Thursday, August 11, 2011

Outlets to open this year at Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem

Thanks to Lynn Olanoff and Matt Assad for this tip. Even my FMIL - who knows a lot about these things but is smart enough not to share before her client's news goes public - wouldn't dish about the stores earlier this week.

Talbots, Guess and Nine West are among the 30-35 stores opening in the Bethlehem Outlet Mall in the next year. There will also be at least one more full-service restaurant inside the shopping center.

Ariej and I made a run on the Tannersville Outlets a little over a month ago, mostly for work attire but I also found some great bags at Coach for a steal. Since it was a weekday, the center was pretty quiet, despite some impressive sales. On the weekends, the parking lot is packed with cars bearing New York and New Jersey license plates, and the stores and sidewalks are full of shoppers toting multiple bags on strollers, wheelchairs and any free appendage.

In response to Alyssa's question, I would love to see Banana Republic, Calvin Klein and Ann Taylor outlets like the ones in Tannersville. The outlets in Leesburg, VA, near Washington, D.C., include Pottery Barn, Le Creuset and Williams Sonoma outlet stores. When I shopped there, the stores were full of seasonal decor, gift items and beautiful housewares. Great deals on furniture, too.

That still leaves lots of room for a Trader Joe's outlet (just sayin').

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Junior League: An opportunity to get involved in the Lehigh Valley community

Ladies, you often tell me that you want to get involved in the Lehigh Valley community. You want to meet other like-minded women, but it's hard to meet people after college or in a new place. You want to make a difference. You want to meet women outside of your place of work. You are busy, and you want someone else to plan social events and seek out service opportunities.

Those are all reasons why women join the Junior League.

The local chapter has definitely made its mark in the region. Members founded the Weller Center for Education, DaVinci Center (once the Discovery Center), Perfect Fit for Women, and a number of other organizations that continue to serve the community. Members volunteer in many different ways at a number of charities Valley-wide, and are trained as community leaders. The group raises funds to support its community initiatives (including Kids in the Kitchen and Strong Moms, Strong Girls) and to grant funds to community nonprofits. They also have a lot of fun together at social events. The variety of events on the calendar shows the diversity of the group's membership.

When I lived in DC, I thought that the Junior League was for society women only, with expensive membership dues and fancy events. In the Lehigh Valley, it's a group of women, many of whom are newcomers to the region or who live here and work at a distance, who are committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.

If this sounds like your kind of people, send the group an email or visit the web site to apply for membership.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Musikfest 2011... better than ever, and it's not even over yet

It's been a busy few days, full of music, walking, friends and beverages in a plastic mug.

Friday night, FH and I met up with R&L at their place on Main Street. They are prisoners to Musikfest and are pretty good sports about it. They did leave for vacation yesterday. (I might need a vacation, too, if I could never go to sleep before 1 a.m. or find a place to park near my house.) We saw Diego's Umbrella at Volksplatz and strolled around, taking in the sights and sounds of Musikfest. We visited the Sun Inn Courtyard for a bit but didn't hang around for the music at Liederplatz (just Gale's brownies). The boys had a taste for gyros. We noticed the Michael Adams menu at the Sun Inn and will be back for a meal sometime this week.

On Saturday it rained quite a bit, and though I'm not afraid to get wet, Maroon 5 sounded pretty good from the kitchen window. We hit up a Musikfest after party at The Mint and got to bed at a decent hour.

After a day of yard work and errands, we were looking forward to a relaxing Sunday night at Musikfest. So last night we met up with FH's mama, and our friends Elena and Beth at Volksplatz for an encore of Diego's Umbrella (Mexi-cali-gypsy-polka did not disappoint). We saw Freak Owls at Lyrikplatz, as the sun set behind the stage. Then it was off to the Bethlehem Dairy Store tent (chocolate almond for me), which we ate while watching the venerable Red Elvises back at Volksplatz "out" the 'Fest's closet disco dancers. After we parted ways with our friends, the two of us took in the last set of Cabinet at Liederplatz, not far from where our city's mayor and his first lady were sitting. Some enthusiastic fans and hoopers danced animatedly, and the laid back music lovers like us reclined in their folding chairs to listen to the show. Thank you, Downtown Bethlehem Association, for sponsoring Liederplatz. It is shows like last night's that make Musikfest history in my mind. What a talented group of young bluegrass rockers! I hope we see them on regional stages again soon. It was a quiet walk home, full of anticipation for seven more days of 'Fest fun.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Musikfest is almost here!!!

Bethlehem residents and business owners either LOVE LOVE LOVE Musikfest or despise it. Most of those who despise it figured this out years ago and now close the store or go on vacation during the 10-day music, food, and overtaking madness that is 1 million visitors to your neighborhood.

We are lucky to live close enough to walk to the festival, but not so close that we have to deal with litter, trespassers, noise, and parking wars. (Remember my post on saving street spots during a snowstorm? During Musikfest, you'll see the return of the recycling bin and folding chair as placeholder.) Maybe a little more traffic and some street closures downtown, but nothing that would make me want to miss a minute of the Fest.

For me, Musikfest is The Most Wonderful Time Of the Year. It's 10 days straight of some of my favorite things:

  • Free, outdoor music performances

  • Ethnic food

  • Drinking outside

  • Discovering new things

  • Traveling on foot or bike

  • Meeting up with friends

  • Making new friends

  • Celebrating Bethlehem
Last year I wrote about the coming SteelStacks project (maybe you've heard of it now?). The previous year, I gave some helpful tips for navigating the event.

Even if you have visited Musikfest before, there will be a few changes you should be prepared for. Stay tuned to the Express-Times and Morning Call web sites. Both papers cover the event in detail, and will suggest great shows to check out and the best ways to get in, out and around. Or, visit the Musikfest web site, which offers printable schedules, links to artist web sites, and more.

This year I resolve to plan my concert schedule in advance and share it with LV Transplant readers. Maybe I'll see you there!

On Friday night, I want to check out:

  • 6 p.m. Frankenpine - Main Street (street performers who play original bluegrass, country and folk). While I'm on Main Street I should be able to get Take-a-Taco for dinner.

  • 7:30 p.m. maybe Sandlot Heroes, if I can get anywhere near the stage, which will be mobbed with tween fans screaming, and my friend Amanda - Plaza Tropical

  • 9 p.m. Diego's Umbrella - Volksplatz (Mexi-Cali-gypsy-pirate-polka!? I must investigate) or Peter Karp & Sue Foley at my favorite stage, Liederplatz
If you're one of the lucky thousands who has tickets to see Stone Temple Pilots play at Sands Steel stage, give yourself ample time to get to the new venue. If you find you get there early, you can enjoy the free music playing at the town square and Levitt Pavilion in front of SteelStacks and get something to eat and drink before the show.

Here's a little Musikfest blog roll FYI:
Musikfest Photo Scavenger Hunt by LVWithLove
How to get around the South Side by Eskandalo!
Musikfest Preview - History in the Making by ArtsLehigh
Lineup at Brew Works during Musikfest by Bethlehem Brew Works