Helpful ReplyHot!Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

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Bolphur
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2014/04/17 17:58:04 (permalink)

Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

Looking to cross the country in a couple of weeks.  Mostly the trip is going to be about the destination, but if I can throw in a couple of can't miss dining establishments that would be fantastic.  I'm going to stay up north as I cross the continent, going through Montana, North Dakota, Minneapolis, drop down to Chicago and then due east from there.  Any advice on where to stop for nourishment would be greatly appreciated.
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Bolphur
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/04/17 20:56:56 (permalink)
Now that I look at the route a little more closely I may drop down and catch Mt. Rushmore, Sturgis, Kansas City and St. Louis.
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Foodbme
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/04/17 21:41:14 (permalink)
Look at the RF homepage upper right side.
Suggest you become a RF Insider and get access to the Mobile App. It will give you ample info as you travel.
Also use the "Find Authentic Regional Eats" tool on the home page. Over 1500+ reviewed places on there with pictures and write-ups.
post edited by Foodbme - 2014/04/17 23:51:20
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stanpnepa
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/04/17 22:15:22 (permalink) ☄ Helpful
Any extended stay in Wilkes-Barre requires an exploration of our area pizzas.   A trip (about ten miles north) to Old Forge would be first (see old posts - Ghigiarelli's my fave), followed by Pizza Perfect in Trucksville (about five miles west - reviewed on this site --- onion slices/cuts are a must).    Sweet sauce pizza is big in the city with Angelo's and Gerry's probably the most famous and The Dough Company by the Wyoming Valley Mall also quite good (get extra sauce).
 
Abe's Hot Dogs on South Main has been there forever and their chili dogs are pretty famous.    The Anthracite Café and Cork are good bar/restaurants.   The ethnic restaurants around Public Square are quite reliable - Thai Thai, Katana (sushi), Lett's Eat (Indian) and the newly relocated/renamed Mexican near Circles on The Square.
 
 
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ScreamingChicken
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/04/18 11:04:51 (permalink)
If you take the southern route you describe, Kansas City's Stroud's has been mentioned here in glowing terms many times over.
 
Another alternative would be I-80 through Lincoln, Omaha, and Des Moines.  I'm sure you could find a nice steak and a pork tenderloin somewhere along the way!
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mayor al
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/04/18 16:11:08 (permalink)
A little narrowing of your possible route, including start and finish points and travel time estimates will help anyone giving advice.
 
  If you are driving straight-thru, sleeping in rest ares and eating within a mile of a freeway interchange, that's a lot different than taking three weeks each way to explore the country you are passing thru, and trying local food specialties...
Let us know your travel framework, and I am sure you will receive some good advice. 
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Bolphur
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/04/18 19:24:53 (permalink)
Thanks for the great advice for the Wilkes-Barre area.  I'll make sure to hit these spots.
 
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Bolphur
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/04/18 19:55:22 (permalink)
My plan is to take 5 days to make the trip.  I'm going to be staying over at Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Bad Lands National Park, Effigy Mounds National Monument, and Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  Most days I will spend an hour at the park and then spend close to 10 hours on the road.  I'll be on I-80 most of the way.
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mayor al
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/04/18 21:11:52 (permalink)
starting point?
Big Horn is3- 4 hours  each way from I-80.. were u talking about I-90?
Northern Idaho was in your first Post, Has that been changed?
Honestly not trying to peck away at the trip, but hard to pick stops that are unrealistic for your route
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Foodbme
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/04/18 22:31:32 (permalink)
Just off I-80 in Clearfield PA you'll find Denny's Beer Barrel Pub.
Home to the "Ye Olde 96er" Hamburger. 6#'s of hamburger that you have 3 hours to consume!
http://www.dennysbeerbarrelpub.com/
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Bolphur
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/04/19 01:14:20 (permalink)
Sorry about the confusion.  I guess I should get my highways straightened out.  So I'm starting out in Coeur d' Alene on I-90 through Billings, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Madison, Chicago, and follow I-80 out to Wilkes-Barre.
post edited by Bolphur - 2014/04/19 01:16:01
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mayor al
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/04/19 05:01:58 (permalink)
Now I understand !  Old guys gotta have it fed to them on maps !! Several members did a Dakota Nebraska tour not long ago. and we have folks in Wisconsin ready to talk about Madison too.
Meantime, go to the restaurant review section here for the states you have an interest in and check them out.
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ScreamingChicken
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/04/19 08:14:50 (permalink)
Bolphur

So I'm starting out in Coeur d' Alene on I-90 through Billings, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Madison, Chicago, and follow I-80 out to Wilkes-Barre.
As a travel note, I-90 is under repair between Cherry Valley and Elgin, IL and there are lane restrictions, lowered speed limits, etc.  When you get to Rockford you might think about taking I-39 south to I-80, which would also give you the opportunity to head west to Ladd for chicken at Rip's or Lanuti's, or east to Utica for Cajun food at Cajun Connection.
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Mosca
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/04/19 19:36:23 (permalink)
80 from Chi to WB Is a wasteland. Denny's is the best known stop, and honestly, we've eaten there maybe 10 times, and it's just not that good. Its okay enough, but don't expect to rave over burgers that are big and overcooked.

A better choice is the nearby Gio's Woodland Food and Fuel. It will make you giddy with roadfoodosity. Arrive hungry.

In Wilkes-Barre, The Anthracite Cafe has rebounded from near death to really good, not quite as good as when they were inventing dishes like Texas Hawg Wings (pork shank dressed up like drummies), but still interesting and fun, with Pretzel Chicken, Beef Troeganoff, Cadillac Meatloaf Burgers, and more like that. Tuesdays get two entrees and an appetizer for $22. They have to be losing money on that one.

This all begs the question, by the way: Why the heck do you want to come to Wilkes-Barre? I mean, I live here, and it's nice enough, but I don't think of it as a destination.

Oh: one of the best restaurants in town is actually at the Mohegan Sun Casino, The Rustic Kitchen. Get the coupons fromRefer Local, $25 in free slot play and $25 voucher for rustic Kitchen for $25. Two per person, so you can get $100 in free play, or if you were going to play anyhow you could look at it as $100 restaurant comp. Either way.
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Foodbme
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/04/19 20:03:12 (permalink) ☄ Helpful
I believe each state has a DOT website that will give you info on construction areas & delays. I-80 in PA is usually under construction somewhere on it every summer.
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ScreamingChicken
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/04/19 20:05:17 (permalink)
The ones I frequently travel through and to do, and the sites are very handy!
 
Mosca

This all begs the question, by the way: Why the heck do you want to come to Wilkes-Barre? I mean, I live here, and it's nice enough, but I don't think of it as a destination.
Well, if the floor is open for speculation perhaps Bolphur's a hired gun and one of your life insurance beneficiaries has gotten just a little too tired of waiting...
post edited by ScreamingChicken - 2014/04/19 20:09:12
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Bolphur
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/04/19 22:25:07 (permalink)
No...I'm no hired gun. I'll be starting a new job out there in the beginning of May.  I'll be out there a couple of months by myself then the rest of the family will be making the trip.  None of us have spent time on the east coast so were a little nervous and excited at the same time.  My son is going to be a Junior next year.  I know it's off topic, but do you have any school recommendations?
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Mosca
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/04/20 01:20:21 (permalink) ☄ Helpful
Crestwood in Mountain Top is good. Dallas is good. Our daughter went to Holy Redeemer. HUGE Catholic presence in NEPA, maybe as high as 90%. There are two excellent prep schools, Wyoming Seminary in Kingston and MMI in Freeland, a bit south of the Wyoming Valley (Wilkes-Barre area).

NEPA is actually pretty nice. Housing is cheap, crime is relatively low. People can be provincial, but it's a nice place to raise a family. It's about 5-10 years behind the rest of the country culturally, in the way new ideas and tech are adopted; early adopters are about the same as everywhere, but the tipping point comes later.

The predominant cuisine is Italian, and there are a number of excellent family restaurants. Pizza? The Old Forge style is... distinctive. There is also the Pizza Perfect/Sizzle Pi/Victory Pig style, which is fried Sicilian, also somewhat unusual. The traditional pizzas are decent, a cut below NYC's best but still pretty good. You'll find great home made Polish food at the numerous church bazaars that start in June and run through September. The Pittston Tomato Festival is excellent.

NEPA is beautiful. It is glacial, mostly wooded hills dotted with small lakes and streams. Fall is amazing, with some of the best foliage in the country.

NEPA is 2 hours from NYC, 2 hours from Philly, 3 hours from the Atlantic beaches. 2 hours to Ithaca, 4 hours to Pittsburgh. When you hit South Bend figure 9 hours or so, 8 if you blast through and 10 if you stop for food.

People root for Penn State or Notre Dame. In football it's Steelers, Eagles, Giants. Baseball is Phillies or Yankees. Hockey is Pens or Flyers. We have the AAA Yankees franchise, and the Penguins AHL. The Phillies AAA franchise is in Allentown, about an hour south.

Lots of hunting and fishing. It's not northern Idaho, though. NASCAR has Pocono Raceway. There are two casinos, Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs, which also has a harness track, and Mt Airy, in the Poconos. Slots are tight due to the high tax placed on the take, but the blackjack rules are set by state law and are some of the best in the country. Other table games aren't as lenient.

I hope this helps. And if you're stopping for food in NW PA, we've made that trip a dozen times or more in the last 5 years. Denny's is a well known destination stop, and a nice place, but Gio's has better food. You might have to wait at Denny's, as well. But that entire stretch from Chicago to NEPA, those are the only places we've found worthwhile.
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Bolphur
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/04/20 09:01:56 (permalink)
Thanks for all the advice Mosca.  It's greatly appreciated.  So is it going to be a problem if I'm a Dallas Cowboy fan.  Oh...do you have any nice farmer's markets?
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Mosca
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/04/20 09:29:34 (permalink) ☄ Helpful
Cowboys fans cross geographical lines, so other than having Jerry Jones as an owner you'll be okay. Because NEPA isn't that close to any area, loyalties aren't as tight and rivalries are friendlier. But don't go to an Eagles game wearing visitor's laundry. Philly is a great town with a serious inferiority complex.

There is a farmers market in Wilkes-Barre on Thursdays, but there is a Wegman's supermarket, which trumps any farmer's market. Wegs are the tops. Once local harvests ripen, Wegman's buys produce from local farmers, and puts the name of the farm on the bin. But they also carry anything worthwhile that you might imagine. You want mimolette? They got mimolette. (Actually I bought the last quarter wheel, you'll have to wait for the FDA to reapprove it now.) I guess it's like a Trader Joes? I don't know, I've never been to a Trader Joe's. Wegman's has 15 varieties of loose olives. Heirloom tomatoes. Fruits and vegetables whose names I can't pronounce. Beers from all over the US and the rest of the world. (But no wine, nor liquor; the state has a monopoly on the sale of those and you have to go to a state store.) you want Parma prosciutto? No prob. Dry aged real prime rib roast? Order ahead if it's midsummer, but you'll find it in the meat case around the holidays. Walnut butter? Almond, pecan, or cashew butter? Yep.

Wegman's are tops.





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Foodbme
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/04/20 17:35:57 (permalink) ☄ Helpful
Another benefit, you're relatively close to NYC, Philly, Baltimore, Washington, Gettysburg and the Jersey Shore as well as the PA Dutch Country so your son will have an opportunity to learn a little American History.
Not to mention PENN STATE FOOTBALL! Just 2 hours West on I-80!
If your son is thinking College, there are a MULTITUDE of excellent schools within 1-4 hours from WB. Penn State, Bucknell, Lock Haven, Lehigh, Lafayette, Temple, Villanova, Penn, Princeton, Rutgers, Shippensburg, Bloomsburg, E. Stroudsburg, Drexel, Susquehanna University, Etc., Etc.
Our family moved 17 times in my career climb. Our motto was "Always Bloom Where You Are Planted"
post edited by Foodbme - 2014/04/20 17:40:18
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stanpnepa
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/04/20 20:57:08 (permalink)
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was just named 8th best place to raise a family in the USA by Forbes. We are a bit backward ... but at least the big cities are close. It really is a nice place to live.

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Bolphur
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/04/21 00:06:19 (permalink)
Thanks for all of the great advice everyone.  I am starting to get really excited about the move and of course....very hungry.
 
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joerogo
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/04/21 03:54:06 (permalink)
Bolphur, Please accept my personal invitation to visit the crown jewel of NEPA, Pittston! Centrally located right between Scranton and W-B with a fine list of eating establishments. If you are in town on May 9th, plan on attending the Pittston 2nd Friday art walk. Check out the City of Pittston FB page for more info.
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joerogo
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/04/21 04:06:08 (permalink)
Stan, Tom and everybody, hope to see you in town on May 9th. Specials in every restaurant, Daddy- O and the Sax Maniax playing in center city and live entertainment in most bars. Start in the Art Scene, free buffet and wine, can't go wrong!
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Mosca
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/04/21 22:56:33 (permalink)
We're out of town on the 9th, Joe, sorry. It would be great.
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junbug
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/05/02 23:36:56 (permalink)
Please keep us posted with any sites/stops you find interesting along the way. My family will be making the same trip over the summer only the opposite way, from Wilkes-Barre to Moscow, ID.
 
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Bolphur
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/05/03 11:21:28 (permalink)
Thanks Mosca for the recommendation for Gios.  It was terrific!  It was a long trip and quick trip so I didn't have much time to smell the roses.  I did manage to slip into a few National Parks along the way to watch the park film and explore the visitor center/museum.
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Bolphur
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/05/03 11:53:02 (permalink)
Hey junbug,  is someone in the family going to be attending the University of Idaho?  Moscow is a great place.  Mikey's on main street is a great place for Gyros.  New York Johny's makes a pretty good hotdog.  He sets up on main street on Friday and Saturday nights from 11pm - 3am.  He hasn't been around lately so check with the locals before you stay out late.  The best local place for lunch is Stack's on 6th.  The sandwiches are served on homemade bread, tasty and huge.  Will certainly feed two people.  I had a great sub sandwich in Chicago at Jersey Mike's Subs.  I'm pretty sure it is a chain, but definitely quite a few notches above Subway.  I also heard the local radio station in Chicago talking up Portillo's Hot Dog's.  The DJ's said the Italian Beef sandwich was amazing.  I stopped by  in Hill City, SD just north of Mt. Rushmore and had the Chislic basket. It was very good, but small portion.  Make sure you take plenty of cash for the tolls through Ohio, Indiana, and Chicago.  It had to be close to $40.
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junbug
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Re:Northern Idaho to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 2014/05/08 13:27:17 (permalink)
Hey Bolphur, thanks for all the info. My son will be attending the University of Idaho in the fall. We have decided to make the trip our family vacation and are trying to map out the best route so we can see a little more than highways and the like.  If you have anymore information that could be useful please pass it along. Thanks again and welcome to NEPA.
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