Driving Up Route 309  

Ginger and her 1939 Packard-Brunn limousine.  Yes, Ginger actually drives it!

Joe Mixon, our guitarist and musical director, grew up near Tamaqua, a small town about one and half hours north of Philadelphia on PA Route 309.  My husband, Jay Brew, grew up in Conyngham, a small town about two hours north of Philadelphia also near PA Route 309.  Jay’s family has been living along Route 309 since it was just a trail taken by the Minsi Native Americans.  There is even a street named for his grandfather in Tamaqua - Brew Street.  

When Joe and Jay found out their personal histories shared Route 309 they developed a kindredness, like two people from the same small town accidentally meeting while traveling overseas.  They’d good-naturedly quiz each other on the minor landmarks and out-of-the-way places to eat (like Leiby’s), and had a friendly competition to see who knew the quirkiest thing about the towns that collect along 309. Towns with names that reflect the people who lived in the area, names like Gwynedd, Ontelaunee, and Neffs. Historic things have happened along 309, like the discovery of anthracite, the Molly Maguires and Einstein the Snow Camel walking along the highway in a 2019 snowstorm (true story!). 

309 can be the fastest way to get some place when it’s a smooth flowing six lane highway or a drudgery to drive when you’re stuck behind a truck wheezing along a two lane portion.  It’s well known by everyone in this part of Pennsylvania and important enough to have its own Wikipedia page.   Every member of the band has their, “I was driving up Route 309 when…” story so we couldn’t resist writing a song about this iconic highway and the places along the way.   


Music by Joe Mixon 

Lyrics by Ginger Brew 

© 2020 Mixon Brew Music, LLC 


Starting out in Phil-a-del-phi-a  

Gonna take this highway all the way. 

Got the pedal to the metal, got the wind in my hair         

Driving up  Route, 309.                    


Perkasie and Q’town,   

Dorney Park before the sun goes down.  

Trucks on 78 that’s the part that I hate 

When driving up Route 309.


Oh, past hex signs painted with distelfink,  

The Little Schuylkill River where I’ll stop for a drink, 

Appalachian Trail  and Nesquehoning Ridge, 

Stop for Lieby’s pie 

Then Senapes pizza pie 

Hazelton’s nearby  

       In McAdoo I know a guy.   


Left on Mahantongo Street 

Drink a Yuengling and scrapple to eat. 

Hoagies, perogies I can have my fill 

When driving 309.  


Starting out in Phil-a-del-phi-a                

Gonna take this highway all the way. 

Got the pedal to the metal, got the wind in my hair

Driving up  Route 309.   


                                    (Too bad we left this stanza out of the recorded version, it’s kinda cute!)                                   

Jim Thorpe used to be Mauch Chunk 

Where they’d mine coal in big hunks. 

In Tamaqua plant your feet on Brew Street 

You’ll be on 309.  


Oh, past hex signs painted with distelfink  

The Little Schuylkill River where I’ll stop for a drink  

Appalachian Trail and Nesquehoning Ridge 

Stop for Leiby’s pie 

Then Senapes pizza pie 

Hazelton’s nearby  

In McAdoo I know a guy! 


Wilkes Barre’s on the way  

Watch the farm team for the Penguins play 

When I reach Tunkhannock, I’ll need a mechanic 

After driving 309 



(Band)    (Driving 309) 

(spoken)  Sally-Starr’s from New Tripoli 

(Band)  (Driving 309) 

(sung)  Dippy eggs in Schnecksville 

(Band)   (Driving 309) 

(spoken) Through Honey Hole and Ginther 

(Band) (Driving 309)         

(sung)   Centralia’s on fire!                           

Driving up Route 309.


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