A Little Road Trip – Part One

Hey guys!

It’s rare that I write about things I do day to day.  It doesn’t come naturally to me, and I’m not a patient person.  I want to be able to spill out what I want to say in a couple goes, and be done with it.  But I had such a spectacular time traveling last week that I wanted to share some of it with you!

On Wednesday I went to Ohio for Warped Tour to see some bands from my youth (we’re talking Good Charlotte, Sum 41, Yellowcard, and Bullet for my Valentine).  It was at Blossom Music Center, which is basically a park.  It’s a beautiful venue, and I didn’t even mind walking the- what seemed like -mile from my car to its entrance.  It’s hilly, and green, and there are so many places to sit on the lawn away from the music, and relax between the sets.  None of my bands were coming on until 4:00, and I arrived for the opener at 11:00, so I strolled around and bumped right into a wine stand.  Oh my gosh, was I in my glory.

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So, as you can probably imagine, I drank on the lawn, walked around, listened to some bands I hadn’t heard before.  I finished my wine (probably a little too quickly), did some shopping, saw my bands (OH MY GOD!!!!!) and found my motel.

I suspected it would be sketchy, but it didn’t seem sketchy upon arrival!  Which is odd, I feel, for an Econo Lodge.  What sketched me out was stopping in at the gas station next door to purchase some tooth paste, and the cashier insisting on telling me the history of the place.  Then there was the couple next door.  I didn’t want to know what they were doing, but as long as I ignored this (television and air conditioning on full blast), all was good.

I had desperately wanted to hike in Cuyahoga Falls the next day, but I was insanely sore from the previous few.  I decided on a day trip to Pittsburgh, and ended at a brewery that used to be a church.IMG_5749

It is such a beautiful building!

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Unfortunately, they were out of three beers that I had wanted to try, including the Cucumber Beer that I cannot find online for you guys, so I had the Pious Monk, which I can’t complain about.  I was disappointed because they only had one bartender who didn’t have time to talk.  Between her tables and getting drinks for the servers, she was a busy woman.  The food was also a bit disappointing.  I had the Baja Chicken Sandwich and could barely taste the avocado.  The bacon was not cripsy enough, either.  The fries were seasoned, but with a salt too similar to the one at Red Robin.  I’m truly hoping I ended up there on the wrong day, and that their food is usually better.  More conversation would have made up for the food, and vice versa.

One thing I did get out of the trip to Church Brew Works were names of other breweries to check out in the area.  And check out I did!  But that’s not until later.

And let me just say something here.  I’m not saying to not go to the Church Brew Works! Not at all.  It is so cool, so pretty, so fun in there.  Diners sit on pews, at the bar customers look up at stained glass windows.  At the far end of the taproom customers can see the brewers at work.  The bathrooms alone are worth the visit.  Seriously!  I was just disappointed that my bartender was so overwhelmed with work, and the food wasn’t up to par with my expectations.

I only stayed for the food and drink, and left for the city of Pittsburgh, where, of course, I got lost.  My GPS decided to stop working, but I passed by some cool looking shops, and the University.  I drove around for what felt like ages looking for a parking spot.  It was very unclear where I could and could not park.  It seemed like you couldn’t park in places that were totally parkable.  Eventually I asked permission to park in a CVS and walked the few blocks to the city center.  I found myself in Caliban Book Shop and was so impressed by their inventory.  I found two that looked particularly interesting (The Reluctant Fundamentalist and another book of these awesome looking short fairytale-esque short stories that is in my purse right now, and I’m too lazy to pull out to find the title).  I trailed away toward University of Pittsburgh and found myself gazing up at the cathedral.  Then I wandered up the stairs.  Then I went inside.  Then I muttered “holy shit”.

I was in Hogwarts.

Example A:

The staircase.

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Example B:

Need I say anything more?

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And pictures are just pictures.  This is nothing compared to actually being there.  I wandered around awestruck and popped my head in a few classrooms.  I thought about sitting down in one, but figured summer was the wrong time to do so.  Maybe closer to fall when classes actually begin, I’ll take another little road trip over to Pittsburgh…

For anyone who really knows me, Hogwarts is where it is.  I took a Harry Potter course in college.  I read the books once a year.  I have a Harry Potter tattoo on my arm.  Harry Potter, believe it or not, helped me through my grief in a way that no one else could at the time.  I could relate to Harry, and I wanted to escape to a new place, have new adventures, be someone else.  I wanted that opportunity to begin again, and for my life to be full of magick.

Alas, we cannot enter Harry Potter land, at least in the physical plane we live in.  But I did feel a little closer at the cathedral.

How about you guys?  Have you been to Pittsburgh?  This was my first time checking it out.  Someone please tell me you’ve had better experience at the Church Brew Works!

Coming next will be the remainder of my trip, featuring the funeral home turned brewery ;).

Goodnight Ya’ll!

Shannon

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