Before college or Major League Baseball, there is Little League. Every August the best of Little League from all over the world gather in Williamsport Pennsylvania with hopes of claiming the International championship.
For nearly two weeks, these young players converge on Williamsport and are transformed in a few short days from school kids to rock stars, complete with fans vying for autographs and photos, each fan hoping they are meeting a future young Ted Williams or Babe Ruth.
Fans of all ages come from across the globe to watch these kids play and enjoy an old fashion game of baseball and have the chance to slide down the hill on a cardboard box.
This year as the Texas coast was getting a grand slam by Hurricane Harvey, a group of players from Lufkin, Texas were battling their way through the competition becoming the US Little League Champions. Nicknamed the Thundering 13, (an appropriate name considering the storm that was raging in Texas).
These talented players lost in the end to the International champs, Japan, but still made their home state proud.
The town that host The Little League Series each year is Williamsport. This sleepy little town in north central Pennsylvania, wakes up in mid August like an insomniac with a quad shot cafe Americano. Williamsport “Welcomes The World” is a two week celebration of youth athletics worldwide.
Politics and party lines take a back seat to new friends from all over the world.
Every business puts out a sign welcoming Little League, many restaurant serves “baseball” themed dishes.
The Friday before the final World Series game, the town host a street fair with music, dancing, food, and vendors. The town hosts a parade the first week of games featuring the teams, and everyone does their best to make the young people here to play baseball feel at home.
If you plan to attend the event, be sure to book a hotel room well in advance as everything sells out early. There are plenty of small local hotels in town, as well as name brand hotels to stay in, and lots of great places to eat or drink. Some of our favorite places in Williamsport include.
The Holiday Inn -Given the choice between Holiday Inn and the connected Holiday Inn Express, I would chose the Holiday Inn, both hotels give the same great service, and provide clean quiet rooms, but you cannot get additional IHG points at the James Restaurant or bar, and in our life “points rule.”
The Brickyard – Great little restaurant off Pine Street, great place to catch your favorite sports events, have one of their signature fishbowl cocktails, or get a great burger, try The Toasted Brick or The Chuck burger.
Franco’s – Some delicious Italian food, and service that makes you feel like your home. The Torts and Tips are a yummy combination of flavors. If you want something a bit spicy, that will burn your mouth but leaving you craving more, try the stuffed cherry peppers, the hot combined with provolone cheese and prosciutto will bring tears to your eyes, but you wont be able to stop eating them (a hint, the homemade bread helps to break the heat, so you can continue to torture your tastebuds with the delicious flavors. They have a great wine selection, as well as a full bar. If you want to assure a seat make reservations in advance, if you want to be where the fun is ask if you can have a table in the main dining area, if not you may wind up at one of the 3 tables near the bathrooms. Not bad seats, a little quieter, but not my first choice.
Bullfrogs – Open on Sunday, this is a great place to get a great craft beer or a bite to eat.
Boomtown – This place is new to the area, but they are raising the standards for everyone else. Their Muddy River stout is one of the best porters I have ever have, combine it as a boiler maker with a shot of their chocolate vodka and you have the perfect desert in a glass (or just a delicious adult beverage). Their delicious burger with a fried egg, on an English muffin made you feel like you were combining dinner with breakfast, in a very yummy way. The service is great, everyone is very friendly! Seating is available inside and outside. I look forward to going back just to check them out again.
Julia’s – Great place for coffee and breakfast or lunch. I had the quiche then sat and enjoyed my coffee at a lovely window seat. Friendly service and good food.
The Old Corner Hotel – Great bar with lots of room to sit, have a drink and meet friends. If you want to sit outside, they have a great courtyard with beautiful grapevines (complete with grapes when in season.) friendly service and great cocktails. Bring your ID, they take carding seriously.
Moon and Raven – Fun little Irish Pub. They make a yummy Sidecar.
Loved the Irish Nachos. Also ordered the Irish Stew Pie, the crust was delicious, but there were far more carrots then I would have preferred. Service was good. We had a bit of a wait, but entertained ourselves by checking out the antique store in the building while we waited.
Williamsport Mural – This beautiful mural takes up 3 walls and is at least three stories high. Featured are many local residence whose good works are memorialized in the life like paintings. There are celebrities who once visited, as well as 9-11 heroes. The art work done by Michael Pilate leaves you wishing had been able to get to know the people depicted on the walls.
Serenity Studios Massage – If your muscles are feeling a little sore while visiting, check out this place for a nice massage at a good price.
The great thing about Little League Baseball is that each year brings a new crop of hopefuls all coming with dreams of playing with the world watching. I look forward to having the opportunity to be able to return in the future to see what super stars will emerge from the worlds youth.