So, for those of you who aren't aware, I grew up in an impossibly small, western Pennsylvanian town. So small, that it was big news when the Walmart moved in.
When I was 15, we moved to California, a hyper suburban town that literally changed the flowers in city-wide planters every 3 months to keep them fresh and seasonal. Because of this, Thatboy has always considered me a suburban princess, which is annoying since that's never been how I viewed myself. I've always vowed to take him the middle of nowhere where I grew up, and this year, when a reunion for the high school I never actually graduated from presented itself, I thought it would be a great chance to show my family how different things were when I was growing up.
We started the trip in Pittsburgh - the nearest airport to the town. Since it's still a good drive away, I decided we should stay the night and do some exploring of Pittsburgh before heading to my hometown - hopefully timing our drive with a naptime for Thatbaby.
We started out with the Pittsburgh Children's Museum, which I knew would be a big hit with ALL my boys.
Y'all know about my love of all things Henson, right?
We even managed to see the Eric Carle exhibit which was supposed to be over the weekend before we got there.
I took them on a tour of the city via the Gateway Clipper - something my schools had done with our classes back when I was a kid.
And I knew we had to get them to the top of Mt. Washington via the Dusquene Incline - a trolley that goes up the side of the mountain and upon which Mr. Roger's trolley to the land of imagination was based.
And there was some run-around time at Point State Park fountain.
Our timing was great, because both boys slept almost the whole way to my little town. Thatboy and I had a great time at my reunion, catching up with some really old friends (like friends I'd known since 2nd grade- they're not old!)
And I gave them a very thorough tour of my town. It's the birthplace of Jimmy Stewart, so there's Stewart memorabilia everywhere.
Thatboy's favorite is that every street crossing on our main street is Jimmy Stewart's "voice" (it's not really him) telling you to cross.
The kids loved the stairs up to Jimmy Stewart's boyhood home.
View from the top
I took them to the north part of the county, which is where the large Amish population resides and they got a kick out of seeing kids their age in horses and buggies. The town was having an apple festival complete with some civil war re-enactments.
There are two main parks my family used to spend time at. I gave Thatboy some background info and he picked one of them where we let the boys run around, play on the playground, skip rocks, look for turtles, and tadpoles.
When I was trying to figure out what to do with my family for such a long time in such a small town, I stumbled across the fact that there are 4 covered bridges in the county. When I mentioned it to Thatboy, he was very interested in seeing them. This was another great nap-time drive for Thatbaby.
One of my friends from waaaay back in elementary school also discovered earlier this summer that 20 miles from town was a WATERFALL! So we had to make that trek also.
The land was owned by Fred McFeely, grandfather to Mr. Rogers. And apparently little Fred used to climb over the walls and hang out before the waterfall when he was a child.
So we headed back behind the waterfall too.
When my friend went in June, the falls were much fuller, but it was still pretty cool in September.
And of course, I had to share my childhood favorite foods with them. Like the frozen custard place that's only open in the summer.
Or Eat 'N Park
Thatkid loved the sandwiches. He says his favorite part of the trip was Ninth Street Deli - the little corner deli my friends and I used to go and get hoagies from. He also loved Primanti Brothers in Pittsburgh.
Primanti brothers is known for their interesting "toppings" for the sandwiches. Each sandwich comes with tomatoes, coleslaw, and french fries.
My only complaint about Primanti Brothers is that I'm not terribly impressed with the white bread the sandwiches come on. Once we got home, I decided to combine Thatkid's two favorites - hoagies and Primanti Bros, into one killer sandwich - a corned beef hoagie topped with french fries, tomatoes, and coleslaw.
1lb corned beef, sliced
4 oz Irish cheddar cheese, sliced
1 cup french fries
1 tomato, sliced
1 cup coleslaw
4 hoagie rolls
- Slice hoagie rolls in half. On each roll, layer 1/4 lb corned beef, 1 oz cheese, 1/4 cup french fries, 1/4 of the tomato, and 1/4 cup of coleslaw.