It's been a little while since I've been back to the place I grew up. Far longer than I care to go w/out seeing my family, but finally I hopped a few planes across the country and was standing in the Pittsburgh airport looking for one of my closest friends, Karina.
We squealed like little school girls and then proceeded on to our day in the city together, including drinks w/ one of my favorite teachers from high school, finally meeting her beau, catching up, sushi, and drinks w/ much loved old friends. The thing I love about this girl so much is we can go an entire year w/out seeing each other, but anytime we're together, it's like we were never apart.
The next morning we woke early and headed down the turnpike towards Idlewild, where we were meeting my entire family for a day of fun.
Like always, the fun starts with a walk through Storybook Forest.
Then Jumping Jungle.
And finally the main part of the park.
After a long day of fun it was finally time to head home for the night. I hugged Karina goodbye and climbed into my Seester's mini-van destined for our childhood home.
Monday morning was Memorial Day and my brother threw a bbq at his house to celebrate.
My Uncle Skip also made an amazing birthday cake for myself, my Seester, my Seester-In-Law, & my practically Seester growing up.
Tuesday morning my dad & I snagged breakfast at a local joint and then headed up to Mt. Davis, the tallest peak in Pennsylvania.
At 3,213 ft I have to travel "down" from Missoula to get to the tallest point in Pennsylvania. And yet, despite being able to scale the peaks of the Rockies, my dad nearly had to drag me up to the top of the observation tower to snap a few photos. (I'm sure my mom will never forget my panic attack at the top of the Empire State Building)
When we (I) had our (my) fill of heights we took off down the bike trail from Markleton back to Confluence.
Wednesday morning, after a short shopping trip w/ mom, my dad & I shot a couple of clay pigeons at his work.
My parents were then AWESOME and treated me to dinner at the Hen House in Maryland - a place I had not been to in many many years.
Thursday morning I took my niece on an overdue trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo for her 7th birthday present. She's my little mini-me in many ways other than middle names & we had a blast checking out all the animals at this amazing zoo.
Friday my mom, Lola, & I took the kiddos up to Gommy's house for the day. It also happened to be Lola's birthday so we snuck away for a little shopping before we all met up w/ my Uncle Wally for dinner.
After dinner we piled into the car and I took us on a detour before heading home. The Johnstown Incline Plane is the steepest in the world and was one of my favorite spots to visit as a kid w/ my Grandpap Walter. The trip usually meant a ride up and down in one of the cars & a scoop of Galliker's rainbow ice cream, but even if it didn't you can always bet that Louis Armstrong's 'Wonderful World' was always on the radio. I thoroughly enjoyed sharing this memory w/ my niece and nephews.
Saturday morning my mom woke up and asked what I wanted to do that I hadn't yet. My response was visit the Flight 93 memorial. It's been nearly 12 years since that plane crashed only a short distance from my home, but I had yet to see the beautiful memorial that had been put in it's place. It was everything it should be.
After our trip we headed home to spend my last night w/ the family by having a picnic in the field. This was one of my favorite places as a kid, and even as an adult, is a place I miss dearly.
Sunday morning came too soon, and after everyone left for church, I headed out for a short little adventure of my own to Ohiopyle, yet another place I spent much of my childhood.
Goodbyes are never easy, especially when it comes to saying goodbye to my family. I'm never quite sure when I'll get to see them again since we live to far apart. I can confidently say that this was one of my favorite trips home & I have many, many memories to think about til next time.