Leprechauns or the spirit of St. Patrick?

Today these Celtic knot medals with the prayer from St. Patrick's breastplate were available to those attending Immaculate Conception Church in Jim Thorpe.

It’s a beautiful morning in Jim Thorpe this day after the feast of St. Patrick. The clock tower is playing When Irish Eyes are Smiling and the meditation hymn after communion at Immaculate Conception Church’s 10:30 a.m. Mass was Danny Boy.

I don’t know if it was leprechauns or the spirit of St. Patrick that whispered in the ear of the Rev. Ward and softened his heart to allow not only the beloved Irish song sung beautifully by the organist, Jeanette Richards, to be played but also to make available for attendees Celtic knot medals with the prayer from St. Patrick’s breastplate.

It may be a week after the Ancient Order of Hibernian Mass, where such thoughtfulness would have warmed hearts and brought back good memories of previous celebrations at the church. In any case, today’s remembrance was appreciated by this writer and others in attendance. Here’s hoping Danny Boy is a sign of good things to come at the 2013 St. Patrick’s Day AOH Mass.

Last ski weekend at Blue Mountain

Was a Pocono ski trip on your winter wish list this season? If so, you’ve got just two days to make it happen at Blue Mountain, which closes on Sunday.

Though it’s felt like spring for weeks now, this is the last weekend of winter and the last weekend you can ski Blue Mountain, which closes on Sunday. You can likely skip all the cold weather gear and just enjoy the sunshine and the slopes. The weather forecast is for partly sunny skies with a high in the mid-60s.

On Saturday, you can celebrate good old St. Patrick at the Summit Lodge Last Run Lounge and enjoy the mountain-wide Shamrock Search for prizes.

The resort is closed today but will re-open tomorrow for skiing. Tubing, the Big Air Bag and the luge at Blue Mountain are already closed for the season.

Just 20 minutes from Jim Thorpe, you can shop, wine-taste, take in a show in the Switzerland of America and close out the season with a ski package at the Times House B&B or another Jim Thorpe Bed and Breakfast.

WE68XH5GX2AQ For up to date ski conditions, visit Ski Blue Mountain.

A merry March in Jim Thorpe

Though the glorious St. Patrick’s Day Parade weekend is behind us, there’s still plenty of fun to be had this March in Jim Thorpe. (Scroll down for parade video.)

As always, the Mauch Chunk Opera House has a plethora of talent lined up to entertain us this month including MCOH favorites Steve Forbert on March 23 and Willy Porter on the 31st.

On Friday, Montana Skies will take the stage with their unique pairing of guitar and electric cello. With tickets at just $18 (Times House B&B guests get an additional discount), the evening is a sure hit. Check out videos of all the performers at www.mauchchunkoperahouse.com

For those who can name the tune and the bullfrog in just three notes, you’ll be excited to hear Three Dog Night will take the stage at Penns’ Peak on Saturday, March 31. A bite to eat at Roadies before the show will definitely get you in the mood for a stroll down 70s lane.

That’s the musical ticket for March in Jim Thorpe but with this early spring, much more amusement can be found in the great outdoors – hiking and biking the trails of Jim Thorpe. Check out this video from the Jim Thorpe Chamber of Commerce for a preview of the Rail Trail that extends from Jim Thorpe to White Haven.

Bring your bike (the Times House has bike storage) or rent one from Blue Mountain Sports just down the street from us and enjoy.

Whether it’s an excursion at Mauch Chunk Lake Park, Glen Onoko or the Lehigh Gorge, hikers will enjoy views that full foliage would normally hide.

If you were lucky enough to get a now-sold-out passport to the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail’s March Madness event, you’ve got nice weather for winery-hopping. If you’re in Jim Thorpe, you can always sample what they’ll be tasting at Big Creek Winery’s Kresgeville location at the Race Street shop.

And if the warm weather has you wondering about your future, come on up to historic Race Street and Venus & the Moon on Saturday for a reading from medium extraordinaire David Miller.

Since Saturday is actually the feast of St. Patrick, here’s an encore from the Ancient Order of Hibernians. These Irish Eyes, these sons and daughters of Molly, Were Smiling. (The countdown is on until next’s years celebration and impromptu singing.)

Top o’ parade weekend to you

2010 Grand Marshal Hugh Dugan gets the crowd going during the 2011 St. Patrick's Day Parade.

With the Irish Tricolor flag waving across Broadway, green lights and paper shamrocks bedecking borough windows, not to mention the tent back up on the deck at the Molly Maguire, it can mean only one thing – it’s St. Patty’s Day parade weekend in Jim Thorpe.

While Sunday marks the 15th St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Jim Thorpe, there are festivities all weekend long.

The Barley Boys will take the stage at the Mauch Chunk Opera House tonight at 8. Saturday night Noel V. Ginnity and Taylor’s Irish Cabaret, will entertain goers with traditional Irish songs, dance, as well as comedy.

One of my favorite events of parade weekend has always been the Hibernian Mass at Immaculate Conception Church on Saturday afternoon.

During the tenure of the previous pastor, Monsignor John Chizmar, the Mass was especially touching for those with the blood of the old sod flowing through their veins. The sashed Hibernians would process into the church adorned with shamrocks and green carnations to traditional Irish songs as well as hymns such as Our Lady of Knock. Small loaves of Irish Soda Bread were given out after communion and the recessional was always When Irish Eyes are Smiling.

Under the current pastor, the Reverend James Ward, however, some of those touches including the beloved recessional have gone by the wayside in favor of more religious hymns. Still it wouldn’t be parade weekend for this writer without the Hibernian Mass.

The parade kicks off on Sunday at 1 p.m. back at the church with a blessing, and then a stop at the old jail to lay a wreath in memory of the Molly Maguires hung there in 1877, before heading down Broadway. Grand Marshal for the 2012 parade is Charles ‘Chuck’ Thamarus.

Voices of the Hollow Maze at Venus & the Moon

Acclaimed local artist David Watkins Price will exhibit some of his latest works during the March 2, First Friday event at Venus & the Moon, 31 Race Street in Jim Thorpe. Each month Venus & the Moon features artists whose work is forward-looking and transformational, connecting the viewer with cosmic energies.

Known for his seminal work Standing Stones (for which he received the F. Lamott Belin Scholarship out of Waverly), Price is working on a series of new prints he calls Voices Of The Hollow Maze. Inspired by travels to China and Egypt, Price recently returned from central France where an interest in Templar Architecture led him to a small stone cottage. In a place untouched by the outside world he found inspiration for this new series, a section of rural France where the past remains in abundance. Surrounded by fields of wild flowers and labyrinths of speaking streams, farm ruins of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries are poised between past and present time. These experiences forged a vision for Price’s new series of prints.

“The works are nurtured and transformed by luminal places in the margin we connect with–worlds beyond our sight,” says Price. “Voices of the Hollow Maze is less about architecture and more about resonance–the resonance of forms left behind by people who have abided within them all the days of their lives. These works are about people whose hands have lit the fires on homely hearths, whose hands have stirred apple butter in their summer kitchens, and who have walked the hollow maze of paths that connect with quiet places in the margin. Perhaps the most important connection I feel as an artist is to the feelings of love found in ordinary things.”

Price’s Voices of the Hollow Maze will be exhibited throughout the month of March. The First Friday event begins at 5 p.m. For more information, visit Venus & the Moon.