Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Wilkes-Barre, PA: First impressions

Friday, October 10th, 2008

Last weekend, Sarah and I went to Wilkes-Barre, PA, where we are moving, with the primary goal of finding a place to live. We flew to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre airport (by way of Chicago), rented a car, and got in to our hotel room late Friday night.

Scene at O’Hare International Airport

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport

“Meditation Room” At W-B/Scranton Airport

Saturday morning, we woke up and I peeked out the window to get my first glimpse of the area during daylight hours. I saw a bunch of chain stores, and mountains in the distance. Pretty damn cool, since I didn’t really get to see the mountains at all the night before.

First glimpse of Wilkes-Barre

To get to our appointments, we had to drive across town on 309, one of the major roads. This gave us some great views of the city and surrounding area.

Wilkes-Barre, as seen from 309


Bridge across the Susquehanna River

We spent Saturday touring apartment complexes and rental houses and calling others to attempt to find something suitable. Frankly, it was pretty frustrating. Even the apartment complex we thought would be a pretty safe bet turned out not to be a good option at all. Some houses were decrepit, in bad neighborhoods, or both. In the process, we did get to see a lot of the area and got to know our way around a little bit. We were mostly interested in living in Kingston, a smaller borough right across the Susquehanna River from Wilkes-Barre.

A Kingston neighborhood

Looking toward Edwardsville, and the mountains

Looking down on the valley from the top of a hill

We also spent some time in downtown Wilkes-Barre.

Someone painting a mural



Osterhout Free Library

Inside the library

Another shot inside the library


The square, downtown

Around Town Bicycles

Bike Shop Parking Only

We eventually found a good place to live in Kingston — we’ll be renting half a duplex, 3 bedrooms, two stories, plus basement and attic, and a small fenced yard for the dog. All for the same price as the 2-bedroom apartment we have now.

The front of the house. Left half is hours.

Back yard (fence to be completed, debris cleared away)

Our neighborhood

We also managed to go for a couple of drives in the mountains while we were there. The fall colors are a lot further ahead there than they are here. One drive included a precipitous gravel road up the side of a mountain, with some switchbacks and quite steep sections, and even some rocks forming small rock gardens in the middle of the road — driven in our rented PT Cruiser. Man, that car sucks. But it survived. And we only nearly hit a couple of deer.

View from near the top of one mountain


An industrial complex nestled in the mountains — strange juxtaposition

Driving through the Endless Mountains

We only got a small taste of the beautiful country in the area, but it’s certainly whet my appetite. I’m excited about cycling there, but some of these roads are just incredibly steep, for a long time. I’ve got a real challenge cut out for me.

7 Responses to “Wilkes-Barre, PA: First impressions”

  1. Tim Says:

    The advantage of moving is all the new roads to explore. I suspect you’ll have to get your climbing jones on to make distance in that area. Looking forward to the new reports. I might even check out your old reports for a ride or 2 out of Bloomington next summer. Clark Forest seems like a doable S24O goal too. good luck.

  2. Biking in Bloomington Says:

    309, living in double-block (NE PA term for duplex) in a borough (does everyone know what a borough is?).

    Looks like NE PA to me. The pics made me smile and reminds me of where I grew up.

    It should be fun to find some smaller roads to ride.

  3. Pedalman Says:

    Congratulations on finding a place. Your climbing legs are going to get their full by the looks of it.

  4. MRMacrum Says:

    Yes, you do have your challenge. The folks who build roads in PA like to go straight at them. No working it easy gentle like up the side and switching back.

  5. Jett Says:

    We’re so lucky to have you photographing and documenting these places. When you drive through, you really don’t get a feel for the place, but your rides and posts do a great job of letting me feel like I’m there on a bike. Looking forward to learning about NE PA like I learned about central IN. These photos are a great start.

    Working from home does whack the commute, but it opens up the lunch ride. Close one door, open another.

  6. Marty Says:

    I knew I should have done a better job of keeping up on reading your blog. You’re moving to the local area (well, relatively). I’ll have to go back and find the details, but welcome to the east coast. We’ll have to plan on getting together with Van once you guys are settled in!

    Great pictures, as always – you really did the town proud with your shots. But did you find Dunder-Mifflin?

  7. Apertome Says:

    John (“Biking in Bloomington”): yes, it was described to us as a “double block.” We had to ask what the heck that was. I said “duplex” since I figured a lot of people might not get it. I still don’t know exactly what a Borough is, or what the distinction is between a borough and a town. There are so many different types of local government in that area. City, borough, township, county, it all get so confusing, and they all seem to overlap occasionally.

    Jett: good point about the lunch ride, great idea!

    Everyone else — thanks for the compliments. I’m looking forward to exploring and taking a lot more photos of the area.

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