Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2008

Bethlehem, Pa.

Plenty of folks make the pilgrimage to Bethlehem, Pa., each year just so they can mail their Christmas cards with a postmark bearing the city's name. Even if you don't have a stack of mail to send, you'll be enchanted by Bethlehem's historic Main Street district, its expansive Christkindlmarkt, where you can buy all manner of holiday crafts, and the glow from the 81-foot-tall steel "Star of Bethlehem" perched atop South Mountain across the Lehigh River and visible for miles around. The city was first settled by the Moravian order in 1741; on Christmas Eve that year, it was named Bethlehem, after the birthplace of Jesus, by the sect's patron, Count Nicholas Ludwig van Zinzendorf. Then, in 1937, it was officially nicknamed the Christmas City.