September 23, 2012

Immigrating to Pennsylvania with John Lindermuth

My ancestors came to Pennsylvania in 1752. Many of their descendants never left. Others of us who did leave for varying lengths of time have returned.
What’s so special about this place?
I can’t speak for others. Though I’ve lived in and liked some other states and parts of the world, I have a special affection for the home-place. Admittedly not everyone would share my liking for this particular piece of the Keystone State’s turf and there’s probably a certain amount of nostalgia influencing my opinion.
My part of Pennsylvania is on the border between the anthracite coal region and the Pennsylvania Dutch country. The coal region has some scars left by the industry it spawned; job opportunities are sparse, often requiring people to travel long distances for work, and we lack some of the cultural amenities others cherish. But the people are among the friendliest you’ll meet anywhere, we have a diverse ethnic populace and a rich history.
That ethnic diversity provides a wealth of festivals with a variety of delicious foods, music and other offerings throughout the year. Four colleges in the area offer educational opportunities, music, lectures, plays and other stimulating activities. We have farm, antique and flea markets, art galleries, museums, wineries, shopping centers and restaurants to satisfy any culinary preference. Not of particular interest to me but great for those with children, America’s largest free admission amusement park is only minutes away.
One thing we do lack, and which I sincerely regret, is an independent bookshop. The last one succumbed to the pressure of the chains several years ago.
Speaking of history, visitors can tour a coal mine and ride a steam engine at the Pioneer Tunnel, visit the home of theologian, scientist and prolific author Joseph Priestley or see onion-dome orthodox churches and numerous covered bridges still in use.
Even the commonwealth’s largest cities—Philadelphia and Pittsburgh—retain a certain amount of rural charm maintained in parks and open spaces. That quality is even more evident here. My village is surrounded by mountains and I can be in the woods in minutes. A 20-minute drive by car will put me on the shores of the Susquehanna River.

J. R. Lindermuth’s latest book is Practice To Deceive, fifth in his Sticks Hetrick mystery series, published by Whiskey Creek Press. Until that release, John is awarding a copy of another release, The Limping Dog, to one lucky person who comments during this week.

Blurb: Trouble follows Sticks Hetrick when he and Anita Bailey, the new woman in his life, go on a Caribbean cruise. Though he has no jurisdiction, Hetrick assists a Jamaican police inspector investigate two murders which have roots back home in Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, Officer Flora Vastine, Hetrick’s protégé and the team in Swatara Creek, are probing mysterious assaults on young women which will put Flora’s life in jeopardy.
Both Hetrick and Flora will learn the past has consequences which can’t be denied.
Visit John and learn more about his life and work here:
(pictures provided by author)


  1. Pennsylvania is an amazing state. I once worked with coal balls which are bits of biological remains that have been fossilized. You can actually take strips off using a special process and then can see the remains more clearly.
    Debby236 at gmail dot com

  2. I am living in NJ, but I was born and raised in PA. I know the region you speak of and would love to live there so I am jealous that you are. Been trying to talk my DH into retiring to PA, but he isn't sold on it.

  3. Very interesting, John. I have been to Pennsylvania twice, once through it on my way to Washing DEC and the second time at Philly airport, so I guess I can't really say I have been there, tho' you make me once to stop a while longer.

  4. John, Philadelphia sounds interesting. As always, I enjoyed your post.

  5. John,
    Have you ever watched the movie, "Planes, Trains and Automobiles"? Do you remember the part where John Candy says to Steve Martin, "He's proud of his town"?
    Well, I think it's great that you're proud of yours. I feel the same way about Cincinnati. (By the way, the Reds are doing great!)

  6. Elaine CantrellSeptember 23, 2012

    We went on vacation to Pennsylvania a few years ago and fell in love with it.

  7. I grew up not far from you, John, along the Delaware, and even after 26 years in Florida I still consider myself a Pennsylvanian. I know the difference between anthracite and bituminous coal, the three rivers that meet in Pittsburgh, and the state bird (the ruffed grouse.) My golden retriever mysteries are set back home in Bucks County-- giving me the chance to reminisce in them!

    Neil Plakcy

  8. Great blog about your hometown area. I lived in NJ for too long and had lots of trips to PA. My daughter went to Dickinson College in Carlyle and my kids all went to camp in the Poconos and Delaware Water Gap area. I love Penn. Dutch country and spent many happy hours eating and flea-marketing there.
    Thanks for the lovely tour. You know I wish you all the best of luck with your writing.

  9. I would have loved to visit the chocolate playground. How many times have we driven through Penn? Too many to count but we never got to spend any time there. Your description makes me sorry we didn't stop and see the flowers.

  10. Thanks to Annette for hosting this great site and thanks to all who've commented. I appreciate your responses but was off attending my grandson's football game and couldn't reply. They won, by the way--27-0.

  11. John:

    Hope to get down your way on vacation one of these days. Break a leg on the writing.


  12. John, though we live in the same state the description you vividly shared made me realize we are hundreds of miles apart.

    I'm originally from a suburb just outside of NYC, but I do enjoy all the history the nearby city of Philadelphia offers. And, if I go due West about 20 minutes I'm in Amish Country. It's a large and very diverse state we live in. Very sad about the libraries and independent bookstores falling to closure, afterall Benjamin Franklin founded the first one here in PA.
    Wishing you much success,

  13. You paint a beautiful picture of your part of Pennsylvania! Thanks for sharing and best of luck with your upcoming release!

  14. Many years ago I visited Hershey Park in Penn. but after reading your post I'd love to go back and see more.


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