What Brings You to Wilkes-Barre?

This shouldn’t be the first thought that enters my mind when someone tells me they weren’t born and raised here but it is. I live in a culturally enriched town with several universities, tons of delicious restaurants and bakeries along with unique shops and boutiques and a pretty eventful social calendar.

This isn’t a Miranda Lambert song, we have more than one stop light and not everyone is married by 22. But it is a small town and if you end up in the police blotter people will know. Bergdorf’s and Barney’s are easily 100 miles away but we have a Macy’s (really it’s just a Macy’s sign concealing a Kaufmann’s but it’s a start). For some reason my little town I was born and raised in and eventually returned to is the bane of existence for most. It makes people unhappy, they “can’t wait to get out.” I assure you it isn’t the town that’s terrible…

As a high school senior, I wanted nothing more than to leave and o get the hell away from this town. To drive far away and never look back. I was entranced by big city life! It was romantic and exciting! Manhattan was where I was destined to work and live! Chicago or Philadelphia would do, as long as I had skyscrapers, high fashion and subways. As a senior in college, I applied everywhere in the tristate area. I didn’t get the jobs in the big city; I just got three job offers at home. At the time, I was frustrated, angry, upset, but in the end, it works out the way it’s supposed to.

It always does.

People get stuck in a rut and go to the same places, do the same things. We find ourselves in the same bar every weekend with the same people. It just seems that there is nothing to do but that’s how we perceive it. There are so many great things to do in my North Eastern Pennsylvania town.

Cause I don’t want to get stuck in here
When I am thirty-four just talking about high school years

The Rocket Summer, though it seems, did not write about Wyoming Valley West high school. Granted, there are many, let’s say, terrible people (for the sake of the article) within a 10 mile radius of me, with small mind mentality and hatred running through their blood. There are people who are twice my age and act 10 years younger than me that go to a club on a Thursday night where the tagline is “18 to party 21 to drink”. But these people are everywhere. Your life is what you make of it. Surround yourself with culture and art and the love of others and I promise you, there will always be a sense of fulfillment.

It wasn’t until my best friend from college met a guy locally and moved (from Providence, RI) to what really is a small town 40 minutes from my doorstep. She saw my mundane world in a new light. She was experiencing things for the first time and was enjoying herself. We try to do dinner dates and I find myself wanting to show her different places. Yes, we can go to Rivergrille because it’s convenient or we can try the hundreds of other restaurants that I have never heard of or been to.

I love to shop local and support the blue collared businesses that make up our streets. I have been visiting Scranton more and more and just adore the downtown. This past weekend Scranton held Arts on the Square and there was so much local talent showcasing their work. There were things to do that broke up the mundane but it’s not always as easy as going to a Broadway show in Manhattan or the opening of a new club. Instead of bashing we should help build up NEPA.

The Wyoming Valley is comically known for a bar and a church on every corner and ethnic food (meaning homemade pierogis). Many once described it as a wonderful place to raise a family but a stigma now sits on the very streets that raised me. People say how the crime and corruption have taken over like it’s a scene out of Batman but honestly we just need to see the beauty in this little town.

So this is where I come to you, I want to feature local talent and businesses on my blog. I want to show people all that my Valley has to offer. From the history to the modern day culture there is so much to see and do. We have so much talent, people think that big cities are filled of excitement and adventure but so is my hometown. So comment, share and get the word out there! I want to know the best places to shop, where to eat the most delicious foods and the hidden gems of NEPA!

 

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34 thoughts on “What Brings You to Wilkes-Barre?

  1. I took a bus from Scranton while I was attending Marywood as much as i possibly could. It was a two hour bus ride, but completely worth it. I met so many new people and had many wonderful adventures. Whether it was Crowned Fried Chicken or King of Kings Gyros on Public Square after the bar, walking to the stab n grab at 2 in the morning, Exploring the mini mansion at Wilkes, Third Friday Wilkes-Barre, Art SEEN, The Crimson Lion Hookah Lounge, Akeno Sushi, seeing a performance at the Dorothy Dickson Darte Center or even just taking a walk by the river.(this list could go on & on) My friends and I never ran out of new and interesting things to do. ‪#‎NEPAchallene‬ ‪#‎wilkesbarre‬ ‪#‎berry‬,‪#‎bar‬,‪#‎bear‬?

  2. Great read! A few great local businesses are Bottlenecks, Chacko’s FBC has some of the best bowling alley food, Knoebels, the 7 Tubs, The Garden Drive-Ins, and so many more local spots that are amazing!

  3. A chance to live my life in a community atmosphere, where people know and look out for each other, while in the same time be a quick trip from NYC and Boston.

  4. I grew up in Berwick and I have to admit when I moved to the valley 5 or 6 years ago I wasn’t impressed with the idea. Living on or around Wilkes-Barre had such a bad connotation, despite that I had spent several years dating my then boyfriend and going to shows at Metro and local indy wrestling events. I quickly found a hot spot of things to do and so much positive energy. My, now husband, and I want to raise our daughter here and help this community thrive.

    We love going to places like Hillside Farms and local restaurants like Sweet Treet in Kingston, Rodono’s in the square and Leggio’s in Dallas. I take our daughter to the farmers market almost weekly.

  5. Anthracite cafe in Wilkes barre might be the best place to eat in the entire area. Such a unique menu. Awesome craft beer and cool atmosphere. It’s a must try.

  6. I like to think that my business is pretty unique.. I own MarcCo Jewelers in Luzerne. We make custom engagement rings and wedding bands and have a state of the art design and manufacturing shop. But the best kept secret is that we design and manufacture all of the jewelry for the Dave Matthews Band to sell to their fans on tour and on their website.. We have made over 17,000 pieces for the band in the last 3 years. We also do jewelry for John Mayer, Brandi Carlile, Ben Harper, the Zac Brown Band and the Bonnaroo music festival. If you want a piece of jewelry made by skilled craftsmen and not settle for a piece of jewelry mass manufactured in Thailand, come and see us!!! 🙂

  7. Hey girl! We are actually opening a yoga and barre studio in West Pittston next week! I honestly couldn’t agree more. We should be building wb up. I always find something different to do.

  8. Wonderful perspective! I feel the same way you do! Although I don’t get out with my gear nearly often enough, check out my blog! I am much more current on Instagram when I’ve strived to get #igers_wilkesbarre going along with many other tags that glorify our area! @ebreznay

      1. It is right down the street in Ashley-
        But you will not find a friendlier place to eat than Kelsey’s! Fabulous food and great employees that treat you like you are family coming over for a visit! And let’s not forget Katana, the original local hibachi restaurant.

  9. I think there is a solid arts community in NEPA that is appreciated by many, but not enough! There is an epic amount of talent in various theatre companies, musicians, painters, sculptors, dancers, photographers, crafters…the list is endless! Artists in NEPA are dedicated to their craft and I wish they get the audiences and customers they deserve! Hels’ Bels Handmade, Gaslight Theatre Company, and Just Us are among some of my favorite locals to support!

      1. Gaslight is in production this weekend for the annual PlayRoom series. Next up is participation in Scranton Fringe Festival with Bunny, Bunny (a show about Gilda Radner) in October and a performance is in the works for Wilkes-Barre the following weekend. Then local playwright Rachel Strayer’s “Drowning Ophelia” will be in January at Lackawanna College. http://www.gaslight-theatre.org. I’d love to see you!

  10. I grew up in Mountaintop, PA and we never said “hey I’m going to/coming from Wilkes Barre” it was either “I’m going down/coming up the mountain”. One thing I cannot stress enough: ANGELO’S. It’s simply the greatest pizza I’ve ever had. Can’t live without it. I live and work just outside of Allentown, PA now but every time I come up to see some old friends, I always have to take some Angelo’s home with me 🙂

  11. Whenever I’ve asked the question it was more career curiosity. What job here would be good enough to entice someone to stay. Not that the area is terrible,but that decent salary is so scarce.

  12. Although I’m a native, it wasn’t until my adult life that I began to appreciate what is here. Does anyone realize how blessed with beauty we are? When I come home from a trip, whether it be on 80 or 81, 476, those mountains, the foliage, then here in town, the river and parks. I am in awe of the wonder.

    The architecture and history of the area must be celebrated as well. This is happening before us in local events like river walks, third Friday, concerts along the river and historical architecture tours.
    Everyone is giving great suggestions and recognizing sweet spots all over the Valley.
    I’d like to say this… Everyone that lives in the greater Wilkes-Barre area is an integral part of the success and how people view the area as well as how we can attract and KEEP community minded individuals and families.

    There is a real movement in this attitude change that we need to promote and recognize. Young and old and everyone in between!

  13. Falling in love with where you live can take awhile. For me, it didn’t start until I was in college that I began to appreciate all that NEPA had to offer. Today, I’m proud to call it home. If I could go back in time and talk to a 16-year old me, I’d say, “Hey – I know you’re desperate to get out of here. But just wait. You’ll see. It’s meant to be.” ❤ Thank you for the wonderful post!

  14. I participate in a 100 plus year old event yearly. The Giant’s Despair Hillclimb. Held on North Hampton st its a great free spectator event. With the names of Carol Shelby and Roger Penske as past participants. The event is usually held the second weekend in July.
    John

  15. The Wikes University Maslow Series Readings every January and June at the Darte Center. Amazing writers share their work with the public for free. It’s a treasure!

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