It has been nice to have my family with me this summer! Last summer, when I started work on my doctorate, I was here by myself. When the work is done, I certainly look forward to seeing the kids and my wife Nadia.
There is a lot to do here in the Lehigh Valley. The Valley, as the locals call it, consists of three cities, Allentown (75,000), Bethlehem (75,000) and Easton (27,000) and numerous smaller cities and towns. It lies on the eastern edge of Pennsylvania and has a border with New Jersey. With the end of the coal and steel industries, the area has environmentally recovered. There are a lot of businesses and industry still here today, with large hospitals, Penn Power, Mack Trucks, Crayola, Air Products, etc. It also serves as a bedroom community for Philadelphia, which is 97 kilometers south, and New York City, which is 140 kilometers east. Real estate and the cost of living here is much lower for them.
They have the AAA Minor League Baseball affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. The Iron Pigs play in the 10,000-seat Coca Cola Park in Allentown, which is a great night out. They are really set up for families. We got $7 tickets for the outfield grass, and had a nice evening out. The kids could roll around and there was plenty of good food and drink. I think the majority of people were there for all of the extras, and the baseball game was just an excuse to get out. They also have the Philadelphia Flyers minor league hockey team, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, and a building a new arena in Allentown.
The Lehigh Valley is also culturally rich, with many universities, including mine (Lehigh), art galleries, theaters, etc. I am learning more about Pennsylvania and really like it here. It is very similar to the midwest and reminds me of where I grew up. There is a bit more going on with a higher population, but it is still easy to get out and away from urban areas. It is a great place to be in the summer.