Bethlehem Walks!

As a companion to our Summer Reading Challenge, we are inviting the community to join us in a collective physical challenge: Bethlehem Walks! Use this form to submit your walking data to us, and we’ll compile it to show how far we’ve walked together as a town and include some fun information about the places we’ve “visited.” Include minutes walked, distance walked, or steps taken, as well as elevation changes (if you have it). Submit as often as you like. Adventure starts in Bethlehem!


Week 4 (7/14 – 7/20)

Miles We’ve Walked This Week: 100

Miles Walked So Far: 479

Thanks to more moderate temperatures last week, Bethlehem Walks got quite a boost! This week, we’ve made it to Cleveland, OH. A city with rich history, and home to an incredible number of famous names, including actress Halle Berry, author Sharon Draper, poet Langston Hughes, and footballers Travis and Jason Kelce (yes, the Travis Kelce who is dating Taylor Swift!). 


Cleveland city sign in Edgewater Park, before a skyline view of the city, sun rising behind the buildings

Edgewater Park Sunrise, photo by Erik Drost, 2019

Founded in 1796, Cleveland is named for General Moses Cleaveland, who helped to ratify the American Constitution. Fun fact: Cleaveland and his party left for Ohio from Schenectady, NY! Since 1796, Cleveland has grown and evolved, more than once deemed one of the best cities in America. Among the top 10 largest U.S. cities for much of the 20th century, Cleveland’s population now reaches 372,624 people, with the metropolitan area nearing 2.2 million people.

In the late 1800s, Cleveland was code-named “Station Hope” and was a major stop on the Underground Railroad–especially for those who were seeking to call Canada their new home. It had been a center for abolitionists and served as an important city for the Union during the Civil War, after which, it became a hub during the Great Migration. Cleveland became a manufacturing city, drawing attention from the likes of John D. Rockefeller in 1870. The industrialization of Cleveland brought many to the area, and Cleveland soon became a cultural center for the avant-garde, jazz, flappers, and fashionistas. 

Carl B. Stokes, 51st Mayor of Cleveland, in his office

Carl B. Stokes, 51st Mayor of Cleveland, in his office

The city has a long history of violent political and social events, including The Cleveland May Day Riots, The Hough Riots, and the Glenville Shootout. It was known as “Bomb City, USA” during the 1970s due to a number of bombings that shook the city, mostly due to organized crime rivalries.

Cleveland was also the first major city in America to elect a Black mayor, named Carl B. Stokes. He played a pivotal role in the efforts to restore Cuyahoga River, which had caught fire 13 times since 1868 due to prolonged industrial pollution. Stokes’ efforts drew national attention, and the restoration resulted in the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972 and the National Environmental Policy Act later that year. Cleveland has been recognized by national media as an environmental success story and a national leader in environmental protection. 



Things to do in Cleveland:

Cleveland Museum of Art

Cleveland Museum of Art, photo by Erik Drost, 2013

As a “global city,” Cleveland is home to several major cultural institutions, including the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the Cleveland Public Library, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as Case Western Reserve University. Anyone looking for culture or history will have plenty to do in Cleveland!  

Admirers of architecture can check out diverse building styles, including the neoclassical around the Cleveland Mall, the Beaux-Arts-style of the Terminal Tower, Art Deco in Public Square and Key Tower, and the historic ecclesiastical architecture of the Presbyterian Old Stone Church, the onion-domed St. Theodosius Russian Orthodox Cathedral, and the Catholic Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, among many others. A stop on Euclid Avenue, aka “Millionaire’s Row,” is also a must! In the late 1880’s, it was described as “the most beautiful street in the world.”

Those looking for the arts will find themselves overwhelmed with options. The Playhouse Square is the second largest performing arts center in the U.S., and a great place to check out Broadway musicals, ballet performances, film festivals, and the Tri-City Jazz Fest. Outside Playhouse Square is Karamu House, which was established in 1915 and is the oldest African American theater in the nation. Listen to The Cleveland Orchestra, one of the “Big Five” in the country and often considered one of the finest orchestras in the world, at Severance Hall in the winter or at Blossom Music Center during the summer. 

West Side Market in Cleveland

West Side Market in Cleveland, photo by Harley D., 2017

If food is more your language, Cleveland does not disappoint! Vendors at the West Side Market in Ohio City offer ethnic foods from eastern and western Europe, the Mediterranean, and Central and South America. The city is also home to a vibrant barbecue and soul food scene. Order some corned beef at the nationally renowned Slyman’s Deli, the Polish Boy sandwich from many street vendors, and the Cleveland Cassata Cake, a dessert invented in the local Italian community, from most Italian restaurants. You also can’t go wrong with a hotdog! 

Finally, if you prefer the quiet solace of nature, you’re in luck. Cleveland is also nicknamed The Forest City! Cleveland’s city parks are known as “the Emerald Necklace” as they encircle Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. Check out the shore of Lake Erie (aka “The North Coast”–Cleveland has many nicknames!) or historic Rockefeller Park, which is home to late 19th century landmark bridges, the Rockefeller Park Greenhouse, and the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. Just outside of Rockefeller Park is the Cleveland Botanical Garden, which was established in 1930 and is the oldest civic garden center in the nation.  



Total Elevation Gain: 2,879 feet

Bald Mountain, sign, snow in the background

Bald Mountain by Jim Levulis, WAMC, 2017

This week we climbed Bald Mountain (2,857 ft) in Woodford, VT! It is likely this mountain was named due to a forest fire in the early part of the 20th century that cleared the summit. Remnants of this forest fire can still be seen in the white soil at the summit area. A popular trail on Bald Mountain leads to the “White Rocks,” or the remnants of a possible rock slide that shoulder one side of the mountain. One of the most rewarding parts of this trail is the “free expression tunnel,” which passes underneath a highway. 

Bald Mountain is located in the Bennington Triangle, which is known for several unsolved disappearances, unexplained events, and strange creatures. Between 1945 and 1950, five people disappeared in the area surrounding Bennington, Vermont, and the best-known disappearance is that of Paula Jean Welden. Welden, 18, set off to hike on the Long Trail on December 1, 1946. She was alleged to have been seen on the trail by an elderly couple. According to the couple, who was about 100 yards behind her, she turned a corner in the trail, and when they reached the same corner, she was nowhere to be seen. An extensive search, including a $5,000 reward and help from the FBI, was conducted, but no evidence of her has ever been found. This specific missing persons case resulted in Vermont forming its own State Police. Welden’s disappearance was also the inspiration for the 1951 novel Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson. 

Paula Jean Welden, portrait clipping from missing persons flyers

Paula Jean Welden, portrait clipping from missing persons flyers

Even today, people find themselves lost or experiencing strange things in the Bennington Triangle. In 2008, a man began hiking a familiar trail on Bald Mountain, only to find himself lost on the other side of the mountain. He survived a night alone, in dense fog, with eerie sightings, and in the morning was able to find his way back to his car. Another group a men found themselves caught in a violent thunderstorm only to learn that no rain had been forecast for the area and no other hikers had experienced a thunderstorm. 

Other oddities include rumors of a man-swallowing boulder hidden among the rocks at a mountain’s peak. Since the early 19th century, a Sasquatch creature, called the “Bennington Monster,” has been sighted several times. The monster is described as well over 6-feet tall, with hair from its head to its toes. Finally, many have reported seeing strange lights in the sky, with speculation about UFOs rising from these sightings.



Last week we visited Lewes, DE. Check back next week to find out where Bethlehem Walks!


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