Has Jim Thorpe Become a Vortex for Pennsylvania Spirits?

View of downtown from the Asa Packer Mansion

I’m not sure that I buy into those New Age notions of inter-dimensional portals or spiritual vortexes–but there have been those lonely late night strolls through the myriad of narrow brick passages that connect to the dimly lit streets of Jim Thorpe that have led me to consider such paranormal possibilities.

The author J. K. Rowling apparently found a fair amount of inspiration concerning the behavior of young precocious wizards and witches during her time in the ancient city of Edinburgh. Much of the first book in the Harry Potter series was written at The Elephant House–one of the many fine cafes in this Scottish bastion that can boast the pens of such notables as Robert Burns, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Robert Louis Stevenson. Had the fates which drove her life instead placed her in any number of the appealing pubs and eateries tucked away within the Victorian and Gothic Revival architecture of this unique Pennsylvania community, Hogwarts might have been fashioned after the Old Jail Museum–and the purveyors of broomsticks and potions would have been selling their wares along Race Street instead of Diagon Alley.

The Old Jail Museum in Jim Thorpe

For the better part of the last twenty years, most of my in-town explorations have been assisted by my dear friends Bob and Sheila–the proprietors of the Gilded Cupid Bed and Breakfast. They have, in fact, become my personal guides to the more spirited aspects of this seemingly otherworldly old mining community. And while they haven’t necessarily introduced me to any of the inhabitants of the ethereal nether regions of town, they have done an absolutely superb job of directing me toward those spirits that please the palate and soothe the soul. And in keeping with those standards, during the course of my most recent visit, they brought me to the Notch Eight Craft House.

This warm and welcoming neighborhood pub, located in the heart of Jim Thorpe’s historic downtown, can best be described as a bit of tasteful gentrification with a steampunk persona. But what sets this unique establishment apart from the competition is its dedication to promoting the state’s craft industry. Whether it’s brewed, distilled, or fermented, if it’s poured here–it’s from Pennsylvania. And with a state that can boast over several hundred breweries, wineries, and now scores of independent distilleries– the spirits should be passing through these portals for a very long time to come!

Posted by: Chris Poh for American Public House Review

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