East Penn Press

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PRESS PHOTO BY BUD COLE Steph and Jeff Sylva, family travel writers from New Jersey, enjoy an afternoon canoeing on the Lehigh River in Bethlehem. PRESS PHOTO BY BUD COLE Steph and Jeff Sylva, family travel writers from New Jersey, enjoy an afternoon canoeing on the Lehigh River in Bethlehem.

Travel writers discover Lehigh Valley

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 by The Press in Focus

Discover Lehigh Valley describes the Lehigh Valley thusly: the Lehigh River is "the heart," cutting through beautiful countrysides with scenic vistas.

Participants in this year's Mid-Atlantic Tourism Public Relations Alliance "Media Marketplace" got first-hand views.

Discover Lehigh Valley, marketing organization for Lehigh and Northampton counties, was host for the Sept. 18 - 21 event attended by more than 100 invited journalists and 50 member destination marketing organizations. Hotel Bethlehem was headquarters.

No doubt about it: The Lehigh Valley now has an impressive range of tourist attractions, including the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, an American Viticultural Area designated Lehigh Valley Wine Trail (check out "Chambourcin Weekend," 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Oct. 20; noon - 5 p.m. Oct. 21, at eight area wineries), Iron Pigs Phillies AAA Minor League baseball at Coca-Cola Park, and numerous parks and family attractions.

The region is steeped in historic sites relating to pre-Colonial, early American and industrial history.

The Lehigh Valley has a multitude of world-class attractions spread across its 730 square miles. It is home to more than 600,000.

A highlight of the event was the Media Marketplace, offering journalists time to meet with the destination marketers to get story ideas and plan visits. A buffet dinner was held at Hotel Bethlehem. Lunch was at ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, where attendees heard about the transformation of what was said to be the United States' largest brown field into an arts complex.

Buses departed for a variety of Lehigh Valley destinations and attractions, including Dutch Springs, Lehigh Valley Zoo, Da Vinci Science Center, Mack Truck Museum, America on Wheels, PBS39 studios tour, National Canal Museum and a ride on the Josiah White II canal boat, Sigal Museum, Moravian Museum, the Sun Inn and Historic Bethlehem Partnership Walking Tour.

Also, Crayola Museum, C.F. Martin & Co. Museum, Strawberry Acres. Allentown Farmers' Market and Agri-Plex Complex at the Allentown Fairgrounds, Clover Hill Winery, Vynecrest Winery, Lehigh Valley Sporting Clays, Lehigh Valley Grand Prix, Lehigh River canoeing, canal towpath bicycling with the Wildlands Conservancy, Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum, Allentown Brew Works and Bear Creek Mountain Resort.

There was also a "dine-around" at downtown Bethlehem restaurants.

Attendees had nothing but positive comments about the wonderful variety of attractions in and around the Lehigh Valley and the smoothly-run Marketplace presented by Discovery Lehigh Valley.

If you live in the Valley and have not visited local attractions that the tourism writers and experts from other areas raved about, be sure to place them at the top of your "To do' list.

The visiting journalists will be reporting about what they saw to their readers, many of whom will come to see and enjoy what you have waiting at your fingertips.

Information: discoverlehighvalley.com