Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Tourist At Home

by Joyce Tremel

We're on vacation this week. Unlike most people I know, we're spending ours at home--almost. Since we blew a bundle going to Busch Gardens in June, we decided to spend this one at home. So we're being tourists in our own town--Pittsburgh.

It's been fun so far. My husband and I have both lived in or around Pittsburgh our entire lives and there are tons of things we haven't done or seen. On Monday, we had lunch at Houlihan's in Station Square, then took a Just Ducky Tour.

It was a lot of fun. A DUKW is an amphibious vehicle first used in WWII (think D-Day Invasion). The D stands for 1942, the U for utility truck, the K for front wheel drive and the W for two tandem axle rear driving wheels. You wanted to know all that, right?

On Tuesday, we stayed home. I did some house cleaning (exciting, I know) and my better half worked in his wood shop. He's always happy when he's knee deep in sawdust. The rest of the day we hung out in our back yard.

On Wednesday, we made our way to the North Side of Pittsburgh to the National Aviary. They have an outdoor bird show that was a lot of fun.

Afterwards, we went to the historic Penn Brewery for lunch. The outside courtyard was worth a picture. We'll probably be checking out their upcoming Oktoberfest celebration at the end of September.

We're not sure yet what we're doing on Thursday, but on Friday we'll be up bright and early to head to the flea market in Rogers, Ohio. I hope my feet hold out!

How many of you have played tourists in your own town? What did you do? Would you do it again?


Wilfred Bereswill said...

Do DUKWs change color in water?

Yanno, Joyce, we were going to do a stay-cation this year and then we got a steal on a condo in Gulf Shores.

I know there are things to do here in St. Louis that I haven't done. In fact, winery touring here is something I want to do this fall. Little know fact, Missouri is either the biggest, or close to the biggest wine area in the US outside of California.

Right now I'm trying to set up book signings in cities withing 400 miles of St. Louis for weekend jaunts. That, Bouchercon and Magna Cum Murder will fill out my vacation for this year.

Tory said...

Well, of course you have to go to Kennywood and Sandcastle!

nancy said...

Joyce, I love the Ducky tour! We take all out of town guests on that one!

Have you been to the zoo lately? My husband and I try to go every Sunday morning (we're members, so it's free, plus it's in our neighborhood) for the exercise. There is NOTHING MORE ADORABLE than the two baby elephants. (Well, okay, my new grandson is more adorable!) Plus the baby tiger is now located in an amazing viewing space. And the polar bears--! What an experience. We generally buy a cold drink at the refreshment area (don't expect a decent lunch--the food is yucky) and grab a table overlooking the gorilla exhibit. My only caution is to find out when the various baby animals are on display before you go. They have limited hours. But we find that if we go at 9am before the crowd really starts, we can see all the highlights. (I skip the reptiles and the kiddie area.) And the exercise is great!

Joyce said...

Will, there are three or four different Duckys. We rode in a green one.

Tory, we went to Kennywood on Sunday for a company accounting outing, but Sandcastle is out. I don't go anywhere in public wearing a swimsuit.

Nancy, we had zoo memberships when the kids were little and went all the time. We haven't been there since last year. I'd like to go and see the baby elephants before they get too much bigger.

We're staying home again today and we might skip the flea market tomorrow. Hubby has a pulled tendon in his leg that he's been nursing for a few weeks and I think he's been on it too much over the last few days. I'm making him behave himself today.

JennieB said...

We do the zoo and the museums sometimes with the kids. It's like having visitors come; the various things are all new and exciting to the little ones.

When I lived in New York, we used to take the Circle Line around Manhattan pretty regularly. Here in Nashville we don't have river cruises, unfortunately. There's a river, but it's full of barges, so there's not much room. Not much to see, either. And there are sightseeing bus tours that are fun, although I used to guide those, so the charm rubbed off a long time ago.

Do-nothing (or do-very-little) vacations are the best, aren't they?

(BTW, Will, I met someone who knew you last weekend, at Killer Nashville. His name was Hugh. Wilson, I think. Short guy with reddish hair and a beard. From your neck of the woods.)

kathie said...

Hi Joyce, what a great plan for vacation. I do a little bit of tourist in the home town thing because of my kids. And I do love museums, so I do that, but I really need to expand my horizons--thanks for the inspiration. Any writing on your vacay todo list?

Martha Reed said...

I decided to move to Pittsburgh (twenty years ago) because my sister met me at the plane and took me to dinner at the Tin Angel on Mt. Washington. The table was right at the window with all of city Pittsburgh spread out below us at night, and she said "Why wouldn't you want to live here?"

Great post, Joyce, and it's funny how sometime folks who live in a place don't take as much advantage of it as the tourists - have you heard of the newest thing? Renting a kayak and taking it up the Allegheny? I know of 3 people who tried it and they rave about it - kayaks are for rent on the Northshore by PNC Park.

Enjoy your vacation!

Picks By Pat said...

I lived in Pittsburgh for nine years (one mile from Kennywood) and loved it. If I were back there this weekend, I'd probably go there and also the Carnegie Museum. Of course, no trip would be complete without visiting the farmer's market in the Strip. And afterwards, a sandwich at Primanti's!

I miss it so much I've based one of my novels (unpublished so far) in Pittsburgh.