Conversations on the Canal: Big Industry & Big Bands

August 13th, 2014

The Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor is holding its second summer dinner cruise aboard the mule-powered Josiah White II canal boat.

The cruise will be held August 23 from 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm at Hugh Moore Park in Easton.

Martha Capwell-Fox and her brother, Steve Capwell, will present an engaging program about the rise of big industry in the Lehigh Valley from 1900 to 1940, accompanied by popular music of the times: vaudeville, jazz, blues, and big band swing. Martha is the archivist at the National Canal Museum and author of several books about Lehigh Valley history; Steve is a longtime radio DJ with a keen interest in music history.

One of the evening’s highlights is a trip inside Lock 47 at Abbott Street in Easton, where the Josiah White II will be lowered and raised the same way coal-laden canal boats were nearly 200 years ago. Lock 47 is one of only a few working canal locks in Pennsylvania.

The Culinary Experience of Hellertown will offer a swanky hors d’oeuvres dinner from the Roaring ‘20s. The cost of the cruise is $39 per person or $75 for couples. Directions and a detailed cruise agenda are provided upon registration. For reservations or more information, contact Loretta Susen at Loretta@delawareandlehigh.org or 610.923.3548 Ext: 221

Riding the D&L

August 5th, 2014

Two avid trail users, Tony and George, recently biked the D&L Trail from Glen Summit to New Hope. The following is an itinerary of their biking trip.

We started our trip on the Black Diamond trail in Glen Summit and finished in New Hope. We have done similar bikes trips along canal paths for the past 5 years and one of the members of our group found the D&L site on a search for possible locations. We actually considered riding the D&L last year but decided to wait because of the storm damage and the closed sections that you mentioned. We hoped that there might be some improvement throughout the year and when we revisited the idea this past winter, we found that enough improvements had been made to give it a try.

Scott Everett from your office was helpful in our initial research. (FYI…our past trips have been the first 100 miles of C&O canal, the last 100 miles of C&O into DC, about 100 miles of The Great Allegheny Passage and 100 miles of the Mohawk Hudson trail along the Erie Canal)

I must say that trying to gain information about specific sections that are closed and how to circumvent them was not easy and a bit confusing at times. I ended up calling a bike shop in Bethlehem (Bike Line) and asked if there was anyone there that knew the trail that could help me figure out how to navigate the trail. The owner recommended I call a customer named John, who was a frequent rider of the trail and might be able to help.

John and I connected and after several emails and conference calls we had a plan. John’s insight and knowledge ended up being integral to the trip. He ended up riding with us for 2 of the 3 days and was an invaluable guide. He is incredibly passionate about the trail, had a wealth of information about the sites along the way and the history of the trail and obviously very practical first-hand knowledge of what sections we might avoid. To be honest, I’m not sure how we would have been able to do it without him.

This was our basic itinerary:

We arrived Thursday night (6/5) and stayed in cabins at Jim Thorpe camping resort.

We drove into town on Friday morning (6/6) and took a shuttle to Glen Summit (from Blue Mountain Sports). We rode 36 miles back down to Jim Thorpe. We bought sandwiches at a deli in White Haven and stopped to eat lunch about halfway down the trail. We had dinner and drinks at the great Irish pub: Molly Maguires’ in Jim Thorpe. We had an awesome time and then we headed back to the camping resort for the night.

Saturday (6/7): After breakfast in town, we loaded up our cars and drove to the trail head in Lehighton. This is where we met up with John. From there, we rode the trail through Coplay where we saw the amazing cement kilns and John Cool filled us in on all of the history. We took a slight detour and rode along the Ironton Rail Trail in Whitehall. We spent the afternoon at Sporting Clays, where we enjoyed some skeet shooting and a great catered lunch. We had a great time there and many of us got our first experience shooting a shotgun. After that, we loaded up the cars and drove to Easton for the night. If we would have had enough time, we would have driven to Allentown and picked up the trail there.

Sunday (6/8): We drove our cars to Delaware Canal Park in Easton and rode about 20 miles where we crossed the bridge into Frenchtown, NJ where we stopped for lunch and rode along the D&R Canal Trail for a while. We crossed back into PA at Lambertville and ended our trip in New Hope.

All in all, I think we rode just under 100 miles. We enjoyed our trip and really appreciate all of the help that we have received from John.

Top 5 Tips to Staying Cool During Your Summer Workout

July 25th, 2014

From The American Heart Association

You’ve been exercising regularly, but now it’s summer — and hot. Sometimes even dangerously hot, and seemingly too hot to go work out.

But don’t decide this is the time for a little summer break from fitness, experts say, because you may be hurting yourself in the longer term.

“It’s important to continue exercising over the summer because the effects of exercise training are rapidly lost once training stops — use it or lose it,” said Barry Franklin, Ph.D., director of the William Beaumont Hospital Cardiac Rehab and Exercise Laboratories in Royal Oak, Mich. “Most studies suggest many of the key benefits are lost in four to six weeks of inactivity.”

Be smarter than the heat

Still, you can’t just ignore the heat because you could wind up with heat stress, heat stroke or other problems. So to keep the heat from melting your workouts, Franklin recommends you:

1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Maintain salt-water balance by drinking plenty of fluids (preferably water) before, during and after physical activity. Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages.

2. Exercise smarter, not harder. Work out during the cooler parts of the day, preferably when the sun’s radiation is minimal — early in the morning or early in the evening. Decrease exercise intensity and duration at high temperatures or relative humidity. And don’t hesitate to take your exercise inside, to the gym, the mall or anyplace else where you can get in regular physical activity.

3. Ease in to summer. Allow your body to adapt partially to heat through repeated gradual daily exposures. “An increase in the body’s circulatory and cooling efficiency, called acclimatization, generally occurs in only four to 14 days,” Franklin said.

4. Dress the part. Wear minimal amounts of clothing to facilitate cooling by evaporation. “Remember, it’s not sweating that cools the body; rather, the evaporation of sweat into the atmosphere,” Franklin said. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing in breathable fabrics such as cotton.

5. Team up. If you can, exercise with a friend or family member. It’s safer, and could be more fun.

Know what’s up

Because vigorous exercise in hot and humid conditions can lead to heat stress, heat stroke and related complications, you should know the signs of danger to keep an eye out for.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion:
• Headaches
• Heavy sweating
• Cold, moist skin, chills
• Dizziness or fainting
• Weak or rapid pulse
• Muscle cramps
• Fast, shallow breathing
• Nausea, vomiting or both

Symptoms of heat stroke:
• Warm, dry skin with no sweating
• Strong and rapid pulse
• Confusion and/or unconsciousness
• High fever
• Throbbing headaches
• Nausea, vomiting or both

Take steps to cool down and get medical attention immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.

For the original article and more information see:
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/Top-5-Tips-to-Staying-Cool-During-Your-Summer-Workout_UCM_428764_Article.jsp

Evening Cruises on the Lehigh Canal, with dinner and history!

July 11th, 2014

Spend a pleasant summer evening cruising on the Lehigh Canal aboard the Josiah White II, listening to songs and stories about life on the canal while enjoying a delicious Victorian-style picnic dinner. The first of the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor’s “Conversations on the Canal” begin on July 26 with a two and a half hour trip to Hugh Moore Park’s Lock 47, the only working lift lock remaining on the Lehigh Canal.

As we float serenely down the canal, towed by the lovable mules George and Hank, history will come alive through the songs and stories of canal life and lore by canal historian Rich Pawling. In addition, the National Canal Museum’s archivist, Martha Capwell Fox, will recount the history and national significance of the Lehigh and Delaware canals, as well as explain what is happening as the Josiah White is lowered and then raised in Lock 47, which is also known as the Abbott Street lock.

The dinner menu will feature picnic foods from the nineteenth century, prepared by The Culinary Experience of Hellertown, voted the Lehigh Valley’s best caterer of 2014 by Lehigh Valley Magazine. The ride aboard a canal boat is smooth and silent—we’ll have breaks in the entertainment and interpretative talks to allow us to listen to the quiet of the natural surroundings of Hugh Moore Park.

The cost for this event is $39 per person or $75 dollars for couples. Two other “Conversations on the Canal” evening lock rides are currently scheduled, for August 23 and September 27, and a Saturday afternoon lock ride is tentatively scheduled for October. For information on reservations and tickets, please contact Loretta Susen at Loretta@delawareandlehigh.org or 610.923.3548 Ext: 221

An “X” Marks the Spot

June 25th, 2014

The Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor (D&L Trail) is known for its beautiful pathways that offer scenic views of the Delaware and Lehigh rivers, wildflowers, birds, and other wildlife. While most people use the trail for activities such as hiking, biking and running, there are some individuals that use it as ground for their treasure hunts.


Geocaching has become very popular within the past few years, especially along the Lehigh River in the Lehigh Valley. Instead of the old fashioned treasure map that has an “X” to mark the spot of a treasure location, people use geocaching.com to log GPS coordinates where their treasures are hidden.
Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.
This is an activity that anyone can participate in and it only has a few rules: If you take something from the cache, you have to leave something of equal or greater value. After you find the cache, write about your find in the logbook that is with it and log your experience at www.geocaching.com.
If you have always wanted to go on a real-life treasure hunt, you might want to give Geocaching a try this summer.