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       A LOVEFEAST FOR THE HOLIDAY
A PHOTOGRAPHIC ESSAY BY KATHLEEN CONNALLY

Historic Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, often billed as "Christmas City U.S.A." was founded on Christmas Eve in 1741 by members of the Moravian Church, including bishop Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf, a German-born nobleman. The original settlement was located in the present day historic district of Bethlehem and many of the settlement's sturdy, architecturally-arresting buildings, including its Central Church, are still standing. Not only that, they've been in continuous use since they were constructed.

Even though Bethlehem was settled exclusively by Moravians, it was by no means an isolated community. It served as an active, multi-cultural center for trade and industry in colonial America, even as a hospital for wounded Revolutionary War soldiers. Moravians valued hard work, education and a simple lifestyle, but their lives weren't all work: Count Zinzendorf encouraged regular "lovefeasts" -- community events that incorporated food, drink and music to bring the people together.

The historic district of Bethlehem continues to rise to the occasion as a beautifully-appointed, warm and friendly town with excellent shops, superb dining & drinking establishments, wonderful live music venues and 275 years of storied history -- a perfect place to share with family and friends during the holiday season.

DIRECTIONS TO BETHLEHEM, PENNSYLVANIA



window display in Bethlehem, PA as seen in American Public House Review





#1 - A window display in the 176-year-old Main Street Commons building, home to Orr's Department Store in the 1950s, invites people to dream in a building that boasts a dozen shops including Keystone Homebrew, Franklin Vineyards, and a beloved, locally-owned old-fashioned toy store, Toy Magic.











Bethlehem Brewworks as seen in American Public House Review











#2 - A bartender pours pints of home brew on a crowded Saturday night at the ever-popular Bethlehem Brew Works, also located in the Main Street Commons building. The Brew Works is a 250-seat brewpup and restaurant which makes signature beers including Steelworkers' Oatmeal Stout, Valley Golden, Steelgaarden Wit and the award winning Fegley's ESB. Over 100 types of bottled Belgian beer are served in the downstairs Steelgaarden Lounge.


window at the Moravian Bookstore in Bethlehem, PA  as seen in American Public House Review



















#3 - Hundreds of Moravian stars are for sale at the Moravian Book Shop  on Main Street, one of America's oldest bookstores. The many-pointed star with internal illumination was originally made by Moravian schoolboys in Niesky, Germany, in 1850. Years later one of the alumni, Pieter Verbeek, began producing and selling them from his home to Moravian communities throughout Europe, the British Isles and America.








Moravian Bookshop ornament in Bethlehem, PA as seen in American Public House Review










#4 - A Santa-fireman ornament hangs in the Moravian Book Shop's massive display of glittering hand-blown glass Christmas tree ornaments. In addition to many Santa Claus varieties, there are dog breeds, fruits, vegetables, glasses of wine and beer, birds, wild animals, sea creatures, skyscrapers, automobiles, musical instruments -- and the list goes on. If you can't find the Christmas ornament you're looking for at the Moravian Book Shop, it probably doesn't exist.


Cigars International in Bethlehem, PA as seen in American Public House Review
















#5 - Condensation forms on the decorated windows of the Cigars International Store on Main Street.






The Moravian Smithy in Bethlehem, PA as seen in American Public House Review
















#6 - A snow-covered, illuminated evergreen tree stands in front of the Moravian 1750/1761 Smithy (blacksmith & locksmith shop), recently restored by architect David Scott Parker of Southport, Connecticut and architectural restorationist Bob Doerr of Easton, PA. It's open for tours on weekends.






Carriage in Bethlehem, PA as seen in American Public House Review











#7 - Horse-drawn carriage rides through historic Bethlehem have become a holiday tradition for many local familes. Rides are provided by Bethlehem Carriage throughout the holiday season; reservations are a must.
Chritkindmarkt in Bethlehem, PA as een in American Public House Review












#8 - Located on Conestoga Street, Christkindlmarkt is an annual holiday market featuring handmade works by American artisans and craftspeople, live music and traditional German & Austrian foods.

Toys at the Chrstkindlemarket in Bethlehem, PA as seen in American Public House Rebiew


#9 - On sale at Christkindlemarkt are traditional handmade ornaments from Rothenburg, Germany including wooden figurines of doctors, chimney sweeps, toymakers, butchers, carpenters, and beer servers.  Prost, comerade!











Sun Inn in Bethlehem, PA as seen in American Public House Review





#10 - Members of Lafayette College Alumni Association receive a guided tour of the Sun Inn on Main Street, originally built and owned by Moravians and famous during Colonial times for its fine wines, cuisine and hospitality. The Moravian Church owned the hotel just as it owned all the land and other trades sin Bethlehem.














Room at the Sun Inn in Bethlehem, PA as seen in American Public House Review




#11 - The Moravian's meticulous documentation of the Sun Inn's visitors still exist. George & Martha Washington and General Marquis de Lafayette were there during the Revolutionary War. Lafayette, one of the richest men in France, rented the entire floor of suites at the Sun Inn for a week but stayed only two days.

Guest John Adams made this account of the Sun Inn: "When We came into the Town We were directed to a public House kept by a Mr. Johnson, which I think was the best Inn I ever saw. It belongs it seems to the Society, is furnished, at their expence, and is kept for their Profit, or at their Loss. Here you might find every accomodation that you could wish for yourself, your servants and Horses, and at no extravagant Rates neither." Many of the visitors to the Sun Inn have completed their education and enhanced their understanding of history by their attendance to an online university. Their passion to know is kindled in the comfort of their own home and continues at their own pace.














Hotel Bethlehem in Bethlehem, PA as seen in American Public Houser Review













#12 - With 128 rooms (24 of them suites) in the center of the historic district, the Hotel Bethlehem, built in 1922, is perhaps the modern equivalent of the Sun Inn. The hotel's ballroom boasts seven large, colorful murals painted by George Gray in 1937 that retell the history of Bethlehem. The hotel's pub, called The Tap Room, offers great views through its giant Palladian windows.




Toy puppy in Bethlehem, PA as seen in American Public House Review






#13 - A vintage toy puppy beckons from an antique store window on Center Street.














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#14 - The Moravian Single Sisters' House on Church Street was used as a combination dormitory, industrial and religious center for single women within the community. The Moravians had a unique and highly-controlled social system which divided men, women and children into groups based on their sex, age and marital status. The groups were known as "choirs" and they participated in common work and worship together within their own residences.














Single Sister's House in Bethlehem, PA as seen in American Public House Review






#15 - A second view of the Single Sister's House reveals the sturdy and handsome construction methods used by Moravian architects and builders in the late 1700s.















Central Moravin Church in Bethlehem, PA as seen in American Public House Review

#16 - The Christian Education building on West Church Street houses many Central MoravianChurch events and activities including a Christmas shop that sells traditional Moravian stars and candles.










Model of the Bethlem Steel, Sands Casion project in Bethlehem, PA as een in American PUblic House Review




#17 - A couple inside Bethlehem's City Hall check out a lighted scale model of the Bethlehem Steel Sands Casino project that will eventually put 3,000 slot machines, 300 hotel rooms, forty upscale shops, eight restaurants and four nightclubs on the former grounds of the industrial manufacturing giant, Bethlehem Steel. The project has caused a great deal of controversy - and excitement - within the community.













Ice carver at Bethlem, PA's First Night as seen in American Public House Review






#18 - Crowds watch an ice sculptor during First Night Bethlehem, an annual New Year's Eve party featuring live music, magicians and other entertainers that takes place at Payrow Plaza , the location of City Hall and the Bethlehem Public Library.















Ice Sculpture at Payrow Plaza in Bethlehem, PA as seen in American Public House Review



#19 - A few minutes before the clock stikes midnight on New Year's Eve, a commemorative ice sculpture is completed at Payrow Plaza












Fireworks on New Years Eve  in Bethleham, PA as seen in American Public House Review




#20 - People gather outside City Hall to watch a New Year's Eve pyrotechnics display, fired from Sand Island Park along the Lehigh River.













Community Christmas Tree in Bethlehem, PA as seen in American Public House Review





#21 - A light snow falls on a community Christmas tree decorated with ornaments made by children who attend Bethlehem's Lehigh Valley Academy and Marvine Elementary school.














Christmas Tree in Bethlehem, PA's Payrow Plaza as seen in American Public House Review



#22 - A youngster contemplates the height of the city's 75-foot Christmas tree in Payrow Plaza.





All images and text 2008 Kathleen Connally

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