Experience this weekend. They are making the relatively short (<2 hours) drive from the NY area while we are driving 3.5 hours from DC.

Since it’s a bit of a hike for us, my mother in law volunteered to meet us there Friday night and spend Friday and Saturday in a hotel so we can have some quality time. However, I can’t identify other things in the area for any of us to do.

Ideally, I’d like to find maybe a place where we could get dinner Friday night, another activity for Saturday, and maybe two more places for lunch and dinner Saturday so we can leave Sunday morning happily reflecting on a nice weekend in a different place. We could drive up Friday night, do Crayola Saturday afternoon, then drive home right after, but that seems like a lot of driving (~7 hours) in a day. Also, since we’re talking about a 3 year old, we could do Crayola, get lunch, make her take a nap and then swim in a hotel pool, get dinner and watch Frozen with Nana. It just would be nice to do something else.

Should we just drive back Saturday? Is there anything to do that you’d recommend? I looked into local baseball and soccer but both teams aren’t playing in town this weekend. There was a music festival last weekend. Thanks!
posted by kat518 to Travel & Transportation around Fullerton, PA (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I can't think of a thing! What a shame you just missed the Bethlehem music fest. How about a trip down river to New Hope? Lots going on there on the weekends. Then there is the National Canal Museum right there in Easton:

Wish I had more for you, sorry.
posted by james33 at 4:21 AM on August 13, 2019

Easton is about an hour's drive north of New Hope along the river so if you could face more driving, New Hope/Lambertville NJ is well worth it for interesting shops and restaurants. I know the drive south from NH/L is drop dead gorgeous on either side of the river but I'm not sure of the stretch between Easton and New Hope.

(on preview, ninja'd!)
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:24 AM on August 13, 2019

Good Lord, don't drive all the way to New Hope! The Easton/Allentown/Bethlehem area has plenty of resources to fill a two-day weekend, especially if you've got a little kid in tow and are comfortable going relatively low-key.

Tripadvisor or equivalent will be your best bet finding restaurants (both Easton and Bethlehem have modestly-sized but respectable fine dining scenes). For things to do, consider:
-- Jacobsburg State Park is very near Easton, with a short, easy hiking trail alongside a pretty creek with great picnic/wading options

--The National Canal Museum in Easton has a nice playground with a zipline, plus the opportunity to ride a mule-pulled canal boat, plus is close to riverside walking/biking trails

-- The Da Vinci Science Center in Allentown is small but could be cool for a 3-year-old depending on level of maturity

-- Exploring the Main Street area in Bethlehem can also be a fun few hours if the weather is good, particularly in the late afternoon/evening: lots of cool shops/restaurants, the Penn State Creamery for excellent ice cream, some neat historical buildings and demonstrations, a pretty overlook and ornamental garden by the Bethlehem Public Library, and if you're by the library, the kid-friendly opportunity for a walk down to the New Street bridge (collect rocks and sticks! throw them into the river!) where you can descend a staircase and visit a playground down on Sand Island below. Also, if you visit the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts (2 blocks from Main Street), they have a cool historical toy collection and a small-but-fun playspace with multiple giant dollhouses, dress-up stage, etc.
posted by Bardolph at 5:10 AM on August 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

Oh, and forgot to add that Two T's in Easton has both cool indoor blacklight mini golf (scenes painted by Disney artists) and a beautiful outdoor mini golf course with running streams, a waterfall and a cave. Not world-class-level amusements, to be sure, but would definitely be fine for a fun evening with extended family.
posted by Bardolph at 5:23 AM on August 13, 2019

The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is 45 minutes north, and has many lovely hiking trails.
posted by ubiquity at 7:09 AM on August 13, 2019

Downtown Easton is compact, walkable, and has some beautiful 19th century architecture. On Saturday mornings the Easton farmer’s market is across the square from the Crayola Experience. It is the oldest market in the country, is quite good, and they often have live music. The Easton Public Market, across Northampton Street from Crayola, is a food hall with several good options for casual dining. I can recommend the barbecue place in the center aisle and the bakery on the left (excellent snickerdoodles). Just north of the square is a cute bookstore/cafe in an old house that is good for browsing or getting a quick bite. I’ve also eaten at a decent Thai place a couple blocks away. The Sigal Museum looks like it would be good but I have yet to visit. The canal museum is nice for a walk and the boat ride.
posted by plastic_animals at 7:14 AM on August 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

Ringing Rocks Park! It's about 25 mins south of Easton. Very short hike to a super weird boulder field in the middle of the woods. Many of the boulders will resonate like bells when struck with a hammer. If you're up for it, you can hike a few more miles to see a waterfall. Frenchtown, NJ is right across the Delaware and has lovely cafes for lunch.
posted by apparently at 7:47 AM on August 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

We just spent 3 days near Easton and had a blast! Check out Jacobsburg State Park - there are some creek entry points that would be nice for a toddler to splash around in (there were several doing so when we were there). We ate very well the whole time based on Yelp reviews but by far the best meal was at the oddly named Daddy’s Place. Family-owned and operated, amazing Lebanese food, very friendly service, and a full bar and huge selection of beer if you’re into that.
posted by coppermoss at 2:14 PM on August 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yeah, but if you do find yourself heading back toward New Hope on your way home, the Bucks County Children’s Museum is fun, the town is cute and walkable, and there are lots of food options.

If you like family biking, the D&R canal bike path runs between New Hope and Easton—I wouldn’t take the family on that long ride on a bike, but short stretches of it can be good rides.
posted by TEA at 2:25 PM on August 13, 2019

So pleased to see some love for the Lehigh Valley, where I grew up... I left for college and never moved back, but on visits to my mom as an adult, I discovered some of the wonderful aspects of the place that others have already mentioned.

Martin Guitar is in nearby Nazareth and the free tour is worth a visit. Be careful or you might walk out with a new ukulele, like I did.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 7:14 PM on August 13, 2019

Got back from Easton yesterday. After the Crayola Experience, lunch from the farmers market and a nap, we got pizza and took our daughter to Mystical Treatsss, an ice cream shop slash cafe slash toy store. The next day after breakfast, we played some mini golf at Putt U, then went to Crepe Soleil before hitting the road. Crepe Soleil was in a strip mall so my daughter wandered around The Children’s Place before we got back in the car. So not a crazy exciting weekend but we found just what we needed. Thank you all!
posted by kat518 at 6:39 PM on August 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

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