Murray H. Goodman Stadium – Lehigh Mountain Hawks
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Football Stars in Bethlehem
Lehigh University is a small school located in rural Pennsylvania, in the town of Bethlehem to be precise – Bethlehem may be most well-known as the home of the Lehigh Mountain Hawks and of Murray H. Goodman Stadium, where Lehigh’s football team plays its home game.
The Mountain Hawks football team currently competes in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), and is involved in the longest-running series in all of college football. Known simply as “The Rivalry”, Lehigh and their arch-nemesis the Lafayette Leopards have been playing football against each other for over 150 years – the two teams met on the gridiron in 2017 for their 153rd game in the series (Wisconsin–Minnesota, the longest running series in the FBS, comes in a handful of games behind Lehigh-Lafayette).
Murray H. Goodman is in a great location, nestled among rolling green hills, and has a stately appearance, with simple yet elegant architecture in its press box and scoreboard. The fans here are pretty intense, especially on Rivalry day, and the small stadium is easy to move around, and offers free parking and plenty of concessions options.
Food & Beverage 4
The concessions at Murray H. Goodman Stadium are gourmet all the way – while you can find a couple of the stadium basics such as chicken fingers and pizza, most of the other options are pretty upscale. No plain jane hot dogs here – instead you will find several types of gourmet burgers and hot dogs, such as the mac and cheese dog, or the Trattoria burger with pesto on a Kaiser roll. You will also find selections like apple cider infused pulled pork, Harissa braised chicken flatbread sandwiches, and smoked corn and black bean empanadas; these items run $5 to $11 depending on size.
There are a bunch of snack items available as well, such as French fries and cinnamon-glazed nuts, but only bottled soda and bottled water to drink. Also, note that some of the concessions stands only take cash, so be prepared for that when you come to the stadium.
Murray H. Goodman Stadium is on the small side, with seating only along both sidelines – the north end zone has the scoreboard, and the south end zone just has berm seating. However, there is a railing at the top of that berm seating, which curves around the south end zone to touch both grandstands; lots of fans stand behind the railing during games to watch the action from there.
The grandstand with the press box (west) is designated as the home side, and consists mostly of metal bleachers, except for a small section of chairback seats directly below the press box. The opposite side grandstand (east) is designated the visitors side, and only has metal bleachers.
One highlight on game day is the Parade of Flags before the game, in which students who are from another country, or who have had a study aboard experience in another country, carry flags and wear traditional dress representing those countries – these students stand along the visitor’s sideline with their flags during the band’s pre-game performance. Another highlight of the game is the band’s themed halftime performances, for example on Sci-Fi day when they do formations in the shape of the Starship Enterprise, and form the words “Star” and “Trek” on the field.
See the video below to check out the Parade of Flags for yourself:
As mentioned above Bethlehem is not a large town, but there are a couple of things to do in the area if you plan to be in town for the day or weekend. There are numerous Middle Eastern restaurants near Murray H. Goodman Stadium, along the river to the north, such as Milagros Family Restaurant, Greek Meat Guy, and Olive Branch Restaurant. You can also visit Lost River Caverns, which has underground walking tours; there are also a couple of local parks in the area.
The closest hotels to Murray H. Goodman Stadium are a Holiday Inn and the Fifth Street Hotel, but there are other options as well, along the river where most of the restaurants are.
Lehigh football has some solid and friendly fans, and they come to Murray H. Goodman Stadium dressed in team gear and ready to be loud, especially on Rivalry day. Lehigh’s band, the Marching ’97, keeps the fans engaged during the game with their loud and enthusiastic playing, and the Lehigh mascot also does his part to rev up the fans during the action.
Depending on where you are coming from, getting to Murray H. Goodman Stadium could be a haul, as Lehigh University is not that close to any major freeways – you will have to drive down some really country-type, very narrow roads to get to the stadium, so much so that you may feel like you are driving down someone’s private driveway. But never fear, just follow the line of cars going the same direction, and you will be all right.
As mentioned earlier, once you get to Murray H. Goodman Stadium you can park for free, albeit on the grass next to the road you came in on. There are staff on hand to direct you exactly where to go, but there are no parking lots to speak of, except for season ticket holders. The walk from the parking on the grass isn’t too bad though, as you can almost see the stadium from where you park (depending on whether or not you are behind the tree line).
The main entrance to Murray H. Goodman Stadium are on the side where the parking is, and will call is easy to find. For big games like Rivalry day you may face a little bit of a line to get in, as there are only three entrance lanes. But once you get inside, there is plenty of room to move around, and plenty of concessions stands. There is also a walkway way (behind the aforementioned railing) which connects the two grandstands, in case you want to move around during the game.
Return on Investment 5
Tickets for Rivalry day cost around $28, while tickets to other games run only about half of that – these prices are a lot cheaper than some FCS programs, but a lot more than others. Concessions are perfectly reasonable though, given the quality of food on offer, and parking is free, so even Rivalry day will give you a pretty good bang for your buck.
For my money, if you are going to make the potentially long trek to Bethlehem, I would pick the Rivalry game, which is guaranteed to give you a lot more energy, but will in no way be overwhelming.
I just can’t say enough about the chance to see The Rivalry – who wouldn’t want to be part of history at the longest-running series in college football? The scenery is also great, with the backdrop of the rolling hills and no cement freeways or metal and glass skyscrapers in sight; Murray H. Goodman Stadium is a very peaceful, serene place to take in the best sport there is.
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Food and Drink Recommendations
Milagros Family Restaurant
805 E 4th St
Bethlehem, PA 18015
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Bethlehem
2201 Cherry Ln
Bethlehem, PA 18015
Fifth Street Hotel
716 E 5th St
Bethlehem, PA 18015
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