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Ready, set, October!

Leaf peepers and festival goers flock to Jim Thorpe, the gateway to the Pocono Mountains, on October weekends each year for the Fall Foliage Festival, train rides, hayrides at Mauch Chunk Lake Park, as well as the popular Simon and Garfunkel tribute and other concerts at the Mauch Chunk Opera House.

As part of the festival kick-off, music lovers can enjoy a free performance by concert pianist George Fiore at the Opera House on Friday night. Goers not up for the walk up Broadway or Race Street to this gem of a venue can catch a one-way shuttle at the train station from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Adults: $5; Seniors: $3.

Don’t miss historic Race Street, the most romantic street in the Poconos.

While the festival packs folks into town the first three weekends of the month, visitors looking for a quieter, less crowded October sojourn to the Switzerland of America should consider a midweek trip to Jim Thorpe –  recently named one of the top five most beautiful towns in America. Traffic will be lighter and it might be a little easier to get a reservation at the Times House and other Bed and Breakfasts in the heart of the historic district.

Though the trains don’t run midweek, visitors can still enjoy strolling the shops along Broadway and Race Street, biking or hiking the Lehigh Gorge, not to mention taking a rafting trip down the technicolor trimmed Lehigh River.

Fall color is expected to peak on or about October 12th this year, according to the Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau Fall Foliage Forecast.

Next time: Ghost tours, ghost stories and a new Jim Thorpe-based, other-worldly book by a local author.

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