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Luzerne Living

North River Pocono Plateau Southern Crossroads South Valley Back Mountain

Click on the map region that you would like to explore!

Southern Crossroads North River Pocono Plateau Back Mountain South Valley

The Community

Luzerne County located in scenic Northeastern Pennsylvania, 2 hours to Philadelphia and New York City. Featured as one of the best Outdoor destinations in Pennsylvania, the region is robust with state parks, forests and ample public lands. The area is easily accessible via Interstates 80, 81, 84 and the Northeast Extension of the PA turnpike and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport is located at the northern tier of the county. The area’s two largest cities are Hazleton and Wilkes-Barre and the county is home to approximately 350,000 residents.

Rich in history and ethnic cultures, the region is filled with diversity. Local festivals and community parades occur throughout the year celebrating many of these cultures. Sports is abundant in our area featuring the AHL Penguins Hockey (farm team to Pittsburgh Penguins), Pocono 400 NASCAR Racing, AAA RailRiders baseball (farm team for New York Yankees) and Mohegan Sun Pocono Casino.

The 12 mile Levee Bike Trail along the Susquehanna River is a year round trail used by bikers, walkers and runners. Other Rails to Trails and single track can be found throughout the county. One of the regions longest is the 28 miles Lehigh River Gorge Trail. Shorter trails include the Back Mountain Trail and Hazleton Rail Trail. Ample single track can be found at Moon Lake, Francis Slocum and Mocanaqua Loop. Ricketts Glen State Park has received nationwide recognition. The Glen Falls Trails, considered most difficult at Ricketts Glen was voted People’s Choice “Best Hike in PA" by Backpacker Magazine.

Luzerne County has several colleges, universities and private schools throughout the county offering several educational programs. These schools contribute to the social, athletic and cultural atmosphere of the area. The county is alive with theatre, performing arts, music and culture. From local artists to visiting exhibits to top name performances. The Mohegan Sun Arena features performances all style performances, concerts and events and The F. M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts is a restored art deco designed theatre offering top name entertainment, family programs as well as being the home to the Northeast Pennsylvania Philharmonic Orchestra.

Numerous ski resorts only minutes away. Ample golf courses offer play for all skill levels; from municipal to private golf clubs and the area’s Link’s courses. The Lehigh River Gorge, paralleling the bike trail, is known for its class I-III rapids. Self-guided and group rafting and kayaking are permitted on the river.

Luzerne County is proud of its wonderful quality of life and we look forward to welcoming you and your family to a great place to call home.

Southern Crossroads:

Visitors to the Hazleton/West Hazleton area will experience the many tastes, sights and sounds of the historic area. Established in the 1830’s Hazleton became a center of commerce, finance and culture due to the region’s rich veins of anthracite coal.  Visitors can learn about the rich history at the Hazleton Historical Society.  The diversity of food options also reflects the area’s history.  The most notable may be the famous “Jimmy Dog”, smothered with chili and onions at Jimmy’s Quick Lunch, a vintage diner.

The Hazleton arts community is thriving. The JJ Ferrara Performing Arts Center has over ten live productions each year.  First Fridays is held every month in Downtown Hazleton, which comes alive with special events, art exhibits, live music and combines with the seasonal Farmers’ Market and the Greater Hazleton Chamber Car Cruise.  September is FunFest, a two-day community celebration featuring a parade, ethnic foods, crafts and entertainment.  Visit both www.hazletonchamber.org and www.downtownhazleton.org for more information.

Many other charming towns are located in the Southern Crossroads of Luzerne County, including Conyngham, with a downtown shopping area, Sugarloaf Township, home of the Historic Brainerd Church and one-room schoolhouse.  A must see in the Southern Crossroads is Eckley Miners’ Village. Eckley is alive with the history of the coal mining era in Northeast PA and is an example of a planned coal mining “patch town”.  Visitors will enjoy the Museum, company store, tour a miner’s home and the town churches.

 

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North River:

The Susquehanna River winds its way through many charming, vibrant towns along its journey in Luzerne County.  In the Northern section of the County the River dissects the two sister cities of Pittston and West Pittston.  Both these towns have seen tremendous growth.  Pittston is proud of new construction condos with Riverfront views, a thriving Second Friday Artwalk and a vibrant downtown shopping district with numerous restaurants and boutiques.

A must see is the Pittston Tomato Festival, held every year in August.  Over fifty thousand people attend the four-day event that has been touted as one of the best festivals in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  Delicious food, a variety of live entertainment, a parade, 5K run, games, rides, arts and crafts, bingo and of course home-grown Pittston tomatoes keep bringing an enthusiastic crowd to the festival year after year.

Traveling south from Pittston along the River a visitor will journey through Forty Fort, home of the Forty Fort Meeting House and the Nathan Dennison House, two historic colonial-era attractions.  Enjoy the paved hiking/biking path along the River which leads into the River Common, Nesbitt and Kirby Parks on the Kingston side of the River.  Visitors can enjoy boating access and fishing from Nesbitt Park.  The River Common Amphitheatre hosts various events and concerts throughout the year for all ages.

Downtown Wilkes-Barre is a college neighborhood, revolving around two four-year institutions, King’s College and Wilkes University, and the Luzerne County Community College’s Wilkes-Barre Campus.  A hub for quality dining, entertainment and shopping, visitors can enjoy the F.M. Kirby Center for Performing Arts, shop at Boscov’s, a major department store and take in a move at R/C Theatres’ 14 screen multiplex cinema.

The area is a regional destination for arts and culture and is establishing an Arts District on South Main Street which includes the Circle Centre for the Arts, the Sordoni Art Gallery of Wilkes University and the Marquis Art and Frame Gallery.  The Widmann Art Gallery is located on North Main Street.  The ThirdFriday Artwalk encompasses these venues and others and also includes an artist co-op area at Midtown Village.

The 165 mile Delaware and Lehigh Trail from Bristol, PA terminates in Wilkes-Barre.

Pocono Plateau:

Heading east from the Susquehanna River towards the Poconos is the lovely areas of Mountaintop, Bear Creek and White Haven.  Enjoy the spectacular view of the Frances Walter Reservoir overlooking the Lehigh River.  Whitewater rafting on the Lehigh is a thrill not to be missed, or rent a bike and ride along the Delaware and Lehigh Black Diamond Trail on 437 that heads into the quaint town of White Haven.  Visit the White Haven Community Library and Visitors Center.

 

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Back Mountain:

Back Mountain is the affectionate name for the Northwestern section of Luzerne County that is home to towns such as Dallas and Harvey’s Lake.  Visitors will enjoy Hillside Farms, a working Victorian-era farm that has a gift shop, greenhouses and general store with must have home-made ice cream.  Spend a few hours and drive around Harvey’s Lake and admire the charming mansions and enjoy pizza at the famous original Grotto Pizza.  Waterfalls abound at Ricketts Glen State Park in Red Rock where you can also enjoy sunning on the beach at Lake Jean.
Be sure to mark your calendars for the Luzerne County Fair in September.

 

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South Valley:

Traveling south along the Susquehanna River visitors will find many charming towns offering history, heritage and recreational opportunities.  The Luzerne County Community College Culinary School is located in Downtown Nanticoke and the main campus is a short distance away.  Be sure to stop at Banko’s Seafood in West Nanticoke and be prepared to wait at this popular place!

Traveling south towards Shickshinny along the meandering Susquehanna River a visitor will enjoy the Susquehanna Warrior Trail, currently about 11 miles of hard packed surface to hike and bike. The trail is adjacent to the old north branch canal, and other historical attractions.  Much of the trail is shaded, providing relief from the summer sun. When completed the Trail will link into Wilkes-Barre and extend approximately 18.5 miles.

Located in the neighboring town of Mocanaqua is the Mocanaqua Loop Trail, or the Moc Loop, as it is familiarly known, comprising about 15 miles along the northern reach of Penobscot Mountain.  The loops of the Trail vary in difficulty and take hikers along an unimproved trail traversing the mountainside to its ridgetop, providing scenic overlooks of the Susquehanna River, surrounding mountains, and the small communities dotting the valley’s floor.  In addition to the natural features, some areas also hold industrial ruins, harkening back to the former Glen Alden Coal Corporation’s mining of the area.

Nescopeck is your last stop before leaving Luzerne County.  A quaint little town with shops, antiques and more and is host to the annual Briggs Farm Blues Festival.

 

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Luzerne Living Pages