Sunday, March 25, 2012

Reader mail: Thinking about taking a job in the Lehigh Valley

I received this email last week: 
Hi,

I am considering taking a position at Lehigh University. How do you like living in the valley? What do you love/hate?

Thanks,
I asked for some more details, to which our potential neighbor replied:
My biggest concern is the ease of meeting people since it is a small town. I am from Louisiana, lived in NYC for a few years, then went to grad school at OU. Is it easy to meet young professionals? Are people generally open to the idea of meeting people? I like the outdoors but I also love the city, the arts, and fashion.
Here was my reply:
First, I recommend you check out this web site: www.discoverlehighvalley.com

Maybe you already know that I am a part-time graduate student at Lehigh. I have advised undergraduate students there for a number of years, so I know the campus a little better than the other 7 colleges and universities in the region. That said, Lehigh is a large and diverse community. My experience is that many of the staff and students are not "from" the area, and many are friendly with one another, even across departments.

About your question about how easy it is to meet young professionals: It is hard to generalize people in a region as large as ours. There are quite a few MeetUp groups in the area that get together regularly (www.meetup.com) on anything from knitting to wine tasting to hiking.

There is something happening here every night and weekend, but I feel sorry for people who move here and lament that it is not more like New York City (disappointed that there is no great public transportation system, no Saks or Nordstrom, only four Thai restaurants vs. 100 Thai restaurants to choose from). One benefit of living here is that there are lots of things to do right here in the Lehigh Valley, and if you can't find what you want, Philadelphia and NYC are about an hour away. Another is that what we have in the way of performing arts, shopping and dining is still quite good, and relatively cheaper and more accessible. Lehigh contributes to that scene, but in no way is this a college town.

I will say that if you make an effort to get involved in the community, for example, to serve on a nonprofit board or event committee related to the arts and fashion you love, you will meet and develop relationships with like-minded people off campus. In Bethlehem alone, there is a great independent film group that puts on a big festival each year (Southside Film Festival), a group spearheading a co-op grocery (Bethlehem Co-Op), tons of fairs and festivals, and an organization that has recently developed a large arts venue near Lehigh with live music - much of it free - and film (ArtsQuest Center at Steelstacks - look it up!). 

All that being said, if you have a chance to visit, and have not yet made up your mind about the job offer, I'd be glad to introduce you to some people I know at Lehigh. Best wishes with your decision!
 Readers - how did I do?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Storage Wars... Lehigh Valley style

If you're a fan of the A&E reality show "Storage Wars," and you want to try your hand at bidding on other people's storage units like Jarred and Brandi, you may want to get in on the Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce's event on April 26. The Storage Center on 512, at 340 N. Walnut Street, Bath, is hosting an open house from 5:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. The entry fee is a Canned good or non-perishable item. In exchange, you'll get $100 in Funny Money for Bidding! All canned goods and non-perishables will benefit the local food bank and soup kitchen, “Loaves and Fishes." Enjoy light appetizers from the Daily Grind.

For more information or to register, visit the Chamber's web site.
Click here to vote for my blog

Monday, March 19, 2012

Restaurant reviews

If you've been reading Lehigh Valley Transplant for a while, you know that I try not to review restaurants, but instead, to recommend them. Since it's a small Lehigh Valley we live in (trust me), I find this policy makes it a lot more fun to go out, since the owners and staff of the places we go aren't wondering whether I'm a friend or foe.

Yes, there are places I have gone that aren't great. Sometimes I go back a few times to make sure, other times I never get around to it, but rest assured, you won't hear about places I don't like. There's enough negativity in the world, and I'm too busy to trash-talk small business owners who work hard and count on business from local customers to put their kids through college. I prefer to use my powers for good - to highlight the places I like and think you might enjoy.

I have profiled a few restaurants that were "coming soon" that turned out to be just okay or bad, either service or food-wise, but I have no regrets. I still root for the underdog and newcomer and wish them the best. I also don't think I'm a food critic. There are some places I think are a waste of time that people perennially line up for.

Some relative newcomers to the Lehigh Valley blogging scene have been posting some kind, encouraging and inspiring reviews lately, and in the spirit of blogging community, I want to share them with you.

A House. Of Dumplings. In Bethlehem. by fromherenow
Prince Palace Dumpling House
5000 Bath Pike Bethlehem, PA 18017
Prince Palace Dumpling House on Facebook

Finally, a New Food Truck by the elvee
Fud Truk at Lehigh University

Brunch is Back. Tummies Everywhere Rejoice. by savethekales
Honey Underground/Balasia/Chef Wendy

Taqueria La Lupita by Evans Eats
4 W. 4th St. Bethlehem

New Hope/Lambertville hosts annual Restaurant Week by Lehigh Valley Food
The event runs March 18-23.

If you enjoy my blog, or reading the others, please vote for us at The Morning Call blog contest. You can vote once a day if you have or create a login. While you're there, click around and discover some new local blogs! Cheers.

Click here to vote for my blog

Sunday, March 18, 2012

#lehighbeatduke

On Friday night, Lehigh University beat Duke University it the first round of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. If you hadn't already heard...



Seriously, one of the best moments in sports history - and it wasn't even that close - way to go Mountainhawks!

Lehigh University is my grad school, and I earned my bachelor's degree at another Patriot League school. I always go to at least one basketball game (usually at Lafayette - I think Kirby Field House is a fabulous, old-school place to watch a game) each year. The Lafayette faithful come out every year to cheer on their team, despite the fact that they nearly always lose to my alma mater. Hi Pete, Mayor, Judge Dally, and Donald... :) The players' parents and I tend to be the only fans in red, white and blue.

So when Lehigh plays Xavier tonight, in the next round, I'll be cheering for them. And if you live in the Lehigh Valley, no matter where you went to school (unless it's Xavier) you should be, too.

Great places in Bethlehem to watch the game, where there are guaranteed to be a bunch of students, alumni, and local fans (plus TV's tuned to the game), are:

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Monday, March 05, 2012

St. Patrick's Day in the Lehigh Valley

I couldn't have done a better job than Lehigh Valley Style in compiling a great list of St. Patty's Day festivities to enjoy. (Except Tess failed to mention the annual bar crawl on March 10.)

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Chef extraordinaire Jessica Young

Please excuse the brief commercial... the beautiful Jessica Young (daughter of the owners of Young Medical Spa in Center Valley) is a fantastic chef, available for catering parties of all sizes at your home or business. She's the real deal. She works in NYC and PA.

Check out the adorable video she made at a party in December. All of the sudden, I'm hungry for s'mores.


December 8th, 2011 with Jessica Young from Lee Loechler on Vimeo.