I think I speak for both Ady and I when I say that Jim Thorpe, PA has solidly planted itself at the top of our list of favorite towns to visit together. We were there the for the first time last year when the Brothers blew into town and played the Mauch Chunk Opera House, and we were quickly taken in by the old world charm oozing from its every nook and cranny. The town’s residents welcome their visitors warmly, and when the Felice Brothers arrive it’s as if there is a conspiracy of fun erupting—doors propped open and residents standing at their doorsteps to say hello, music players set on the porch blasting Felice Brothers albums, posters announcing their arrival plastered on every flat surface available—turning the town into one giant welcome party.
We had such a great time during our first visit that I was inspired to work on the illustration Two Sisters and a Tavern when we returned home. After spending many hours working on the illustration back then, I found it disorienting and surreal to be walking around Jim Thorpe once again. The illustration, a semi fact/semi fictitious geographical mash up of places and events, consumed me and became so vivid in my mind during its creation that when I stepped out onto the streets from our hotel room, it seemed that buildings had become displaced (“That shop/bar/tree should not be there! Should it?”).
After my own personal wave of bewildered nostalgia subsided, we headed out and about prepared for our Jim Thorpe adventures that awaited. We traveled there (almost exactly a year later from last year’s show, and this year, no tire blow out!) for the 2012 return with two wonderful friends, Cindy and Kristi, with much anticipation and excitement. We knew (rightly so) that the town would once again turn into the veritable Felice Brothers cheering squad. We tooled around the main drag for several hours before the show before finally tucking into Crave Fine Food & Spirits, a little gem of a tea house/restaurant that also serves spirits and other beverage delights, before we set out to the show, the pinnacle of our trip that involved four friends/two sisters plotting our convergence on a single ultimate destination—Kristi (author of Not That Kind of Groupie) traveling from Dolores, Colorado, Cindy from Brighton, Michigan and me from Cleveland, Ohio to meet up with my sis, Ady, traveling up from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was the perfect trip and reaffirmed what Ady and I knew: Jim Thorpe and the Mauch Chunk Opera House is the best place to see a show—especially when it is the Felice Brothers.
It was everything I had hoped the trip would be, great company traveling to and from, a fun day on the town followed by a fantastic show from the Felice Brothers, who also sung praises for Jim Thorpe and were visibly charged by the audience’s exuberance. A single math equation to sum it all up: Jim Thorpe + The Felice Brothers (@Mauch Chunk) = THE magic combination.
(A little shout out to Meghan and Amy, who we ran into again, always nice to say hello to new friends!)
Last year’s show: Felice Brothers Live at Mauch Chunk Opera House 2011 photoset via Flickr
Two Sisters and a Tavern illustration original post – prints available! Please contact us if you are interested!