Pittsburgh Penguins Game – 10/5/16

So last night I went to the Pittsburgh Penguins game. Yes, is preseason, but that doesn’t make it any less fun, just a little less crowded! Unfortunately, they didn’t do too well, but I’m sure that’ll change when the regular season starts. Stanley Cup champs and all, right?

The stadium that was once called Consol Energy Center is now PPG Paints Arena and they are frantically trying to change all of the signage. I didn’t take any external photos because of this, but next time I’m down there I definitely will.

Now the fun part: the photos!

My First Pittsburgh Riverhounds Game…

Well, my husband has become a soccer fan (well, mostly European football,) but since we live in Pittsburgh, we only have so many options.  We went to our first Pittsburgh Riverhounds game tonight. It was fun, but definitely not the experience he (or I) hoped for.  I realize that it’s a USL team and not MLS, but I expected there to be more fans, more noise, more cheering.  It was more like multiple groups of friends hanging out and chatting with a soccer game in the background.  I did manage to snap some photos, though! Husband and I are planning on checking out a Columbus Crew FC game next season since that IS MLS and relatively close to us.  We are also planning on seeing a game while we are in England in 18 months. (I hate how far away that is, but C’est la vie.)  All in all, it was great fun, though, and it was a fun first in the city we both love, regardless of how the score ended up.  Definitely will try to get out to another game next season!  Enjoy your retirement, Hunter Gilstrap! I have a 4 year old nephew named Hunter that’s a budding soccer player. 🙂

 

 

 

Swallow Falls State Park, MD

I thought I would share some photos from my trip I took a few years ago to the Deep Creek, MD area. These are from Swallow Falls State Park; it’s gorgeous and almost as beautiful as Ohiopyle State Park here in Pennsylvania.  My husband and I are going to try to visit at many local and somewhat local state parks for hiking (and in my case, photography.) Enjoy!

10 Things to visit (or re-visit) in Pittsburgh

Since my next trip isn’t until July 2017, I decided that we would explore, or re-explore, what makes our city so great.  We have a lot here that we have already seen, but then a lot of other things we haven’t seen yet!  There’s just so much in town that it can be overwhelming, and I am ashamed to say that after 30+ years I still haven’t managed to see it all.

So, without further adieu, here’s a list of 10 things to do and/or see in the ‘burgh.

  1.  Take in a game at one of our amazing stadiums. We have a professional sports team for almost everyone.  Alas, there is no basketball team as of right now, but we do have other amazing sports teams.  None of our parks have bad seats, either.  All of our venues are multi-purpose, too, and in the off season host other events.  You can even get married there!
    1. The Pittsburgh Pirates – PNC Park

       

    2. The Pittsburgh Steelers – Heinz Field
    3. The Pittsburgh Penguins – Consol Energy Center

      (Yes, that’s a hat trick from Sydney Crosby in photo #2)

    4. The Pittsburgh Riverhounds – Highmark Stadium (Going to a game of theirs next week — I’ll update photos then!)
  2. The Pittsburgh Zoo – Ok, I know that there are a lot of issues lately with animals in captivity and it’s been a hot subject on the news for a while; but I can’t help it. I love the zoo. Our zoo has a service for children, too, call Zoo Keys, that you insert into little boxes at each animal and it tells you about them.  I may or may not have gotten one before.  You can also pet kangaroos!
  3. The National Aviary – Yep, you heard me right. The NATIONAL aviary.  There are interactive exhibits, birds galore, and occasionally, butterflies. This is somewhere we will be going very soon.                                                          lories                     (Ok, I cheated. This is from a different aviary 13 years ago. But you CAN feed lorakeets at the National Aviary!)
  4. Carnegie Museum of Art – Gorgeous art museum. Amazing. Awesome. I love it here.  I don’t have any photos right now, but again, soon enough I will.
  5. Carnegie Museum of Natural History – Dinosaurs. History. Nature. I love this place because thanks to my paternal grandfather, I have a love of anything anthropology or archaeology related.  I have a collection of fossils that he dug himself (including dino bones;) that I inherited when he passed away.
  6. Carnegie Science Center – This is not just for kids, regardless of what you may have been told.  Yes, it’s fun for kids. It’s also fun for adults. I love anything interactive. I’m always tempted to go to the Children’s Museum just to interact with exhibits.  What’s better than a museum that doesn’t have “NO TOUCHING” signs everywhere?
  7. The Andy Warhol Museum – Andy Warhol. Pittsburgher. Awesome. Bad-ass. Crazy art and it’s not just all soup cans.

“Andy Warhol looks a scream
Hang him on my wall
Andy Warhol, Silver Screen
Can’t tell them apart at all” –  ‘Andy Warhol’ by David Bowie

8.  The Strip District – No, it’s not strippers. If you like cheese, fish, bread, really any type of food, go here. GO HERE.  The original Primanti Brothers Restaurant is here, too.  Philly has cheesesteak, Cincinnati has chili, we have ‘The Pittsburgher.’ Yes, it has fries on it. It is amazing.

9. Phipp’s Conservatory – Plants. Flowers. Sometimes butterflies. Beauty. Ok, now I’m just listing words. You can get married here, you can get lost in the gardens here. It’s so beautiful.

10. The Duquesne Incline – This can be scary if you are afraid of heights, but the view at the top? On Mt. Washington? Phenomenal. You can look out over the entire city. The point. Station Square. There is also the Monongahela Incline (pronounced Mon-on-guh-hay-la,) but the Duquesne Incline is the ‘main’ incline.  A lot of people propose either at the lookout or one of the great restaurants at the top.

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(This is an old photo, about 13 years old)

 

This is just the tip of the iceberg (which is also the name of the Pens mascot,) of things to do in the ‘burgh. I’ll follow up with photos as I hit all these locations, plus another list later on of the many other places to see.

Planning, Planning, Planning…

I’ve been scouring the internet for a site that I can use to plan my itinerary along with input lodging and transport. I tried VisitACity, but didn’t care for it and it didn’t do everything.  (I do realize I look crazy planning 18 months out, but I want to book as SOON as prices are released.) I don’t have much to plan for my upcoming Alaska trip since that is completely paid for at a fishing lodge (http://www.islandpointlodge.com) so I have been reading as much as possible for Europe.

Ok, back to what I was rambling about — I finally found a website that does EXACTLY what I want. I don’t know much about it but so far it’s great.  Do any of you have any opinions on http://www.triphobo.com ? I like that even if something isn’t in their database I can google it.

Let me know what you think of it as well as if you have any better suggestions!

Wild & Wonderful Relaxation

Sometimes we all need to take a break, get away for a while, and wind down.  It may be for a weekend, it may be a full vacation.  Maybe you’re a writer and need somewhere secluded to write. Maybe you have a new baby and you and your spouse just want to go away somewhere to get some uninterrupted sleep for a weekend.  My husband and I found the perfect place for all of this on AirBnB.   There are plenty of secluded or semi-secluded lodging options there, but I do recommend being bold.  It doesn’t always list “secluded.” I’ve started directly contacting the hosts and just asking them.

The last place that my husband and I stayed in was in Layland, WV. The host was great; I kept in touch with him before we got there for a month or two.  It’s billed as a ‘Cozy secluded cabin. Horse friendly.’ There are horses roaming around when you get there, and it is set pretty far away from any roads.  It’s nestled on 100 acres. It’s amazing. It was perfect for unwinding for 3 days/2 nights. I’ve never seen a night sky so full of stars — and I grew up on a farm.  Unfortunately, it took us longer to get down there than it should have due to unforeseen circumstances.  We ended up going down there right after there were massive, massive floods in the area.  We had to backtrack numerous times. We passed the Red Cross and National Guard on their way down to assist.  It was depressing.  I have seen things like that on television and on the news, but seeing the flood waters up close; either along the roadside or covering the road, was heartbreaking.

Every local we spoke to while we were there was friendly and welcoming. This cabin is also ~10 miles away from New River Gorge State Park, and if you’ve never been there, go. You can watch white water rafters. You can look at a huge suspension bridge.  They have an amazing visitors center with a video about the area playing on loop.  You can even take a self guided driving trip in the area to see the different towns along the gorge.  About 45 minutes away, in Beckley, there’s even an old coal mine that’s been transformed into and exhibition coal mine that you can take tours of.

My husband and I are already planning another trip back. We need to soak in the silence at this amazing place, check out more of the historical towns along the gorge, and, although it may sound cliche, “be one with nature.”

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A beautiful view that a local photographer showed my Husband and myself. Photo credit – Lost Yinzer’s Husband. Yep, that’s me!
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Upcoming Trips

I decided that I wanted to set up a travel blog.  My husband and I have no children and love to travel, but haven’t been able to do much of that yet (aside from domestically.) He has been petrified of flying for years; but I finally was able to convince him to get on a plane in the future!  I am in the process of preparing for a couple of vacations, both in the slightly-more-distant future.

In July 2017, I’ll be going on a week long fishing trip to Alaska with my father, brother, and friend of my father’s.  Then, in March of 2018, my husband and I are planning a 14-day trip to London, England, UK and Amsterdam, The Netherlands.  I am a planner. I like to plan out everything for trips from what we will be doing to where we will be eating.  Obviously, these things can change on a whim, but I like having guidelines.  I would love to be a professional travel agent, but alas, that hasn’t happened (yet!)

There is always a pretty strong chance that my husband and I will take some shorter trips in between now and 2018, so those will be documented here, too.  The last place we went was Layland, WV for 3 days just to relax and unwind.  We rented an amazing cabin situated on 100 acres.  We want to go there again, and as soon as possible!

We’ve also been to Niagara Falls, ON, Canada, Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, TN numerous times, St. Johnsbury, VT, Virginia Beach, VA, and Myrtle Beach, SC.  We also have a big habit of taking overnight trips to Cleveland, OH for concerts. (Yes, I’m a Pittsburgher, and yes, we have a rivalry with Cleveland sports teams, but what can I say; their music scene is a lot better than ours when it comes to indie rock, metal, and folk rock!