Weekender

Day tripper: Jim Thorpe: Outdoor fun, dining heaven

With summer winding down, everyone tries to squeeze in those last-minute warm weather activities. Whether it’s a trip to the beach or hiking, the last few weeks of the season are the perfect time to soak up the sun.

While I didn’t make a trip to a sandy beach, I certainly wanted to make the most of the last weeks of summer. I’ve dragged my husband on a number of hikes and outdoor activities, so when our friends asked us to go whitewater rafting, we couldn’t pass up the offer.

We ended up going to Jim Thorpe for a rafting trip on the Lehigh River. At first, I was really nervous. I had never been whitewater rafting, and with the large amount of rain that dumped over the region recently, I wasn’t sure I would make it out in one piece.

But my friends and my husband were undeterred by any possible dangers, and we headed to the Lehighton Outdoor Center. Technically located a few miles outside of Jim Thorpe, the center serves as a hub for outdoor activity, and houses the Jim Thorpe River Adventures, as well as kayak and bike rentals.

We arrived early in the morning to ensure we were on the river by noon and were off on a four-hour ride down the river.

Before we could get on the water, however, we had to undergo a small training session, to learn the dos and don’ts of whitewater rafting.

Then, it was down to the water. I will say this, the water was a little rough in spots, and it’s important to keep your wits about you, but it was a lot of fun. Once the five of us in our raft got the hang of it, we were swiftly going through the water, avoiding (most of) the bigger rocks along the way. Although, we did get stuck a couple times.

After rafting, we stayed in Jim Thorpe to walk around downtown. We’ve been there a few times, and it’s as charming as ever. One of my favorite things about the town is how friendly it is to outdoor activities. There is a bike shop where you can rent bikes and kayaks, they run train tours that drop you off down the trail along the river for a scenic bike ride. There are constantly people walking, running, biking through town.

But that’s not all they offer. The downtown district is full of different shops and restaurants. There’ s a specialty jerky store, a cigar shop, a Harry Potter-inspired cafe, letterpress and antiques shop. You could easily spend an entire day wandering around.

For us, food was a number one priority though. We made the tragic mistake of packing a light lunch for the rafting, so by the time we hit land we were starving. With my dietary restrictions, we have to be careful about where we end up for food.

While walking around, we saw a sign for the Stone Row Pub & Eatery, which advertised as a haven for those with dietary restrictions. We followed the sign down an alley and came to the front of the two-story restaurant.

The layout of the restaurant was cozy. The building clearly used to be a residential building, and dining areas seemed like families gathering around the dinner table.

Since it was a busy Saturday night, we ended up sitting at the bar, which turned out to be one of the best seats in the house. The bartender was attentive, friendly and excellent at mixing drinks. The ingredients used in the cocktails were fresh, like everything on the menu, so we would get whiffs of mint occasionally when she had a mint julep to make.

The food was incredible. I am comfortable saying it was the best meal I’ve eaten at a restaurant. Ever.

For an appetizer, we split “rice points,” which were like a lighter version of a fried rice ball. They were gluten-free (like many of the items on the menu) and were served with a gluten-free soy sauce, which was delicious.

I had salmon with grilled vegetables as an entree. The salmon was cooked perfectly, and topped with a cilantro sauce. It was filling, but didn’t leave me feeling full to the point that I was sick. The vegetables were fresh and light and just added to the meal.

My husband ended up with a chicken curry dish that was amazing. The curry was perfectly spicy without overpowering the rest of the dish. The chicken was juicy and grilled to perfection.

The entire meal was delightful. And, to add to it, dessert was a lemon tea cake that was packed with flavor, and topped with a bright lemon icing.

After three courses, we both were completely blown away with how amazing our meal was. I plan on returning every time we head to Jim Thorpe from now on.

There are a variety of activities to do in Jim Thorpe.
https://www.theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_IMG_1311.jpgThere are a variety of activities to do in Jim Thorpe.
Whitewater rafting offers plenty of excitement.
https://www.theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_IMG_1306.jpgWhitewater rafting offers plenty of excitement.
At Jim Thorpe River Adventures you can schedule a whitewater rafting trip or rent a kayak or bicycle.
https://www.theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_IMG_1291.jpgAt Jim Thorpe River Adventures you can schedule a whitewater rafting trip or rent a kayak or bicycle.
The Stone Row Pub & Eatery is a fine dining choice for those with or without dietary restrictions.
https://www.theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_IMG_1317.jpgThe Stone Row Pub & Eatery is a fine dining choice for those with or without dietary restrictions.
The Stone Row Pub & Eatery is a fine dining choice for those with or without dietary restrictions.
https://www.theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_IMG_1317CMYK.jpgThe Stone Row Pub & Eatery is a fine dining choice for those with or without dietary restrictions.