I'll let the pictures do (some of) the talking.
Mandy picked me up at the airport on Friday afternoon, we stopped for a quick lunch and headed into Pittsburgh. The experience of driving into Pittsburgh from the airport is a one-of-a-kind experience. It is aptly depicted in the book "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" (which is a must-read, by the way). You drive through this tunnel, and there is the city skyline.
|"And in that moment, I swear we were infinite" |
~Chbosky, author of Perks of being a Wallflower
Our first stop was to ride the incline up to Mount Washington so we could take in the views of the skyline and rivers that flow through Pittsburgh.
|The temps were cool enough that I was able to wear a fleece!|
After checking out all the different vantage points of Mount Washington, we headed into the Strip District where we popped in and out of stores for a couple of hours. The main event of Friday was a blogger meet-up with long time blog friends, Erin and Marisa who both happen to live in the area. Erin brought her little guy, Welles, along so I was thrilled to get to meet him after hearing all about him, and closely following his journey into life. He's a little miracle baby as he faced some incredible odds when he entered the world, so it was so cool to see that he's a thriving, happy, active one year old!
|Mandy, Welles, Erin, and I. I sadly got so caught up in conversation, I forgot to take a photo with Marisa|
It was so great to catch up with these girls. While we have never met in person before Friday, anyone who saw us that night would have thought we were life-long friends. It was great to chat about our day-to-day lives, the challenges of moving to a new city, books, weddings (Marisa is getting married in November), and all sorts of other experiences. I was so sad to say good-bye to these two, but I know I will see them both again. I left dinner with a smile on my face and a full heart. After dinner we met Maggie, who I have gotten to know through twitter, for some ice cream, and then headed to Mandy's home town, which is located in the Ohio River valley. I was totally exhausted at this point as I was running on about 4 hours of sleep, so I slept like a baby that night.
On Saturday we had a slower paced day and checked out the beautiful valley where Mandy lives. She has posted photos and described it in many blogs posts, but nothing compares with seeing it with my own eyes. It is a beautiful area.
We spent Saturday meandering around. We ate a leisurely lunch, popped into stores that featured the products of local artisans, sipped delicious pumpkin chai lattes, browsed books at an adorable local book store, and checked out the Oglebay resort which is a beautiful area with stunning views and beautiful gardens.
|The pictures of the Oglebay resort do not do it justice! It is so beautiful and I would love to vacation there some day.|
We headed home on Saturday night and Mandy made low country boil and her brother made ribs. They were so sweet about accomodating my gluten intolerance. We ate like kings that night! After sitting by the fire for awhile, we moved indoors for dessert!
|Mandy and her mom made the most decadent peanut butter fudge ripple dessert. It was ahhh-mazing.|
On Sunday morning we went to mass at the university where Mandy used to work, had lunch, and then sadly it was time for me to return to the airport.
The best way that I can describe this weekend is to say that it was kind of like being wrapped up in a warm blanket. Mandy has been such a good friend to me for 4+ years and it was wonderful to spend an entire weekend with her. She has also has lived in an area that she did not particularly care for, so it was nice to have conversations with someone who completely 'gets' how I feel.
This weekend was a remind of exactly why I love the blogging community. I feel like there have been a lot of posts in the past year about how blogging has changed for the worse. And maybe it has for some, but it hasn't for me. It's still a place I can come to share my thoughts and develop friendships that I know will be lifelong. I feel so fortunate to have people in my life like Mandy who open up their hearts and homes to me.
I got to check 2 new states off the list of states I have visited, bringing the total to 27! How many states or provinces have you visited?
P.S. The Lovely Becky is celebrating her 30th birthday today, so pop over and wish her a happy birthday!! Welcome to your 30s, Becky. I promise it's a fabulous decade.