Day 1 – A morning departure from New York has you heading south to Pennsylvania. Your first destination is Doylestown where you will visit Fonthill Castle which was built (1908-1912) by Henry Chapman Mercer (1856-1930) who was an archaeologist, anthropologist, tile maker, and scholar. Fonthill is an early example of poured-in-place concrete and features 44 rooms, over 200 windows, 18 fireplaces, 10 bathrooms and one powder room. The interior was originally painted in pastel colors. After your visit, travel to Oaks for the American Treasure Tour for the opportunity to travel through a large private collection that includes one of the world’s largest private collections of automatic music machines … nickelodeons, band organs, calliopes, photoplayers and music boxes. There are also classic cars, circus art, dolls and dollhouses, and a large assortment of popular culture memorabilia. Later, you will travel to Reading for a tour and tea dinner at The Stirling, a three-story, Chateauesque-style historic mansion built between 1890 and 1892, featuring 24 rooms. It was designed by noted Philadelphia architect Theophilus Parsons Chandler, Jr. (1845-1928) and built for industrialist James Hervey Sternbergh. It is constructed of squared granite ashlar and features a number of eclectic decorative elements including tall chimneys with decorated caps, a balustraded verandah, steeply pitched gable roofs, and roof dormers. Currently, it serves as a bed and breakfast. After dinner, depart for nearby Wyomissing to check into the Holiday Inn Express for the next two nights.
Day 2 – Enjoy breakfast this morning, then depart for a train ride aboard the Colebrookdale Railroad, also known as the Secret Valley Expedition Line, that operates between Boyertown in Berks County and Pottstown in Montgomery County. Return to Reading for a guided tour of historic Reading. The city was laid out in 1743 by the sons of William Penn and named after their ancestral home in England. You will see the famous Reading Railroad, Centre Park Historic District and former Luden Bon-Air Mansion, which was the home of Luden Cough Drops manufacturer, William H. Luden. From here, climb into the sky as you cross Skyline Drive past the majestic Reading Fire Tower to the city’s very own Pagoda. Built in 1908 as a luxury hotel, the Pagoda has 7 floors, each smaller than the one before and includes a bell at the top cast in Japan in 1739. Outlined in red lights, it has stood as the symbol of the city for over 100 years. Return to your hotel to relax and freshen up before departing for dinner at the Reading Liederkranz featuring German food. The Liederkranz promotes and celebrates German cultural heritage as well as the cultural heritage of other nations which have had an effect or influence on German culture.
Day 3 – Following breakfast, check out and travel to north to Jim Thorpe, a town named after Native American athlete Jim Thorpe. The area is known for its anthracite coal mine and its coal mining history. Enjoy free time exploring Jim Thorpe before boarding the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway for a narrated ride on an early 1900s diesel train that takes you along the Lehigh River over bridges, into the Lehigh Gorge State Park, past high-rising cliffs and forests. After your train ride, you will arrive at Penn’s Peak for a luncheon and show featuring “Jukebox Saturday Night – A Tribute to the Big Bands” — a musical revue of the great Big Bands during the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s. Performances celebrate America’s Swing Era featuring the greatest hits recorded by Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Harry James, Les Brown, and many others. After the performance, depart for home with lasting memories of Pennsylvania Americana.