We spent several days in and around Pittsburgh to see friends and get a view of this revitalized rustbelt gem.
Pittsburgh was our first stop after the Ohio homecoming. We bypassed several likely stops in Ohio in order to gain ground East -- we had just a week to arrive in New York. Pittsburgh provided both a good halfway point and a compelling destination in its own right. People seem to really like Pittsburgh. Additionally, several of Amelia's longtime friends from AmeriCorps had recently and independently found their way to Pittsburgh.
We stayed outside the city at Fox Den Acres Campground in New Stanton. This was a large RV park with lots of RV's, but very few people. There is apparently a mode of RVing where one leaves their RV parked at a site for an entire season, but they themselves only show up on the weekends to occupy their RV, ostensibly living in a permanent residence somewhere within a couple hour radius of the campsite. Since we arrived and departed Fox Den Acres during the week, we only saw the relatively few mid-week visitors. While this was a nice campground in many ways, it was not, IMHO, so nice as to be a destination in and of itself. I am going to have to study this seasonal RVing phenomenon further.
While I am on the today-I-learned jag, let me indulge in another discovery. I know you have been wondering as I have: who the crap still smokes? Well, southwestern Pennsylvania has provided our answer! It is, in fact, people in southwestern Pennsylvania that actually still smoke. The first clue was the grocery store parking lot in southwestern Pennsylvania. Next, it was the streets of Pittsburgh. Followed by a park in Pittsburgh. Then there was the gas station. And the hardware store. And, of course, the pizza shop. We knew it was going on somewhere. Now we know where.
We ventured into Pittsburgh proper twice during our stay. On our first day, we took our bikes into the city for a day of riding. The weather was perfect. We parked a few miles outside downtown and biked in from there. The bike paths around downtown Pittsburgh are good (paved) and supply good perspective on the city. We made it all the way to Point State Park where we lunched with a view of the Monongahela, Allegheny, and Ohio rivers.
On day two, we joined up with friends at the sprawling Schenley Park. We hiked, evaluated a playground or two, and caught up over beer and pizza.
Last aside: stink bugs. There are a lot of these in the Pittsburgh area. A lot. Fuck you stink bugs and get off Bernadette; that is all.