A different kind of vacation

In the last five to ten years I’ve been very fortunate to do a lot of traveling. I’ve been on a few international trips, but I’ve also had the opportunity to explore a lot of the United States. When Dave got the job in South Carolina, although not optimal, we embraced it as a chance to see and do more. These trips have always been planned the same way. See and do…EVERYTHING! “I have to do this now because who knows if/when I will be back” is the theme of my life. Don’t get me wrong–I love it, but I’ve recently discovered there are other ways to travel.

This past weekend, Dave and I took a trip to Western Pennsylvania to see his family. We had a loose itinerary of places to see: the neighborhood where he grew up, where he went to undergrad, and his grandparents house, but mostly spent the time relaxing and enjoying time with his family.

Pennsylvania here we come!

We began our trip Tuesday afternoon after I #escapedtheOR. After finishing up a Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery (CABG) in the morning, I ran home to grab my bag and we set off for St. Louis. Our flight was at 0700 and it is a two hour drive to the airport. We dropped our bags off at the Sleep Inn St Louis- Airport and headed out. I had some errands in Creve Coeur (If you need a new camera I highly recommend the Creve Coeur Camera Superstore) and was super hungry by the time we were done. We decided to grab a snack at Granite City Brewery. When we arrived it was happy hour and we ended up eating too many appetizers. A tornado in the area kept us on lock down for an hour and we headed back to the hotel to watch the St. Louis Blues hockey team beat the San Jose Sharks to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Because our flight was at 7 AM, we got up at 4 (it came really early) and headed to the airport for an easy trip to Pittsburgh. After grabbing our rental car from the airport we jumped right into the nostalgia by stopping at Eat n’ Park for lunch, since Dave used to work there. We were easily the youngest patrons by at least 30 years. The food was fine, but the strawberry pie was delicious and we picked up some smiley face cookies to go. We spent the rest of the day walking through the neighborhood, driving through the area, and eating Vocelli’s Pizza with Dave’s Mom. We ended the night at the Harmony Inn with a drink and some live music.

Thursday was another low key day. The weather was supposed to be bad, but it ended up being sunny and warm. We hung out at the house in the morning, looking at old pictures, and waiting for Dave’s sister, niece, and nephew to come over. Since it was Dave’s mom’s birthday, we all went out for dinner at Ichiban.

On Friday we headed to Slippery Rock, the home of Dave’s Alma Mater, Slippery Rock University. We split an M-T-O (made-to-order) sandwich for lunch from Sheetz (a convenience store chain) and walked around the campus. We grabbed a beer at North Country Brewing before heading to the Grove City Outlets for quick shopping and mini-donuts from Peace, Love, and Little Donuts. I actually have family that lives in Western Pennsylvania and had been to the outlets before. Imagine Dave’s surprise when I knew something about the area that he didn’t. Heh! The shop is a little tiny cabin between two of the outlet buildings near Columbia. The donuts are hand made to order and are still warm when you eat them. Highly recommend! We finished off the day with dinner at his sister’s house.

Saturday consisted of more relaxation and family time. We spent the afternoon and evening visiting with grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles. We received a text around mid-afternoon that our flight for Sunday evening had been canceled. After calling Southwest, we had to re-book on a much earlier flight for Sunday and ended up not being able to visit with my family (I have an aunt and uncl that in nearby Wexford); however, this made getting home and settling in a lot easier! Check another state off the list!

I should vacation like this more often. Although I still don’t like mornings…it made the return to work a whole lot easier.