Bethlehem Walks!

As a companion to our Summer Reading Challenge, we are inviting the community to join us in a collective physical challenge: Bethlehem Walks! Use this form to submit your walking data to us, and we’ll compile it to show how far we’ve walked together as a town and include some fun information about the places we’ve “visited.” Include minutes walked, distance walked, or steps taken, as well as elevation changes (if you have it). Submit as often as you like. Adventure starts in Bethlehem!

 

Week 3 (7/7 – 7/13)

Miles We’ve Walked This Week: 30

Miles Walked So Far: 254

 

With the temperature mostly in the 90s last week and humidity that just wouldn’t quit, it’s no surprise that Bethlehem Walked very few miles! But we still managed to get in enough miles to make our way down to Lewes, Delaware, or as the locals call it: The First Town in the First State.

Wayne's World gif: Hi, I'm in Delaware.

Wayne’s World, 1992.

Don’t let Wayne’s World convince you that Delaware is boring, though! Lewes may be a small, quiet town now, but it has a long and interesting history! Though we don’t know much before settlers came to Lewes, we do know that the Dutch settlers came to the area on June 3, 1631, and they were the first European colonists in the area. They called the town Zwaanendael (or Swan Valley). Their settlement didn’t last very long, however, as a local Lenape tribe reclaimed the land as their own within the next year. The Lenape were also called the Lenni Lenape (lenni meaning “genuine, real, pure, or original” and lenape meaning “person”) and Delaware people (which is where we get the name for the state!). They were indigenous to the Delaware area, New Jersey, eastern and northeastern Pennsylvania, the New York Bay, Long Island, and lower Hudson Valley. The Lenni Lenape were forced to leave their land, which was sold without their consent, and after federal Indian Removal policies. Currently, Lenape tribes reside in Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Ontario.

30 years after the Lenape reclaimed the area, the city of Amsterdam sent over more settlers and, you may have guessed it, within the next year, the British had captured the area and they razed the settlement. The area switched hands several times, until in 1683, when the town was under William Penn’s governance, and was renamed Lewes (also called Lewistown and Lewestown), for the town of Lewes located in Sussex, England.

Leading up to the American Civil War, Lewes was a prominent stop on the Underground Railroad. Because Delaware was considered a border state, it was not part of the Confederacy, but it could still be a dangerous place for enslaved people escaping to the north. Several houses in Lewes became “safe houses,” providing shelter to those escaping enslavement. These safe houses were identified by placing a single candle in the top window of the house.

 

 

Things to do in Lewes:

Harbor of Light, 1906

Harbor of Light in 1906

 

Lewes serves as a vacation and resort spot popular with residents of Washington, D.C. Though it is located at the lower end of the Delaware Bay, it is a coastal town with close access to the ocean.

For those looking to learn more about Lewes history, a visit to the Zwaanendael Museum is a must! The town’s historical society also works hard to preserve and promote the cultural history through museum exhibits, educational programs, historical research and publications.

Historical ship, Naval, lighthouse enthusiasts will have plenty to look at. Lewes is home to several iconic Lighthouses in the Delaware Bay, including the Delaware Breakwater East End Light and the Harbor of Refuge Light. Additionally, United States Lightship Overfalls, one of nine surviving lightships at museums in the United States, is moored in Lewes. The town was also bombarded

Second street in downtown Lewes

Second Street in downtown Lewes, by Harrison Keely, 2023

in the war of 1812, and a cannon still resides in the foundation of the town’s Maritime Museum.

 

If you’re looking more for food and shopping, check out Savannah, Second and Front Streets. These are the town’s main streets and have lots of shops, restaurants, parks and historical venues. Fisherman’s Wharf, a dock that stretches along the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal, also features multiple restaurants and bait shops, and in season the dock hosts hundreds of boats from all over.

 

 

Total Elevation Gain: 2,023 feet

This week we climbed Poo Poo Point (2,021 ft) of the Tiger Mountains in Issaquah, WA. Funny name for a trail and a summit, but it was actually named for the steam whistle sounds heard throughout the Tiger Mountains in the early days of the logging that was done there. In more recent years, the area surrounding Poo Poo Point was logged by the Weyerhaeuser Corporation, and they completely cleared the trees (including the stumps!). The result is a large clear area that is now used as a launching pad by paragliders who have backpacked up the Chirico Trail. This launching pad also provides a clear view of Mt. Rainier, and views of Issaquah, Bellevue, and Seattle skylines.

There are two trails leading up to Poo Poo Point, one a forested trail that has a slow and steady climb. On the other side, the Chirico Trail is a steep and rocky hike up the side of the mountain, known as the Yah-er Wall.

View of Mt. Rainier

View of Mt Rainier, 2021, courtesy of the author

View of paragliders

View of paragliders, 2021, courtesy of the author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last week we visited Saint-Jérôme, Canada. Check back next week to find out where Bethlehem Walks!

 

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