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Life in the Lehigh Valley

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Life in the Lehigh Valley

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The Lehigh Valley is a scenic region of eastern Pennsylvania. The region's official census area includes Lehigh and Northampton counties. The traditional boundaries of the region are the Pocono Mountains to the north, the Delaware River and New Jersey to the east, the boundaries of Berks and Montgomery counties to the southwest, and the boundary with Bucks County to the south. More recently, however, parts of upper Bucks County near Quakertown, eastern portions of Berks County, southern sections of Carbon County, and the area surrounding Phillipsburg, N.J., are also considered an extended part of the Lehigh Valley. 

Cities and location

The Lehigh Valley's principal cities are Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, comprising the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton metropolitan area. The Lehigh Valley is located approximately 60 miles (96 km) north of Philadelphia, the country's fifth largest city, 80 miles (129 km) east of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's capital, and 80 miles (144 km) west of New York City, the country's largest city. The area is home to more than 820,000 people as of the 2010 U.S. Census. Recent census studies show it to be the fastest growing region in Pennsylvania, due in part to its growing popularity as a bedroom community for the highly-populated neighboring regions of Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York City as well as its favorable business climate and much lower cost of living in comparison to surrounding areas.

The Lehigh Valley is geologically and geographically part of the Great Appalachian Valley, a region largely made up of limestone that stretches along the eastern edge of the Appalachian Mountains. The Lehigh Valley is so named because it is composed of an actual valley that lies between two mountain ranges, Blue Mountain to the north and South Mountain to the south. Lehigh Valley also is considered part of the historic Pennsylvania Dutch Country.

Industry

The area is historically important for its production of steel, anthracite coal and other natural resources. It once served as a major center of industrial manufacturing, though this role has diminished in the 21st century. Major international companies currently based in the Lehigh Valley include Air Products & Chemicals Inc., Buckeye Partners L.P., Mack Trucks, Olympus Corp., PPL Corp. and Rodale Inc., among others. Lehigh Valley Health Network, one of Pennsylvania's largest hospital systems, is the region's top employer, employing more than 10,000 people.

Education

Colleges and universities

The Lehigh Valley is a hub of post-secondary education activity, with several reputable four-year colleges and universities, including: Cedar Crest College (Allentown), DeSales University (Center Valley), Lafayette College (Easton), Lehigh University (Bethlehem), Moravian College (Bethlehem), Muhlenberg College (Allentown), and Penn State University's Lehigh Valley campus (Fogelsville).

The area is also home to Lehigh Carbon Community College (with campuses in Allentown, Carbon County and Schnecksville) and Northampton Community College (with campuses in Bethlehem and Monroe County).

Primary education

Numerous public school districts and many private schools can be found in the region. Lehigh Valley-based high schools include:

  • Allentown Central Catholic High School (Allentown)
  • Bangor Area High School (Bangor)
  • Bethlehem Catholic High School (Bethlehem)
  • Catasauqua High School (Catasauqua)
  • Easton Area High School (Easton)
  • Emmaus High School (Emmaus)
  • Freedom High School (Bethlehem)
  • Lehigh Valley Christian High School (Allentown)
  • Liberty High School (Bethlehem)
  • Louis E. Dieruff High School (Allentown)
  • Moravian Academy (Bethlehem)
  • Nazareth Area High School (Nazareth)
  • Northampton Area High School (Northampton)
  • Northern Lehigh High School (Slatington)
  • Notre Dame Area High School (Easton)
  • Parkland High School (Allentown)
  • Pen Argyl Area High School (Pen Argyl)
  • Phillipsburg High School (Phillipsburg, New Jersey)
  • Pius X High School (Bangor)
  • Salisbury High School (Salisbury Township)
  • Saucon Valley Area High School (Hellertown)
  • Southern Lehigh High School (Center Valley)
  • Whitehall High School (Whitehall)
  • William Allen High School (Allentown)
  • Wilson Area High School (Easton)

Athletics and entertainment

Philadelphia Eagles, Lehigh Valley Storm and Lehigh Valley Steelhawks

The Lehigh Valley is the home of pre-season training camp for the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, which is held each summer on the practice fields of Lehigh University in Bethlehem. The camp, which attracted in excess of 20,000 fans daily in July 2007, draws some of the largest crowds of any NFL team's pre-season camp.

The Lehigh Valley Storm, a semi-professional football team, is also based in Bethlehem. The Lehigh Valley will also soon be home to the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks, an Indoor Football League team, who will begin playing their home games at Stabler Arena in Bethlehem in 2011.

IronPigs baseball

In early 2008, Coca-Cola Park, an 8,100-seat Minor League baseball stadium, opened in east-side Allentown. The stadium hosts the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Philadelphia Phillies' AAA-level International League franchise. The team previously played as the Ottawa Lynx (1993–2007). The club's move to the Lehigh Valley brought the franchise closer to Philadelphia and the Phillies' large eastern Pennsylvania fan base. The team’s name is a reference to pig iron, a key ingredient in the steel-making process for which the Lehigh Valley area is known worldwide.

Phantoms ice hockey

In March 2011, plans were announced for the creation of Allentown Arena, an 8,500-seat arena to be built in Allentown as the future home for the Adirondack Phantoms, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers. The arena will be located in downtown Allentown taking up the entire block between 7th and 8th Streets and Hamilton Boulevard and Linden Street. In a controversial decision, the city has invoked eminent domain to help obtain the necessary properties and a contractor is expected to be chosen in 2012. The stadium is expected to be ready for the 2013–2014 season. In January 2012, buildings on the current site began to be demolished to make room for the new arena.

Stabler Arena

Lehigh University's Stabler Arena, an indoor arena, is in Bethlehem, in the Lehigh Valley. Stabler hosts regular sporting and concert events. The arena is also home to Lehigh University men's and women's college basketball teams.

Gymnastics

Parkettes National Gymnastics Training Center, which has been the training ground for numerous Olympians and U.S. national gymnastics champions, is based in Allentown. In 2003, CNN aired a documentary on Parkettes, Achieving the Perfect 10, which depicted it as a hugely demanding and competitive training program.

Running events

The Lehigh Valley hosts the Lehigh Valley 15K Road Race annually in September. It is one of the premiere eastern Pennsylvania running events. The Lehigh Valley Health Network Marathon for Via, which features a certified marathon, five-person team relay, 20-mile (32 km) training run and 5K walk is also held annually in September. The 42.195-kilometre (26.219 mi) course follows the Lehigh River Canal Towpath from Allentown to Easton.

The Lehigh Valley also plays host to one of the largest cross country events in the nation. Lehigh University's Paul Short Run is held annually at the Goodman Cross Country Course and participation has climbed to over 5,000 runners spread throughout 14 college and high school races. The Emmaus 5K race is held annually in mid-October.

Cycling

Valley Preferred Cycling Center – the most celebrated velodrome in modern American cycling history – can trace its beginnings to the dream of one inspired visionary and its legendary success to the inspired dreams of countless champions who began their trek to glory on its 333-meter track. Valley Preferred Cycling Center leads the nation in quality competition, championship racer development and community programs that offer the opportunity for racers and non-racers to enjoy the thrill of bicycle track racing in the nation’s most-loved and most-successful velodromes in modern American cycling. 

Recreation

The region is home to Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, near Allentown. The park is one of the most popular amusement and water parks in the country, featuring some of the nation's most elaborate roller coasters and water rides. Just a short 30-minute drive away is the Pocono Mountains region, which features some great skiing and several large lakes for boating and fishing. The shoreline of New Jersey and its beach attractions are approximately 45 miles east of the Lehigh Valley region. 

Transportation

The Lehigh Valley is served by air transportation through Lehigh Valley International Airport (IATA: ABE), located three miles northeast of Allentown. Private bus companies provide multiple daily roundtrip transportation to New York City's Port Authority Bus Terminal, Philadelphia, Atlantic City and other regional locations. Public bus service is provided by LANTA, which serves Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and neighboring suburbs with various routes.

Portions of this copy courtesy of Wikipedia

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LVEDC - The Greater Lehigh Valley

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