I grew up in the Wyoming Valley. My whole life is here. Yet, when I was fresh faced out of culinary school, I went to Pennsylvania College of Technology, and I started working in the Back Mountain area. To be more specific, Dallas.
In the three years since working in Dallas I have noticed the beauty of the area, especially during the summer time.
The tranquility of everything is what makes the commute worth the drive. I know some might ask what there is to do since Dallas is far away from Wilkes-Barre which has a mall, movie theater and other attractions.
Well for starters, Dallas is located near the Lands at Hillside Farms, Brace’s Orchard and the Back Mountain Trail.
The Lands at Hillside Farms is a 19th century, 412-acre, nonprofit dairy farm. I pass the farm every day to and from work. Occasionally I will stop on my way home and buy myself some homemade ice cream as a treat. Sometimes I will bring my dog if I am coming straight from my house.
The farm sells different products such as ice cream, milk, dairy products, pastured raised beef and pork, artisan-crafted farmstead cheese, eggs from free-range chickens, bakery items, granola, trail mix, nuts and seeds, chemical-free beef, chicken and pork and line-caught Alaskan salmon.
Another reason to visit is the amazing different educational services the farm provides and the summer camps. You can take a field trip and learn the different processes of a how a dairy farm works.
The farm even has a little area where you can feed the animals, such as goats, llamas and sheep. There is even food for the ducks that live in the small stream area.
You may have to wait your turn in the ice cream line, but it is sure worth the wait to have fresh homemade ice cream. Plus the flavor varieties to choose from are out of this world. If waiting in line is too much, you can buy quarts of your favorite flavors to take home. Sharing is optional.
You might also see some familiar faces while waiting in line. Just don’t forget to buy your pets a special treat. The staff is friendly, and if you become a regular, just like “Cheers,” everyone will know your name.
Next stop on our travels to Dallas is Brace’s Orchard, which is a family owned business that has been around since 1828.
The fruit farm is 100 acres with an abundance of fruit variety to choose from. This includes apples, peaches, plums, pears, blueberries, grapes and cherries. Throughout the seasons you can find different and fun activities to do with your family.
In the summer, though, you can go to the store from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Here you can pick which apples you want that are in the store and buy some of their famous apple cider and a chocolate covered apple. Again, sharing is optional with the chocolate covered apple. The staff is friendly and very welcoming to anyone who stops by.
The last stop is for those who like to hike, enjoy nature and prefer being outside. The Back Mountain Trail is roughly five miles long and stretches from Luzerne to Shavertown, which is close to Dallas. With picturesque views, waterfalls and hidden benches, taking an early morning hike or an evening stroll will make a lasting impression on you.
As you walk the trail you can hear the birds chirping away, the passing stream and waterfall. You will see nature like you’ve never seen before, and it’s all right at your fingertips. The shade you receive from the trees helps take away any heat from the summer sun as you walk along the trail.
You might just want watch where the local wildlife is located on the trail. The possibility of passing an animal is very likely.