It started as a center for producing iron and steel and evolved into a railroad hub, but Scranton eventually built its reputation as the center of Pennsylvania's anthracite coal industry. On your trip to Scranton, visit the following attractions:
Enter a retired coal mine, ride in the same coal cars that used to bring miners down to the tunnels and back up to the surface and see close-up how Scranton built its reputation at the Lackawanna County Coal Mine. The corridors are dimly lit so that you can get a feel for what it was like down in the mine for the century when it was operational, with mannequins along the way so you can see what job each person performed in the mine. Wear comfortable shoes, bring a jacket (it is cold below ground) and note that this is one visit you will not want to make with small children.
Scranton was not just a mining capital: it was a railroad hub as well, as you will learn at the Steamtown National Historic Site. Take a ride in a vintage train, see engines on the original working turntable, understand the differences between steam and diesel locomotives and get inside what was once a thriving industry here.
Another thriving industry is presented at the Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum. Anthracite is a hard, compact variety of mineral coal with a high luster and the highest carbon content and fewest impurities of all types of coals. You will learn about it and how it was mined; but also notable here is the museum’s efforts to present information about the different ethnic groups that worked the mines.
It probably feels like time to get the coal dust—even if it is metaphorical—out of your throat, so head out for a brisk walk or run on the Scranton Lake Walking Trail, more than three miles of paved path around the city’s water supply. Bicycles, skateboards and animals are prohibited.
And now for an evening out… you could not do better than the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic. The result of the merger of two orchestras, Wilkes-Barre and Scranton, the Philharmonic gives concerts throughout the year and performs at both cities over the course of a weekend. Many of the orchestra members are from New York City and the level of performance is consistently excellent.
Finally, you have seen the trains, now it is time for the trolleys at the Electric City Trolley Station and Museum. Your children will love the one hour trolley ride (try to get a seat either at the very front or the very back) and you will enjoy absorbing this last piece to the puzzle that makes up Scranton’s history. A film, vintage photographs and trolleys in various stages of repair are all on view at the museum.
The city’s rich history is providing an economic comeback as a tourist destination, and there is certainly a great deal to see and do where miners used to work and trolleys used to run. For your next trek to Scranton, PA book with Choice Hotels and get the accommodations you need to make your stay memorable.
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